Language – the pulse of any culture. What better way to check the vital signs of ours.
When our language (and music) turns ugly we know there’s going to be trouble ahead. Fall of the Roman Empire style. The bad news is that filmmakers and photographers seem to be on the way out, to be replaced by something altogether more homogenous – the “content creator” or simply “creator”. Why specialise when you can just “create”?
A creator is neither a filmmaker or photographer – maybe they’ve merged into a hybrid? A creator is not the same thing as a writer, for a writer writes whereas a creator dabbles in content. They’re not quite a blogger, as having an TikTok account doesn’t count, and they’re not a filmmaker because that would be an embarrassing false equivalence with the likes of Kubrick.
So what is a creator exactly?
A creator is everyone, even my dogs. My dogs create when they do a poo in the woods. They create a shit.
But to call them “shitters” would be unfair and fail to give proper due recognition to all the other things they do.
When mugshots of their hungry snouts are posted online they create some Likes. When their muddy paws roam around the kitchen they create a Mess. When they bark they create some Noise. They are content creators and the content provides for a niche of dog lovers. Keerching!
Human expression can also be brought to this low bar of general output. Why bother employing a team of journalists, writers, photographers and camera operators when you can have one person do it all themselves?
In being a creator you can own all the space and occupy all the areas as demanded by the nice corporations. It is therefore very commercially disadvantageous to specialise in anything. What if when Panasonic and Sony come calling, they want a “creator” but you are just a “writer”? What do you do? You can’t write the glossy lifestyle video into existence with a fucking pencil can you?
For this to work you need to be able to make videos, photos, inspiring captions, and most importantly of all advertising in disguise of all of the above. Nobody can afford to be a specialist. To make a living as a photographer or musician for example you might need to also specialise in stacking shelves at the local supermarket.
Camera companies love the vague generality of the “creator” as they no longer have to know anything at all about their brand ambassadors. Just call them all the same, it’s like giving someone a number instead of a name. Creator 1, Creator 2, come forward you have been chosen to create!
Peter McKinnon is the perfect creator. He can pivot around to anything, at the drop of a hat full of money. Switching gear, easy for a creator. Flogging leather jackets, it comes naturally. You don’t have to stick to anything. Also by constantly switching gear you can make a big fuss of that too and bring a lot of rich suggestible halfwits along with you.
For the creator himself matters much more than the content. You can see it in the YouTube comments. All the most upvoted comments are about the creator. Thank you Mr Creator. You’re so amazing Mr Creator. Thank you for your hard work Dear Creator. Nobody mentions the contents of the video any more.
So with the substance of human expression reduced to short form sweet nothings, and the creator himself somehow a demigod despite never having made anything of any real importance, we reach that inevitable moment where we sweep away so much other meaning attached to proper words like “filmmaker” or “photographer” and all the history attached to it, that also goes in the bin with the world of cinema, and the same goes for photographers who are now creators because they happen to also do a bit of vanlife on their socials.
In short, not sure you’ve noticed but I despise the word “creator” and the phrase “content creator” and if we are really going to have to find a new word to describe Peter McKinnon it would be a very different word beginning with C instead.
Let’s go back to calling creative people by what area of the arts they specialise in and if they are a jack of all trades, maybe just call them business people.