Why are creative people so stupid?

Why are creative people so stupid? (And uncreative?)

Paradigms are funny things. It’s not like they’re completely useless, but they’re one of the reasons plenty of things stay the same, when they could be much better being different.

The official definition of ‘paradigm’ is something like “a set of concepts or thought patterns” and we all have them. At times, they can be useful because they’re how we know how to deal with this or that. We reach into the memory banks and find a paradigm that lets us know how things work and what to do about them. 

But sometimes, we’re so set in our ways, we don’t think to change things up and make them better. To ask if there may just be a better, faster, easier, more fun, or more effective way of doing things.

So imagine my surprise when I watched this year’s Golden Globe Awards and thought to myself, “Self, fuck creative people can be stupid sometimes”.

I haven’t researched the origins of awards shows. Perhaps it goes back to caveman days when they all sat around the campfire and gave someone a dinosaur leg* for best rock throw of the day or something. Who knows. But for as long as I can remember, awards shows have been basically the same.

The paradigm is this: Get a bunch of people together. Pat each other on the back for doing a good job. Possibly cry a bit. And see who can make the most boring speech of all time thanking people 99% of us have never heard of.

The only real changes I’ve seen in the last however many years is the technology has gotten better and awards shows are now broadcast to even more people who can be bored shitless by those stupid speeches. Why is it even like that? Because it’s always been like that, that’s why.

And it’s gob-smacking really, isn’t it? With the Golden Globes in particular, there’s some of the most creative film and tv people on the planet, creating some of the most dead boring tv ever broadcast. Incomprehensible. And boring as bat shit.

OK, it wasn’t all boring. The host Rick Gervais was awesome as usual. So that’s a total of about 15 or 20 minutes out of a few hours. And the people who said ‘fuck’ kind of made it interesting. And love her or hate her, Amy Schumer really spiced things up by going one further and dropping the c-bomb while she was presenting.

Personally, I think it’s time for ‘The Thankyou Booth’.

Awards shows were created before the internet, right? Everyone thought if they were going to say something, they had to do it right there and then. There’s people um-ing and ah-ing their way through things. There’s people sobbing with gratitude. There’s people reading impossibly long lists of names off the back of postage stamps. There’s people using the opportunity to thank god, their parents, indigenous people, their cat and whoever else they can think of. The list goes on. And on. And on.

And then there’s the excruciating wind-up music. Surely it’s not just me that gets embarrassed for everyone involved when that happens? Here’s someone who’s worked their entire life to do something that gets recognized creatively, they finally get up on stage to give their speech, and before they’ve gathered their composure some asshole producer with a deadline to keep fades up the background music while they’re still speaking letting them know it’s time to finish off already. Great job, well done, now fuck off. Excruciating.

So come on people, this is the 21st century. We have a thing called the internet now. Let’s rethink things. Let’s create a new paradigm. Which is where ‘The Thankyou Booth’ comes in.

I’m sure there are many solutions, but this is mine:

I think it’s terrific to be grateful and to thank everyone from your goldfish to the person who gave you your lip implants or last colonic. But do you have to do it on live tv when 99.9% of people watching have no idea who the fuck you’re talking about?

How about this: how about you use your 30 or so seconds to just say something interesting or entertaining or profound or useful. Something for the broader audience. You know, the ones who make up 99.9% of your audience. Say “Thanks everyone and…<insert pompous/witty/insightful statement here>” then bugger off back stage to The Thankyou Booth, possibly one of many, where you can stand there all night, with no background music interrupting you, and give the speech of your life.
Thank everyone. Take your time. Sing a song if you like. And the people who are interested can watch it online. It could be live streamed, technology means we can do that these days. Go figure. Or we can watch it on demand later. Easy. No time limits. No embarrassing musical wind ups. No forgetting anyone. Cry as much as you like. Swear as much you like. And the people who are interested will watch it. Simple, right?

Dare to disrupt.

The truth is, I don’t really care about the Golden Globes. I imagine they’ll go on for many years without my amazing suggestions. But I just wanted to touch on the fact that almost nothing is a given. We need air, water and food. There’s gravity. (For now.) And we die. (For now.) Almost everything else is variable. Often governed by our own beliefs, our own paradigms, about how things should be and what is and isn’t possible.

Just because something’s always been a certain way, doesn’t mean it always should be. Or will be. The world needs more people who can help change things. Who invent electric cars. Who find ways to clean the oceans. Stop deforestation. Protect animals. Cure diseases. Eradicate poverty. Or just be nice to people.

We need more change. Question everything. Does it really have to be this way? The answer is almost always ‘no’. What will you dare to disrupt?

Stay awesome.

Chief Swashbuckler




* Yes, I know cave men and dinosaurs were apparently not around at the same time. But come on, us creative people never let the truth get in the way of a good story. So shut. Up.