By Isaac Butler
This is an addendum to 99's great post the other day about condescension amongst arts advocates. Let's look at that video again, for those of you who don't feel like clicking back and reading about it:
I think the problem with this video in general is that the patron is asking a bunch of questions and raising a lot of points that we haven't come up with good answers for. Once you strip away the derision at the heart of the script, what you're left with is the patron raising the following issues:
- I can get equal (or greater) entertainment value elsewhere for less money, why should I pay so much for your tickets?
- I can download this music for free, why should I buy a CD?
- Why should I prioritize donating to the arts over donating to needy people?
As a sector, we haven't answered these questions in a way that satisfies anyone other than ourselves. We're bad at answering these questions, so bad I'm routinely surprised at how many "natural allies" we miss out on. Ticket price again (sorry to beat a comatose horse) being a big one of them.
So yes, they're difficult questions. Not only because they're tough to answer but because empathizing with the unconvinced enough to come up with a convincing argument for them is hard.
But still, we ain't gonna convince anybody with condescension and lecturing.