So, the makers of Silicon Valley (an HBO TV show) had a little Q&A at South by Southwest (fittingly).
And I think the questions that ended up being asked… and the answers… really highlight something people may not have thought of.
I firmly believe TV shows are art.
Other people firmly believe in the stereotype that art is merely the blood sweat and tears of impressionist painters and everything else is just the trash of humanity.
But here, I have an opportunity to show you something.
“Yeah, the tech world kept getting crazier and crazier during the time the show came out,” Judge agreed. “TJ Miller [who plays Pied Piper co-owner Erlich] had some line about someone owning 10 percent of Grindr, and then we realized if we had a character who owned even a little of that, he’d be insanely rich.”
“I like how old money used to be Rockefellers,” said Middleditch. “In 100 years, there will be some Little Lord Fauntleroy who’s like, ‘Yeah, my money is from Grindr. We had to toil and sweat to find out who was DTF in a 100-mile radius! You kids have it so easy!'”
We have a TV comedy commenting on society. We have a TV show illustrating to us the silliness of the world, of what it could be, of all the possibilities around us… Silicon Valley was kind enough to show us. It is fulfilling one of those beliefs concerning art that some people hold… that art must perform a societal function. That either through illustration or commentary, art is meant to be a social endeavor. Well, here you go.
But the goodies don’t stop there…
There’s an issue lurking behind the show’s success—and it’s the same one that faces the real Silicon Valley. The show is overwhelmingly white and male, especially in the first season, where the only “diversity” comes from one South Asian programmer and a female VC.
Berg said they’re not shying away from the issue at all. They’re just reflecting the valley as they see it.
When an audience member asked about the diversity of the show’s writing room, Berg took a different tack.
“I think we’ve done a mildly decent job of hiring female writers, and writers of color,” he said. “Fifty percent of the outside writers we hire are women. We’re not there yet, but I swear, we are trying.”
Excerpts from ArsTechnica (an article worth reading)
Diversity in Silicon Valley… both in the real world and on the show.
That should really emphasize not only the power of art but the diversity of what qualifies as art to begin with.
My point is this, art is all around us. It is not merely paintings. It is in almost everything we humans do and even the most simple of things can take on a million and one meanings to a million and one people.
Here we have a comedy, a silly TV show, that people enjoy. They sit down and they spend their time watching this bit of art. They find value in it. And as I told you above, Silicon Valley illustrates some of the realities of the real life silicon Valley inside the show.
It is fulfilling one of the purposes of art and doing it in such a way that people want to engage further with it, it is not a chore, it is not annoying.
That should illustrate the value of art to some people out there… you can address social issues in a manner that engages with instead of dismissing people. You can tickle their mind with humor and illustrate the absurdities of certain behaviors. You can show them the world as it is and as it could be.
Anyways, I will step off my little soap box.
I hope you all try watching an episode of Silicon Valley if you haven’t already!