There are so many ways in which John Barnes is god. But I just had to share the following passage from Merchants of Souls where Giraut is trying to explain why it is good that Art is disturbing. We start with Rebop who has listened to Giraut's best selling piece of music:
"If you're asking about the purpose of the argument", Rebop said, swirling her drink in her hand, "we've said many times that we aren't tied into those archaic notions about what an argument is 'for'. I don't know why people go around looking to be annoyed and disturbed in the outer cultures, but here, no one does. Here, argument and conversation are a sport and an art form.
But getting back to your music: I was getting teary in some places, and laughing, and feeling warm and happy. I didn't appreciate being bullied and dragged all over my emotional landscape like that. I will have the feelings I want to have when I want to have them, and the thoughts too, thank you. And when I had to listen to it twice more to regain control of my feelings … well, you see? I know there are people who want art to do that, but I can't imagine why."
•Should I try to explain?• I thought to Raimbaut.
•No. It's hard enough to argue. Maybe you should just confront them.•
I shrugged. "Disturbance is art. All else is opium. Too many people—maybe most of the people on Earth—would like nothing that ever made them think an extra instant, or feel anything they were not accustomed to feeling. And the thing to do with such people is drag them out of bed, bash them across the face 'til they lie still, and piss on them 'til they drink it."
Both women stared at me.
"Metaphorically", I added. "Hurt them out of their comfort and thereby force them to take in something they didn't know they liked."
That didn't seem to change their expressions.
The rest of the passage goes into areas that require even more context to understand than what I've quoted so far.
I really like this concept. If it doesn't move me, it isn't art. () It's similar to the quote from Alfred Harmsworth, "News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress. All the rest is advertising."
Unfortunately, it's likely that I'm preaching to the choir here. It's unlikely that people that want pablum will read this. Oh well. I don't really write for an audience but for an auxiliary memory. Still, I have to admit that audiences are nice. :)