Crabs in the Bucket
Crabs in the Bucket …and the Ones Who Crawl Out
An editorial by Vladimir Kulishevskiy
There is no doubt that Jacksonville is on the up-and-up in the realms of culture, art, music, and community. We are witnessing an overwhelming amount of artistic contribution, constant increases in music and art venues, festivals, and a concerted effort towards mutual support and crowd-flow in the city. If Jacksonville stays on this trend, artists will soon be able to support themselves through their crafts.
However, the path from startup to sustainable success is a long climb, out of a deep bucket. Currently, there are two obstacles that tend to pull those contributors back down again.
The first is the local apathy that creeps in, whenever a successful artist is about to take the next step into national exposure or the public eye. It seems as though many say to themselves “They made it. They no longer need my support. Besides, what about me?!”
But the apathy is nothing compared to the jeering reflex many automatically exhibit. These crabs deliberately try to suppress Duval’s movers-and-shakers by grasping at the heels of those who would try to uplift the reputation of our community, through their own ascension.
The second set of barriers are the forces outside of our metaphorical bucket. Jacksonville’s old and religious communities seems to have no utility for the entertainment value of our city. In their eyes, nightlife is seen as a detriment to the quality of our town. The potential benefit of tourism is not even taken into consideration. And speaking broadly, it doesn’t seem as though these nightlife jobs and niches are seen as ‘legitimate work’ by many of the city’s authoritarian class.
I say we need less scripture in the city council, and more consideration to the people who simply want to enjoy their lives. Enough trimming the loose ends off of the American Dream. We need self-supporting systems here in town, to stop other cities from stealing our culture and framing it as their own. I challenge everyone to support each other; or at the very least, don’t stand in the way.
A Little Advice to Musicians and Artists
In many situations, people become disheartened from lack of success or neglect of promoters not willing to give them a chance. As a professional promoter, my honest opinion is that you need to relentlessly climb until you get those gigs. Promoters are stubborn and occupied individuals, it takes a bit of bothering to achieve those positions amongst the heap of bodies. But as long as you are able to keep climbing, without kicking too many folks on the way up, those showcase opportunities will find you. This parallels the efforts of any entrepreneur, who may be trying to get paid off of their own grind.
In addition, much success has to do with the framing of the artist. Yes, we all want to think that artistic excellence, or virtuous nuances dictate the value of the artist; and in many cases they do. But, lots of success can be derived from proper marketing and a strong support team, based on reciprocal respect.
We all have a bit of jealousy in us. I have been guilty of these actions myself, numerous times. But to avoid being just another “crab in the bucket”, we have to become more mindful of what we say, and what we actually want for ourselves and our community. If we wish to receive support for our endeavors, we should expect to show support ourselves. I don’t expect much assistance from the older generations, and really, that’s fine. Everyone has a right to live their version of the ‘perfect life’. They should, however, expect resistance in any avenue where they plan on flexing their dominance over the cultural expression of others.
About the Author
Vladimir Yakovlevich Kulishevskiy is a naturalized American citizen, originally from Ukraine. He is a local benefactor of the arts, promoter, musician and a Political Science graduate from the University of North Florida.
The opinions of the author do not necessarily reflect those of The Elbow and its sponsors… but they probably do.