We assume that only the best, most-deserving creators are the ones succeeding. 

“At any moment the reader is ready to turn into a writer,” wrote Walter Benjamin, pointing out nearly a century ago how this impacts both what we create and what we consume. This isn’t to blame the creator or the consumer. It’s systemic, influenced by data and habits alike. We hold attention spans longer than we’re given credit for, but artistic work that scratches that itch is considered risky and difficult to monetize. Stanley Kubrick directed 13 feature-length films, or about 27 hours of finished entertainment, and became a legend through his body of work. We’ve dissected his films for decades. There are feature-length movies about his work. And in the time it took you to read the last few sentences, hundreds of hours of video were uploaded to YouTube. Most will never be watched.

Adults act like children only for teenagers to watch it and turn them into micro-celebrities. For too many, charisma and a willingness to bend the lines of shame beats craft. “Will they parlay social-media fame into a run for Congress?” Leah Finnegan asks. “Will they live-tweet their death? Are they okay?” 

Pump up the volume, they’d answer.

Andy Newman