Posted on September 4, 2018
In current society, where one’s value is determined by wealth and social status, it is common to look down upon artists. I’ve been quite familiar with this concept for a long time. Since dancing was my hobby, I knew many people involved in several fields of the arts who hoped to make it their career, not just a hobby. Friends taking a year off college to audition in hopes of booking a show and getting their big break were talked down to by parents. Parents claimed they didn’t want to see them become just another striving dancer/artist/musician. In “Artists in Times of War”, Howard Zinn discusses how society groups people by their profession. A person’s job is often seen as their major defining quality, and the characteristic to judge. People then feel confined to those positions, they feel they are “just an artist” or “just a nurse”, therefore they shouldn’t be participating in disciplines outside their own. Zinn uses the example of Peter Ustinov, a british actor, who voiced his opinion about the Vietnam War, being criticized for doing so because “He’s an actor. He’s not an expert” (Zinn 10). This reminded me of the popular response to Cynthia Nixon running for governor of New York. Critics emphasized that she is not what a governor needs to be, she is just an actress and will continue to be known as Miranda from the popular movie “Sex and the City. Why is it that we are so confined by our profession? Why can’t it be possible for someone to be knowledgable and active in more than one field?