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Art vs. Entertainment…Again and Still

Adding to the recent (and forever-recurring) debate of Art vs. Entertainment, SF author Chris Roberson weighs in:

I don’t spend too much time worrying about this, myself. I came to the realization early this year that what I’m writing isn’t Art, but Entertainment. There’s meaning and substance lurking beneath the surface of everything I write, though how successfully encoded or thought out is up to readers to decide, but my principle goal is to craft smart entertainment. To my way of thinking, though, a successful work can’t have one without the other.

Entertainment without substance is nothing more than empty calories: it tastes good, but doesn’t do you any good. Substance without entertainment is bitter medicine: it’s good for you, but it’s too often hard to swallow. A successful work– one that provides both entertainment and substance — is good and good for you: delicious and nutritious.

Meanwhile, The Movie Blog’s John Campea opines (yes, I said “opines”) The Lack of Art in Entertainment.

To me, “ART” is what happens what an artist uses their gifts to EXPRESS something through their particular medium. ART is when an artist has something to say, a thought to express or a feeling to emote through their talent. ART then elicits a response from us, a reaction to the message, thought or feeling it conveys. Maybe joy or anger or fear… perhaps we approve or disapprove… but either way it is what art does.

Entertainment needs no message or feeling to accomplish it’s goals. A guy prancing like he’s on a horse with another guy running behind him slapping coconut shells together to sound like galloping hoofs isn’t art… but it is entertaining (depending on who you ask). Entertainment without art has value in and of itself.

It has a movie focus and an “audiences should demand more” bent, but it’s a good read with some correspondingly good comments.

UPDATE: Charles Stross says Let’s put the future behind us.

About John DeNardo (13014 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.
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