Bargain Basement Sellout

Posted: September 6, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Entertainment, Life, Me & Mine
Tags: , , , , ,
Successful creative people have fans. By “successful” I mean that they are earning some sort of living via their creativity…they sell books, art, people pay to go to their films or brave the two drink minimums and hecklers to hear them point out the obvious to us in a way that makes us laugh. I am creative, but not successful, at least not successful in the financial sense. I have managed to make some fans though…the very best kind of fans, I have made fans who are also my friends and who are supportive and generous with their kind commentary and laughter. I have written things that others have read and felt “I want to get to know this curmudgeon.”  The best part is after meeting and getting to know me they still tolerate my company. So I got that going for me, which is nice… if I may quote Carl Spakler.
I was in a local video store today selling old video tapes.  I am grateful that there is still a local video store nearby and that they will buy my formerly extensive video collection (at exactly 10 cents per video…which is about the best proof thus far I have of my investing prowess)   I took the paltry sum and put it toward store credit. The old fellow behind the counter actually ended up giving me substantially more than 10 cents per video as I had an outstanding balance of $8 and wanted to rent 3 dvds for the weekend.  He thought for a moment, sighed and said “Just give me $2”  That was nice of him.  I think he had a moment of generosity and guilt looking at the pile of 50 videos I had dumped on his counter and didn’t have the heart to stick it to me. Hey, I brought him Citizen Kane AND Weekend At Bernie’s dammit
While browsing in the video store I happened upon a film by a contemporary movie star who is generically good looking and stars in many safe rom-coms and tweener comedies.  I can’t really say if he is talented or not, because he has yet to do a film that displayed any serious acting talent.  All of his work has been in relatively safe and soft Hollywood regurgitations. I’m not hating or jealous though.  For all I know he may be a great actor who is just choosing to work with regularity and capitalize on his youth and good looks.  I suppose I can’t blame someone for making hay while the sun shines.  For all I know he might have a huge level of artistic integrity and invests in all kinds of projects he is passionate about.

Ever notice you never see Keith Richards and Muammar Gaddafi in the same place? Kind of like Ann Coulter and Tom Petty...Makes you thnk.


It makes me wonder if someone has to have a certain marketability or success to have artistic integrity? I know it’s not an issue for me at the moment (either success or artistic integrity…I don’t really have or need one or the other at this stage.)  But, if faced with that choice of those options, would I have either, neither or both?  It would be nice to think I have artistic integrity, but if I am going to be really honest with my 3 or 4 fans and readers, I’d have to say that I would in all likelihood take a whopping 3 seconds in heartily agreeing to write something for Sarah Palin, Paris Hilton or Muammar Ghaddafi if they expressed an interest in paying me to bang something out for them after reading my 50th witty gem on Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the freak show that is my daily subway commute, or my ever-so-witty observations poor cell phone etiquette.  “Two hundred and fifty dollars Ms Hilton?The Kardasian roast?…. and you need it tomorrow,?  I’ll get right on that…”

This dog is actually a published author, which keeps a wonderful sense of perspective in my life.


Hey, before you judge me…the fridge is kind of empty at the moment (4 beers, condiments and a potato that is trying to grow sprouts, push the fridge door open and make a break for it).  It has been said that the best things are written on an empty stomach, but I’m not really interested in putting that theory to the test.
Seems to me that artistic integrity is one of life’s many gray areas.  Let’s say for the sake of argument that I sell out big time to a buyer I have no respect for and through this action I become successful to a certain degree.  I make contacts and connections and things start to snowball for me and then I start to involve myself and use my new found clout in artistic and creative endeavors that I actually feel strongly about.  My punk rock sensibilities make me very suspicious of sell outs, and yet some creative people I admire a great deal have done plenty of things to pay the bills and live well.  Do I respect them any less for being in Alvin and the Chipmunks? Maybe a little. But I’d probably go streaking in my compression stockings and a jock strap with glee if I got a call to help punch up the script for them.  Would I really turn down an offer to play “Country Club Busboy” in Final Destination 8…Hey I might even get to say a line. 
This dog is also a published author....sigh

This dog is also a published author....sigh

So what does that make me?  Last time I checked,  it makes me a 41 year old blogger with a handful of fans waiting for Snooki or Paris Hilton’s people to recognize my brilliant and highly affordable creative genius.

  1. Tallkronan says:

    I think it comes with age. You realize you’d rather have money to pay for rent than be too good for everything.


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