A footnote to the recent exchange between Rodger Shanahan and myself on whether politicians could do their job better if they made art. Take it away, Hollywood director Steven Soderbergh (who made Contagion, above), speaking at the San Francisco International Film Festival last Saturday:

Art is also about problem solving, and it’s obvious from the news, we have a little bit of a problem with problem solving. In my experience, the main obstacle to problem solving is an entrenched ideology. The great thing about making a movie or a piece of art is that that never comes into play. All the ideas are on the table. All the ideas and everything is open for discussion, and it turns out everybody succeeds by submitting to what the thing needs to be. Art, in my view, is a very elegant problem-solving model.

That sounds rather wonderful, though I don't think it withstands much scrutiny. Is he saying that the problem-solving ideas people offer in an artistic setting are never influenced by their ideology?

BTW, if you love movies, do read the rest of Soderbergh's speech. The above point aside, it's thoughtful and intelligent.

BTW 2: Read this for more on Soderbergh's views about art and politics. I loved the section on film directors (and politicians) acting as facilitators rather than auteurs.

(H/t Kottke.)