An Open Letter To People Who Look Down On The Fine Arts

An Open Letter To People Who Look Down On The Fine Arts

The Arts Are Not Useless
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Imagine this: you go to work, as usual, watching everyone dressed in leaves on a grassy plain. Afterward, you entertain yourself by throwing a ball around. You miss dancing. You have nothing to dance to. Music doesn’t exist. You return home to a box that you found the other day. Houses collapsed long ago with business buildings when architects stopped. You fall asleep thinking about that old movie poster that you threw out and you wonder if your children have ever heard of movies or plays. You realize that they will lead lackluster childhoods–after all, roleplaying, singing, and watching movies are all now impossible. You’ll have to memorize what they look like. The world officially deemed photography to be “art” and threw it out. How will your kids survive the winter? With fashion designers gone, who’s left to create clothing?

That’s the world without art.

The arts create humanity every day. They shape us, whether we’re art majors, STEM majors, custodians, therapists, cashiers, or CEOs. They permeate everything that we think, say, and do. They're part of our cultures, our passions, and our lives. So why do people call it “unnecessary?” The jokes always come up in daily life, sometimes thoughtless (“You value your hobbies more than making a living.”) and sometimes intentionally harmful (“You’ll never get anywhere in life. Your degree is useless and so are you.”). Three types of people scoff at art: those who fear, those who ignore, and those who worry.

If the arts are really so insignificant, then why are they always the first to encounter censorship? I believe that people know the importance of music, of paintings, and of “Internet memes,” even on an unconscious level. They know how easy it is for a powerful song to make someone feel surges of emotions (like how Adele's songs seem to make people cry over partners that they never had). They know that what starts as a simple melody can become rallying cries of protestors (see also: the national anthem in the French Revolution). They’re not laughing at art because they think that it’s nothing, they’re laughing because they’re scared.

Others ignore the arts. Some people refuse to be in touch with their emotions. They believe that living life with practicality will make them successful. It will. They’ll survive and earn a living, maybe build a family off of their income and be in love with their careers, but completely rejecting the therapeutic effects of the arts hurts them. They want funding for arts education to be cut, but they also want their movies, their shows, and their advertisements. They want to wear professional clothing to work every day, but they don’t want to support the people who design it. It’s possible to live with the acceptance of both STEM majors and art majors. Even doctors find the time to form orchestras.

Angry critics will always argue that the arts are almost entirely emotion-driven. I agree. Isn’t that what makes art so powerful? Emotions form identity and if the arts can’t exist without identity, then every form of art is who we are. Art is being. Whether we are the bright-eyed innocents of small statures and great imaginations or the wise-eyed veterans of the world, we cannot be without it or it without us.

Don’t worry on the behalf of fine arts majors and artists. We’re aware of the hardships in this field. We hear it every day and we choose it anyway. Besides, the “starving artists” stereotype often comes from people who aren’t sure what to do with their talents. Times are changing. Art entrepreneurship has now become widespread as more courses and programs delve into the subject. We’re taking care of ourselves. We worry too, but we’ll be okay.

Everything plays a part in the structure of this world, but the arts are there to connect them. When humans die away, when the last wars have been fought and the rains fall without us, every form of art that outlives us will be the true captured essence of who we are now. Dear critics, I’m asking you to let go of your fear that we’re throwing away our lives for nothing. Let it go and let us make art. Let music therapists, designers, producers, singers, performers, and painters continue to serve you and we’ll let art continue to tell your story and ours.

Cover Image Credit: Caroline Jok

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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That One Time I May Have Shot An Ex-Police Officer

Yeah, you heard me.

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In England, we don't really have guns, maybe hunting guns but I think it's pretty rare. Anyway, point is, barely any guns. I have never seen a gun, shot a gun, I don't even know anybody that owns a gun so as an exchange student in Oklahoma it's a novelty to visit a gun range.

I was pretty nervous about shooting but the instructor was super nice and told us how to hold the gun and load it before we went into the range. He also let us ask any questions we had about guns and explained the process of getting a gun in Oklahoma and he said he had visited Europe and was talking about England, and how he used to be a cop and opened his own gun shop. Basically a really really nice guy, which honestly makes harming him ten times worse.

We went into the range and we were shooting a 22 caliber and another guy at the range, I'm assuming a regular, asked if we wanted to fire his revolver so of course, we said yes.

This gun was definitely heavier and the trigger was super hard to pull but he kept his hand on the gun whilst I struggled with the trigger and then I fired it.

I heard a bang and I heard a yell.

I turned around and he was holding his thumb and there was blood dripping onto the floor. At this point, I thought I had shot him, so you can imagine the sheer level of panic that I was feeling.

The color drained from my face and I was frozen solid and all I could say was, "are you okay?" which was answered with a "Ma'am, put the gun down."

Basically, I'm freaking out and I look over at the lads for some form of reassurance, which was met with them looking equally as freaked out as me. So I asked,

"Do we need to call someone?"

"Yep. We are definitely gonna have to call someone"

So at this point, my nerves were shattered and I had no idea what was going on or what the procedure is for this sort of thing. I mean, the guy also took it like a champ and barely even winced and kept repeating "little lady, you're fine" – safe to say I did not feel fine nor did the situation, in my eyes, look at all fine.

Luckily the regulars knew what to do and took him to the ER so we were left in the store with another regular shooter.

Everyone else went back out to shoot but I didn't feel like assaulting/ shooting/ potentially murdering anyone else so I decided to sit this round out and talk to the woman that stayed with us and he called and said it wasn't me, something came off the bullet or gun and went into his hand- so no I didn't actually shoot him and he was going to be okay.

The point of this now very funny story is that whilst guns are cool they're also pretty dangerous.

I have no idea how someone can participate in these mass shootings because I didn't even shoot someone, only thought I did, and it was probably the most terrifying moment of my life.

So, if you are around guns, have fun, be safe and try not to send your instructor to the ER.

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