I know I've talked about this before, not sure if it was here or on a Facebook post and honestly I'm too lazy to go look it up so I'm going to talk about it again. Forgive me for any repeated messaging. Not like it is the first or last time for me repeating myself.
Do you separate the art from the artist? And if you do or do not, why? What are your lines? Where do you say, "nope, not ever buying/listening/reading/paying attention to this artist ever again."
My lines vary. I have a few hard and fast ones. I will never watch a Woody Allen movie. I will never again buy anything that brings Bill Cosby money. When Michael Jackson was alive it wouldn't have mattered if he wrote the best album since Off the Wall I wouldn't have bought it. And there is a waver in the line for me. When he was alive. Now that he is dead I have considered going back and buying some of his older stuff I don't have. Because he wouldn't profit off of the purchase. But would my purchase mean I forgive or condone? Hmmm...that's what keeps me from the purchase. But I lean toward I would buy now that he is dead and won't see that money.
Mel Gibson is a tricky one. He's an asshole. He also (from all evidence) beat his pregnant girlfriend. Right now I am in the no Mel Gibson camp if he wrote, directed and is the only star. But if it's an ensemble cast I might waver. Maybe. But haven't yet. The abuse pushes him in to the no area.
But what about people who aren't criminal, or haven't committed unforgivable acts in your eyes, but are just assholes. Where do they fall?
Bill Cosby is my example for that. I actually saw him live quite a few years ago. Before the barrage of accusations came out and his criminal activity was really brought to light. I wrote about it at the time and my impression of him was that he was a raging asshole. It changed the way I felt about him as a person, which had been largely informed by his performances and stand-up. Instead of being funny he was bitter. But I still would have watched old Cosby Show episodes, I still would have listened to his old stand-up. Now? Now that it's shifted from asshole to asshole rapist? No. Nothing that could bring him a royalty. Nothing that could make him think he is okay. Nothing.
So a live criminal or abuser gets nothing. Once they are dead then I have to reevaluate.
And then there is the dreaded line where you find out that someone you have enjoyed their work for ages turns out to be reprehensible. What do you do then? Orson Scott Card, anyone? I bought a lot of his books for C when he was growing up and I wouldn't now. But he enjoyed them quite a bit so would that be the right call? He's not a criminal, he's just an asshole.
Or if you find out that a company is founded on a crime? Chanel anyone? What do you do then? Do you take a stance on the history? But that leads to really murky areas considering the number of American businesses, families and industries that built themselves on the backs of slaves. Past crimes cannot be changed so should current businesses be punished?
So do you separate the art from the artist? Do you say, yes, they might have been awful but they created something wonderful and once it was out in the world it is detached from them. Especially if they are not going to profit from the art anymore. Or if they are just an asshole and not a criminal.
What started all of this soul searching today? Kat Von D. She bugs the crap out of me. I think she's a pain in the ass and spoiled and a brat and haven't watched a show with her on it or paid attention to anything she's done in years because of it. But...according to all the reviews she makes a really great make up line. So...
HEY! I never said I wasn't shallow along with my deep pockets!
You get to separate that part of the art and artist where I am concerned.