Will new media breed new artists?
And a lot of the Web content that's proving popular, Morgenstern complains, is about titillation: what better way to capture a viewer's attention than to present an attractive actress in a bikini?
I'd point out that a lot of the movies that made movies popular in the first place featured foxy ladies doing things you didn't ordinarily see ladies do in the 1890s. Like Annabelle and her serpentine dance:
Morgenstern also writes, "No one has any illusions that the new media, in their current configurations, will create new Coppolas, Altmans or Renoirs."
I took issue with that, and sent Morgenstern the e-mail below. (He covers his behind a little bit with the phrase "in their current configurations.")
But there is a solid observation later in the article. Morgenstern writes:
How do multitasking, multicurious, multiprivileged, multidistracted and multiscattered kids process information? With all those windows open on their digital world, how will they follow complex narratives? What will sing to them, stir their souls, seize their imaginations? There isn't a soul in the entertainment business who claims to have an answer, and who isn't worried about not having one.
My e-mail is below... I'll update you if I get a response.
I was bothered by your blanket dismissal of the possibility that new technologies like the iPod and cell phone might eventually give us a new kind of artist. ("No one has any illusions that the new media, in their current configurations, will create new Coppolas, Altmans or Renoirs.")
I think that if one were a theater critic in the 1890s, one would've had to say the same thing about film. The first movies shown in the first Kinetoscope Parlor (it opened in 1894 on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan) were amateurish compared to the sophisticated theatrical offerings of the day. Among them were "Roosters," "Barber Shop," and "Wrestling" -- pretty much pointless (except for showing off Edison's new technology), and certainly plotless. They were silent, short, and in black-and-white, while theater offered speech, color, and music stretching over the course of an entire evening.
It would have been difficult to imagine at that moment the contributions that D.W. Griffith, Howard Hawks, Capra, Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Cassavetes, and the Farrelly Brothers would eventually make.
I submit that we're at a similar moment with visual storytelling on cell phones, iPods, and the Web.
Maybe these technologies won't breed new "film" artists -- but they will breed some kind of new artists...