The concept of confrontational art is made up entirely of gray areas
The central concept of confrontational art is the intention to force people to look at something they would rather not because it would infringe on the comfortable bubble they have built around themselves
Some artists have become accidental confrontational artists simply because what they had to say was so incredibly different from “normal” society
Normally, those thought could be written off as the reactions of an outsider or crazy person
It is only when those ideas are produced by someone who articulates things in an original and different way that they achieve lasting importance
Literature, science and philosophy were the offenders in the pre-modern world with peopleliterally getting killed for their ideas
It wasn’t until the 20th century that confrontational art expanded due to the ever growing technologies that would allow ANYONE to make an impact
Thanks to radio, television and inexpensive printing methods, the less articulate and less established artists of the world could not communicate their ideas
The more these methods of technology allowed people to express themselves, the less influence “the powers that be” had over the supression of those ideas
Of course, they could severely limit the exposure, but all it took was one incident for the confrontational artist to make a huge impact

Pretty soon, it became obvious that being confrontational was the only way to get anyone to pay attention to your ideas
This manifested itself in semi-un-intentional ways like early Rock n Roll but then became more obvious with groups like the Merry Pranksters ,the Warhol scene and The Mothers of Invention
You had an entire culture that was bored with the sanitized world of media that “the powers that be” had created for them so they started looking for ways to shock themselves and the world around them
The aforementioned groups were even blatantly calling their art confrontational
It was now acceptable to cross the line between performer and audience by literally screaming in their faces

Of course, when something works the first time ,it will be flogg3d like the proverbial dead horse until it loses all of the original spirit and becomes co-opted by the “powers that be” who were offended at first but now see dollar signs instead of seeing red
There will always be a line out the door of young artists willing to allow themselves to be part of this sanatization because it means a quick and easy ride to the forefront
What they fail to realize is that once their particular medium ceases to become shocking, they will become just another tax writeoff for the people who once championed them
Nowadays, all you have to do is look at ANY “rebellious” art form and you will see a million copycat artists with the same direction and yet copletely devoid of the original intent of the people who created it
Original rock n Roll, Punk, Heavy Metal, Rap and even Outlaw Country have been turned into a safe shell of their former selves
I can remember seeing the end of real rap when they introduced a “rappin’ Barbie Doll” with her own jam box that had pre-programmed beats

So, what is the by-product of all of this co-option at light speed?
In a day and age where most people have been de-sensitized by the proliferation of media into the very fabric of life, it has become more and more difficult to shock people
The more times you wave your dick in people’s faces, the more you rob your ideas of their validity until it becomes devoid of ideas and just becomes a bunch of boring ass dick waving

So, how do you push the envelope when that envelope has evolved into a giant manilla folder that can hold an entire book’s worth of flexible parameters?
Hell, even GWAR is not offensive anymore
It is the duty of the artist who choses to push the boundaries to do so in new and relevant ways
How many of you can watch an entire commercial break during your favotite TV show and be completely un-affected by them?
I and a lot of people I know are so barraged by things we consider offensive that we can literally detatch ourselves
Not only that, but the constant detatchment has given us a unique perspective
Just being offensive has become as thin and cliche’ as it always has
It is not the fact that Jon Stewart is literally telling Fox News to “go fuck yourselves”, it is that he does it whilst hitting you with un-deniable observations filtered through an intelligent mind that also has the ability to appeal to the average Joe who thinks most political satire is “egghead humor”

Will there always be people who take the short cut?
Of course there is
Not only that, but we need those people to signify that a movement or idea has run it’s course and needs to evolve
I learned from Laura that parrots have a survival instinct that forces them to hide any behavior that would signify to a predator anything but the most deadly of ailments or injuries
Thankfully, our culture does not

Rappin’ barbie, Avril Lavine the “Punk Princess”, Hot Topic “metal” bands and Emo are all festering sores on the skin of their perspective genres
It is evident in all sub genres, including the most abrasive ones like experimental music and noise

That idea hit home personally this past weekend and I learned a valuable lesson

No matter how extreme your behavior is, it is your ideas that really mean something
The rest is just faux-confrontationalism
Although the artist has succeeded in immediate reaction from the person consuming the idea, they will eventually be filed away in the back of that person’s mind in a folder that will never be opened again once the initial power of the offending idea has been replaced by the next faux-confrontational artist
They have wasted a perfect opportunity to insert an actual lasting idea into the audience member’s head and traded it for instant but hollow infamy

It wasn’t the actual 7 words that George Carlin said that made the bit last forever, it was the ideas behind the words that he inserted into the public’s mind
The initial shock of hearing those words caught the public off guard but it was the subtext of the reason why those words were so shocking that made the lasting impact
If there had been no subtext, the routine would have faded into obscurity as yet another foul mouthed comedian trying to shock people


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