This past week, Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese both agreed that Marvel movies are dumb. Scorsese said, “That’s not cinema,” while Coppola agreed and went further and called them “despicable.” Thus we find ourselves asking the age-old question, “What is art?”
Both directors ought to know better than to get into such a pointless argument. I think they did it to get attention. I’m not a huge Marvel fan, but I happened to watch “Spiderman, Far From Home” a few weeks ago and found that it was well made, funny, and enjoyable. As far as the art of making comic books into movies goes, it was one of the best I’ve seen. Yet I have to admit that I haven’t watched another Marvel movie in the past year and I probably won’t see another one this year. Personally, my tastes differ.
If you’re a writer, you’re going to find yourself thrust into this argument. Most novelists that I know have a few fans that they really connect with, people who love them inordinately. I’m always surprised when I find someone who loves one of my novels so much that they’ve read it 20 times, but it happens over and over. (I’ve never read a novel twenty times. Even with my own published books, I can’t stand to look at them more than a dozen times.)
At the same time, there are plenty of avid readers who’ve never picked up one of my books, or who if they do read one, they don’t connect at all. That’s fine.
If you decide to make the most perfect milkshake in the world, you might begin by using Jersey cows that graze on the green hills of Oregon, fed just the right mix of clover, alfalfa, and corn. You might separate the cream and sweeten it with pure cane sugar from Hawaii along with a little Tasmanian leatherwood honey, then go in search of the finest vanilla beans from Mexico and grind them by hand. You can then get a master ice cream maker to mix it together at 36 degrees centigrade so that the ingredients fold in, getting enough air to make the ice cream light and fluffy but with a solid heft. Then you serve your masterpiece in a frosted mug with fresh whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top, and as you wait expectantly for the compliment, you’ll hear, “Huh, do you have it in chocolate?”
Ultimately, art is in the eye of the beholder. You cannot and you should not ever argue with the person who enjoys chocolate over vanilla. It will only earn you scorn.
And please don’t be so silly as to tell someone that their art form is not valid at all, or that it isn’t good. Putting on makeup is an art form. Combing hair is an art. Folding paper is an art. Higher math is an art. Tying your shoes is an art. Sitting can be an art. Everything that you do or possibly can do can be turned into an art form. Life is art.
So go ahead and create your own masterpieces and let the critics be hanged.
Want to learn how to get writing fast and stay in creative focus? In this workshops we’ll help you resolve the most common reasons that people face writers’ block and give you some exercises to get you writing again. This workshop is $99 and will be on November 16th 2019 in Provo. If Provo is too far for a one day trip, the workshop is going be recorded live on Zoom. That way you can attend the workshop from the comfort of your own home.
This workshop can be found on my website at MyStoryDoctor.com.