Monday, March 05, 2007

Are you now, or have you ever been, a flake?

Interesting op-ed piece in this morning's St. Paul Pioneer Press. In it, Dr. Norbert Hirschhorn, a retired physician and poet, writes:
In our time the disciplines of neuroscience, genetics, psychology and art history have joined to develop a theory about creativity, especially in the arts. Creativity, it is proposed, is somehow linked genetically to the disorders of brain chemistry that give us manic-depression, also known as bipolar illness. As a poet myself and with some inclination to be gloomy, I was curious to explore the matter further...
This, as you might guess, is something I've long wondered about. I've certainly known many writers who were wildly unstable, and plenty of musicians and visual media artists who were a bag of fries short of a Happy Meal. [Especially the multimedia folks. "How do you like my latest work?" "It's a bunch of empty beer cans tied to a stick with some old yarn." "You stupid philistine! It's a satirical commentary on our disposable consumer culture using found objects to juxtapose natural elements with post-industrial detritus!" "Au contraire, my friend, it's a bunch of beer cans, and they're tied to a stick."]

So here's the question I've never been able to answer, because I'm much too close to the problem: are creative types creative because they're flakes, or are they flakes because, as creative types, they're indulged and allowed to get away with this kind of behavior?

Your thoughts, s'il vous plait?