A Riot at the Ballet

Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk.
That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway supposedly said “write while you are drinking, edit while you are sober”. Odds are that he never said that line, but it makes for great copy. The bastard was a legend. Odds are just as high that you may not be able to list three of his books.

In his time, he was a rock star. In fact, being a rock star to describe status feels out-dated right now; doesn’t it? I miss when we revered writers. Truman Capote was on all the talk shows, at the parties at Studio 54; as a writer of great books, he got the big time treatment … and he loved it.

Andy Warhol, along with Mr. Capote were the last of the artist celebrities. Why? The answer is that television came along in 1958ish into every house in America and no one went to see a show anymore. It killed ballet, theater, art, music, poetry; anything live that thrived for a thousand years in every little city in the world. Killed it dead.

Ol’ Ernest Hemingway would have sat in front of the television and drank and drank and drank. He’d never get around to writing For Whom The Bell Tolls or The Old Man and the Sea. He’d be watching Queen for a Day and The Days of our Lives.

I have two points to make here; really I do. It’s kind of buried in between the lines but I’ll try to make it more clear.

First of all; if you are going to play the game, you have to know the name.

This means that if you love movies, you have to know the difference between Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts. Sure, they look a little bit the same but they are different actors. People enjoyed playing a game called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon — in which, you’d name a movie and within six steps you could name the connection (by way of actors) to that movie. But, did you know that is based on a play? Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare is the play based on a mathemeticians idea from 1927.

To my shame, I am confounded by the World of Warcraft. I can not play the Name Game, I can’t connnect from one guy to another. Uther taught Arthas who became the Lich King which led to Bolvar and on and on. Jaina had a Dad but as a kid loved Arthas, then she became friends with Thrall (the enemy) and then fell in love (maybe?) with a dragon aspect.

I can’t do the strings like I can in books, music and movies. The World of Warcraft story confounds me in ways that I other genres do not. Frustrating on one level, to be sure.

My second point (would I lie?) is that we are on the ground floor of returning to live events. If we but recognize it, I think we can see a new level of performance; public performace even in a MMO setting. There have been “events” in the World of Warcraft like Proudmore’s Gay Pride marches to Booty Bay, recorded for Youtube and a cool level of participation. I wish I could remember the players name who was a popular person on Twitch. He invited players to his server to participate in some event … and it overwhelmed the servers! It reminds me of The Rite of Spring in 1913, which so outraged the audience that they rioted.

Riots at a ballet. I dream of that. The interface of WoW does not allow for the typical art-forms like singing, opera, choreography. But, the tools are there for many other things if we could just lift our eyes from the game and realize that we can make something bigger.


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