Tuesday, January 25, 2011

True Grit

Certainly, art helps to define us. It is a tool of communication, a medium of reflection, and a source of inspiration. Music, paintings, dance, photography, literature, food, theater... movies - all often thought of as an escape from reality, these are woven into our lives precisely because they are a reflection of our reality. President Kennedy was mindful of that, and was honored last week at the national monument bearing his name - The Kennedy Center - a permanent home to celebrate the performing arts. Our art not only defines us as artists, but indeed are a celebration of the spirit of a people. No, really!

I'm getting to the part where you should care.

In two weeks, we in the United States will celebrate one of our high holidays. Yes, Superbowl Sunday is the day we pay tribute to the art of football. Soon thereafter, we will celebrate film with the Academy Awards. This is American culture, ladies and gentlemen! Sure there is more to us than big sweaty brutes flexing might and self-obsessed facsades of perfection hiding flaws immeasurable... wait...

Alright, so maybe we are imperfect, flawed giants. Maybe we are in denial and selfish. But, so are so many other cultures in one way or another! Some people kill failed soccer players and maime and kill bulls for sport in other countries! I'll be the last one to wallow in our American peccadillos and failures. What has always defined us as Americans has been our responses to our predicaments. I look to art as inspiration. For some reason at this juncture, they decided remake the movie "True Grit". At first glance, it would seem an uncreative shoot-em-up western flick with little artistic value. However, the film revisits a forgotten American value - true grit. My dictionary, printed in 1961, defines grit as "firmness; unyielding courage; stamina." True grit is something that made our country great, and has been too long out of fashion for too many. I have a feeling, like in the movie, it will be was saves us. Check it out.

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