-A guy on YouTube who at first sounds like he’s going to worship the free market zags and says, yeah, the market’s gonna do what it’s gonna do, and your stuff is gonna suck if you try to anticipate what the market wants and design your sh*t to pander to it, so you’ve gotta make art for no other reason than to satisfy your own creation impulse. Speaks of art as a fundamentally selfish endeavor – nothing more than the urge to trumpet your own lived experience. Feels mostly right – in fact you desperately WANT it to be right – but he doesn’t so much as acknowledge an artist’s inevitable social impact or the responsibility that might be said to result from it.

-A Facebook friend posts an essay by a popular cartoonist that speaks of art as inextricable from political statement-making. It says silence itself is a statement, everyone’s picking up on what you think whether you’re being explicit about it or not, and declining to actively use one’s art as a tool for change is abdication of a moral imperative.

-An indie artist you follow, who once grazed the big time but never burst into it, seems to be endlessly wrestling with ambivalence: knowing art should be made with an indifference to external validation, and mostly managing to do that, but at the same time, having those days where she REALLY EFFING WANTS EXTERNAL VALIDATION. She copes by bringing herself ’round to pretty much the same conclusion as the gentleman in Bullet Point #1. It hasn’t been long since you watched Bullet Point #1 guy when you read her musings on all this, and stumbling on them so soon afterwards seems serendipitous.

-An artist you dig who was underground for a long time and did make it big, has lost a lot of the fans who enjoyed her prior alcoholic, erratic-in-public, hiding-behind-her-hair gritty minimalism. She’s practicing moderation these days, and she seems happy, but she’s viewed as a polished fake. Meanwhile, those who like the more professional image rip her old self for coming across as a grungy dude. You realize no one can win, definitely not chick singer-songwriters.

-You read a comment on a favorite content-creator’s thread, praising the vulnerability and openness with which she discloses her own learning process. You wish more people would say things like this to each other. You mentally double-down on trying to lead with this same philosophy at work – in fact, you’ve already become pretty decent at it – but you are all too aware that this vulnerability, in both you and the content creator, is the first thing that bad actors will seize upon and exploit.

-It’s almost 2 a.m. on a work night, and you’re sucking down whiskey and instant ramen. Suddenly you find yourself defying inertia and moving your body parts in an unlikely sequence that, if seen through, will end in your shooting an encouraging message at a random stranger’s Bandcamp. But after you jump through hoops to prove you’re not a bot, the screen stops responding and you think your message wasn’t sent. Then four days later, turns out it was, and the stranger is excited, and he says you made his gahdamn little day.

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