On ‘ownership’

In the course of a long post about Twin Peaks (of which I know nothing and cannot comment), Sheila O’Malley says this:

In today’s day and age, where every fan feels a sense of “ownership” over the thing they love – to an annoying degree – something like Twin Peaks was refreshing. Lynch/Frost knew the fan base was still there. That ground was set. But after THAT, they owed us nothing.

This is the proper attitude of artists. I realize that’s not a popular sentiment. But I am suspicious of popular sentiments, in general. More so now than ever.

I tend to agree with this. The most an artist owes is gratitude for good will offered their way, but that’s about it. This sense of ownership can become deeply obnoxious when fans start to turn on their particular artist because they haven’t been getting what they feel they are “owed”. Of course, this goes the other way, too: the fans owe an artist not a hell of a lot beyond an honest attempt to approach and engage with their work.

I think that art is best when there is less feeling of being “owed” on both sides.

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