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“Explain to me in simple terms …”

by Greg Krehbiel on 2 November 2010

Pentamom forwarded me a funny link about some artsy guy trying to explain to his father how his home brewing is “art.” It’s an article with a rather long video attached. See Can Christians Get the Visual Arts Out of the Toilet?

Before I say anything else let me admit that I am a total Philistine when it comes to art. I’ve never studied art. I’m sure I have very pedestrian tastes.

I used to work for a company where the owner would spend decent sums of money on some pretty odd stuff — like a white canvas with a big orange triangle on it — and I have a strong bias against what people usually call “modern” art. That seems to be the term for “something stupid that you call art.”

The kid in this video is trying to justify his “art” in weird terms, and the dad says “explain to me in simple terms how this beer is art.”

I am totally with C.S. Lewis on the importance of explaining things in simple terms. Somewhere Lewis said that if you can’t explain something in simple terms, you don’t really understand it. It’s all too easy to load up your brain with jargon and the language of the educated elite — and talk total nonsense.

Having said that, the kid actually does a half decent job of explaining himself, if you read between the lines a bit. He’s got the typical young / educated / naive / liberal bias against corporations. He says he despises Heinecken, and presumably anything that is successfully mass marketed. (I can’t see what type of shoes he’s wearing.)

So his beer is a rejection of that. It’s bottled and advertised like a mass-market beer, but it’s not a mass-market beer. It’s hand-crafted, and therefore, he seems to think, more “beautiful” in some way. And all this make-it-at-home / despise the successful people because “I’m authentic” schtick gives him “insights on society.”

Okay. I get all that. I understand the back to nature stuff. I remember the 70s. And I know people today who want to risk death drinking unpasteurized milk.

There is a very common thread that runs through the brain of modern man. It’s a suspicion we’re going to have to pay the piper for all the ways we cheat nature. Sometimes it comes out as a rejection of industry, so anything processed or manufactured or whatever has to have something wrong with it.

Of course raw milk is better for you, they think. It hasn’t been contaminated by the evil hands of industry and process. And of course Heineken is bad beer because it’s been mass produced to appeal to billions of people.

I get the point. I understand the angst. I know the attitude.

I still don’t think it makes a bottle of beer “art”?

-- 2010-11-02  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 2

  1. pentamom pentamom
    2 November 2010 @ 9:28 am

    There is so much that can be said about that video and its conception of “art.” What resonated most with me is that this guy, who appears to be at least 30, is whining like a spoiled child because his parents didn’t come to see his “art show” (apparently his beer bottle in a museum) even though they usually do go to most of them, and that his father has the effrontery to try to understand his art by asking the wrong questions about it.

    And yet apparently, this overgrown 15 year old has something to tell us about authenticity that we all need to hear. Gag.

  2. pentamom pentamom
    2 November 2010 @ 9:46 am

    Oh, except that, he apparently doesn’t actually want us to get it, and that’s part of the joke — because you don’t know that the beer isn’t anything like the way it’s presented until you taste it, but I don’t think most museum-goers get to experience that.