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The Benefits of Art and Music

Free Write: How The Arts Benefit Society

"The Artist at Work" by Harry Dinnerstein

It’s easy to look up facts about how students with good art and music programs in their schools do better on tests and in school, but it’s hard to quantify how the arts as a whole benefit our society. The temptation is to say that an understanding of the arts make us better people, but perhaps that is a bit too dramatic of a conclusion. If we understand the arts, though, we gain a sensitivity to other people’s creativity and, theoretically, a better chance of understanding that person as a whole.

I’m not saying every student should learn high-level art or music theory, but I do think even an exposure to studying the arts can open up a whole new way of thinking. Art and music are subjects unlike science and math and even unlike history and English, as there are not questions and answers, but rather compositions and creations. They benefit us on an intellectual level because it forces us to think in a way that we were not talk.

Also, it’s significant to consider the time we live in and the generation each of us are from. For me, I know that communicating with other people on a human level is getting more and more difficult. A lot of my friends are even afraid to make a phone call by themselves. By looking at art and music, we look at a human expression of a feeling. Sometimes it’s easier to connect to this feeling than it is to connect to another person explaining how they feel or what they’ve been through, and I think that in turn increases the human connection to one another.

Greg Sandow wrote an article about how the arts make us better people by increasing our capacity for empathy as well as expanding our cognitive growth. Read more about that here. It’s hard to find proof for these in journals or scientific studies, but it’s easy to see how the arts affect the people in the world around you.

I know not everyone will agree and not everyone will feel the same way about art and music, and that’s fine. However, I don’t think it’s fair to remove arts funding from schools because that would take away someone’s opportunity to feel intellectual growth outside a non-traditional academic setting.

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YouTube: Where Has It Taken Us?

YouTube – What economic, artistic, cultural impacts do you imagine YouTube could have on American society and why?

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YouTube affects American society the way most social media networks do, by exemplifying the extremes and furthering the human connection to technology and the Internet. By its very nature, the Internet is cold and inhumane, completely imagined two-dimensional pages that have no warmth. Even our Facebook and Twitter homepages have elements of a clinical and desensitized blue.

YouTube reimagines that. It allows people to easily record themselves and put a human face to the Internet, as well as to express all of their innermost thoughts. Whether they do this via video blogs or via funny or created videos, every post on YouTube says something about its user by showing what that user thinks is worthy of a video. In that way YouTube is more engaging than a lot of the more informational sites on the Internet. Thus, YouTube culturally affects American society by strengthening the deep bond that it has with technology and the age of information. On the flip side of that, though, YouTube also brings out the very worst in people, particularly when it comes to racism and racist comments. I do not fully understand why this is, but I think it may come from American society’s pressure to constantly be politically correct. When the masses are given a platform where they can say whatever they want with no one to hold them accountable, maybe they take it a little too far.

There is a documented “Youtube Effect” which shows how Youtube has made everyone a sort of “citizen journalist.” This is a proven way that Youtube connects people to what’s going on all around the world, and importantly engages the youngest generation to conflicts and issues that could be thousands of miles away.

Economically, YouTube’s effect depends on the market you are considering. It definitely expands a company’s options for marketing, and if the company is capable of low-cost creation of a video, they can then post that video for free. On that same note, though, anyone can post a review of any product, whether it’s just or not, on YouTube, for free. Recently, the appearance of YouTube ads has definitely detracted from the free market origins of YouTube. I remember the days when I was younger and there were no ads on YouTube videos, but when they started showing up, most people didn’t complain even as much as they do when Facebook changes its layout. It was an inevitable inconvenience, but I do wonder how much of my life I waste on those 30 second suckers.

Artistically, YouTube has had less of an impact in my life than it may have in society in general. I don’t really care to search through YouTube for works of cinematic genius; I just like the puppy videos. However, I do think there is some merit to the accessibility of this platform for displaying creativity. Youtube “stars” are born, and suddenly everyone gets to hear what they have to say, no matter what it is.

I honestly don’t think YouTube was as groundbreaking in its effect on society as other social media sites, but it clearly had some significance. Perhaps it is just a cog in the larger scheme of the Internet’s revolution.