Re: The Politics of the Bootleg

From: Beverly O'Neill (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Jun 11 2008 - 12:14:16 PDT

Dear Thomas, One acknowledges the Lewis Hyde proposition about
artists generosity. The utopian impulses of most modern art
movements testifies to that proposition. You mention Homer, Tolstoy
and translations, even poor ones keeping their work alive; yes,
agreed. But Homer and Tolstoy didn't have lab bills. They didn't
fly 3000 miles for a 3 campus gig each of which pays $250.00 and were
offered a loft floor to sleep on during the spring of 2008. These
are but a few of the working conditions of very well known media
artists who have produced films for decades. What if Homer or
Tolstoy got an annual co-op rental check for $786.56. Would that
spark the desire to go on? We're talking about artists' generosity
that takes the soup from their skeletons, hourly, daily.
Amy Goodman asked Gore Vidal last week how he wanted his legacy to
viewed. He replied, "frankly, I don't give a god damn." I know
media artists who plan to put "do not resuscitate orders on their
work. I know some who want every scrap of film/tape thrown upon the
pyre when they go.
I don't write this to undermine your thoughtful comments. Please
know we don't really have an argument. It's just that the quotidian
reality of producing in this moment goes unnoticed.
Beverly O'Neill

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