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Author Topic: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist  (Read 4230 times)

Leigh S

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #15 on: 15 February, 2021, 07:26:46 PM »
Yeah, while there were a lot of people who thought like HPL at the time, he was still quite deeply at the wrong end of a spectrum.  When you look at his upbringing, how he was isolated from "modern society" and self educated on decades old books, how he considered himself a product of an earlier time, a "colonial gentleman", how he bought ito the "scientific" but even then outdated ideas of race, you can put him into context, but it isnt as clean as "everyone thought like him". 

To get on the topic, there's a evidence from HPL that he did seem to realise later in his life that he had been somewhat wrong in his beliefs and was at the very least in thee provess of reexamining and rejectng some of if not all of his Conservatism,  and that can go some way to redeeming figures like Lovecraft - if he hasnt died at such an early age, he might have grown far enough to realise the inherent contradictions and fallacies in his youthful World View - theres certainly evidence he was at least on that path

But a lot of that might be me wanting to enjoy his writing!  I've not had a modern "reckoning" with any idols thankfully - I thought Morissey and Lydon were arseholes from the first time I encountered them. 

The Legendary Shark

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #16 on: 15 February, 2021, 07:52:37 PM »
I can offer two perspectives on this.

Firstly, as a reader/viewer, I can absolutely separate the art from the artist. Art I use for inspiration and entertainment - even the ghastliest of pieces can contain shards of both, and it's those shards I'm after. If the artist turns out to be a bigot, for example, then that's their problem because not even Leonardo da Vinci could convince me to believe something vile. My soul, for want of a better term, is my own responsibility and there are some things I will never let into it, no matter who tries to influence me to do so.

Secondly, as an amateur writer, even more amateur artist, and semi-pro pain-in-the-arse, I think it's important for me to keep my paininthearsery out of my art as much as possible. It's always going to creep in, sure, and I want it to - but only as part of the whole, and only when relevant. It's part of my perspective, after all, which I recognise as a potential problem. When I write a script or story, or make a picture, my primary goal is to entertain. As people who frequent the waters in which I swim are well aware, my posts here are often annoying, rarely entertaining, and sometimes even censored. I try to walk a fine line (although in my case 'stomp a fine line' might be more accurate) between offering my perspective on the world and presenting it as self-evident. The Political Thread (for example) is me being me - and it seems I can be a thoroughly annoying chap, although I can't imagine why. My dog absolutely adores me. But if I pour all that into my art then I don't think it would be all that entertaining - so I use it there as a condiment, or try to.

If some choose to ignore my amateurish work because of my views (hypothetically, of course), then that would make me sad but it's not going to change me. I believe that most people are smart enough to differentiate between flaws in personality and flaws in craft. If I'm told my art is poor because it's unimaginative, pedestrian, badly written, or badly drawn then that's fine, great even, because I can improve my craft (criticism being the whetstone of art) to provide better entertainment. But if I'm told my art is poor because of who I am, I simply ignore it, because I don't think it's a valid argument: a form of ad hominem fallacy, "story A is poor because its author is B."

TL;  DR - read my snecking stories, you shower of drokkers - and stop voting.

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milstar

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #17 on: 15 February, 2021, 08:28:34 PM »


Even by the standards of the day, Lovecraft's racism and antisemitism were pretty extreme.

Yeah, while there were a lot of people who thought like HPL at the time, he was still quite deeply at the wrong end of a spectrum.  When you look at his upbringing, how he was isolated from "modern society" and self educated on decades old books, how he considered himself a product of an earlier time, a "colonial gentleman", how he bought ito the "scientific" but even then outdated ideas of race, you can put him into context, but it isnt as clean as "everyone thought like him". 

To get on the topic, there's a evidence from HPL that he did seem to realise later in his life that he had been somewhat wrong in his beliefs and was at the very least in thee provess of reexamining and rejectng some of if not all of his Conservatism,  and that can go some way to redeeming figures like Lovecraft - if he hasnt died at such an early age, he might have grown far enough to realise the inherent contradictions and fallacies in his youthful World View - theres certainly evidence he was at least on that path

But a lot of that might be me wanting to enjoy his writing!  I've not had a modern "reckoning" with any idols thankfully - I thought Morissey and Lydon were arseholes from the first time I encountered them. 

I dunno. HPL seems deep in homphobia, racism and antisemitism. Including weird (not necessary sexist) views on women. However, racism, homophobia and antisemitism were common in 1920s. Which spread actually to plus some decades afterwards. I read an article in newspaper immigrants thoughts on other immigrants.  Mostly from anglosphere. For example, people from Italy or Eastern Europe were seen in truly disparaging way. Eugenics theory was blooming. Also, chauvinism was mired in its own. For, example, the word "kike", offensive for Jews, is made by western Jews, to put down Eastern Jews (coming from Eastern Europe). I heard it was one of the reasons why Bobby Fischer was such a strong antisemite.
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Professor Bear

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #18 on: 15 February, 2021, 10:22:45 PM »
I can never forgive Dr Zaius - not for his crimes against humanity because they technically haven't happened yet, but for the mean things he said about Clint Eastwood.

sintec

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #19 on: 16 February, 2021, 10:07:14 AM »
I've flip-flopped on this one over the years. A younger more idealistic me got shot of a pile of Norwegian black metal albums when it became apparent the creators were Nazis. Something I later regretted as whilst I find the individuals abhorrent that music was a huge influence - I've since replaced several of these as I missed them.

The post me-too years have been pretty brutal to a bunch of other musicians whose work I love.  Entirely their own fault and completely deserved but it does feel like every few months another one is outed as being an arsehole to partners/groupees/co-workers. If I dumped all of them then I'd be dumping a huge chunk of my teenage years along with them. Were I still regularly DJing then I might have to consider if I still wanted to play those artists records out. In my mind that's a different question to would I listen to them at home.

All of which is a long winded waffly way of saying... yeah I can and do separate art from artist.

Barrington Boots

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #20 on: 16 February, 2021, 10:43:43 AM »
Music has been problematic for me in the past too. I believe you can and should seperate art from artist - I think it's important the artist isn't shackled by public perception and produces what they want to produce, but also that once your art is in the public domain it then sits with the individual to interpret - and whilst some art can be abhorrent in it's context, I don't think the artist themselves being abhorrent is enough reason to abandon it... unless of course it's meaning / enjoyment for you, as an individual, has been curdled by that knowledge, in which case by all means.

What I don't do is support horrible artists. Applies more to the musical side of things again where support is very important, but HPL is long dead so I'd buy one of his books, but I wouldn't do anything that might help JK Rowlings bank account, for example.
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IndigoPrime

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #21 on: 16 February, 2021, 11:13:00 AM »
That’s the approach my wife has taken with JKR. She won’t let the woman’s views destroy her love for the books and her memories of seeing the play (which she adored), but has also stated that she doesn’t want any gifts in future linked to the series.

I’m in a broadly similar space and also have a tendency to revisit some of the old properties in a new light. Whedon is a good example of that. Some aspects of his work felt very off at the time anyway—there are notable contradictions to his supposed feminist views in Buffy, Angel, Firefly and his MCU output. But now the stories are coming out about him, all of those things make sense. Given the sheer time investment, it puts me off rewatching those shows, even though I enjoyed them at the time.

Music is the area in which this, for whatever reason, affects me somewhat differently. Although even then, it’s these days harder to listen to anything Ian Brown did without thinking he’s a massive pillock. (But then, I’ll never forgive him for that dreadful performance at Reading ’96 either.)

sintec

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #22 on: 16 February, 2021, 12:35:03 PM »
What I don't do is support horrible artists.

Yeah this is something I try to do.  I'm not going to ditch my collection of an artists work when these revelations come out but I may well choose not to give them more £s.

Sometimes that's an easy decision, I've not rated anything Marilyn Manson has done since the late 90s for example which makes it easy to not buy his new records now he's been outed as an abusive sleaze. On the flip side I'm still buying new Swans records despite the allegations made against Michael Gira because I love their music - so I'm not 100% consistent on that. At the end of the day it's a personal decision based on what happended, how the artists reacts and how much their art means to me.

Funt Solo

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #23 on: 16 February, 2021, 02:55:08 PM »
A couple of key points for me:

1. Is it black and white or is it a grey area? Take Winston Churchill - you can definitely find abhorrent views in that person, and you can also find the person Britain needed in WWII. And we've had demonstrated how you can't quite nail down H.P. Lovecraft's views either because he's human - and it's probable he was on a trajectory. He may have died the most progressive dude in the neighborhood.

Right now, people are rightly upset with J.K. Rowling over her transphobic stance, and yet, even there, she's a complicated human being who thinks she's supporting feminism, and has in the past taken a strong anti-racism stance. I don't think she thinks she's on the wrong side. I mean, I don't think it's occurred to her (perhaps, yet) that "wait, are we the baddies?"

I've had to have the transgenderism vs. feminism debate explained to me really carefully before I got it - and even now I feel like a fledgling who would have difficulty arguing the case well to an opponent. Up-thread, a year or so ago, I basically side-stepped it as too problematic an issue to figure out.

Cancel culture wants to provide us with an easy answer - the person is either ON or OFF. But people aren't binary, just like gender.


2. You might decide not to support a person, then their work - but (for example) a movie director isn't the only person who made the movie, and won't be the only person who benefits from the profits of said movie. If we follow the money, it's possible that a boycott might actually do more harm than good. Possible. (I expect most people who feel the need to cancel someone or something don't have the will to do any deeper research on the consequences, because it's an emotional drive.)
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IndigoPrime

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #24 on: 16 February, 2021, 03:06:06 PM »
People are complicated. Churchill was an arsehole, but, yes, was the right person for a specific moment in time. The problem today is more that people ignore all the horrible and nasty shit he did and was responsible for and want to rewrite history to that effect. As for JKR, just because she believes she’s on the right side, that’s no excuse, and it’s the kind of thing all extremists hide behind to some degree. (She’s also doubled down, despite countless people begging her to at least consider alternate viewpoints.)

As for the ‘lots of people were involved’, that’s a fair point and easier in some places than others. That said, I don’t feel the need to support any Whedon venture in future, regardless of others involved. I only have finite money anyway, and so it’s not like the world loses out in a general sense — my money will just go to support another production, and hopefully not one led by an arsehole.

Funt Solo

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #25 on: 16 February, 2021, 06:26:37 PM »
As for JKR, just because she believes she’s on the right side, that’s no excuse, and it’s the kind of thing all extremists hide behind to some degree. (She’s also doubled down, despite countless people begging her to at least consider alternate viewpoints.)

I had two thoughts about that - the first of which is that I wonder if she was anti-trans when she wrote The Philosopher's Stone? She perhaps hadn't even thought about the issue then. So, there's this question of *when* someone becomes the person whose views you hate. Should I hate I Wanna Be Adored because  Ian Brown has fallen for some conspiracy theory bullshit in the last year?

My other thought tied into a conversation with my step-mum, who's a life-long feminist and a strong supporter and worker for women's rights: so she is in touch with people who are (to some extent) persuaded by the arguments of Rowling, while she herself is not persuaded. Anyway: there's this idea that Rowling is being presented with clear, cogent arguments contrary to her position and just won't listen to reason - but in reality the Internet is not often a calm place where people are gently nudged in their thinking. Or: shouting TERF at people is going to make them defensive. Or: persuading people they're wrong about stuff is difficult, because ego.

It's just difficult.
« Last Edit: 16 February, 2021, 06:31:44 PM by Funt Solo »
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sintec

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #26 on: 16 February, 2021, 06:39:49 PM »
Yeah the internets response of "hurl insults and abuse at people I disagree with" isn't really a great tactic to persuade someone they're wrong. Particularly not on issues which are complicated and/or require people to adjust long held beliefs or worldviews. Those who are trying to discuss in good faith are often drowned out by the noisy and arrogant. That's even further exacerbated by the trolls (on both sides) who are going out of their way to stir up dischord because they're bored and find it amusing to piss other people off. The end result often seems to be people becoming more deeply entrenched in their positions rather than moving towards any kind of compromise.

wedgeski

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #27 on: 17 February, 2021, 09:21:24 AM »
I can't reconcile the popular image of Rowling the Hater with her books, or her charity work, or even the interviews I've seen. I don't agree with her views on trans women, and using her platform to spread those views was stupid.

I hate to end with "one of my friends is trans"...but one of my best buds from school transitioned during a period when we were completely out of touch. It took me a looong time to come to terms with who she is now, the same person I hung out with, but presenting entirely differently. It didn't just click into place. My brain needed time to reorganise, and I kept my distance while that happened. What did that make me?

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #28 on: 17 February, 2021, 09:42:50 AM »

I think it makes you wise.

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Dive a little deeper - all is not as it seems. "Cyber pandemic" on the way. Devices to be "quarantined" (disconnected).

IndigoPrime

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Re: A Moral Dilemma - separating the art from the artist
« Reply #29 on: 17 February, 2021, 09:51:22 AM »
I had two thoughts about that - the first of which is that I wonder if she was anti-trans when she wrote The Philosopher's Stone?
I don’t know. But you can revisit media and go: oh. With Whedon, once you brush away his purported feminism and recognise he’s a toxic entitled bloke pretending to be a feminist (or deluded into thinking he’s one), so many off decisions about his series and other work make a whole lot of sense.

With JKR, her books also have some strange elements that were kind of brushed away at the time, but make more sense when you approach them from a very mainstream white perspective. Her casually racist naming conventions obviously aren’t good. (2000 AD had a history of doing the same, of course; but that was gone by the time the Potter books rocked up.) The flawed approach to the very history of international magic is disappointing also (even more so when the property heads to the US).

However, none of that then suggests a more extreme viewpoint. So who knows what happened. Perhaps she’s fallen into the same trap as many others, ending up in a self-sustaining bubble.