Re: hobbies

From: Anna Biller (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Mar 12 2006 - 09:24:16 PST

I think the word hobby is being used as a derogatory word here. At
least, it was in one post where somehow asked the question, if being a
filmmaker could really be considered a hobby just like fishing. So that
question had a sense of of putting down fishing as being lower than
filmmaking, as if filmmaking were for elites and not for the common
rabble who must take up mundane things for their pleasure. I was
offended by that question too. I think whether something is a hobby or
not has to do with the inner structure of the person doing it and how
much time and commitment they put into it. Hardly anyone I went to film
school with still makes films. They may dabble in it, but generally
what they put their main energy into is their job that they get paid
for. They may do a little film here and there once every few years, but
usually they don't really do it, they talk and plan doing it but they
never get around to it. Then there are others who put all of their mind
and energy into making films, and their paid job is just a way to
survive while doing so. I know a lot of people who allow themselves to
feel superior to others because at one time or in a half-assed fashion
they dabble in film on some level. And I say, that's when it's a hobby.
Not everyone who's ever picked up a camera is a filmmaker. Then again,
hobby shouldn't have a negative meaning either.

Here's an interesting anecdote: I was reading a short bio of Cole
Porter, and it said that in the 1920's he was not considered a serious
composer, but more of a Playboy-socialite who wrote an occasional witty
song. The reality is, he had written hundreds of songs. Some had become
official songs of his alma mater Yale. Some had become hits in England.
He had written scores for several big musical revues and a ballet, and
recordings had been made that became popular in America as well as
England. And he was of course paid for his work. But like Noel Coward,
he was a gentleman and didn't do it for the money. So even with his
prolific body of work and its professional context, he was still
considered somewhat of a hobbyist until he went to Broadway. (!)

On Mar 12, 2006, at 2:44 AM, Marilyn Brakhage wrote:

> On Saturday, March 11, 2006, at 10:44 PM, David Tetzlaff wrote:
>> For most people, hobbies are more than a diversion, they're a form of
>> deeply elaborated cultural practice,
> Well sure -- LIFE is a form of deeply elaborated cultural practice.
> But surely some distinctions can be made between different orders of
> activity.
>> It's clear to me that for a lot of the people I've met with serious
>> hobbies - record collecting, for examples - is a kind of artform
> Words can become meaningless. All is art/nothing is.
>> And, and I mistaken or aren't we arguing over semantics,
>> and everyone here thinks filmamking is a worthwile activity whether
>> one gets paid for it or
>> not - given that we can control our art, but not control the market
>> for it
>> (and yes, in strict eonomic terms, there is no income without a
>> market).
>> Ctreative work does 'profit' us in non-economic ways, no?
> Semantics, of course, can be very revealing, just as there are
> subtextual meanings suggested by the words, "everyone here thinks
> filmmaking is a worthwhile activity . . . " Again, the artists I
> know don't make films "because they think it's a worthwhile activity."
> That doesn't sound like the motivation of an artist. I mean, I help
> my kids with their homework because I think it's a worthwhile
> activity. I read because I think it's a worthwhile activity. Or
> whatever. But there is a kind of artist -- filmmaker or otherwise --
> that is not an artist by choice, but of necessity. (Some would argue
> for that as necessary to the definition of "artist," in fact.) And I
> think that the original point of this discussion was that a lot of
> people benefit financially from organizations and activities that
> depend upon art works, without there being any compensation to the
> artists -- and whether or not that is ethically supportable.
> Presumably, teaching people profits one in non-economic ways too. Or
> performing life-saving surgeries. Or building good houses for people
> to live in. Or any number of other worthwhile and rewarding
> occupations. But if the work of an artist is wanted, why should it
> not be paid for by those who want it? After all, that artist also has
> to live and eat -- just like the teacher, and the surgeon, and the
> house builder. When you are ready to do all your teaching for free,
> then you might be in a position to suggest that artists should do the
> same. . . . Of course, whether they get paid or not, artists WILL go
> on being artists. That is their fate. But the question is whether or
> not other people taking financial advantage of that is acceptable. .
> . . If your university stopped paying you, would you go on teaching
> there? Probably not, unless you are totally obsessed with teaching
> and couldn't live without it. But if that were so, would I then call
> your teaching an "artwork"? No. It may be a deeply elaborated
> cultural practice. It could even be an obsession. Or perhaps if you
> were financially independent and could afford to do so, you might even
> do it as a "hobby." And it might be extremely worthwhile. But it
> still wouldn't be an "artwork." -- And that need not be interpreted
> as a value judgment. It is simply a distinction -- which I believe is
> one of the inherent purposes of words. . . . I mean, one could talk
> about the art of teaching, the art of fishing, the art of
> record-collecting, the art of cooking, the art of war, or what have
> you. But surely, then, there is also that something that artists
> make.
> For some people on this list filmmaking may be a hobby. For some it
> is not. (Professional craftspeople aside), there are Sunday
> afternoon painters, and then there are artists. Surely we know the
> difference.
> MB
>> __________________________________________________________________
>> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.