Penny Arcade asks, “What is art?”

And notes that:

I don’t think I’ve ever read a definition for art that wasn’t stupid.  Generally speaking, when a person constructs a thought-machine of this kind, what they’re actually trying to do is determine what isn’t art.  I have always been white trash, and will never cease to be so; what that means is that I was raised with an inherent distrust in the Hoity and a base and brutal urge to dismantle the Toity.  This is sometimes termed anti-intellectualism, usually by intellectuals, when what it is in truth is an opposition to intellect for intellect’s sake.

I remember that when I was younger, I called myself an intellectual – until one of my friends gently told me that no, I was not.  At the time, I was offended; I stopped being so years ago.  Frankly, it’s much more interesting to be a nerd.


  • Rob Crawford says:

    Intellectuals appear to believe that thought is reality, and vice versa. That by willing it, they make it so, no other effort required.
    They are inordinately concerned with letting people know they have the Correct Thoughts, rather than in actually having their facts straight.
    And, invariably, they will confuse “anti-intellectual” with being against education, skill, and knowledge.

  • Aruges says:

    If you have to ask, “Is it art?” then it isn’t.

  • Brian Swisher says:

    In her biography of William the Silent, C. V. Wedgwood described William as being intelligent without being intellectual, and his great enemy Philip II of Spain as being intellectual without being intelligent.

    You, sir, are firmly in the William camp…

  • qsclues says:

    The two best quotes on art that I’ve heard:

    “If I can do it, it’s not art.” — Red Green

    “Art is bad if it reminds you to paint your garage.” — Dennis Miller

  • PubliusNV says:

    Apologies for twisting this to one of my pet peeves, but it’s not just “What is Art?” but also “What is Science?” At my graduation in 1974, Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman, in his commencement address, explained the difference between science and what he termed “Cargo Cult Science”. If you’re interested in what is and is not science, and what “scientific integrity” means, the full speech (although rather long) is worth the read.

  • BigGator5 says:

    “[A]n opposition to intellect for intellect’s sake.”
    YES!! Someone has finally nailed it!
    @Aruges: I ask the question, will it blend? If the answer is yes, then it is not art.

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