The purpose of art is to instill a sensory response that provokes intelligent thought.
Pieces like Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” can be stared at and deciphered for hours by the most brilliant minds on the planet. Every crevasse of space, every splash of color can be interpreted a million ways. Even simple minds can appreciate fine art.
And yet, both brilliant and simple-minded people can still gain something from lackluster art. While it may not have any vivacious beauty or metaphorical resonance, even the worst art still challenges our brain and stimulates our senses.
I’m using the term ‘art’ very liberally here. There’s Monet’s water lilies, and then there’s doodles on loose leaf paper by a bored seventh grader during algebra class. The degree of art could not be more disparate, but they’re still works of craftsmanship that demand a cognitive response.
… and then there is a screenshot of a text message.
In my opinion, there is nothing more unsatisfying then when your eyesight stumbles across a screenshot of a text message conversation. It’s not really something you think about when you’re reading your own texts, because the application is serving a practical purpose — relaying messages from one person to the other.
Whenever I see other people’s text conversations, my mind just simply rejects its existence. You know how cats get really mad when they see other cats? They stiffen, bare their teeth and start to hiss at them. That’s how my body reacts when I see a screenshot of text messages.
You may be wondering what context one may come across such a thing. There’s really only a couple of circumstances — when somebody sends it to you for your viewing pleasure, or when it’s posted on social media, like Instagram and Facebook.
Instagram has already ruined art. So that people have begun using it as a platform in which to post screenshots of text messages is only further depreciating our culture’s ability to recognize true art.
For some reason, people think that the regular exchanges they have with their own friends are downright hilarious. That the inside jokes they share are so overcome with hilarity that they need to share it with the rest of the world. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Private conversations are meant to be kept private. And inside jokes are barely even funny to the people who are in on them. To the outsider, it might as well be another language for all the sense it makes.
But that’s not even the issue here. When I get sent a photo message, or when I’m on a photo sharing application, I don’t want to look at words. Not a text message conversation screenshot. Not a quote from Beyonce written in fancy, curly letters.
A text screenshot makes selfies look like the Mona Lisa.
Text photos are the most surefire way to make me completely lose my interest.
That, and gay porn.