SO OVER RAINBOWS

When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around,
Heaven opens a magic lane.
When all the clouds darken up the skyway
There’s a rainbow highway to be found,
Leading from your window pane

(Original first two verses of the Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg 1939 song Somewhere Over the Rainbow
that were not sung in The Wizard of Oz)

There the rainbow and the highway are presented as symbols of hope, but here, like an uninvited post on my feed, the image is really an advertisement, a billboard that’s an entrepreneurial con game. And the highway here is more “limited access” than social media; the unfinished ramp is doubly ambiguously: both exit and entrance, and unfinished and deteriorating.

One of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one’s own ever-shifting desires. —Albert Einstein, Principles of Research (1918)

In response to all the uninvited posts on my social media feeds. Cease and desist! Pictures and quotes from Musk and Jobs don’t fit with the ones of Camus and Bukowski I’ve requested and appreciate.

I’m not gonna follow your blogs, let alone buy into your thinking. I don’t want to be an entrepreneur, nor do I want to be abused by one. So stop sending me those memes. Predatory optimism is not me.

I’d rather be an artist. But not what passes for one today, someone who’s really more an entrepreneur than creator; someone who piles lots of stuff together—or worse hires people to do the piling—then tries to sell it as art by telling us it’s enlightening when all it is is profitable—for him, not us.

Nor do I want to have to be the kind of artist who has to sell their efforts, insights, and talents either. To make objects just to sell isn’t necessarily bad, but that kind of artist feels more of “painful crudity and hopeless dreariness” than I wish to now—40 years of that was enough.

There’s another kind of artist; someone who can put paint on canvas (literally or figuratively) in a manner that looks like paint close up but a thing that could be from the real world when you step back. I’d like to be able to do that, but given I’ve not done it so far, I don’t think that’s in the plans for me.

So I’m resigned to be happy—I could be unhappy here, but I’m not—just being yet another kind of artist; someone who sees something out there and feels something in here; someone who then conflates them and records the result. 

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Lyrics