Over Thanksgiving I saw the movie version of Rent. I havent seen the play so this was my first exposure to the story.
During the singing of the song La Vie Boheme I found myself stirring in my seat a little bit. Some thoughts developed after the movie finished and have been circling in my head off and on for days now. So I figured I would share them with you.
The Bohemian lifestyle was portrayed in the movie and heralded through song as something to aspire towards. It seems on a larger overview of the movie that despite living penniless and sickly in the lowest dregs of NYC, love, freedom and integrity can exist. Not only that, but there is glamorous and humerous rebellion against society.
The issue I have with this is that the Bohemian lifestyle may merit moments of glamorous and humerous rebellion, but who are they rebelling against? Society that is overwhelmingly populated by people that work to survive?
Working people want the bohemian lifestyle too. They work night and day to get perhaps 2 days a week of the bohemian life. Others on the poorer scale, work to earn a week or two of, as bohemian as they can afford, vacation.
And then of course there is the issue that the bohemian life is the source of their pain. f*cking whomever of whatever sex they want, whenever they want earned them AIDS. Not heeding warnings of the pitfalls of drug use caused them to get... AIDS. Partying is also very constructive as well as quitting a job that supposedly sucks out your creative soul.
Bohemians' reckless abandon is only making the people slaving and struggling for a few scraps of the good life harder. Who do they think pays for their AZT? Who do they turn to when they get something more serious than the flu? Who pays for and buries them when they succomb to the sickness? When they dont pay their rent, they may be sticking it to a supposed slum lord, but they are contributing to the decline of their environment and hurting all the working people that the slum lord employs.
I am a struggling artist myself. I dont find my creativity evaporating by holding a job. To put it in this light, perhaps all the time they spend screwing, drinking and shooting up, is the same time I spend working. Which conversly means that the leftover time they spend searching for their one song, film, or philosophy, is the same time I spend working towards my artistic visions rather than waiting for them to come to me.