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This Too Shall Post

March 3, 2010

I consider it a wonderful monument to capitalism and the “culture” that it can pay for that some engineer somewhere probably got paid to calculate and direct the assembly of OK Go’s latest mega-hit viral video “This Too Shall Pass.”

That brilliantly Dionysian display is easily the most artistically beautiful use of Rube Goldberg machines I’ve ever seen, but Salon has generously compiled 9 other excellent examples of Newton’s Third Law to compare it to if you’d like to judge for yourself.

Though the profit motive may be one sufficient factor to induce creation–by throwing enough money at creative expression that something is bound to result–the money is often unnecessary and an overdeveloped approach can easily become a mockery of itself, judging by Conan’s latest tweet.  Of course, with a skilled amanuensis such as Conan, self-mockery is itself high art.

But if you think that profit is a necessary motive for good creative expression, just look at the profusion of YouTube videos, tweets, blogs, email chains, and other “amateur” creations, and you can tell that creativity does not need profit; it is the ownership and distribution apparatuses that had surrounded certain forms of creativity that require a profit motive.  Luckily, celebrities and Hollywood aren’t about to stop being good at marketing (even if their prices are too steep to compete with freelancers/amateurs), so there will be some money in overproduced spectacles somewhere, just not in diverting the tide of human creativity from flowing directly from the source to the consumer.

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