Many years ago, Felix and I backpacked throughout Japan we noticed there were no homes built on the hillsides of towns. This seemed odd, so we inquired with an English speaking friend as to why. It was explained that Japanese society reject the “king of the hill” stature, as it’s a blatant way of displaying wealth, power and importance. It’s garish. Tokyo’s imperial palace is in the center of town, not a castle on a mountain. This would go directly against a neighborhood like the Hollywood Hills; one of the biggest houses looking over the city use to be owned by Merv Griffin (old television host and big producer, look him up). Most American cities work in the reverse of this Japanese tradition – Americans like to be the cat sitting on the hillside looking over the land.
John’s point about “tall trees” made me think about equality. And I know he is very much into equality on many levels. I understand his position to pose popcorn movies as the “Art of Our Time”, because in his view it’s like a universal way of coming together on the same level and having a shared cultural experience. There is no one great thing, no markers.
But I still believe that intent is an important factor in calling something art. Hollywood often doesn’t label their popcorn movies “art” – and neither do I. It’s entertainment… just like “The Real Housewives of Wherever.” Perhaps I am more traditional, but I believe that contemporary art has done it’s job through “our time” – and the only factor making it not as accessible as movies is the direct competition with movies. Entertainment trumps art. Entertainment also trumps science and history museums, books and many other activities, because entertainment is easier. No one has to work. You zone out and escape; and stare willfully into that big, rectangular, flickering box. I protest that popcorn movies are not “The Art of Our Time”, simply because they are not art.