First, a quote from Eva Zeisel:
To be different is a negative motive, and no creative thought or created thing grows out of a negative impulse. A negative impulse is always frustrating. And to be different means ‘not like this’ and ‘not like that.’ And the ‘not like’—that’s why postmodernism, with the prefix of ‘post,’ couldn’t work. No negative impulse can work, can produce any happy creation. Only a positive one.
And now, one from Michael Azerrad, in the February 2010 issue of Paste Magazine:
In eras past, mainstream culture was blandly, blindly complacent, so underground music was angry and dissatisfied. But now, mainstream culture isn’t complacent, it’s stupid and angry; underground culture reacts by becoming smarter, more serene. That’s not wimpy—it’s powerful and productive.
Who knew intelligence could be an underground movement? Who knew that it needed to be? For once, do we have an underground culture that isn’t anti, but is rather a reaction that seeks to embrace something positive? Is it a positive movement, choosing a way of thinking or a way of approaching problems for its own merit, rather than the fact that it is not something else? Are we finally post-anti and pro-something?
I’m getting tired of the “Everythingisbroken-Everythingsucksism.” Reading it over and over is harrowing. Listening to bickering doesn’t do anything. Finding scapegoats to blame doesn’t create progress. When we gawk at the illusion of stability dissolving, it’s a reaction to the wrong half of the equation. If things need to change, it means that what we do becomes incredibly more important. Do. Action suddenly becomes more valuable. It means that there is opportunity, if one can perceive everyone else’s blind spot and find some white space for themselves. If everyone is getting together and complaining, it means that there’s a lot of unoccupied space somewhere.
Basically, it means that your contribution matters. And if you can muster up the strength to push against your fear, you might be able to do something that changes the game, just like Eva did. It isn’t about being Anti. It’s about being pro-something-good and making and acting and moving towards Pre-something-significant.