This Just In: Money = Good Art

Earlier this month on the Ploughshares blog, Tasha Golden pointed to a Guernica interview with Ben Davis, in which the
moneycritic intimated  the so-called ‘evil’ dollar also funds innovative creative work.” My regular readers will not bat an eye at the following admission…

I wholeheartedly agree. In fact, I’d like you all to know that I am in the process of actively collecting as many dollars (in denominations of one, although fives and tens are highly desired) as possible. At the moment, my collection totals $3.72. Yes, I know. Riches like this could only exist in New York. In all my years wandering the deep forests of the Olympic Peninsula, the only  object I ever discovered with any economic value, in human terms, was a rusty bear trap and a ham sandwich. The sandwich was dusted in a fine layer of hardy mildew, which only made it that much more delicious.

I digress.

My point, dear reader, is the intersection of capitalism and creativity. They do intersect, I believe, and in fact, my entire strategy depends upon earning more American dollars. Isn’t that the best way to be recognized in this topsy-turvy town? Look at David Schwimmer, for instance. Besides his appearance as a “Young Thark Warrior” in the film John Carter (another entry in the venerable ‘Civil War vets go to Mars’ genre of cinema), one would think the actor/multi-millionaire would not amount to more than a proverbial “floater” in the public eye. And yet! Today his notoriety knows no bounds. The next time I run into Schwimmer on the Lower East Side, I think I will encourage him to write a book. With his financial resources, it is bound to be a break-out success. I can even imagine a title: My Life On Mars: A Memoir by David Schwimmer.

penniesOn that note, I recommend you purchase Paris Hilton’s novel-in-giggles, Confessions of an Heiress. Plenty of other people did. It was #7 on the New York Times Bestseller List in 2004.

Mlle. Golden goes on to soothe the nervous masses who are attempting to build so-called “Literary Businesses.” Writers often worry that the pursuit of success in business impedes the creative process. Golden disagrees:

Fortunately, none of this is necessarily true. It can be, and let me be the first to say that if you want to get wrapped up in advances, paychecks, and celebrity-seeking, the path’s there for the taking. But if materialistic obsessions don’t appeal to you, that doesn’t mean business can’t appeal to you. Knowing what to do with your work once it’s written (my definition of “business savvy”) doesn’t equal becoming a materialistic, consumer-pandering sellout. Seriously. And it won’t corrupt your art.

One note of criticism, however – I must protest at the negativity directed at “consumer-pandering sellouts.” If American readers want to be pandered to, who are we to deny them that satisfaction? I say pander away!

Where do you stand on pandering, dear reader? Are you a pandering panda?




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