Whiplash. My boyfriend made me watch it. I didn’t even know what the effing movie was about. I almost missed it. The movie of the century and I almost missed it. (Slaps self in the forehead but not too hard). But Whiplash isn’t the movie of the century for conventional reasons of film analysis. It’s the movie of the century because in 2016 people just don’t give a f*ck about art.
In a time where anyone can get a record deal, anyone can produce their own songs and music videos, anyone can “play an instrument” on GarageBand, and every kid in America is receiving a blue ribbon for just showing up, we’re breeding a generation of non-artists. Don’t get me wrong, people still love music. People still want to be singers, instrumentalists, prima ballerinas, sculptors, etc. But no one wants to work for it. The work of it is the art. The respect for the work is the art. The sweat, blood, tears, and car accident fury to make it to a performance is the art.
Don’t get me wrong, Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) was bat shit crazy. He was hazing the hell out of those kids. His passion was definitely misdirected but his intentions were pure. His love of the art made him push and push and push almost to destruction. However, I think if you ask many geniuses of our history about destruction, they’d know it all too well.
I grew up under the tutelage of Fletchers. No, I wasn’t slapped in the face but I did get a few sets of keys thrown at my head. Lol. All in all, discipline was instilled in me. In 2016 we love to preach that art is for those with no cares, no worries, and no guidance. Art is exactly the opposite. It takes discipline, passion, and dedication to submit your life over to your soul. Art isn’t purely brainwork. It’s soul work. Sometimes you have to get sucker punched a few times to remain focused on your goal.
If you’re looking for a bit of artistic motivation, check out Whiplash. It’ll change your life and your soul.
Shannan E. Johnson, a writer who doesn't write.