I don't get as much fan mail as an actor or singer would, but when I get a letter 99% of the time it's pointing out something that really had an impact. Like after 'My Own Private Rodeo' all these people wrote to me and said Dale's dad inspired them to come out. And this was when it was still illegal to be gay in Texas and a few other states. Another one that really stuck with me was this girl who survived Columbine. See, "Wings of the Dope," the episode where Luanne's boyfriend comes back as an angel, aired two weeks after the shooting. About a month after that, I got a letter from a girl who was there and hid somewhere in the school when it was all going on. She said the first thing she was gonna do if she survived was tell a friend of hers she was in love with him. She never did. He ended up being one of the kids responsible for it. So you can imagine how - you know, to her, it felt wrong to grieve almost, and she bottled it up. But she saw that episode and Buckley walking away at the end and something just let her finally break down and greive and miss the guy. I remember she quoted Luanne - 'I wonder if he's guardianing some other girl,' or something along that line, because she never had the guts to tell the kid. That really gets to people at Comic Con.
Nothing in life was ever clearly drawn, obviously just, or totally emotionally satisfying, but the moment-to-moment stuff of reality featured infinitely more complication, sleaze, struggle, true beauty, unfairness, profundity, passion, and depth of consciousness than she, in her frantic struggle to be somebody other than her unspectacular self, had been previously aware of. page 302
It seems obvious, looking back, that the artists of Weimar Germany and Leninist Russia lived in a much more attenuated landscape of media than ours, and their reward was that they could still believe, in good faith and without bombast, that art could morally influence the world. Today, the idea has largely been dismissed, as it must in a mass media society where art's principal social role is to be investment capital, or, in the simplest way, bullion. We still have political art, but we have no effective political art. An artist must be famous to be heard, but as he acquires fame, so his work accumulates 'value' and becomes, ipso-facto, harmless. As far as today's politics is concerned, most art aspires to the condition of Muzak. It provides the background hum for power.