Ds Scholarship

Students need to respect older art

There should be more motivation among students to explore classical art because it can really talk to people.

Fitzgerald’s summer

Vinyl records are a classic art form that has faded away due to the digital age.

College students are very strange. We come to school to open our minds and embrace knowledge (with the occasional party thrown) but every generation has a similar attitude toward art that predates its birth: “If it didn’t happen in my life, it wouldn’t be a topic.” Reading The Great Gatsby, listening to George Gershwin’s music, or watching a black and white movie is like the kiss of death for some. But there should be more motivation among students to explore classical art because it can really talk to people.

The biggest problem with exploring the classics is that there are so few places to do it. Libraries are widely available to pursue literature of all kinds, but streaming services are more interested in modern work. When you go to the classics section of Netflix or Hulu, movies from the 70s and 80s are considered classics.

As much as I love movies like “Taxi Driver,” “Sixteen Candles” and shows like “The X-Files,” they have to be much older to be considered a classic. At least that’s what the old man trapped inside my 21-year-old body thought.

When I think of the classics, I think of the work of Mark Twain, Alfred Hitchcock, Sylvia Plath, and Duke Ellington. Finding them takes a bit more effort but is well worth it, and some places take note. HBOMax has a variety of classics and masterpieces under its Turner Classic Movies Center including “Casablanca” and “Citizen Kane” while music streaming sites have stations dedicated to vintage, classical and turn-of-the-century jazz.

To be sure, much of the ancient artwork did not age well with practices such as the blackface, the subjugation of women and the lack of diversity found in many earlier works. But there are still gorgeous pieces that shouldn’t be overlooked.

There is a great deal of amazing art from the present, but how can we enjoy the present without knowing the past?

By exploring ancient works, we can see the connections from the past to the present. Popular comedies such as “Superbad” and “Booksmart” have their roots in the 1990s such as “Clerks” and “Dazed and Confused” which in turn have roots in films such as “American Graffiti”.

The “Harry Potter” books have roots in many classic fantasy novels including the works of Tolkien and CS Lewis, as well as earlier myths including the Epic of Beowulf.

One of the biggest myths about old work is that it’s boring. Shakespeare’s work contains an incredible amount of toilet humor and dirty jokes, “All In The Family” remains one of the most timely shows ever, and Charlie Chaplin’s films are major lessons in physical comedy.

By paying attention to looking at anything from decades or even centuries past, we can subject ourselves to enlightening and entertaining experiences.

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