I worked on some hyperbolic crochet all weekend. Takes ages to make one piece, especially since I am not the zippy experienced granny crochet expert! And, as I was enjoying the process of working my fingers sore and watching a marathon of youtube Brit telly, the following thoughts came to mind.
An age ago, while I was studying for my undergraduate degree, a history major annoyed me greatly by sneering that music majors were rich kids with nothing to do but have fun – “just listen to music and play your instrument all day” – while getting a degree, and in the meantime, the poor students whose parents had no money for a music education had to slog it out swotting away during exams! The amount of bitterness and anger in his comment left a lasting impression in my mind. What makes people think and say this kind of thing?
Many years later, I went back to school to do my M.Phil degree, and a communications major made a similar remark. He saw me listening to music at the computer, came over to me and tapped my shoulder, asking me what I was doing. I replied that I was working, and he snorted, “You’re not working, you just listening to music!”
Here’s another one. This time, an established ARTIST. Yes, you read that right. And, sadly, she was someone I greatly respected and I still think she has talent and does good work, but we fell out over this incident. How petty of me, but I just couldn’t pretend to continue the lovey-dovey BGF thing after what she said. My disappointment was just to palpable to hide. Well, I invited her to a percussion concert, and during dinner afterwards, she began to criticise the percussionist and musicians in general. She was most disdainful of the time and energy that musicians spend on perfecting their musical skills – she called it “mindless, uncreative, repetition” – and she said artists are so much more creative because they were “free” of these chains of “mindlessness!” Now, I am very tolerant of my friends, but I cannot tolerate this kind of pompous stupidity in anyone. The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was when she compared herself with John Cage!!!!!!!! OK, that was the point of no return for me. I heard the irritating voice of Sarah Brightman singing, “Con te partiro” (Time to Say Goodbye) very screechingly loud in my head! Later on, she turned up for my solo show, and later remarked, in a sweet, saccharine tone that my work was “too busy”, had “no central focus,” and the video screen was crooked. Well, apart from the nice accident with the video screen, which I thought later quite fitted with the general theme anyway, this was a backhanded compliment, one that she obviously didn’t mean (as a compliment, that is). The theme of my work was the sensory chaotic world of hypersensitivity and the intense detail focus cognition of autism – I had very explicitly explained this in the Introduction, which everyone else understood – Duh? Anyhow, it was ironically a compliment in the end, wasn’t it?
What makes people utter such ridiculous crap? These are not ‘un-educated’ people, nor are they the stereotypical office suited finance types which people expect not to appreciate the arts. These three are/were all students in the field of the arts and humanities. I wonder. Is it jealousy? Or a sorry lack of knowledge in fields outside their own specialty? Or both combined?
We all work hard. I am working extremely hard. And I am poorer than all of them. But I love working hard at the things I love. Have they lost their love for their work? Or did they never fall in love with their work? I have great fun working. Perhaps this is their primal envy. That I am having a wonderful time.
Who knows the mind and heart of man?
Give me Lucy anytime. She never makes snide remarks when mum spends all weekend playing with yarn and making hyperbolic crochet!