Futurama, Content Machine and Survival Art

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This story is a hoax: Around the turn of the 20th century, a woman approached Pablo Picasso in a restaurant and asked him to sketch something. The artist complied, and then demanded a hefty sum of money for the work. His patron protested, claiming that it only took him a few seconds to draw. “No,” Picasso is said to have replied, “it took me 40 years to do it.” The sources for this story are at best unstable. It appearunoriginal, in Mark H. McCormack’s What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School; some say it may have been adapted from a similar anecdote about the painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Regardless of its authenticity, the bottom line of the story remains: Talent and skill count.

Theoretically, this is obvious. However, people act like it’s not. Over the years, in many ways large and small, many people have come to expect a great deal of art, much of which we now call “content,” to be free, or at least extreme. budget-friendly: music, performance, internet jokes, writing. In many ways, this is understandable. For years, the mega-companies that controlled so much of these pieces pushed their prices up, burning through the fans who made them so valuable in the first place. Meanwhile, many creators are not adequately compensated. If Joe Rogan-Neil Young-Spotify compilation there’s any ripple effect beyond the obvious, that’s it to make clear how little music streaming services pay working musicians. These are broad strokes, but the image is clear. Not everyone gets what they deserve for the entertainment you enjoy.

All of this resurfaced recently with #BenderGate. For those who haven’t watched, Hulu announced last week that it’s bringing back the hit animated series exhibition about the future with 20 new episodes due in 2023. There’s just one problem: John DiMaggio, who voices Bender, hasn’t been announced as part of the returning cast. It is reported that negotiations for his return have been reached.”deadlock. This week, DiMaggio took to Twitter to clarify. “I don’t think I alone deserve to be paid more,” I wrote. “I think the entire cast is like that. Negotiation is a natural part of program business. Everyone has a different strategy and different boundaries. ‘Their prices.’ … Bender is a part of my soul and nothing about this is disrespectful to the fans or to me exhibition about the future family. It’s about self-esteem. And honestly, getting tired of an industry becoming too corporate and taking advantage of the artist’s time and talent. “

While every part of DiMaggio’s statement is authentic and true, it was the writing about the fans that moved me. Most fans on Twitter are in favor of the voice actor keeping the reboot intact, but that statement alludes to at least some who are probably bugging DiMaggio to be part of the show again. their beloved show. While talking about fan rights would require a completely different essay, there’s something else just below that: fan devaluation. In general, fandoms appreciate work being put into things they love — they do, obviously — but there can be a feeling, especially with major TV series and movies, that everyone is welcome. adequately compensated, if not overcompensated. That the actors (or the director or whatever) are being small to ask for more money. They are equated with the rich studios that hire them. That is a false equivalence. Their work brings joy to millions and makes big money for those studios; they will be fairly paid for that.

This is one of the few cases where, oddly, pleasure can be part of the problem. Art is supposed to be fun, one of those gigs – to paraphrase a motivational poster – if you love it, you’ll never work a day in your life. The idea is that the rewards should come with the meaning people find in their work. OK for sure. But they also have bills. Just because someone likes what they do doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be compensated for it. I love writing about pop culture, but that’s also my job. It took me about two hours to write this, but decades of research and reporting have informed it.

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