When I was young, I loved Where the Wild Things Are, but probably only as much as you did too. Several generations of children, bound together by cat pyjamas and a cardboard crown liked every Facebook status with the most heartwarming quotes about monsters & homes and felt a weird sort of silence as just for a minute they realized yes, childhood is ending.
"Why are all of the good celebrities dying?" laughed E as Call Me Maybe blared in the background.
I used to chalk most of my friends' & I's nineties kids nostalgia up as pretention, the past being the most exclusive hipster gold of all because no one could visit it. But lately I can't help but feel like maybe things just were better back in the day. This is not to say that people were more talented, and not am I ignorant of the fact that only the best surfaces many years later, but there was once a time where expression was valued at a professional level, and I can't help but feel as though we are running away from that.
When I was young, my favourite picture book was Madeline. My fourth favourite book was Where the Wild Things Are. Maybe fifth. It was good, it was fine; I’m not going to pretend it was my most favouritest ever, but Maurice Sendak’s passing has certainly affected me more deeply than I thought it could.
In a day and age that rewards those who are constantly creating content, why is creativity less valued then every before? Every mainstream newspaper takes its chance to swipe at idiot students who dare to pursue studies in irrelevant things like arts, history, and writing. From the intolerable Margaret Wente’s “baristas of the future” comment to family gatherings across the country, the current attitude seems to be that the books of the future will be put together by third world, just like our cars and trinkets.
It’s easy to feel like talent is finite when it is not celebrated. Deficit after deficit has convinced Canadians that what is wasteful is this elite art, this education for education’s sake... Never mind that we are a country so much defined by Green Gables and Jacob Two Twos. Never mind our nation's wealth. Art is risky! Art is expression.
The occasional superstar author comes along, but I haven’t seen a new Maurice or Mordechai in a very long time. Creating quality is becoming the ultimate rebellion in an era where everything has messaging but so little has meaning. When I mourn Sendak’s passing, I mourn the spirit behind the people who contributed to his success. I hope unknown authors and artists stay strong as people find it prudent, not acceptable, to blare that their decadence will never contribute what a plumber does to this country. We have not toppled the elite; we are merely punishing intellectuals.