Being "Random" Doesn't Mean You're Creative

Artists, and other creative types, sometimes use randomness to supplement their art. This can be seen in improvisational comedy, splatter-painting, impromptu writing, and countless other ways. Sometimes artists have no other choice but to let a random event happen so that they can produce art. The point is that these artists use randomness to enhance their art, rather than make their whole goal "being random".

On the other hand, we have many instances, mostly coming from the internet, where randomness is the only reason for something being created. I first realized this was a trend in the days of e'Baums World: a website featuring random flash videos such as "The Llama Song" and "Peanut Butter Jelly Time". These videos were fun to me, as a child, but I also understood how stupid and simple the content was. Now, as an adult, I can really grasp that it wasn't just stupid and simple, but those kinds of videos have no creativity involved in them whatsoever.

The rise of the modern internet has only aided in producing this kind of content. Think of how many Vine videos there are of people just yelling obscene things, or making random "humorous" noises. Think of YouTube videos like "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared" or "Charlie the Unicorn". There are a multitude of videos and pictures out there that just throw random noises or images at you, with no context, and expect you to think it's creative.

I'm not trying to bash these kinds of things either. Like I said, those stupid videos were my first exposure to the internet, and I look back on them with a fondness. What I can't stand is the way that this has seeped into popular culture, and the way people now think there is a deeper meaning to pointless things.

Let's take, for example, the music video for "Supplies" by Justin Timberlake. The video starts with Justin Timberlake in a room that is empty, all except for about 20 stacked televisions that are either fuzzy, or showing flashes of war scenes. The video then transitions to a scene where white painted alligators are walking down a white street, with white people, painted even whiter. Some of these white painted people are wearing white Victorian-era clothing, and one of them is wearing a neck-harness that has pistols. Also, flying above the street are floating white umbrellas. This is within the first 30 seconds of the music video, none of this is referenced again, and serves no greater purpose to this pointless music video, so I'll stop describing it now.

Did you catch anything profound from my description of that music video? Did it seem creative? Of course not. It isn't creative, because displaying random aesthetically pleasing and uniform things isn't creative, it's just nonsense.

This issue has been up for debate for a long time. The most clever way I have ever seen this sort of subject tackled is on the show "South Park", in the episode "The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs," where a character writes a nonsensical book and becomes famous off of it because adults think it's profound. That show addressed the fact that just because you call yourself an author, and write 600 pages of awful yet descriptive things, doesn't mean you are being creative or have anything more profound to say.

Again, I don't fault people for making aesthetically pleasing things.

The music video by Justin Timberlake has a very engrossing look to it, but it doesn't translate to anything, even though people want to find a deeper meaning in it. We need to be able to differentiate when there is clever subliminal messaging being sent to us, and when there is objective nothingness being crapped into our eyes and ears.

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