(digitally) …by The Line Media! And I heard, incidentally, that the essay on Minnesota Playlist has been viewed over 1000 times, with an average page visit of 7 minutes – which is a lot of time for anyone to spend in one place on the internet.
Some people have been very positive about the piece, some people have made comments along the lines of “why should we all have to make movies about ice fishing?”
I hope, personally, that most readers’ takeaway is not that I want everyone to make movies in the same style, that I’m proposing rigid conformity among all of the cultural products of the North.
However, I do think that it’s too easy to advocate for individual artistic vision and/or diversity, to default to the idea that everyone is different and special and that we are miraculously free of the influences of mass media consumption, for example. The Mythology of the Individual is deeply ingrained in American culture, especially in the arts, but I think we are all under the influence of received cultural transmissions far more than we would like to believe.
Given that we’re all influenced, I’m advocating for local and regional influence over mainstream media influence, is how I might have said it, were I to restate my case. Some people don’t want to contemplate the degree to which they are influenced – they would rather believe that they are an absolutely free and unique creative individual. Meanwhile, others are more willing to see the threads linking them to the history of cinema and the history of their culture, the Hinterland soil out of which their narratives have grown.
I tried my best, with the essay, to present a fully formed, thorough and well-reasoned train of thought, at the very least. Not necessarily The Way, but at least A Way. I find it’s more useful to propose Something Specific than to propose Anything and Everything.
If people want to argue about it, that ultimately seems like a good thing – I’m absolutely willing to provoke, to engage. But I’m still fairly new to the idea of letting it stand on its own – people will ultimately hear what they want to hear, take what they will from the piece, whether or not it’s actually what I said. I’ve done what I can and it’s out there in the world, which is kind of exhilarating and scary at the same time. I guess that’s what it feels like to be “published,” or “distributed” for that matter.