With that in mind, let’s talk about who suffers from quite a lot of art snobbery: TV shows and movies.
Film has been around since the early 20th century, but it’s been shaded for since forever. Just try telling people that you took an actual life lesson from watching “Dexter” and watch them slink away slowly (and not just because he’s a grade-A serial killer.) When it comes to movies or TV, it’s kind of like having a mistress: You’re supposed to enjoy and be entertained by her, but not actually fall for her or actually listen to anything she says.
My fellow booknerds even fall for this trap when they act like art that they see on TV is less consequential than art that they read in a book, leading to the ever popular cultural mantra of “the book was better.”
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but just because the word “novel” means new doesn’t mean novelists were the first people to think of new ideas, and screenplay writers weren’t the first people to adapt other people’s ideas, either.
How Snobbery Hurts Us
The effect of all this snobbery an obviously detrimental one: Lack of vision. If you’re busy not understanding that a group of people came together to craft a show like Breaking Bad, and spent immense amounts of effort and time making that art, then you’re probably busy not understanding your own craft either. When people say that TV and movies aren’t literature, or when they act like an illustrative point has less power because it came from Batman, they are engaging in the one thing that actually destroys art – limited thinking. Denigrating other art forms as less legitimate than yours will actually hamper your own art because art thrives on diversity, and the more you know about more, the better you will be.
But if you want to keep pretending and throwing shade on the art of TV and movies, then you are also free, and I believe at the very least obligated, to, as Elizabeth Gilbert so aptly put it, “go make your own fucking art.”
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