First off I agree ART (you can include pro athletes as well) does have its place. Now that said I think it is entirely overrated and gets very much
out of hand once someone becomes successful.
I see society stagnating as far as the advancement we could be accomplishing right now if priorities were different.
Before I get flamed by all the artists out there let us look at 2 situations.
First, the cave man who discovered fire (earliest engineer) and the cave painter (earliest painter): Which is most important to mankind? My argument
is that until the engineer moved us forward into the ‘fire age’ there just wasn’t much recreation time available to do things like the cave
painting/ dancing/ singing to begin with. If we compress all of the early developments of early man as Piers Anthony did in one of his novels, you can
see that the REAL tools pushing man forward were those developed by the engineer of the time which in turn gave man more time for other pursuits after
the issue of pure survival was handled. How long do you think that painter will survive to paint if the survival issue hand not been handled by the
What does the painter contribute to society as a whole? Recreation- yeah, I’ll give you that one. Passing on ideas? Sure- even maybe an early form
of written language? Sure. Important? Written language- you bet ya. As to the others debatable, could the engineer pass on the creation of fire by
demonstration? Sure could – many societies have a history past on by oral means until writing was developed.
What the engineers contribute? How about every necessary advancement to the next age of man. Stone, bronze, iron, space- I’d call that
Now, jump millenniums forward and let us compare the cast of FRIENDS, a 30 minute long weekly sitcom, to the engineers working for GM on a new diesel
engine getting 40+ mpg. Both collaborations.
What did each do for society? Friends= entertainment for 30 minutes something to talk about at the water cooler at work.
Engineer- something to move goods/people- power industry at reduced fuel cost lower environmental impact and give Friends time to pursue acting .
What kind of education did each suffer through? Both COULD be Masters degrees but engineer almost required whereas actor may have not even have
graduated high school. Even is masters degress were obtained by both the engineer had about zero time for a life for 7-8years in college and the
artist a 4-6 year party.
What does each make/earn in US dollars? Friends= $1 million per episode~ 1 week of work. Engineer about $125k per YEAR.
What kind of future prospects do each receive for that one “job”? Friends =royalties for life every time the episode is aired and every DVD of
the season is sold (to the lesser paid engineers). Engineer, nada, GM retains all profits from engine since engineer was employed by them.
Where has societies priorities fallen? I say to entertainment.
Why is it fine for an “artist” to continue receiving income for every time their “intellectual offspring” is sold but and engineer is not?
Why is the engineers “intellectual offspring” owned by his employer but and artist retains rights. I suggest artists be put on the same type of
compensation plan as that of an engineer. i.e. paid piecemeal or by the hour or on salary. Then the costs of music/tv/movies/etc comes down and focus
turns more to where it should be- moving forward instead of sitting on a couch, munching chips and sipping soda turning obese as a society.
Ok, just my rant on the subject. Yes, I am an mechanical engineer BY TRADE but also an artist by pastime. Why? Well, I enjoy both but I think
engineering is more important to moving forward as a society and I have much better things to do then watch sitcoms and yell moves to athletes on a