A Word on Behalf of Artists | Letters | Chicago Reader

A Word on Behalf of Artists 

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Since the precipitous drop in the quality of your once-esteemed paper roughly a year and a half ago, I tend to skim through it in about the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee (that's what they used to call latte with no milk in it). So I was shocked to find a very well written article about Patsy Desmond's life to date ["Whatever Happened to Patsy Desmond?" January 28]. Then a week later [February 11] I read E. Myers's letter, which said (paraphrasing here): waa waa, I know people in bands, I'm popular, I drink, why doesn't anybody write a story about me? Etc.

This letter, coupled with having been tortured by the IQ-extraction process known as Antisocial, makes me feel like I have to say just a few words on behalf of the actual artists out there, because they do exist. You just sometimes have to push aside some pretentious asswipe handing out business cards with "Xavon: Artist" written on them in order to see them. That's why people like Mr. Myers and Ms. Armstrong can't get it. Not because it's over their heads (although it probably is), but because it's not obvious.

I thought Tori Marlan did a very thorough job of showing the battle going on inside Patsy that led to her suicide attempt. I believe that all great artists have had similar (by varying degree) problems. Madness follows artists like stoners follow Phish. Wesley Willis was nearly crippled by his psychiatric problems, but he continuously sketched and wrote songs. He's not Mozart, but the ingredients are there.

Am I saying that all artists are insane? Well, yeah, the real ones are. You don't get art that matters out of thin air. It's like a fire, and the friction that causes it is suffering. There is no greater form of suffering than looking in the mirror and thinking, "Look at that lunatic. He's trying to kill me."

So Mr. Myers, you don't get a story because your mom lied--you're not special, and you should be thanking your lucky stars.

Dave DuVall

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