In a September 2018 op-ed
in the New York Times
about a recent decline of hobbies, author and Columbia University law professor Tim Wu suggested that the daunting nature of hobbies is pushing people to sink their time into social media and streaming TV and movies instead. And as a result, they’re missing out on the virtues of leisure activities; they can make us happier, calm, empathetic, and more creative.
When it comes to making art, research has suggested that
such activities can improve our mental health. But even so, the fear of making something inadequate that our peers might find ugly or pathetic is very real. For many, this traces back to childhood—a teacher or classmate who poked fun at our earnest scribbles. To get over that hurdle is a matter of trying new things, landing on something you enjoy, and pursuing it regularly. That’s not to say you won’t feel vulnerable in the process—you probably will.
This is why Rogen’s “adequate” ceramics are so great. Intentionally or not, the actor was telegraphing a message to millions of people: that it’s possible to make art in a leisurely way; that trying your best is all that’s required; and that it’s therapeutic. By condemning his ceramics, or even just picking them apart, we’re making it far less likely for others to want to pick up creative hobbies of their own.