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"Treulich geführt ziehet dahin, wo euch der Segen der Liebe bewahr'!"
Right at this second, there is probably at least one couple somewhere on this planet (and maybe even Mongo) where the bride is walking down the aisle to the "Bridal Chorus" (aka Treulich geführt, the Wedding March, or Here Comes the Bride). The origin of the "Bridal Chorus" is German composer Wilhem Richard Wagner's 1850 opera Lohengrin, where the piece opens Act III. The fact the "Bridal Chorus" is a favorite among couples getting married is a bit ironic given its context within Lohengrin, where ... well, let's just say things don't end well and people don't live happily ever after.

There are few who dispute that Wagner was an influential, musical genius. His list of works include Die Walküre (which contains the "Ride of the Valkyries"), Der Ring des Nibelungen, and Tristan und Isolde. However, even with all of his musical talent, it's also pretty clear from the historical record that Wagner was an egotistical, anti-Semitic prick both in his comments and arguably in some of his compositions, with there being much debate over the content of Parsifal. So for some people, Wagner the person shades their judgment of Wagner the composer and they can't enjoy the music because of who wrote the music.

This sort of issue is not specific to just Wagner. In just the last year, arguments over how and whether the personal conduct of entertainers should influence the perception of their work has been at the center of more than a few controversies. At issue is how much separation should there be between an artist and their work? Is there a point that someone's conduct becomes so heinous that it becomes impossible to separate the two? Or should a work of art be judged solely on its own content and nothing else?

Continue below the fold for more.

And now to be certain, history is full of assholes and despicable people who've created great things in almost every field of human endeavors. James Watson, who won the Nobel Prize along with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins for the discovery of the structure of DNA, has made some patently racist claims in the past, and Kary Mullis, who won a Nobel Prize for the development of modern PCR techniques, has made ridiculous claims denying climate change, ozone depletion, and the evidence that HIV causes AIDS. But, for the most part, you can separate their contributions to science from their own personal views.

But can you do that when we're talking about entertainment and art?

I thought this might make for an interesting topic after seeing the adaption of Ender's Game, which was released on home video last week. It's an adaption of Orson Scott Card's novel, which is a bestseller and won more than a few literary awards.

However, the fact that Card is a virulent homophobe has made the novel controversial, and there were boycotts of last year's film.

The conduct of the entertainer in relation to their work has long been a thorny issue. For example, this year there's some question as to the effect the allegations against Woody Allen will have on the chances of Cate Blanchett winning a best actress Oscar for Allen's Blue Jasmine. However, this sort of controversy is not new to the Academy Awards. The decision by the Academy Awards to honor Elia Kazan with a Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 1999 was divisive. Kazan's list of works include A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), On the Waterfront (1954), and East of Eden (1955). However, his cooperation with the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in 1952 at the time of the Hollywood blacklist made Kazan a polarizing figure and tainted his film achievements for some.

This is also an issue that comes to the forefront anytime director Roman Polanski is nominated for an Academy Award. No one can deny his talent as a director, with Rosemary's Baby (1968), Chinatown (1974) and The Pianist (2002). However, Polanski's drugging and rape of a 13-year old girl, and his subsequent fleeing to France has made the director controversial.

This is also similar to the controversies that surround R. Kelly. In 2002, R. Kelly was charged with 14 counts related to child pornography for videotaping himself engaged in sexual acts with a 14-year old minor. Even though a videotape exists of the act, he was acquitted of all charges in 2008, and other lawsuits were settled out of court. About two months ago, Kelly released a new album entitled Black Panties that was well received by critics. But when Kelly tried to do a Twitter Q&A for the album, it didn't go so well after he was repeatedly taunted for his past with underage girls.

Around the same time, Jessica Hopper at the Village Voice published an extensive interview with writer Jim DeRogatis, who uncovered the information about Kelly while a reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times. The interview included copies of official documents from the 2002 indictment, which are graphic and unsettling. That caused a bit of a conversation about how Kelly has seemingly gotten a "pass" to the point he can still release an album from a major label, the racial implications of the case, and whether a “not guilty” verdict should be the beginning and end of it when it comes to an artist's perception in pop-culture.

The other aspect this touches on is consumer decisions as well as how far critics should consider such allegations when reviewing an artist's material. Pitchfork was criticized for their decision to have Kelly headline their music festival last summer. And many have argued that the allegations against Kelly are harder to separate from his music, since his sexuality is a selling point of his music.

From Amanda Marcotte at Slate:
DeRogatis has done a lot of thinking about not only why it's been so hard to bring R. Kelly to justice, but why the public has all but forgotten the terrible things Kelly has been accused of doing. His conclusion: "The saddest fact I've learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody."

Hopper's interview with DeRogatis touches on a lot of interesting issues, about how knowledge of an artist's character colors their work, how misogyny and racism intersect to make Kelly's victims invisible, how hard it is generally to hold sexual predators accountable. But, most importantly, the Village Voice and Hopper give DeRogatis a chance to share how "stomach-churning" the multiple allegations against Kelly are. In addition to the famous video in which Kelly appears to be urinating on a 14-year-old girl, DeRogatis talks about various cases he reported on for the Sun-Times, including allegations that Kelly pushed teenage girls into group sex encounters, taped himself having sex with women without their knowledge, bullied a teenager into an abortion, and allegedly talked a young woman into recruiting her teenage friends to have sex with him. DeRogatis also suspects that Kelly and his supporters have intimidated some victims into silence. All of these stories are in the public record, but, much to DeRogatis's chagrin, they tend to be ignored by most other music critics and the public at large.

A similar situation exists with public perceptions of Chris Brown. Brown has been very successful as an R&B artist and actor. However, he's also known for very public disputes, legal problems, and most notably domestic violence against his on-again-off-again girlfriend Rihanna.

It's one thing for Rihanna or any other abused significant other to rationalize themselves into a "well he's really a good guy and he's going to do better" position, but when people looking at it objectively from the outside still lay out money for CDs or tracks on iTunes for someone that's an asshole, are they separating Chris Brown the person from Chris Brown the performer? Or do they just not care? And not only do people buy up his music, but there are fans of Brown that take to Twitter and Facebook to defend him and profess their desire to sleep with him. And you would think post-O.J., sensibilities about domestic violence would have changed to the point that being an Ike Turner wife-beater would doom a career.

Or have sensibilities not changed that much at all? And is Brown, as well as the other recent examples cited above, proof that people can separate a work of art from artist who's an asshole?

From Evan Rytlewski and Annie Zaleski at the A.V. Club:
Brown, of course, was far from the first musician to face domestic-abuse allegations. James Brown, Rick James, Jackson Browne, and even John Lennon had histories of hitting women, and as Chris Brown’s endlessly loyal fanbase argues tirelessly, none of those artists’ reputations were irreparably damaged by their offenses. The difference between those artists and Brown, however, is that none of them seemed to wear their guilt as a defiant badge of honor—not even Ike Turner, rock’s great boogie man, who for as often as he changed his story over the years usually conveyed at least some sense of remorse. After failing to land his initial apology attempts following his 2009 arrest, though, Brown abandoned contrition altogether. Instead of distancing himself from the incident, he spit in the face of conventional P.R. wisdom by actually embracing it, going out of his way to remind his fans and the general public about it at every turn. The three albums he’s released since missing the Grammys that year are peppered with references to the assault and its fallout, many in the form of calls for sympathy, others in the form of cruel taunts directed toward the woman he clearly still blames for his near-downfall. If the pair of collaborations he released with Rihanna last year seemed similarly designed to rub the incident in the public’s face, then his reconciliation with Rihanna represented the culmination of his efforts to troll the world—the moment that Chris Brown, after years of not only surviving but prospering, truly won.

Originally posted to 医生的宫殿 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:43 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Are you missing the final paragraph? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You've surveyed many of the recent events (although not Jerry Lee Lewis or Elvis Presley), but where is the final summary question?

    Are you wanting to ask whether this is common/increasing/decreasing, or how people feel about it, how we should deal with it, or what?

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:52:42 AM PST

    •  The Last Paragraph Of The Intro (7+ / 0-)
      At issue is how much separation should there be between an artist and their work? Is there a point that someone's conduct becomes so heinous that it becomes impossible to separate the two? Or should a work of art be judged solely on its own content and nothing else?
      •  Might want to put something like that at the end (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gentle Giant, Knucklehead

        of the entire piece.

        One of my professors would try to isolate the creativity from the individual.  I think point-of-view matters.

        Seriously - what about Maplethorpe?

        Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
        I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
        —Spike Milligan

        by polecat on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 12:00:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, but this diary is a muddled mess (4+ / 0-)

        You seem to confuse whether the artist's life should affect how we view their art with how (or whether) the artist's life should affect sales of their art.  They are two distinct issues.  The former is an aesthetic/ethical issue; the latter, one of sales.  One can acknowledge the artistic merits of an Ender's Game or a Kelly album while still choosing not to purchase the product because of a personal distaste for the artist's behavior.

        If the question is, should an artist's personal behavior affect sales of their product, I would say, who cares?  It's retty apparent that bad PR or a bad public image can affect sales.  What's the value in pondering whether this should or should not be?  

        If the question is, is it ethical or moral to boycott artistic works, I would say, it depends upon intent.  If one boycotts Ender's Game because its author is a homophobe, I don't see a moral problem.  If one boycotts to try to stop an artist's work or message from being in the public sphere, then we have an ethical problem.

        Finally, if you are raising the age-old question whether the aesthetic value of a work of art should be affected by the artist's life/values, that's a completely different discussion.

        So, what are you really trying to get at in this discussion?

        •  Can that line be drawn? (0+ / 0-)
          If one boycotts Ender's Game because its author is a homophobe, I don't see a moral problem.  If one boycotts to try to stop an artist's work or message from being in the public sphere, then we have an ethical problem.
          You're splitting a rather thin hair.

          Millions of folks decide not to view/buy/patronize something every day, but we don't name it a 'boycott' unless it's both public in nature AND (usually) for a reason unrelated to the item in question, right?

          More to the point, 'boycotts' are movements (or attempts to launch a movement); their proponents want publicity and want to convince others to join in the boycott.

          Finally, I would suggest that all boycotts have an "either/or" goal; their supporters want the target(s) to either change their behavior or fail commercially.  In that respect, I'd say that EVERY boycott has the capability to "stop an artist's work or message from being in the public sphere"...

          The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

          by wesmorgan1 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 05:45:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Poorly articulated (0+ / 0-)

            I was trying to draw a distinction between a boycott directed at the artist and a banning of the work of art itself.  The latter is not really a boycott, but a form of censorship, which I believe is wrong.  I should have been more clear.  

            •  I still don't see your point... (0+ / 0-)

              ...because I don't see how (in our current culture) you can boycott the person without boycotting their work as well.

              This is especially true in the arts/entertainment industry.  An effective boycott means low commercial activity - which means that the target doesn't get that next film, next CD release, or whatever.

              Markets react to growing boycotts. None of them want to be connected to "box office poison."

              Boycott movies with OJ Simpson, and OJ stops getting movie offers.  Boycott Mapplethorpe, and his work is less often included in exhibits and collections.

              Either way, we're back to my original statement - the purpose of a boycott is an "either/or" proposition - the target(s) change behavior or their product is ignored by the market.

              I really don't see how you get around that point.

              The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

              by wesmorgan1 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 10:41:17 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That presupposes (0+ / 0-)

                a bourgeois notion of art as commerce.  Van Gogh created art but never made a dime from it.  In the current media age, even OJ Simpson could still make films if he chose.  Orson Card can still make movies and publish books.  He doesn't need a huge studio behind him to do so.  Many people have boycotted Allen's and Polanski's movies, but they are still able to make feature films distributed by the big companies.  There is a difference between creating art and making money from the creation of art.  Most artists do not achieve the highest level of success, but they remain free to create.  Boycotting a prominent artist does not deprive them of the ability to create, it only deprives them of money.  

                Of course, boycotting an artist takes the form of boycotting their art, but the suppression of the art is not the purpose or goal of a moral boycott.  The purpose is not to contribute to the financial gain of the artist.  Of course, there are some who would go further and want to prohibit the artist from creating, but that is a form of boycott (or more accurately, a form of censorship) with which I do not agree.    

        •  "Muddled Mess" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ravenstream, vivadissent

          I address all of those issues in the diary, and provide examples for all the issues and aspects you mention.

          Historical view: Wagner
          Assessment of artists in the present day by their peers: Allen, Polanski, Kazan
          Economic impact: Card, Brown, Kelly

          For this diary, I didn't want to tell people what to think. I wanted to know what you and others think about it.

          And I don't feel like I need to treat people like they're stupid and state the issues over and over again, when the examples themselves lay out the issues.

          It's retty apparent that bad PR or a bad public image can affect sales.  What's the value in pondering whether this should or should not be?
          That is NOT "pretty apparent." If you read it, I provided examples in this diary where bad PR either had no effect on sales. And if someone beats the shit out Rihanna, has people on Twitter saying they wouldn't mind being beat up by him, and is still able to sell albums, I don't know, I find some value in pondering why.
          •  Your diary is not clear (0+ / 0-)

            on any of those points.  That is why I raised the question I did.  You appeared to toss together a bunch of disparate artists, making odd points, which led at least some readers to inquire as to what you are trying to get at.  When asked directly, you merely cut and pasted your introduction.  

            You will note that most of the comments appear to indicate that no one read your second and third points as you intended because the discussion has primarily centered upon the Wagner question.  If your intent was to elicit thoughts on whether the music of R. Kelly or Chris Brown should be shunned because of their behavior, you clearly were not successful.  Being clear in one's writing is not the equivalent of treating one's readers as if they're stupid.  

            I don't see how you can assert that I am wrong in my claim that it is apparent that bad PR can affect sales.  You cited some supporting examples in this very diary.  I said can, as in has the capability to do.  And apparent, as in:  there are legions of examples of careers that have been negatively affected by bad PR or a bad public image.  The fact that some fools on the internet say they'd let Chris Brown beat them does not change this fact.  

            •  99% Of The People Who Read This Diary..... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ravenstream, unfangus, Progrocks

              Seem to have been able to get the points of the diary without having to be told them, given the small amount of people who seem "confused."

              If people want to direct their comments primarily towards discussing Wagner or R. Kelly or Chris Brown, that's fine since they're different "branches" of the same issue. I'm content with the way it's presented. And if you don't like it, that's fine.

              And yes, there are legions of examples where bad PR has hurt careers. But when it doesn't, I think that's an interesting issue to lay on the table and ask why people think it didn't.

              •  If that's the case (0+ / 0-)

                I don't think a few tweets from some fools support the contention that their careers have not been hurt.  Neither do good music reviews, unless you think music reviews should include a rap sheet (not of a musical kind).  Analysis of record sales, conceret sales, income, etc. would be legitimate indicators.  I do know that Chris Brown, for one, has complained about the impact the Rihanna incident has had on his career, for what that's worth.  

      •  Um, all that paragraph does is restate the title (0+ / 0-)

        question.  When you ask a question in a title you are setting the essay up to be an answer, or at the very least a persuasive case for why there is no answer.

        Polecat is right, the diary is incomplete at best, cowardly at worst.

        "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi, 6/30/07 // "Succeed?" At what?

        by nailbender on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 03:41:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cowardly? (0+ / 0-)

          The examples themselves provide the case for why there's no agreed upon "right" answer to this topic.

          This is not a research paper. It's a post on a blog. If you need me to write out a conclusion that spells it out for you, like you're stupid, then here goes:

          The ethical dilemma faced in these circumstances is a breaking point for many, but for a significant number of the public, bad behavior and horrible actions by an artist have no effect on their enjoyment of the art and judging the art's worth.

  •  In theory I lean towards separating (17+ / 0-)

    the artist and the work.  Certainly the ranks of the great in literature and the visual arts would be massively thinned if we excised all the jerks, drunks, and abusers.  

    But in practice, I can't really watch Woody Allen movies anymore.  Of course the movies themselves tend to dwell on just the sorest points.   And it's even harder to get any separation in the case of an artist whose medium is live performance.  

    In short, I can see both sides to the debate.  But with a world overflowing with more content than I could ever hope to consume, it seems okay to avoid consuming what makes me uncomfortable.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 12:05:57 PM PST

  •  personally (12+ / 0-)

    I've stopped watching Mel Gibson movies; even ones I've previously liked I have a hard time stomaching.

    I also stopped reading an author because what he said at a reading weirded me out;  though that was much more directly related to the work.

    On the other hand, in sports I tend to gloss over a lot of reprehensible behavior when it suits me or vilify players on opposing teams when that suits me.

  •  I'd say a lot of it depends on the art. (13+ / 0-)

    Instrumental music does not convey a really clear message.  It's darned hard to compose an instrumental piece, and have everyone say 'OMG, that's soooo anti-semitic!'  The easier it is to actually convey a message through the form of art chosen, the more likely the actual hatred or associated -ism is to carry through to the audience.

    You can look at certain paintings and tell that the artist views a certain group portrayed therein positively or negatively, or is even portraying revisionist history - such as if, for example, they paint 'happy slaves' at work in the fields.

    In vocal music and textual works, it's all a matter of whether the author chooses to put in the time to keep the material produced free of his particular vices or beliefs, simply lets his prejudices inform his works, or in fact deliberately tries to bolster his viewpoint and use his or her art to reinforce such messages.

    An artist who actually uses his art to push the notion that sex with minors is a good thing is at least different from one who might believe such, but work to keep it out of their art.  The artist has a choice as to how 'autobiographical' they want their art to be, and if they hold controversial views, they will probably get the widest acceptance thereof by simply divorcing their views from their works.  (Rather like a general contractor who shows up at your house with a 'pro-conceal carry' bumpersticker.  Some people might find that reason enough to choose not to work with that contractor.)

    So artists, as with any business, have to decide where to strike a balance in allowing the public to see their seedier side, and can expect that if they do, they're going to lose potential sales.

    (And as an aside, those tweets are pathetic.  Those 'Brown fans' need to learn a bit about self-esteem and domestic violence.)

    •  I think another important point (7+ / 0-)

      is to place the artist in the context of their time and place.

      We would judge Chaucer very harshly today.

      •  There is no way to enforce a universal judgment (0+ / 0-)

        about a work of art or about an artist's reputation. So let every individual reach their own judgment, even if this leaves the work of art and the artist's infamy in perpetual tension with each other.

        Personally, for me the beauty or profundity of Wagner's music and Celine's and Dostoevsky's writing outweighs the odious characters of their creators; Mel Gibson's directorial oeuvre and Dennis Miller's stand-up do not. Others will disagree.

        •  And part of that is time (0+ / 0-)

          What seems great right now might not survive the scrutiny of the ages.

          We've seen that lots of times. Not every celebrated artist wins fame and/or fortune during their lifetime.

          And many who do wind up in the dustbin of history. Tastes change. Fads vanish. But genius lives on.

    •  Pictures from an Exhibition (8+ / 0-)
      Instrumental music does not convey a really clear message.  It's darned hard to compose an instrumental piece, and have everyone say 'OMG, that's soooo anti-semitic!
      What I read this, I immediately thought of "Samuel Goldenberg und Schmuyle", in which Moussorgsky's two Jews, one whiny and the other rich and pompous, are made even more of a caricature by Ravel's orchestration. Of course, the anti-Semitism is explicit in the title and in the original painting being depicted, but I venture to suggest it would be pretty explicit in the music itself.

      For artists who are from a different period, I'd be more forgiving. It is absurd to judge an artist by contemporary conventions of morality, as though it is part of their artistic duty to leap to an understanding of where we, their descendants, will be 100, 200 years later and after a lot of moral evolution. That is, don't judge Wagner by current perceptions of the evils of anti-Semitism. He was a product, and victim, of his time.

      And by those standards he was an arrogant asshole who, like so many, idolized the idea of the self-reliant hero. Anti-Semitism was, within the context, just a side-note.

      Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?

      by UncleDavid on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:21:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This (0+ / 0-)
      You can look at certain paintings and tell that the artist views a certain group portrayed therein positively or negatively, or is even portraying revisionist history - such as if, for example, they paint 'happy slaves' at work in the fields.
      would be a critique of the art itself, no?
  •  This is a good question (5+ / 0-)

    As a rule, I think this is pretty subjective depending on what I interpret to be the quality of the artist.

  •  Irrelivent crap (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lorell, nuthangerfarm

    kind of sums it up. G.B. Shaw in "Don Juan in Hell"  seems to imply that the question of good and evil is a simple matter of like and dislike. Personally I would still love Bach's music even if it were proven that he ripped the hearts from errant choirboys (sometimes not a bad idea) and cooked them for breakfast.

    " last in virtue's narrow cell, the wretched bondsman sits"-Auden

    by pixelate on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 12:46:59 PM PST

    •  only (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, gsbadj
      even if it were proven that he ripped the hearts from errant choirboys
      if Bach had worked in England.  The sound of English choirboys is one of the best arguments against "historically correct performance practice" known to modern musicology.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:05:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  On the other hand... (4+ / 0-)

      ...I would still loathe Wagner's music if it were proven that he saved the lives of every person on earth.

      The man composed with an 18-pound sledge.

      •  The Prelude to Lohengrin is hardly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        an 18-pound sledge.

        Ethereal, yes.

        Now, the rest of the tumpty-tump I agree with.

        Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

        by Bollox Ref on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:48:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I describe it as a cross between (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        evangelism and muzak.  Starts over the top and continues up.  I am not adverse to music of this period.  I like Mahler, Bruckner and Strauss, for example, but Wagner I find really, really tedious and pompous.

        •  I like Rossini's description of Wagner's music (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gsbadj, Heart of the Rockies

          "Some beautiful moments, but terrible quarters of an hour."

          •  I've tried (0+ / 0-)

            I've started to enjoy Wagner but it really took me time.  People have always told me that it's hard to grasp his music from recordings, that it's essential to hear it live and preferably staged.  I always took that as the kind of BS that Wagner would spout to sell tickets.

            But over the past several years, I've seen simulcasts of Rheingold and Walkure and although there are some dull, drawn-out parts, they largely are pretty good.  Last year, I bit the bullet and saw a production of Meistersinger, followed the next night by a concert version of Act II of Tristan.  Meistersinger fit Rossini's description but the Tristan was far better than I'd anticipated.

            I've sat through a lot of classical music (as a part-time worker at the symphony) that I thought was dull.  Plenty of times, a second hearing helped me "get" what was going on, often it didn't.

            As Rossini also said, "all music is good, except for the boring kind."

            For me, I can usually tune out an artist's behavior or politics, provided the message of the art doesn't deal with the behavior or politics.  Usually.

            "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

            by gsbadj on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 04:38:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Oh come on... (5+ / 0-)

        "Kiww the Wabbit, Kiww the Wabbit, Kiww the Wabbit..."

        Genius, I say - pure genius!

        The United States for All Americans

        by TakeSake on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:22:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  "I understand that Wagner's music is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gsbadj, johanus

        better than it sounds."  - Mark Twain

    •  Cooked them is one thing. (0+ / 0-)

      Served them is quite another. Eaten them? Hmm...

      My God, it's full of stars!

      by nuthangerfarm on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:30:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Watson and Crick stole their Nobel prize, from (no (18+ / 0-)

    suprise) a woman.

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:18:09 PM PST

    •  Thank you. (7+ / 0-)

      Rosalind Franklin

      Racist and sexist.  IIRC, Crick was slightly less of a jerk than Watson.  

      Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked a girlfriend that I had in February of last year.

      by koosah on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:22:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rosalind Franklin wiki: (8+ / 0-)

      Franklin's images of X-ray diffraction confirming the helical structure of DNA were shown to Watson without her approval or knowledge. This image and her accurate interpretation of the data provided valuable insight into the DNA structure, but Franklin's scientific contributions to the discovery of the double helix are often overlooked.....
      .....Franklin was never nominated for a Nobel Prize. She had died in 1958 and was therefore ineligible for nomination to the Nobel Prize in 1962 which was subsequently awarded to Crick, Watson, and Wilkins in 1962. The award was for their body of work on nucleic acids and not exclusively for the discovery of the structure of DNA.[130] By the time of the award Wilkins had been working on the structure of DNA for more than 10 years, and had done much to confirm the Watson–Crick model. Crick had been working on the genetic code at Cambridge and Watson had worked on RNA for some years. Watson has suggested that ideally Wilkins and Franklin would have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
    •  Baloney. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Franklin's Xray diffraction data indicated that DNA was a symmetrical double helix, but she didn't have a structure. It was Crick's insight that produced the model. The key aspect was the realization how the bases interacted.

      Wilkins and Franklin each had papers in the same issue of Nature as Watson and Crick. There is a reason that Watson and Crick is considered a classic and the others are not, and it isn't sexism.

      Crick's further work showed that he was one of the greatest scientific minds of all time. That wasn't true of any of the others.

      Watson's nasty little book shows that he is a jerk, but it shouldn't be taken as a useful character study of anyone else.

    •  Yes, thanks for more 'herstory' I didn't know. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama

      "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

      by bartcopfan on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:23:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is an excellent account by a friend: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Rosalind Franklin and DNA. It shows how much of a distortion James Watson's account is (all in the direction that makes Watson and Crick look better, of course). There's also a memoire by her sister, which I haven't read yet. There's also an account by Brenda Maddox, which I have not read. From its review:

        In two years at King's, Franklin had made major contributions to the understanding of DNA. She established its existence in two forms, she worked out the position of the phosphorous atoms in its backbone. Most crucially, using X-ray techniques that may have contributed significantly to her later death from cancer at the tragically young age of thirty-seven, she had taken beautiful photographs of the patterns of DNA. This is the extraordinarily powerful story of Rosalind Franklin, told by one of our greatest biographers; the single-minded young scientist whose contribution to arguably the most significant discovery of all time went unrecognised, elbowed aside in the rush for glory, and who died too young to recover her claim to some of that reputation, a woman who was not the wife of anybody and who is a myth in the making.

        Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

        by Wee Mama on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:16:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think most people would disagree on the "art" (0+ / 0-)

    involved and agree that art should be separated from the artiist.

    That is, there's no sense in putting Wagner and Polanski in the same boat as R. Kelly.

    The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014, with an appendix consisting an adjudication, dated "a long time ago", that I am Wrong.

    by Inland on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:48:39 PM PST

    •  You don't think . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

         hitchiker Polanski belongs in the same rowboat as Hitchcock?

    •  How do you assess that boundary? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, sethtriggs

      In the US we only have one "objective" standard, universally applied.  R. Kelly moves more product, generates more revenue, than Wagner, and probably about the same as Polanski.  That's the only pragmatic, market-based means of making that determination.

      "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

      by ActivistGuy on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:35:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Shrug. (0+ / 0-)

        Then we might as well stop pretending we're talking about art at all, and recast the diary into "how much should someone make before it's all A-Ok" and not limit it to singers, composers or directors.

        I think you might get a different answer, then.

        The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014, with an appendix consisting an adjudication, dated "a long time ago", that I am Wrong.

        by Inland on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:33:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Chris who? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crose, wader

    "Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Gentle Giant on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:58:11 PM PST

  •  long angry debates about this in school (9+ / 0-)

    The even more extreme position was that any work of art was an embodiment of the culture that created it and was not only guilty of everything that culture was guilty of, but that it could not and should not have value to a different culture.  The reason we can't (or shouldn't) paint or sculpt the way Michelangelo or Rembrandt did is that we have different values and live in a different socioeconomic environment ... which dictate the appropriate values and therefore the appropriate forms to those few brave and sensitive souls.  The job of the artist is not to express the timeless and universal because there is no such thing, but to always operate on the bleeding edge and revolutionary fringe of culture.

    There were professors and fellow students who seriously argued that all pre-Information Age architecture was worthless because it could not reflect the way we actually live and people were just acting out old ways of living either because they had no choice or because they were ignorant or a bunch of totalitarian reactionaries.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 03:04:39 PM PST

    •  Snobs (n/t) (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sagesource, niemann, Visceral

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:26:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A vain attempt (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gsbadj, BriarRose, Visceral

      to make themselves more relevant.  If we reject everything "old," we open up more space in the pantheon for contemporary artists.  I am surprised that such an anti-intellectual attitude gets much traction.

      •  except it's not viewed as anti-intellectual (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        If we reject everything "old," we open up more space in the pantheon for contemporary artists.  I am surprised that such an anti-intellectual attitude gets much traction.
        The justification is that copying doesn't require any thought, so reiterating what's not only been done to death over the centuries but which by virtue of socioeconomic change lacks any meaning or value - other than what the object itself has acquired from centuries of people oohing and aahing at it because they were expected to - forecloses even the possibility of thought.

        It's all perfectly logical, but its true implications are horrifyingly destructive: burn the sophisticated and durable but rigid and slow to change climax ecosystem to the ground so to make room for "live fast, die young, and seed freely" ideas and modes of expression.

        Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 10:06:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  & the really hardcore ones are against a pantheon (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Having a pantheon of acknowledged masters and a canon of great works of art apparently stifles creative ferment by imposing a fixed standard of performance and an artistic culture always looking backward to what has already been done and full of self-loathing at not being able to match or surpass it ... except by toppling the idols and doing things that they would not dare to do.

          Weirdly enough, it parallels anti-tenure arguments that no one should be able to coast on yesterday's accomplishments; if you're not the hot new thing, then get out of his way.

          Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

          by Visceral on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 01:22:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's reductive (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I understood you to say at first that they reject the value of anything created under pre-modern conditions.  Your explication sounds like basic modernism, with a hostile anti-historicist twist.  Or, more bluntly, an Oedipal tantrum:  we must kill the father (history of art) in order to gain access to the mother (new modes of expression).  Or is it some form of bastardized Marxist critique?  

          What is the basis for asserting that past art must be destroyed (figuratively) in order to contemplate new modes of expression?  I'm curious.  And reminded that I have been out of school for so long that I am not even cognizant (albeit not surprised) by this development in thought.  I will add that it reminds me of the old complaints that deconstruction is a form of nihilism; this thought seems to substantiate that criticism.

          •  all of the above (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The "bastardized Marxist critique" stems from the fact that most of the people writing about this stuff have been sympathetic to Marx's goals, either writing in eras when Marxism was not wholly discredited, or are steeped in Marxism's sociologist stepchild 'critical theory' ... which ironically tends to "turn Marx on his head" and argue that it really does all start with culture, and capitalism is just the new trick taught to the same old predatory dog.

            Western Civilization is pretty much reduced to one gigantic edifice of "false consciousness" - a wholly artificial and cynical device for making war and money: a belief that has been nurtured by the crises of the 20th Century - which has to be destroyed before we can have an ethical and sustainable society.  Non-Western civilizations still have some fragments of a human soul, but ironically need to integrate the fruits of Western civilization (and redeem them by animating them with a different spirit) in order to address the problems of the present and pave the way for the future.

            There's a clear distinction drawn between pre-industrial versus pre-modern: 'pre-industrial' is a matter of technology and is not necessarily bad, especially when you bring environmentalist and anti-capitalist critiques into play, but anything 'pre-modern' is a matter of values and goals is always and everywhere bad because it's allegedly all elitist, statist, absolutist, reactionary, and either has the wrong politics or no politics at all.

            It all boils down to an attempt to "debug" modernism and introduce version 2.0.  The spirit was truly revolutionary and righteous, but the brains were products of their time (dogmatic, universalist, reductionist, Taylorist, quintessentially Western, etc.), and in practice version 1.0 was not able to leap beyond a totalitarian obsession with mere forms - a wolf in sheep's clothing.  Now we have environmentalism, feminism, civil rights, a proper respect for non-Western ideas and ways of life, in theory room for a post-Marxist critique of capitalism that doesn't try to do the same thing only better and with a more equitable distribution of the product, and the true game-changer of the Information Age to put modernism into service of true human needs and desires.

            The blanket hostility to the art of the past is just a byproduct of more fundamental beliefs: the world has changed and art needs to catch up with it, perpetual revolution/innovation is the key to progress as well as true freedom, etc.  Specific to art, apparently photography destroyed the need for realism in art, allegory is shallow (since it relies on figurative representation), symbolism is worse than shallow since it interposes a created form/meaning between oneself and the idea, don't you dare tell anybody how to paint/sculpt/compose, and don't you dare make people think and feel something intended and particular with your art.

            Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

            by Visceral on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 05:12:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  By that reasoning (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BriarRose, Visceral

      .. museums shouldn't value/acquire/display works from not only different areas but also from different cultures?   Why should America or Europe give a flip about Chinese/African/Non-Western art?

      Sounds like the type of egotistical crap that Wagner might spout, i.e. "nobody's art is any good but mine."

      "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

      by gsbadj on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 05:07:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  some of them argued museums were irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

        Vanity projects for architects, the cities they get built in, and the corporations that fund them nowadays, but otherwise glorified warehouses for objects that have been deliberately stripped of their cultural context and no longer have any function.  Any museum worthy of the name would have to generate brave new ideas, not collect old ideas.

        Most of them were far more sympathetic to non-Western art and culture, but strangely only for Western consumption; it would be just as backwards for those cultures to continue to do things in their traditional ways as it would be for 21st Century Westerners to wear powdered wigs and live in log cabins.

        You can imagine I didn't get along with them.

        Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:58:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  OSC really hits me on this one. (16+ / 0-)

    The first time I read "Ender's Game" and more importantly "Speaker for the Dead" I was dumbfounded at how well written I felt both of them to be.   Deftly handling complex issues about justice, rights, the impact of our decisions and guilt I find both of them moving.  

    Especially true of Speaker of the Dead, which I re-read often.   OSC has always had his wild side, but really, since his stroke and before that the loss of his son, he went further into the cuckoo bench.    People forget that when Speaker for the Dead and later books came out, there were a lot of people in the Mormon community who thought he was backing some sort of alternate philosophy by having characters mock the idea of being bound by religious ideas.  

    He seems to have tilted from that all the way back to being a hardened holy roller.   But in those works, especially Speaker, he touches on issue in a way that really makes me think about who we are as people, what drives us..

    In regards to the boycott of the film of the same version, I have to tell you, it was one of the worst plotted ideas as a means of activism I've seen.   It raised a lot of fury.. for nothing.   Card sold his rights to the book about 10 years ago, and the option was ending.   In the new agreement, he didn't have any profit participation and he wasn't getting per-show royalty.  He got his money.   So, whether the movie flopped or was huge it didn't impact his pocket book.

    Meanwhile, Lionsgate, the company that produced it has been one of the most LGBT friendly studios in Hollywood, funding multiple projects, documentaries, and throwing fund raisers going back years.   Lionsgate responded to this controversy by offering up a percentage of the film profits to go to LGBT Charities.

    Think about that.  People had a chance to turn a film into potentially one of the biggest fundraisers for LGBT issue on the backs of OSC's work, and it was just more convenient to boycott.

    That said, the film wasn't great.  It was a very rough adaptation... which we knew it would be.. that left out the horrors of how you can have your humanity defined for you, how you can make good and bad decisions with unknowable consequences.

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 04:07:04 PM PST

    •  Thanks for this info, tmservo433. We watched the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Love, Knucklehead, wasatch

      blu-ray over the weekend and I had very mixed feelings about it.  I told mr. koosah that I resented the hell out of giving even a fraction of a penny to such a virulent hater, but it sounds like our pennies might have been used by Lionsgate for better purposes.  That makes me feel better.

      BTW I thought the movie was simplistic and obvious, but I did enjoy it for an afternoon excuse to have popcorn.  It was pretty and the special fx and stuntwork were superb.  I like the actors in it.  I'd probably watch most of them fold their clothes.  ;^)  

      Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked a girlfriend that I had in February of last year.

      by koosah on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:33:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  An very bright activist lesbian friend said she (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jessical, wader, sethtriggs, tmservo433

      Loved Enders Game so much, she was going to see it regardless of Card.

      Many of her friends pointed out (this was a Facebook conversation), that the success of that movie would inevitably lead to more sales of his other stuff.

      She basically said, "yes, I know."


      My feelings are simple. I don't want our hard earned cash to support people and causes I despise.

      I'd never go to a Pittsburg Steelers game, a Mel Gibson movie, a Chris Brown, Tracy Morgan or Trace Adkins concert.

      Yeah, people may be great quarterbacks, actors, musicians, or comedians, but if they're also sexual assaulters,  racists, violent misogynists, and homophobes, there is zero chance I will intentionally give them a single dime.

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:39:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Funny, when I re-read... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TrueBlueMajority, wader, Pizzapotamus

      I read Ender's Game when I was quite young, and really liked it. I found Speaker for the Dead too cloying even for my taste (the main character being described as perfect in every way got kind of old in the first book, but it got nauseating in the second one.)

      When I went back and reread, though, I found it more or less horrifying. Basically just a pre-teen male geek revenge fantasy, except he gets to kill a couple of people and an entire civilization, and have the author tell you (not show you, just tell you!) over and over again that he's perfectly innocent and the best person in the universe.

      After my re-read of Ender's Game, I was not surprised in the least when the crap about the author started bubbling to the surface.

      •  but wait (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        when you re-read it an as adult you are supposed to see that he is not in fact innocent

        and even reading it as a 20 year old (as a short story) I knew he was morally ambiguous.

        they only told him he was innocent to get him to do it, knowing that he could not be the killing machine they wanted him to be if he were completely aware of the moral ramifications.  that's part of the reason Speaker for the Dead was so good.

        i still love the novel, but I did not see the movie I have been waiting for for 37 years out of respect for my LGBTQ friends who were boycotting.  I will wait until I can see it on TV without paying any additional money for it than I already pay for my cable.

        I have not seen any Woody Allen movie since Soon Yi.

        I never liked Mel Gibson so I don;t miss not going to see his movies.

        I have a few other people I am boycotting too.  I make a case by case determination, and am willing to be swayed about the relative merits of various artists vs. their evil acts and beliefs by talking it over with people I trust

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:11:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Rereading Card (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmservo433, Pizzapotamus, mmacdDE

      I think there's a tendency to read your own values and ethics into how you understand a work of fiction.  I'm interested in religion as a phenomenon, and very tolerant of other people's understanding of it, or their acceptance or rejection of it.

      Card has played with religion a lot, not only in the Ender books (Catholism), The Memory of Earth (biblical/Judaism?/Mormonism?), the Alvin Maker books (Evangelical Chrisianity).  I read all of these -- even heard him speak at a local bookstore -- before I became aware of his politics and his relation to traditional Mormon ideology.

      Since learning that, I've become convinced that I read my own tolerant beliefs into places the author did not intend.  His "Future Jews" serve a machine -- a false god.  His Catholics are pagans.

      I'm really uncertain if he was ever who we thought he was.

      Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

      by mbayrob on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:12:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've always believed (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE, gsbadj, BriarRose

        Whatever I read into a book is what I get out of it.  I have no idea of Shakespeare's proclivities.  Hemingway was a drunken bastard, Charles Dickens abused his spouse and basically abandoned her.  

        In many ways, especially with boons, I like to know nothing about the authors private thoughts, because I think every book is best interpreted through our own inner monologue.

        Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

        by Chris Reeves on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:02:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          But IMO it's easier to say than to do.  I think we also read into a work whatever is going on in our personal lives and in society as well.  That's why rereading sometimes elicits vastly different takes.

          IMO, the artist's background can make the piece more fascinating.  Do Dickens and Hemingway deliver sometimes uplfting messages in spite of their personal lives or as an escape from or a penance for their lives?  I think people who read are fascinated by other people (why else read?) and are interested in at least speculating.

          "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

          by gsbadj on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 05:15:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Disagree (0+ / 0-)

      The success of the film would have led to more book sales (money for Card) and additional film products (eg, a new series to compete with Hunger Games).  The fact that Lion's Gate (and the film's stars) took note of the boycott and had to respond to it demonstrates that the boycott was actually effective.  

  •  You said taint (0+ / 0-)

    My best advice is don't buy their crap. Most of it is crap anyway. I'd be more interested on the art that's stuck to a refrigerator anyway.

    “He talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans.” James Carville

    by Mokislab on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:09:10 PM PST

  •  The Ethics of the Artist? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crose, wasatch, BriarRose

    Hell, I'm more worried about the ethics of the audience.

    As soon as I get to the bottom of this, I'll get the next plane.

    by Holly Martins on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:10:43 PM PST

  •  This is what I call the "Mel Gibson Threshold." (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wasatch, wader, VirginiaJeff, BYw

    Old DKos post about it here:

    •  With Mel, it's not just his attitude (0+ / 0-)

      I think both The Pasdion of the Christ and Apocolypto are profoundly racist art.  More like Griffith, but worse.

      Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

      by mbayrob on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:42:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Talking more about his older works. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        For example, I used to really enjoy the Mad Max movies… but I can't watch them any more, because I just can't stomach Mel Gibson for any length of time.

        I kind of feel the same way about Woody Allen, but to be honest, I never really cared for his films to begin with.

  •  Hasn't Mehta done Wagner in Israel? (0+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:12:41 PM PST

    •  I believe so (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenbassoon, Chitown Kev

      Wagner is still controversial.  As the destruction of Europe's Jews fade from living memory, however, there are fewer and fewer people who lived through the nightmare, and for whom the veneration of Wagner was yet another thing they remember before escaping the country, or the ovens.

      But Israel has a strong tradition of classical music, and the treatment of Wagner's works is increasingly an anomoly.  Mehta, who was and probably still is very influential in Israel's classical music community, is one of a number of people trying to rescue Wagner's music from Wagner's politics.  I expect they will succeed.

      Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

      by mbayrob on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:24:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wagner has always troubled me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester, METAL TREK

    and I try not to listen to his music too often.

    However, Parsifal, musically, when I do delve, is quite wonderful.

    His anti-Jew publications are disgusting and make him a very small man, if a great composer.

    Horrible individual.

    Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

    by Bollox Ref on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:12:45 PM PST

  •  In some cases... (6+ / 0-)

    nobody would give a shit about the art if not for the infamy of the artist.

    See: Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, George Zimmerman.

    •  Is There An Example..... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Trix, Knucklehead, wader, mmacdDE, BYw

      Of a work of visual art that became famous that way (i.e. celebrity and infamy of the artist) that has stood the test of time and is still appreciated? I can't think of one, but I wouldn't surprised if one example existed.

      Although, the stereotype of "starving artist" has some basis in reality, since some of the most famous artists didn't become famous until after they died. Both Van Gogh and Gauguin weren't appreciated until after they were dead.

      •  I can't really think of any either... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Doctor RJ, wader

        Though I suppose you could argue that Banksy's borderline-criminal antics are what made him famous.

      •  Ever read (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Doctor RJ, TheOtherMaven, wader, Trix, BYw

        Cellini's autobiography?

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:56:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cellini: goldsmith, sculptor, lecher, scoundrel, (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wader, Doctor RJ, Trix, BYw, jessical

          and devastatingly honest about it all in his autobiograpy.

          Andrea del Castagno has sometimes been accused of the murder of a rival, Domenico Veneziano; but this was proven false when experts noted that Veneziano outlived him by four years. Castagno was, however, widely said to have had a nasty and violent temper, which lent credibility to the nonsense.

          If it's
          Not your body,
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          And it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:11:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Caravaggio had an interesting life (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wader, Trix, BYw, jessical

            but I think most of his paintings preceded the murder charges and fugitive years. Don't know if any of that added to his popularity (or detracted from it) at the time.

            •  added to, as I understand it--in general, we have (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wasatch, BYw, jessical

              the Renaissance and Baroque to thank for the ideal of the superstar-artist-behaving-badly: that certainly included both Michelangelo and Da Vinci, though not necessarily with the same kind of physical violence that Caravaggio was (said to be) associated with.  But the whole 'bad boy' thing seems to have been a big positive w/the public and with the private art patrons, if not with the Church patrons (though it was even tolerated by them to an amazing degree).  

              When 'Romantic' artists and writers began behaving badly, in the late 18th/early 19th c, they already had 4 centuries of precedent for that.  Then after a brief pause the late-19th/early 20th C avant-garde artists took right up where the Romantics left off.  The song remains the same...

    •  actually, that one record that Manson did cut? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Knucklehead, wader

      Pretty rockin, if you ask me.  Wish he'd just gotten that contract, mighta saved a lot of mess...

  •  Interesting topic (8+ / 0-)

    I've spent my entire career working in the Entertainment Industrial Complex -

    I've worked with a lot of fabulously talented and creative people who I disagree with on virtually every level.

    Some of them are right wing nutjobs, some racists/sexist/homophobes. Many are just mean spirited, manipulative a$$holes who take pleasure in denigrating others.

    Sometimes it takes a lot to separate the creation from the creator -

    I can, however state, that for every absolute jerk I've met, I've met at least 10 wonderful people, at all levels in The Biz.

    "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." - Tom Robbins - Political Compass sez: -8.25, -7.90

    by ARS on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:15:48 PM PST

  •  Wagner (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Knucklehead, wader, waytac

    I read a biography of Wagner quite awhile ago, and I was intrigued by the author's assumption that Wagner was at first a supporter of German Jews, to the point of asking them to consider themselves German first--and that their religion was of secondary importance.  When the leading Jews refused, he felt jilted, and became a first class bigot--but he retained his Jewish publisher.

    I draw the line of appreciating bad people's art if they are still alive.  That's arbitrary--but let's face it, do we really know the shit about Shakespeare and Rembrandt--and should we care?  Music, especially classical music, should be commended, it has had many openly gay composers--and their music was supported.  Our world is so full of hatred, that excluding great works by terrible people would greatly limit our canon.  Best to call them out in their lifetime--to try to change them--but once they're dead, we own their art.

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:18:29 PM PST

    •  As a woman, if I rejected every piece of art or (15+ / 0-)

      artist that was created by someone is or had been terrible to women or dismissive to women, or abusive, or that had directly benefited from a society that makes women second class citizens, what would I have left? What music, films, or art would I have left, especially in anything that dated before the Suffragette movement?

      I have mixed feelings about it all.

      I don't fault anyone for rejecting the artist that is offensive to them, but at what point does this come to be about perfection?

      Sometimes I wonder, if a truly reprehensible soul can create things of great beauty that perhaps that may be their only redeeming quality. That may be the only method with which to show love to humanity at any level, like all dysfunctional lovers and relatives.

      There is a spectrum to this, a gradient, and I am not always sure which historical figures belong where?

      I can understand this to be about a couple of issues that come to mind:

      1. People reflect the mindsets of the times, either by being a mirror of those times, or by attempting to reform attitudes.

      2. People change over a life time and the direction of change could be in any direction due to politics, religion, illness, tragedy, love, redemption--you name it.  And artists and performers are notoriously a volatile bunch.

      3. Symbolic of the banality of evil. That the artist was normal for their time, relative to other people, and that their worldview, when juxtaposed to their craft represents the banality of evil. The insidiousness of wrong-thinking embedded in cultural tradition.

      Sometimes when we look back at our own cultural histories, and we see all the evil acts committed against others, sometimes, the only beauty we see might be the art. The artist may not be perfect, or may even be an awful person, but it can still give us something positive to focus on, to aspire to.

      Not to be like the awful artist, but to perhaps see the care in their craft as hopeful. An example of the care and mindfulness that should have been taken in those times, but that wasn't. Care and mindfulness that can be taken now and in the future.

      That being said, like previous posters, if someone truly offends me, I just won't buy their stuff.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:38:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  well said (8+ / 0-)

        I'm Jewish, and knew many tattooed survivors--and most wanted to visit Vienna--the scene of their horror stories--they still loved the place.  Art and love cannot be judged by logic- it is emotional.  That said, my survivor friends would have been happy to punish all the Nazi bastards--but happiest only when back in Vienna.  Art is love.  No one can define it for another person.

        Actions speak louder than petitions.

        by melvynny on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:50:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wish it had never happened to them or to anyone (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VirginiaJeff, sethtriggs

          They must be incredibly strong and durable souls to have survived such awful dehumanizing things.

          "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

          by GreenMother on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:56:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  One big factor, for me (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ramara, Subterranean, sethtriggs, mmacdDE

    For the most part Wagner isn't famous because he was an anti-semite, right?

    Chris Brown, R. Kelly - those guys achieved a certain level of fame before the notoriety, but it's that notoriety, that "image", which maintains their fame.   Does anyone think their "art" will stand the tests of time and hold up like Wagner's has?

    As for Orson Scott Card - "Ender's Game" is still a favorite book of mine, not so much because of any "message" or "theme" but because it was just so damned imaginative IMO.   For me the big battle at the end was anti-climactic - I wanted to see more of Ender's outside-the-box tactics to defeat every challenge the Battle School threw at him.   It's disappointing that Card eventually went off the proverbial deep-end, but it doesn't detract from "Ender's Game".

  •  Not to throw fuel on the fire (0+ / 0-)

    but Mount Rushmore was made by sculptor Gutzon Borglum who was a racist KKK member and an all around bad dude.  So should we blow up Mount Rushmore because the guy responsible for it was a racist piece of shit?

    Sometimes you have to let the art stand on it's own, independent of the character of the person creating it.

    In Orson Scott Card's case, well the fucker would benefit financially from it so until the bigoted piece of shit croaks, I'm not ever watching the movie or reading any of his books unless it's a pirated copy I'm reading or watching in which case I'm not contributing a dime to his bigoted ass.      

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:20:02 PM PST

    •  Fuel (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, sethtriggs
      So should we blow up Mount Rushmore because the guy responsible for it was a racist piece of shit?
      No, but possibly for the character of the sculpted subjects.

      I`m already against the next war.

      by Knucklehead on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:52:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which one (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Teddy Roosevelt

        The worst of the bunch was probably Teddy who was an elitist ahole

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:04:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which one (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wader, BYw

          To me all of them were flawed from the present historical (which may be unfair) context, but which one do you think was responsible for the largest mass execution in US history, one more than he signed off on, but what`s just one more.
          There were to be over three hundred executed, but that would have seemed like overkill so they pared it down somewhat.

          "Largest mass hanging in United States history" ... in Minnesota asked President Lincoln to order the immediate execution of all 303 Indian males found guilty. ... We demand that Abe Lincoln's dishonest and shameful face be removed from the  ...
          A different link.

          I`m already against the next war.

          by Knucklehead on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:14:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It IS unfair (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            We're all flawed individuals.  IN times of war many regrettable things are done.  War is hell.  Unfortunately because of those flaws and decisions made during a presidency you're NEVER gonna be able to satisfy everyone.  Doesn't change the fact the person did great things and was a great individual.  

            So what's the answer?  Do we blow up Rushmore, a tribute to 4 of our greatest presidents because 150 years later some group is still angry about a decision made by one of them?  Good god.  Might as well not have any monuments or memorials at all because we're all flawed and we all made shitty decisions that affected someone in a negative way and we can't please everyone.  So instead lets erect a bunch of avant garde modernist crap that will offend everyone and no one at the same time because it's so vague and abstract that nobody even knows what the fuck it stands for.  

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:00:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Disnoir36 (0+ / 0-)

              I understand what you say.
              It ties in with your question about blowing up Mt. Rushmore because of a racist pig.
              No one is going to blow it up, but pointing out the warts on some people is sometimes educational in preventing reoccurrence.

              This was not something that happened in the "fog of war" though, it was purposely done for political reasons & amounts to a whole lot more than a flaw in my opinion.

              Thank you for the discussion.

              I`m already against the next war.

              by Knucklehead on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:50:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Funny thing about Ender's Game (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I found it to be one of the more homoerotic books I've read.  I wasn't at all surprised when I learned he's a homophobe, it fits perfectly.  

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:06:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry, I can't separate the artist from his (5+ / 0-)


    I LOVED the "Naked Gun" movies, but cannot watch them now because of O.J. Simpson.

    I really wish they had left Peter Lupus in the Nordberg role.

    Then I read the Twitter posts of women saying that Chris Brown can beat them anytime, and I despair for humanity.

  •  here's an unusual one - Bobby Fischer (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, sethtriggs, Andrew Lazarus

    almost all chess players admire Bobby, the chess genius - they study his games, want to pick his brain - wish he had kept playing, and generally admire him as the man who went against the Soviet Machine and won - in one sense, his games ARE like art to other chess players

    but then you temper that with some of his vile anti-Semitic rants - (odd, since he's part jewish) and of course his Anti-Americanism babbling - and I guess we just say we liked him up to 1972 - and then we try to forget he existed - it's hard to reconcile the pride one has with what he became


    There are only two kinds of music - the blues and Zip Pa Dee Doo Dah - Townes Van Zandt

    by whiskeytown on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:22:48 PM PST

  •  I hold a lot more against Wagner than antisemitism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and I owe Johannes Brahms an abject apology for all the years that I believed the vicious slurs (which, I learned fairly recently, originated as slander/libel by Wagner) that he hated and abused cats. (I don't know whether Brahms liked cats - he may not have - but he certainly didn't go to the bizarre extremes of cruelty that Wagner maliciously and mendaciously described.)

    While Wagner was definitely a scoundrel whom none of his friends should have trusted so much with their money or their wives, it is interesting that he found his second wife and lasting marital happiness under bizarre circumstances: she was the wife of his favorite conductor and loyal defender, Hans von Bulow. (She was also the illegitimate daughter of Franz Liszt.) Von Bulow, like a gentleman, politely ignored the affair going on under his nose (including three children who were certainly not his but whom he agreed to legally recognize as such), and eventually agreed to a divorce and stepped out of their lives.

    If it's
    Not your body,
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    And it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:24:33 PM PST

    •  then there's the equally-complex case of Wagner's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, Chitown Kev

      one-time protege Nietzsche--taking us out of art and into philosophy, sure, but a similar question obtains.  

      •  Not so far away from art (0+ / 0-)

        as Nietzsche is also known for being one of the greatest writers of German prose.

        and Nietzsche is an interesting case; after all part of the reason for his fame (ad infamy) is his appropiation as an anti-Semite by his sister and, eventually, by the Nazi. Even though Nietzsche's work was far more complicated than that and, to some extent, complimentary of Jews.

  •  A couple of other examples missed here (5+ / 0-)

    include the films Birth of a Nation and Triumph of the Will by D.W. Griffith and Leni Riefenstahl respectively.  Most movie critics regard them as a couple of the most important movies of their respective eras yet both are essentially racist propaganda pieces.  Ms. Riefenstahl passed away only a few years ago but even on her deathbed she showed no remorse for it being a Nazi propaganda piece and all of the ugly baggage which accompanied it.

    As for R. Kelly, it would have been one thing to be seen in a sex tape with an underage girl if it had been the only incident involving minors, but he had dated a singer named Aaliyah back in the 1990's and actually tried to marry her when she was only 15 years old only to have the marriage license voided because Aaliyah misrepresented her age on the form.  Aaliyah would later have a budding music and movie career of her own only to tragically end when she died in a plane crash in August, 2001.

    •  On Leni Riefenstahl, did you know that Steven (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, Wee Mama, mmacdDE, bartcopfan, milkbone

      Soderbergh was all set to make a movie about her (and the filming of Triumph in particular) when the studio talked him out of it and he made Contagion instead?  I heard this in a Fresh Air interview a while back.  I wish he'd made it.  Soderbergh said he was fascinated precisely by her apparent political cluelessness--think "The Informant," if you've seen that.   He certainly maintained that it was more cluelessness than ideological evil: she was one of Germany's most innovative directors (who hadn't fled yet) and the Nazis were giving her a huge budget to make this amazing movie about their 2nd national convention since taking power.  I would also note that, while anyone who looked could see the Nazis were racist thugs, they had in those early days wide swaths of admirers across Europe and the US.   I think it's the after-the-fact lack of remorse that gets a bit more sticky.

      At least with Griffith, there's no denying that Birth of a Nation was explicitly about white supremacy, racial fear and a celebration of the Klan.  

      •  in fact it's kinda funny: in academic film studies (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wasatch, VirginiaJeff, IM

        the three most important formal innovators through the 1930s are widely considered to be...Griffith, Riefenstahl and Eisenstein, all of them certainly associated with blatantly propagandistic work.  For his own part, Eisenstein had nothing but praise for Griffith, despite what would seem to be fairly towering differences in their ideological commitments.  

        Personally, I've hated pretty much every Woody Allen movie since Manhattan, long before I knew about any sordid details of his personal life.   So that one's been easy...

      •  Griffith was apparently very upset.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VirginiaJeff, Houses in Motion

        ...about the allegation he was a racist. One of his responses was to make Broken Blossoms with Lillian Gish, which was not only the first major movie with an Asian hero, but also the first to positively portray a (platonic) love affair between an Asian man and a white woman. It also contains some rather biting comparisons of Christianity and Buddhism.

        The odd thing, to me, is that Griffith chose to make up for his insults to black people by making a positive film about Asians. Did he really run everyone but whites into a single, undifferentiated "non-white" category? Or was he playing a game with himself so that he could pretend to have made amends for Birth of a Nation?

        "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

        by sagesource on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:02:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Griffith was not *consciously* racist (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and his main reasons for making Birth of a Nation were 1) to make a movie about the Civil War and 2) to have a slam-bang "Cavalry to the Rescue" climax. (He was already so obsessed with this trope that it was close to a monomania - every Griffith film from about 1910 featured some version of it.)

          My best guess is that he just didn't think things through.

          If it's
          Not your body,
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          And it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:15:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  hmm--you might have a pretty high bar for (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bartcopfan, sagesource

            "consciously racist".   And Griffith too.  I mean just because the book was called The Klansman, and the whole drama of the movie (and book) is about heroically saving white civilization from all those Africans during Reconstruction... yeah, I guess he didn't totally think through all the implications.  

            And for that matter, how was Leni supposed to know that Hitler, Himmler, and all those SA and SS were racist thugs who would eventually tear the world apart?  The main thing was, they put on such gorgeous night rallies...    

            •  btw: one of the implications that Grithin didn't (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bartcopfan, Chitown Kev, sagesource

              "think through"?  Birth of a Nation played a major role in the rebirth of the KKK in the year of its release.

              So, sure, Griffith himself was upset at being called a racist, and responded in part with Intolerance and Broken Blossoms.  Meanwhile, the "second era" KKK was using his other movie as a recruiting tool throughout the 20s.  

              Maybe in Griffith's case, and Leni's, we have sort of the inverse of the diarist's original question: how do we approach art that turns out to be massively effective propaganda, for an evil cause, even if we're not sure how ideologically-driven (or 'political') the artists actually were?  

      •  She did more than "Triumph of the Will" (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE, bartcopfan, Chitown Kev, IM

        Riefenstahl was a cinematographer for the 1936 Olympics, and her film of the games, released in 1938, employed groundbreaking things that had never been done before: cameras tracking around the bleachers (tracks had been built to do it), smash cuts, and camera shots to capture sporting events that became the standard for shooting sports events. If you watch a sporting event, almost the only type of shot that she wasn't one of the first (if not the first) to use is the ones possible due to cablecams.

        She was, unquestionably, an utterly brilliant filmmaker. I've seen a bunch of documentaries made in that same period and I generally tune out fairly quickly due to boredom. "Triumph of the Will" and "Olympia", for all the ethical issues about what they represent, are not boring, and there's a reason that when you watch the Rebel Alliance awarding medals to Luke and Han, or the Emperor boarding the second Death Star, you know why those scenes look the way they do.

        •  I totally agree--as apparently does Soderbergh. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bartcopfan, Chitown Kev

          I've seen only bits of "Olympia," but it's obvious that she was ground-breaking there as she was in Triumph.  I really do wish Soderbergh had made that movie; it would have been fascinating, and certainly a direct contribution to the debate in this thread.

        •  On the other hand, I'm also open to the idea that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bartcopfan, Chitown Kev

          there is an identifiably "fascist aesthetic" in some film--a formal aesthetic, regardless of the subject matter--which traces in part back to Leni.  I'd need to look at those two Star Wars scenes you reference, I can't remember them well enough off the top; but I've definitely watched certain films with large human-formation scenes and thought, hmmm, kinda "Triumph of the Will"ish.

          And I don't know that such an aesthetic would be totally harmless, however 'formal'.  The term Fascism comes from Italian fasci, a bundle or bundling -- it's about a certain kind of mass unity, which is both class-free and always assumes a strong leader.  It's pretty clear that Riefenstahl  (as part of her brilliance) had a good 'felt' sense of that, and how to capture it in cinema, whether or not she had any kind of 'political' understanding of fascism or its implications.    

  •  John Phillips (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, wasatch, dinazina, jds1978, bartcopfan

    I have vidid memories of watching Mackenzie Phillips fall apart in front of my eyes week-after-week on the sitcom "One Day at a Time".  I remember wondering why nobody could see that this girl was in such a terrible condition.

    Decades later she filled in the details.  As a musician I can not bring myself to perform any songs written by John Phillips.  I'd consider doing a song or two written by Mackenzie Phillips, but I don't know any.

    To me the John Phillips story is so much worse because we all knew the parties involved.

    •  Thank you for mentioning the Phillipses. (0+ / 0-)

      Even as a boy, I absolutely LOVED "California Dreamin'" (IIRC, it's the first song I ever did karaoke with). For whatever reason, I gravitated to "Mama" Cass Elliot and was certainly sorry for her early death. I still love the song, but when I hear it now, it's not with the same pure celebratory joy that I felt then.

      I remember Mackensie in "American Graffiti", the other early "grown-up" movie I remember seeing in early adolescence. (Ironically, the first was Woody Allen's "Sleeper".) I also watched her in "One Day at a Time", though I can't deny I was more attracted to Bonnie Franklin's and Valerie Bertinelli's characters.  (I was damn jealous of Eddie Van Halen for a while, but had to admire his taste.) And I've been horrified since learning even some of what was going on behind the scenes in the Phillips household--heartbroken for the women, angry at and disappointed in John.

      "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

      by bartcopfan on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:07:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why no women assholes? (0+ / 0-)

    Why are they all men?

    Believe me women can be assholes too.

    They can be assholes in a wide range of behaviors - just like the men.

  •  Easy, When the Infame Worked Counter to a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, wader, Subterranean

    sufficiently powerful element of the machine.

    We do after all still celebrate the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Bet most urban and some particularly-located rural Americans can't go a day without meeting people who find the artists that created those documents pretty fucking infamous.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:33:01 PM PST

  •  Tom Waits, David Byrne are the only real artists (0+ / 0-)

    in music who I can think of. Perhaps there are a few more, but the list isn't long. There are many musicians who I enjoy listening to who I don't consider artists; they are often just good craftsmen. I know very little personal info about artists whom I respect, because it doesn't matter.  

    The price of anything is the amount of life we are willing to exchange for it.

    by theslinger on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:38:35 PM PST

  •  I can appreciate the art of a Leni Riefenstahl (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical, ssgbryan, mmacdDE, bartcopfan

    film and still detest the subject matter.   Ted Nugent's Stranglehold rocks, but Ted is a douche.   I can separate the two.  I have yet to find an artist of any degree of skill whose work I cannot separate from their personality, politics or morality.  

    Once you start judging on more than the art, you limit what you can appreciate.  I won't do that.   I even read some of Jed's posts.  

    “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

    by SpamNunn on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:38:47 PM PST

  •  You Know Who Loved Wagner? Hitler (0+ / 0-)

    Seriously, Hitler was a huge opera buff.  I've often thought that if only he had combined his love of opera, his love of pomp and costumes, and his modest artistic skills as a set designer or painter, we might have avoided ww2

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:41:05 PM PST

  •  nice diary if you assume that audiences don't (0+ / 0-)

    really count, that individual genius (or its cult) is morally consistent in an age that understands the relationship between Wagner & Nietzsche, or that history and its political regimes or at least its film makers as in the case of Wagner does tend to use artwork for its own ends (or is the message the same for both Reiffenstal and Coppola, after all, from a visual arts perspective, the pre-digital Anonymous may have been definitely a woman.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:43:45 PM PST

  •  To me a major issue is if they are still alive (4+ / 0-)

    and I am supporting them by patronizing their art. Therefore I didn't go to Ender's Game (although I enjoyed the book). I wouldn't have any hesitation about watching Triumph of the Will on Netflix, though (it was on my list but I never got around to it).

    And frankly, OSC is not in Riefenstahl's league either as an artist or a monster.

    •  OSC is crazy. Believes he will become a God... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew F Cockburn

      Read all his books except for Ender's game which is more of an Xbox novel methinks.

    •  What about dead artists with lousy kids? (0+ / 0-)

      If the artist her- or him-self was nice as pie, as well as talented, but has since died and the inheritors of the estate are jerks of one kind or another?

      I think if I knew the money from buying a book or film or whatever was going to a racist organization, I would certainly buy something else, and maybe even if I just knew the estate was benefiting a rabid sexist or pedophile.

      I'm definitely not going to go researching every work I want to buy for such situations, though, and I'm with you on feeling that if no current evil is supported by my money it makes it a lot easier to appreciate the art on its own merits.

      One nation, indivisible.

      by Doctor Frog on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:12:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Orson... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...can go bite off.  Generally I'll roll with it: we live in a racist, misogynistic and generally not-very-nice culture, and more importantly, there are many examples of artists who were better people, as artists, than they ever were as human beings.

    But generally, I think the time to enjoy Orson Scott Card is when he has fed a few kilos of worms on a couple of orbits.  He's way more than "duck dynasty" level in his hate peddling -- the uses the same skill he had back in Creative Computing and Byte days to explain things -- to helpfully tell why me and mine should be dead in a ditch, so even if I thought the work less puerile and self-indulgent, I would not go see it -- not because of the work, but because damn if I want to give that rotten man a penny. And I personally, as a skiffy fan who grew up reading his books and awaiting each one eagerly, feel something nasty, a kind of love gone wrong.  He had a lot of trust from young people who were entering the most exploratory and trusting stage of their lives, and he used that time for bigotry and hate.

    Mostly though, the artist gets a partial pass.  If you act in really bad taste or with horrible personal politics in your life, people look at your art and wonder, I think.  But not everyone suffers by that comparison.  

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:52:36 PM PST

    •  Does his hate infect his works, do you think? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've only read Ender's Game, many years ago, and remember it for two things:  one, it seemed a bit too much of a video game novelization, and two, it struck me as rather homoerotic.  I can see how it would make a great action flick, although I have no desire to see it.  

      Just wondering about the rest of his writing, if it's as apolitical as Ender's Game.

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:19:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  eh (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        No, I don't think it infects his work as such.  His anti-gay thing is really over the top, and have wondered to what degree anything that extreme changes a person -- the only thing that stands out is that as I've gotten older I've come to see his work as a bit frigid, in the lit crit meaning of the term -- there's some part of the human arc he seems (to me) to shy away from.  His work is famously rooted in Mormon stories, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but at this remove I sort of feel like those stories are in some ways a little bigger than he is, as a writer, and this masks some of his own narrowness.  You find characters having these complex arcs and then at the end it shrinks down to a couple of value judgements --

        That said, in some ways he chooses important and useful things to talk about -- Ender as xenocide was a more interesting character than Ender the aspiring.  I read the original Ender's game in Analog when it came out though, and it always seemed a bit like a short story to me, no matter how much more got added.  It was the end of the Ben Bova era at Analog, and was good in that context...

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 01:55:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks, great analysis (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I can recognize many of your observations in his writing, but I wouldn't be able to elucidate them as you have.  

          I only know of his gay hating second hand, so I guess I should look up what he's said.  Normally I don't seek out gay bashing, but OSC sounds like a real nutter.

          "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

          by Subterranean on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 03:50:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I find Wagner a moral dilemma (0+ / 0-)

    I dislike everything about the man, even the theory behind his music, but the music ravishes me every time.

    Indeed, if I were to stop listening to/playing music written by anti-Semites, I'd also have to give up Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and most of the other greats of European music who were not themselves Jewish. Some art is truly great.

    Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Elia Kazan - I could consider them geniuses of film, and perhaps see the movies I think special that they made, though I must say I never liked Woody Allen's movies that much until those he made when he was with Mia Farrow, which were gentle and loving, but that opens another can of worms.

    I'd have trouble with the others though. The art has to be of a caliber to transcend time and have meaning in itself.

    Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

    by ramara on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:58:09 PM PST

  •  Parallels to Woody Allen but different treatment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, bartcopfan
    Modern Times shows the struggle of a country in the throes of a depression.   What better character than the Tramp to speak volumes about the financial struggles of the masses?   The Tramp does not want a lot.  He just wants a nice little home with fruit growing into each window that he can share with his jail bait girlfriend.

    Goddard plays Chaplin's underaged love interest.  After her father is killed, her younger siblings are taken into wards of the court but she runs away before they can take her as well.  They continue to look for her throughout the film as she is in fact under aged.  This almost makes the Tramp seem slightly creepy but their relationship thankfully stays platonic.  In real life Goddard married her first husband when she was only 16.
    Lita Grey began working for Charles Chaplin at his Hollywood studio when she was 12, doing bit parts in a couple of movies of his. Three years later, at 15, she met Chaplin again, became pregnant by him and they were married in 1924, when she was 16 and he was 35. They had two sons before their three-year marriage ended in a bitter divorce.
    Hetty Kelly was Chaplin's first love, a dancer with whom he fell in love when she was fifteen and almost married when he was nineteen, in 1908.[...]
    Sixteen-year-old Harris met actor Charlie Chaplin in mid-1918, dated, and came to believe she was pregnant by him. They married on October 23, 1918, in Los Angeles, California.[...]
    Oona O'Neill: During Chaplin's legal trouble over the Barry affair, he met O'Neill, daughter of Eugene O'Neill, and married her on 16 June 1943. He was fifty-four; she had just turned eighteen. The marriage produced eight children; their last child, Christopher, was born when Chaplin was 73 years old.[...]

    "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights." (From "You Said a Mouthful" by Bishop Desmond Tutu - South African bishop & activist, b.1931)

    by FiredUpInCA on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:10:56 PM PST

    •  Values Dissonance (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, sethtriggs, bartcopfan


      In the United States, as late as the 1880s most States set the minimum age [of consent] at 10–12, (in Delaware it was 7 in 1895).[7] ...[F]emale reformers in the US initiated their own campaign[8] which petitioned legislators to raise the legal minimum age to at least 16, with the ultimate goal to raise the age to 18. The campaign was successful, with almost all states raising the minimum age to 16–18 years by 1920.[4][9]
      The virginal child-woman was a staple of silent films until well into the 1920s. DW Griffith constantly cast his leading ladies (especially Lillian Gish) in such roles; Mary Pickford took it much farther, playing spunky child heroines until well into adult maturity.

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:35:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can appreciate someone's work and/or talent (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ, bartcopfan, Chitown Kev

    irrespective of their being assholes otherwise, because that's simple analysis.

    Will I enjoy and desire to seek out their work?  Everyone has assholish and bad marks in their past, so it depends: if they've come around and tried to atone and show they understood what they've done/felt/inspired caused harm to others, then I might see around those past issues.

    Folks like Chris Brown get under my skin: he postures such that all his girlfriend beating is somehow a badge of honor.  Fuck him and anything he does: he'll never get my money or attention with that selfish, hateful and harmful attitude.

    I used to read much that Frank Miller wrote - from his original Daredevil run with Klaus Janson to The Dark Knight Returns to Electra: Assassin to Sin City to 300, etc. - but, I always assumed his misogynistic, might-means-right characters in highly polarized good vs bad worlds were throwbacks to older story templates in a purposeful manner.  Turns out that was true and not entirely so, at the same time: he's an asshole and crank of highest order.  And, he's doubled down on being so.  Nowadays, I don't read his stuff anymore - including the items I still own (and am slowly selling off).  Much of his work is irretrievable tainted by the context I've learned about him.

    John Lennon was a drug-addled, narcissistic liar with almost no sense of responsibility beyond his own desires, IMHO.  He's dead now, so I'm not giving him my money when I listen to the Beatles, but there is always a tinge of something like "what was he doing to his son at this point?" when I hear his later songs.  I honestly think the drugs made him worse than he already was, so give him a slight bit of leeway - but not much.  I listen to the Beatles for the ensemble and don't collect Lennon's individual works.

    Which all means that I can have mixed feelings about asshole artists, and do try to understand mitigating circumstances in their personal history which might explain their attitudes.  But, when they turn out to be un-redeemable for either extremely strong or an overwhelmingly wide range of reasons, I'll give up on them and be unable to separate their art from their individual selves.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:20:51 PM PST

    •  Hate to break it to you, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chitown Kev

      but Lennon wasn't the only Beatle who used drugs.

      When you ditch your Beatle's collection please let me know, I can recycle it for you free of charge!

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:25:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Drugs are not a breaking point for me (0+ / 0-)

        He was an asshole without them - just seemed even more so as the heroin use continued.

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:36:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  So Karl Marx is an anti-semite for his paper On (0+ / 0-)

    The Jewish Question?

    "The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism."
    Wagner was an outstanding egomaniac and a true genius.
    He stole his friend Bulow's wife and was at the center of the 1848 Spring of the Nations Revolution in Saxony where he was an associate of the anarchist Bakunin and was blacklisted.
    He exploited the delusions of King Ludwig of Bavaria.
    You might as well blame Marie Curie for the atomic bomb.
    Salvador Dali supported a living Franco  is more guilty.
    And Brahms was a fanatic German nationalist ( Triumphlied) but I can still enjoy the Handel Variations and Liebeslieder Waltzes.
    Wagner died 50 years before Hitler came to power.
    The fact is the Nazi used Beethoven, Lizst, Mozart and others in their fake 'culture war'.
    Incidently while Wagner didn't care for Brahm's works, he let Brahms dutifully proofread 'Das Rheingold' for him.

    My favorite Lohengrin section among MANY,

    The real anti-Semitism in the Wagner family came when Houston Stewart Chamberlain, an Englishman  married Wagner's stepdaughter.
    25 years after Richard Wagner had died.

    •  Marx was anti religious (0+ / 0-)

      and a Jew in 19th century German Europe.  Rejection of traditional Jewish culture and religious identity was pretty common among many Jews, who mostly wanted to be accepted as Germans.

      Anti Semitism as we think of it now didn't exist until the time he died.  But in any case, it's the wrong label to use for Marx and others of his generation.

      Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

      by mbayrob on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:37:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I posted that Marx quote just to show how easy (0+ / 0-)

        it is use the historical record to make a point.
        Wagner had friendly personal relations with a number of Jews like Hermann Levi which I don't believe would have been the case with a genuine anti-Semite. Still, his book
        Judaism in Music was bigoted and mean-spirited.

  •  Never liked "Here comes the bride" anyway-- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Edvard Grieg's ""Wedding Day at Troldhaugen" is much livelier and happier. I chose to walk down the aisle (of my mother's living room) to that music.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:30:38 PM PST

  •  i can't listen to von karajan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ

    or schwarzkopf, and von karajan's brandenburg concertos was my favorite. i haven't been able to watch mel gibson films (and i loved gallipoli, year of living dangerously, tequila sunrise). never a fan of ted nugent, although catch scratch fever was mindless fun, but i can't listen to it, either. touch of evil is the tough one, because it's just too great to avoid...

    my favorite story in this vein is about michael tilson thomas, the gay jewish conductor of the san francisco symphony. as a young man, he was musical assistant and assistant conductor at bayreuth. he stayed with one of the wagner descendants, and one night while he was working late, she came to his room or office and asked if he'd like some coffee, and how he'd like it. he wanted cream. she turned up her nose and said "der fuhrer liked his black!"

    i suppose if mtt can love wagner's music, i can too.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:30:44 PM PST

  •  Ted Nugent anyone? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, VirginiaJeff

    I admit that he was one of my guitar heroes back in the day, but today? Hell to the noes!

    You can continue to serve with

    by rickeagle on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:32:29 PM PST

  •  Can we please (0+ / 0-)

    not re-live the whole Man vs. Artist debate in regards to Wagner.  He was an artistic genius but also a man who wanted German art and culture to reign supreme and he was a racist.  But in my opinion his artistic output can be appreciated and revered without his personal opinions on german culture and race.  His music/operas are so influential in the history of music.

  •  Should it matter if the artist is dead (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and can no longer benefit financially from their work?

    For example, I feel more complicit in a person's bigotry if I know that my purchase of their work is simply helping them to get richer.

    I'm a Christian, therefore I'm a liberal.

    by VirginiaJeff on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 08:42:15 PM PST

  •  with genius comes madness (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    one can be a genius and also not too well hung together.

    just don't whitewash the truth.

  •  Maybe a few rubrics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    1) Has the individual in question skated by without consequence? were they ever held accountable? are they remorseful or have they tried to make amends?

    2) Are they still alive to bask in the adoration of their fans? could they mistake that adoration as forgiveness for their misdeeds or support for their opinions?

    3) Would my public appreciation of this person hurt people who are living now?

  •  Brings to Mind FDR (4+ / 0-)

    According to Gilbert King's, Devil in the Grove, when Attorney General Francis Biddle phoned FDR to discuss the NAACP's involvement in a case in Virginia, at Biddle's instruction, NAACP lawyer (and future Supreme Court justice) Thurgood Marshall, picked up the extension, only to hear FDR say, "I warned you not to call me again about any of Eleanor's niggers.  Call me one more time and you're fired."

    Kinda takes the bloom off of the Four Freedoms, Social Security and all that.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:11:18 PM PST

  •  Nice piece. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheMomCat, VirginiaJeff

    Yet another reason I support J.D. Salinger/Mark Twain pseudonymity.

    There are 3 reasons I don't use my real name.

    It wouldn't impress you.
    I value my privacy and my lawn (yeah, I get that some of you don't like me).
    The work stands on it's own.

  •  This is partly why Nietzsche broke with Wagner (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chitown Kev

    F.N. had a very dim view of anti-Semites.

    As for me separating the artist from art, it depends on the context.  Woody Allen--I'll watch his early work, because it was brilliant, and it was before he was 'creepy' (perhaps he was always so).  I enjoy the early albums of one-man black-metal act Burzum, but the guy behind it, Varg Vikernes, is a total asshole, and his politics are deplorable (I'll leave it at that).  Etc., etc., etc.  If I were to stop enjoying art because of the often profound shortcomings of its creators, I'd be  listening to, reading, or watching...children's books?  Wiggles?  Disney crap ('cause Walt was such a fantastic human being)?  Fuck that.

    Col. Brandt: "What do you think we'll do when we lose the war?" Capt. Kiesel: "Prepare for the next one." --from "Cross of Iron"

    by ConservatismSuxx on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 10:37:47 PM PST

  •  When it comes to science, math and engineering (0+ / 0-)

    our base of knowledge can expand despite its development coming from terrible people from time to time.  In these instances, they can be denied honors and awards when they overstep the boundaries of humanity.  I disagree with the diary criticizing Kary Mullis for comments regarding science as people are allowed to be wrong in science.  Einstein for a long time opposed quantum mechanics, but he can be forgiven.  Disagreements in science are very different than when people overstep the bounties of humanity.

    For the arts, this is a different, as the essence of the arts is its expression of humanity.  Ignoring the works of a horrific person does not cause much loss for humanity, as there are likely similar expressions of the arts positive contribution to humanity, or someone else will later contribute something similar.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:10:24 PM PST

  •  Separating the Artist from the Art (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is a complex question about which I have several opinions. To begin with, I will happily boycott run-of-the-mill products produced by assholes or companies run by assholes. One example is the Koch brothers (right wing assholes) -- I’ll never buy their toilet paper or paper towels. Also, there are two or three delivery/takeout pizza chains that I despise, either because of how they treat their employees or how the owner/CEO spends his money.

    But that’s not art, that’s toilet paper and pizza. There are lots of other companies that produce those things. So I spend my money at places that are more progressive. Or at least less regressive.

    Art is different because each piece of art is unique.

    So, let’s look at bad art. I’ll mention that John Wayne Gacy (serial child molester and child killer) and Adolph Hitler (politician and mass murderer) were both painters. Neither was a very good artist; Gacy painted clown pictures, Hitler did amateurish pictures of landscapes. Nobody would buy one of their works because it was beautiful. The only reason would be the notoriety of the artist. “Hey, this painting sucks, but it was painted by Hitler!” I’m not interested in bad art.

    I do have a bit of a problem with excellent art created by a supposedly bad person. I will begin with art that I like. Robert Mapplethorpe was a brilliant photographer, but some of his photographs had explicit gay themes (which pissed off Jesse Helms). Mapplethorpe took that photo of Patti Smith that was on the cover of her first or second album. That’s OK. I have no problem with Mapplethorpe.

    Then there’s the photo called “Piss Christ” by Andres Serrano. That also pissed off Jesse Helms (who was trying to eliminate government funding for art). The piece of art created by Serrano wasn’t a crucifix submerged in urine. It was a photograph of a crucifix surrounded by an eerie yellow light. Maybe it really was yellow because of piss or maybe it was just a yellow filter on the camera. Or yellow food coloring. But it was just a photo. I have no problem with Serrano (even if it really was a photo of a crucifix in urine).


    A question to ask is this: does the art stand by itself or do you judge it by what you know of the artist and his or her circumstances? Does the observer approach the work of art (novel, painting, song, whatever) and say “this is good!” Or does the observer put it in context and compare it to the other works by the artist (and think about the political beliefs or personal habits of the artist) and figure out what the real meaning is? Paul Gauguin (the painter) moved to Tahiti and left behind six children in France. He abandoned them. Does that affect your judgment of his art? Gauguin was an asshole. But he was a good painter.


    I once worked with Orson Scott Card at COMPUTE! Publications. He was a book editor; I was a magazine editor. He was a Mormon and I’m pretty much an atheist, but we got along fine.

    At the time he was a struggling SF writer. But then he wrote “Ender’s Game” and “Speaker for the Dead,” both of which I think are excellent books.  And he won both the Hugo Award for Best Novel and the Nebula Award for Best Novel two years in a row. One is awarded by the Science Fiction Writers’ Association and the other is awarded by readers/fans.

    That’s unique. Those are the two biggest awards of SF. I don’t think any other SF writer has won both the Hugo and the Nebula for best novel in two consecutive years.

    Since then, I’ve read what he’s written about gay people and marriage equality -- and I think he’s wrong. His opinions are despicable. But he has written some good science fiction.


    So the question is, do you judge the art based on what you know about the artist? Or do you judge the art on its own? I can’t think of very many good right-wing writers, but I used to admire William Buckley (who was smart, but often wrong) and P.J. O’Rourke is a good writer, even if I usually disagree with him.

    I don’t know. I can dislike an artist but like his (or her) art.

    "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

    by Dbug on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 11:10:40 PM PST

  •  Not much "alleged" about Polanski (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He was convicted and skipped bail. You can drop the modifier.

  •  There is a difference between (0+ / 0-)

    whether the assessment of art should be colored by the artist's behavior and beliefs and whether it is acceptable not to consume (eg, boycott) art because of an artist's behavior and beliefs.  I think it's important to be mindful of this distinction.

    On the former, I would argue that the work should stand on its own.  I would argue that the latter does not involve an assessment of the art (or its aesthetics) at all.  The question- do I want to offer support to a person whose views or behaviors I deplore- is one of economics.  As such, there really is no debate.  Everyone is free to choose to spend their money as they see fit.  These choices are not encumbered by aesthetic judgments.  Not buying an R. Kelly album because of his history is not a commentary on the value of the music itself.  It is only when we base our aesthetic judgments on the artist's life that there is a problem.  I would argue that no art should be burned, banned, or discarded because of the artist's life.  

  •  Lovecraft. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I find that H. P. Lovecraft makes me ponder the "art vs. artist" question. He was a profoundly racist person (and I have no doubt that his prejudices ran deeper). There's a racist undertone to many of his stories (you have to cringe a bit whenever he calls a people "degenerate," for starters, not to mention the cat in "The Rats In the Walls," or really any of his descriptions of Africans or Asians). But I'm generally able to enjoy the work regardless, even if I cringe at some of the harder-to-ignore prejudices running through it.

    Not a universal standard, mind you, but it's a data point, and it's what personally causes me to consider this question the most often (I don't really watch movies, for one).

    Always follow the money.

    by Zaq on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 02:57:08 AM PST

  •  Easy. Entertainment is fungible, Science is not. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You can applaud a persons contribution to science, and utilize it for the betterment of mankind. To do otherwise would be to cut off your nose to spite your face.
    To give your time to patronizing the arts of a terrible person (and, often, increasing their personal wealth in the process), when there is a world of art that would be its equal or better, however...

  •  How can we know the dancer from the dance? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure where this wants to go.

    I suppose it might be possible to run double-blind tests on the perceived quality of art works, where the raters don't know which artists created which work.  Would that shed any light on the questions here?

    Probably not.  The question seems to be one of personal moral choice.

    From that perspective, there is a massive distinction between how one approaches the commercial art of living creators, who get enriched and get a louder megaphone from our patronage - versus the dead.  Especially the moldy dead, whose posthumous success would not influence current cultural trends much.

    That doesn't mean I want to go watch Birth of a Nation - sometimes the artwork itself is the problem.

  •  But (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chitown Kev

    the diary used the example of Richard Wagner.  To ignore Wagner and his artistic output because of his racist opinions would be like ignoring Isaac Newton in the history of mathematics.  You can't understand the history of music without studying Wagner.  Wagner is such a powerhouse in the history of the arts that he's probably a bad example.  He can't be ignored or dismissed.

  •  justice (0+ / 0-)

    The real issue for me is not how we treat the artists' work, but how we treat the artists' crimes.  The state has turned a blind eye to the victims of the child molesters and wife beaters in too many of these cases.  Were these people punished appropriately instead of being given a pass for their exaulted position, we would probably not be having this discussion.

    As far as the artists whose crimes are the prevalent hatreds of the day, be they anti-semitism or homophobia, the reputation of the artist will have to depend on the quality of their product.  I have no doubt that Card' novel will disappear into nothingness, but Wagner's Meistersingers (indisputably Wagner's greatest achievement) will be watched and listened to with awe, despite the fact the viewer may have to hold his nose when considering the source.

  •  This diary feels to me like it is primarily (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    aimed at R. Kelly. Which I guess would be an okay diary if you want to write about that particular gross dichotomy.
      There are a lot of links and info on Kelly. Most of the earlier citations have only one, often it is a wikipedia entry, and the link on Woody Allen's issues affecting Cate Blanchett's Oscar prospects links back to this diary instead.
      Kelly's story is fully fleshed out: links, block-quotes, criticisms of criticisms. Which is all compelling, if nauseating reading.
      But that's not what the diary claims to be. Interestingly, most of the comments are about the earlier examples.
      I was wondering, are you mostly motivated by the Kelly situation, and is there is an aspect of the Black music culture that you find particularly abhorrent and wish to address?
      Is there a deeper connection with the Black experience in our country: marginalized, under-served, saddled with unrealistic characterizations, that makes it easier for this victimization to continue, and even to be celebrated?

  •  Although, from the accompanying photo, (0+ / 0-)

     I thought you might be writing about this guy.
      That's a pretty clear case of "Uhhh, probably not art" after you strip away the "ironic social commentary."

  •  Don't forget Frank Sinatra. (0+ / 0-)

    A great voice emanating from a pile of shit.

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 05:28:14 AM PST

  •  Well, doesn't time make a difference? (0+ / 0-)

    I mean, living artist are in some way political actors...or at least tangentially involved in the debates of the day. So, it makes sense to avoid their works if you don't like their politics. (And, to a certain extent, I think one's politics can include the questions of abuse - even if they're not traditionally considered political questions. Ultimately, politicians write the laws on statutory rape and domestic violence after all)

    Dead artist, on the other hand, have nothing left to say or participate in. Moreover, their lives - if not their work - become more anachronistic with every passing second. Since their lives affected their work, this can mean their work might eventually not seem all that great to the living anymore. But, if somehow it stands the test of time, then who cares, especially if it isn't an overtly political piece.

    Herman Melville was something of an elitist, racists, ass. Doesn't change my opinion on Moby Dick.

  •  Since the money I spend is adorned with the (0+ / 0-)

    pictures of slave owners, and since most writers up to, say, the mid-19th century held racist, sexist, and possibly anti-semitic views, I'm all for separating the artist from the work.

  •  Mamas and the Papas (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I must say I liked the tunes and the production, but after learning all the back story — the petty jealousies within the group, the backbiting, the tangled affairs, John Phillips' dislike of Mama Cass, the allegations of molestation against him, etc. — listening to that music now really creeps me out.

    Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

    by Big River Bandido on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 06:36:01 AM PST

  •  Pretty subjective (0+ / 0-)

    But there are at least a few cases where I've concluded I can do without a reminder of some artists with pretty reprehensible behavior, usually where innocent children have been involved. And some racists and religious bigot come a close second.

    I don't think it necessarily voids their work, but sure spoils the celebration of it/them.

    No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

    by koNko on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:33:16 AM PST

  •  The real divider (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    One I have got into some heated discussions with dissenters about are the works of cinematic genius and Nazi doyenne Leni Riefenstahl

    Whilst her politics and the subject matter, particularly Triumph Of The Will, may be abhorrent it does not change the fact that her work still stands out as a benchmark of great film making and innovative cinematic techniques. Even her record of the 1936 Berlin Olympics - Olympia - is divisive, with some still condemning it as pure Nazi propaganda.

    Like it or lump it, she was a master of film making and even if the content can leave you with chills, the way she brought it to the screen was a lesson many in Hollydud could do with learning.

    Whenever discussions get really heated I like to laugh and point out that the person condemning her work should stop watching historical docs on Nazi Germany as they rely heavily on archived work of hers, as do a large number of pop and rock music videos.

    I read an article a few years ago that claimed Olympia was the most sampled archive footage used in music vids.

    •  I want to add something here (0+ / 0-)

      I had a friend who loved Riefenstahl's The Last of the Nuba.

      I can't say that I blame him, every aspect of the book is gorgeous and stunning.

      My friend (who is I am black) didn't know about Riefenstahl's history as a film maker and a propagandist for the Nazi Party.

      I told him that. We also went out and rented Triumph of the Will and watched that.

      In part, the fact that Riefenstahl's art is very "chilling is what makes her "great" and problematic as far as the question we are addressing here.

  •  It's a very, very interesting question. (0+ / 0-)

    It's hard for me to avoid deciding it purely situationally and selfishly, based on how much I get from the art.  I don't care from R. Kelly's art (more specifically, I think he's an accomplished artist but I don't like the genre) so I'm less inclined to separate artist and bad acts, likewise with Orson Scott Card since I don't care for Ender's Game, but I'm reluctant to give up Sleeper or Love and Death, or Lohengrin for that matter.  

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:58:14 AM PST

  •  Phil Spector is a convicted murderer. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can always listen to "Let It Be Naked" instead of the original that he produced.  But must I swear off the Ronettes forever?

  •  Toby Keith (0+ / 0-)

    I'll listen to his stuff on the radio (and usually like it) but I won't buy it.Kid Rock,Hank Jr.-same thing.These political neanderthals are too rich for their britches already.

    'The tyranny of the ignoramuses is absolute and inescapable' A.Einstein

  •  A recurring discussion in H.P, Lovecraft fandom. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Lovecraft's racism and class-ism were anachronisms even in his own time. He was so racist, he would have looked down on me for my Irish and Italian roots, with no trace of Anglo-Saxon blood. Yet it was his alienism and sense of New England superiority that laid the foundation for his creative works of cosmic horror. I think he would be shocked to find out that one of his modern biographers is a Seattleite of South Asian descent. As well as how many major writers in his shared mythos are persons of color, and/or members of the LGBT community.

    Those of us who chose to ignore his bigotry tend to do so for a combination of reasons. Part of it is recognizing that both his parents died in a mental hospital due the syphilis, and he was largely raised by his elderly grandfather and aunts. There is some speculation about his stability as well. There is evidence that he understood that his views were archaic, and he did show progress on his views in his last years, and he died rather young. Most importantly, I think a lot of why people overlook his racism is because he explicitly made the story world and mythos he created openly available to any other writer who wanted to work in it. That has led to a whole sub-genre of Lovecraftian horror that is now amazingly inclusive, both with the writers working in it, and the fandom as a whole. So as one can't separate him from his bigotry, one also can't separate what he has unintentionally done in creating the diversity of the Lovecraft community.

    I juxtapose that with my other literary love of my youth, Robert Heinlein. Like Lovecraft, I fell in love with Heinlein's writing from the first book I encountered. Although with Heinlein it was at a much earlier age. It was as a kid at the public library, "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" was that first book. The problem I had with Heinlein stems from everything different between he an Lovecraft. Where Lovecraft was recognizing his views were archaic in the '30s, Heinlein was still writing while I was reading him, so I find his problems more challenging. For all the evidence I can find of a man who was ahead of his times on issues of race and feminism, he was writing strong independent female characters early on, I can also find things like "Farnham's Freehold' that are deeply troubling in their blatant racism. Where I recognize that his frequently featuring non-monogamous relationships in his stories clearly had an effect on me, as I'm not monogamous myself, and I love how he championed sexual liberation before it was popular, I'm also squicked by themes of pedophilia and incest that show up in some of his stories. And don't get me started on his embrace of conservative/libertarian politics and Ayn Rand. Yet as I can no longer enjoy rereading most of his stories the way I used to, I also can not overlook that he has been hugely influential in science and science fiction.

    Where I could forgive Lovecraft because he showed improvement over his early views, I don't see any improvement with Heinlein, and even some regression in terms of political tolerance. I suppose that is why I still enjoy Lovecraft. I see him as a flawed individual who may have been doing the best he could, while I see so much in Heinlein were I can't help but think he knew better.

    Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shackles. It is by the picket line and direct action that true freedom will be won, not by electing people who promise to screw us less than the other guy.

    by rhonan on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 12:58:18 PM PST

  •  A rhetorical answer to your rhetorical question. (0+ / 0-)

    When it stops being about the art and when it starts being about the artist.

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