Is Art Ever Annoying?

I’ve had two songs stuck in my head for weeks now and it’s driving me crazy: “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” by Tina Turner and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”  Seriously, brain? Why that song? I don’t even like baseball.

When I was a teenager, I babysat for a lovely family who had a huge painting of a sad clown hanging on the wall in their TV room. Clowns have always wigged me out, so the only way I could watch TV in that room was to sit with my back to the painting.

Every time I think of the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service, which at first I was enjoying, I get annoyed all over again by the ridiculously misogynistic ending.

In the case of the songs, kudos to the songwriters who created tunes so catchy they stick in your head for days.

As for the painting, I suppose that’s a case of to each his own. Though I don’t like clowns, clearly that family loved the painting enough to hang it in a place they would see it often.

Regarding the movie, the justifiable outcry about the ending when that film came out proves that sometimes artists who should know better still miss the mark. And it’s okay to let them know.

When I was teaching and coaching new writers, I often encouraged them not to put down a book if they didn’t like it. I suggested they keep reading, working to figure out why they didn’t care for the book. Were the characters over- or underdeveloped? Was the plot implausible? Was the dialogue clunky or absurd? In figuring out what they didn’t like, they would step closer to creating and defining their own storytelling voice and style.

So even when art is annoying, it has a purpose. It can teach us something. It can fire us up or inspire us to do better. If nothing else, it can give us a laugh or a great story to tell. Just another way art saves us.

By Teresa R. Funke

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