I’m getting more and more of my news online these days and really enjoying the stimulation of being able to read the New York Times, L.A. Times, London Times, BBC headlines and Arts Journal daily. I just signed up last week to receive the London Times (known simply as The Times where I’m from) with a particular view to comparing their arts coverage with the NYT… and discovered something surprising.
The Times has no Arts section. Instead there is a category labeled Entertainment. And that made me stop and think a minute. Are the arts and entertainment really one and the same? Is the purpose of the arts merely to entertain? If so, no-one ever mentioned it to me before. I’ve grown up thinking that they are meant to uplift, provoke, stimulate, educate. Are we ‘entertained’ by Munch’s “The Scream”? Relaxed by Berg’s “Wozzeck”? Amused by Michelangelo’s “David”? No? Does that then mean that they do not merit discussion, not being strictly entertaining? The thought worries me.
As usual at times like this, I head for a dictionary– in this case, dictionary.com
the products of human creativity
works of aesthetic value
the creation of beautiful or significant things
skill that is attained by study, practice or observation
skill arising from the exercise of intuitive faculties
Something that amuses, pleases, or diverts, especially a performance or show.
Which would you prefer to focus on? Should you have to choose? Are we as a society heading away from the arts and towards entertainment? Does it matter to you?