Carl King Podcast #19: Flat Earth, Update on Carl’s Hands, and Organizing Your Creative Projects

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Listen on SoundCloud, YouTube, or Apple Podcasts.

In this episode Carl King discusses:

The Flat Earth Real Estate Conspiracy
Carl King’s Hands
Word Game Results Using Letters S.R.
Question: How Do You Organize And Schedule Your Creative Work?
Art Vs. Entertainment: Listener Submissions
Question: What Does Carl King Listen To?
Question: Creativity Mindsets
Carl’s Letterboxd Ratings / Recent Viewing
Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Imaginary Studio Directives)

As promised, here are some answers our listeners submitted, in response to last week’s question: What is the difference between Art and Entertainment?

First up, listener Ugis Berzins:

It probably depends on how you define art and entertainment.

I think the difference is where and how you’re selfish, art to me is a selfish endeavor, selfish in that it makes me feel better, even if I’m fixing a door jam I use art to inform my choices about aesthetics, tools, etc… Selfish in the process, not the result. I think that line is blurry, because artists need to live and a way to do that is to get attention, praise, and exposure. You can make art and have it be entertaining, but you can also make art and have it be personal and small and perhaps here’s where I lose my thread, entertaining for yourself.

I know that my decisions are selfish, this isn’t a great way to support myself, I can’t bring myself to mention that I sell crap, to promote even things I’m proud of, it’s a problem. I still probably whether I want to or not end up entertaining people, it’s largely out of my control.

I think intention is important, are you trying to entertain, are you trying to say something, or make people think, is entertainment just engagement or distraction? Some of this stuff is so deeply intertwined that perhaps as Zappa said there is no difference, but I sure can smell the difference between The Cardiacs and Nickelback.

Maybe the difference is the same as comic books VS graphic novels, one seems more highbrow, but it’s largely semantics, but again intention matters. If I decided to write an album and made the rule that each song had to be entertaining, it would be different if I said I want to like all the songs or say something with them or capture a mood. It’s like ingredients, what % is entertainment, how much is personal.

I would argue even further that visual art, which is something that I gravitate towards isn’t entertaining, it may be thought provoking, or technically sublime. When I look at art I’m deciphering the meaning, the mood, the technique, the choices made, the context, historical or otherwise, it’s not a distraction, because it’s what I want to do I want to absorb this stuff to hone my tastes to absorb to discern to maybe let it influence me. It is engaging, so if that’s entertainment, so be it, but I don’t get the frivolity.

The last aspect is perhaps escapism, this is where Marvel movies land, sometimes described as broad entertainment in that it is made to appeal to as large an audience as possible. There’s something there too, are you entertaining a niche, are you trying to appeal to everyone, why? I think escapism is broad, is it escapism to spend a whole day whittling wood, probably, is meditation escapism, some find driving to be escapism, others do not. It’s pretty entertaining to play with my cats, there’s escapism there, it’s definitely a distraction, but it’s not art. 

What do I know,
Ugis (Semen Rain)

Next, Hank Howard III:

No, art and entertainment are not the same thing.

Art is the thing created by the artist with their unique personality, usually with the intent of showing other people. A song can be written alone in a room and shown to thousands online. A cave person can draw a picture on a wall for someone to find much later. Sometimes it is intentional, sometimes it is accidental. Sometimes it is captured, and sometimes it is not. It is fleeting and faceless. You feel art. Art could be enjoyed by only the artist and no one else. If people like it, it is entertainment. The artist and his fans are being entertained by his own creative process as well.

Entertainment is often, perhaps always, influenced by art. Watching a show, (comedy, Broadway, concerts, the circus) are all consuming art (being entertained). Watching good films or TV, listening to music on headphones, or playing story rich video games are forms of art that are entertainment. Maybe you’re driving a Ferrari down a wide open backroad, swinging a nice golf club, or using an expensive pen, you are being entertained by the craftsmanship and ingenuity. Tasting really good food is entertaining. You’re enjoying the heart and soul of another person through their favorite medium. That thing took days/weeks to create, and years to perfect

In this case, art and entertainment are essentially the same, or at least cyclical in that art is for entertainment, and that entertainment comes from art.

Intent is the biggest factor.

Art can be used to hurt people or exude dominance. The “Art of War” for example. It is an “artform” to play Risk with real life meat puppets. Or even torture… hear me out. I remembered an episode of the Walking Dead: After Negan takes over, Daryl gets kidnapped by him and made a slave. He is kept in a dark cell and is fed dogfood sandwiches. He is played a song very loudly (something about living on “Easy Street”) on a loop, endlessly, night and day. He can’t sleep. He’s driven nuts. That song was written by the artist with the intention of being entertainment. Many people for many years found it entertaining. Until Daryl heard it 1,000 times, it was entertaining. Therefore it is art intended to be the opposite of entertainment. You could also argue that the act of torturing someone is an art. Figuring out exactly how to hurt someone the most, without killing them, so they will give up information, I’m sure took some time, practice, and possible story boarding. Sick fucks probably find torture entertaining…

Also, entertainment can be abused to the point of no longer being entertainment. Yes, you can listen to a song too many times and get sick of it. Or you can get tired of a particular style or format. Usually that entertained feeling comes back for that piece at some point, even decades later. But entertainment can be made with the intent of reaching maximum viewership, getting the highest ratings, or selling the most tickets. It can be made very quickly, with a ridiculously high budget for advertising and not for creativity. Whatever is being rewarded with the most cash will do. Not art. There’s no feeling, no emotion, the executives are just pushing a product, with a formula, that is guaranteed X amount of dollars. With the right budgeting, a profit can be made. Some people are consuming it and enjoying it, to them maybe it’s “art”, but they are sheltered, uninformed, and probably overworked at their day job. Nuttin’s better than Nascar and Coors. Artists who try to make something that reflects their personality, and people who appreciate and sample many artforms, don’t agree. PS: Nascar from an engineering standpoint is pretty cool. But again, it’s making the art of doing one lap real fast, 500 times. Boring.


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