Siegel speaks: All’s fair in art and war

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Fuck dubstep.

You probably reacted to that statement in one of three ways: 1) You nodded your head in agreement; 2) you paused the dope new Skrillex song you were listening to, reread what I said in utter disbelief and thought to yourself, “This ignorant prick has no idea what he’s talking about;” or 3) you have no idea what the hell dubstep is, but you immediately called your son and told him that he should never say “fuck” and definitely shouldn’t begin his column with that horrendous word. (Sorry, Mom.)

If you agreed with me, great — let’s get together sometime and talk about how a bunch of “beeps” and “bops” aren’t music. We can even do our best mock-impressions of dubstep fans waiting for the illustrious “drop.”

But to be honest, dubstep lovers, you were right — I am an ignorant prick who has no idea what he’s talking about. I know nothing about dubstep, except that I hate it. But that doesn’t mean that we can no longer be friends or that you should go throw a brick through my window. It means that you should educate me, that you should show me some great dubstep songs and reveal the error in my ways.

Regardless of how you feel about dubstep, you reacted to what I said. And that’s awesome. That’s what’s so great about art: We all react in different ways. The arts aren’t like the sciences; there are no facts. There’s no “Newton’s Third Law of Dubstep,” no formula for what makes a song great, no single greatest film of all time. There’s just a bunch of different reactions — a truckload of opinions that seem to amount to nothing but a complete shit show.

When it comes to the arts, we’re all ignorant pricks. But we’re all experts, too.

I have written about a lot of things in this column — Netflix, the Grammys, Elvis Presley, Wes Anderson, Spotify, “Game of Thrones” and many others — and I have written about each of them as if I were an expert. And some people believed me. They commented on my columns, shook my hand and said they couldn’t agree more with what I said.

Others weren’t so forgiving. They could see through my charade. For every positive comment I received, there were a dozen “screw you’s.” (I’m surprised I didn’t get any death threats for saying I don’t think Taylor Swift deserves a Grammy).

Well, this is my last column. And regardless of whether you agreed with everything I wrote, I hope I made you think a little bit about the arts. I hope I made you angry. I hope I made you smile. Most of all, I hope I showed you some beautiful things that you had never seen before.

I have seen a lot of movies and listened to a lot of music. And I think that this has made me a fairly knowledgeable guy. I’ve tried to impart some of this knowledge to my columns — tried to show you what it is that keeps me watching films, keeps me going to the record store. But I don’t know everything. Far from it.

That’s where you come in. Even though we’re all opinionated assholes, we’re also civilized human beings. If you love art, talk about it. That’s what it’s here for. And that’s what keeps it alive. Tell me why Taylor Swift deserves a Grammy. Say “screw you” to the people who scoff at your love for NSYNC.

There’s no right or wrong in art — just opinions. And even though those opinions seem to amount to nothing but a shit show, it’s one beautiful shit show. We all have the capability to change our minds about a piece of art — I know I have countless times. All we need to do is talk to one another. (Dubstep enthusiasts, I can be reached at [email protected])

I love nothing more than talking about music and movies, and it’s been a pleasure writing this column. Thank you for taking the time to read it. And please, please keep talking about the arts.

Contact Jeremy Siegel at [email protected].