Judging art by judging the artist - asking for trouble?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Greg_Y, Jan 28, 2002.

  1. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    (What follows is a rant. The rant is not directed towards the mods/owners, but to a dangerous way of thinking that I see on the HTF occasionally. My purpose is to see if there's any way to resolve what I see as a problem. One of the reasons I wrote it is because there is so much creative analysis and wonderful discussion on this forum, and yet this pervasive attitude can also rear its ugly head and I can't seem to figure out why.)
    This thread (click here), and another one like it that was closed a few months back, truly get my goat. Few things grate on my nerves more than someone judging a work of art by mainly (or, in this case, exclusively!) judging the artist.
    What is the point of this way of thinking? What is gained by it? How does labeling the artist and then judging them by the label advance our critical analysis of art? Likewise, most of us know almost nothing about each other's personal lives. Yet we value each other's "works of art": an equipment recommendation, a well-worded movie review, etc. To those of you that subscribe to this way of thinking, do you do background checks on someone after they recommend one DVD player over another. "Say, he has 3 outstanding traffic tickets; how can I trust his word on what receiver to buy!?"
    To me, this is also the perfect example of the slippery slope phenomenon. "I'll read a book by an author who has shoplifted, but not by a rapist." "I'll see an art exhibit by a guy who hit his wife once, but not one who put her in the hospital" "That director was once involved in a hit-and-run; I won't see his movie, but I'll see this other movie since I don't know anything about THAT director."
    I know those examples tend a bit towards the ludicrous side, but does anyone see my point? Should I make sure that Leonardo Da Vinci was a "good man" before I study his works of art?
    To those of you who see nothing wrong with this method of judgment, allow me a few hypothetical questions:
    1. Do you research the backgrounds of each and every director(s) / writer(s) / producer(s) / actor(s) / actress(es) / etc. attached to EACH and EVERY film you see to make sure they are what YOU would consider to be "good" human beings? If not, why only do it to a few films? Are you sure Stephen Spielberg doesn't have bodies hidden his backyard?
    2. Are you sure your "facts" are correct about those who are on your black list? You're not scared that making all this effort to judge people will be a wasted effort should new information be found?
    3. Where does it end? Robber but not killer? Ladies man but not rapist? How are you so good at drawing the lines in the sand and comfortably living with them?
    4. Finally, why the need to force your views on other people? If Director Joe Smith is convicted of murder and later legally declared not guilty, will you then go see his films? Will you then "allow" others to see his films?
    To me, I do not care about the personal lives of artists, whether they be directors, actors, authors, or whatever. I look at each piece of art individually and try to at least reflect on what it means to me, what it says about life, and all that other good stuff.
    For those of you thinking that they've got a bad guy named Greg in their midst, fear not. I'm not arguing these points because I have something to hide. Anyone trying to find the skeletons in my closet would come up relatively empty, and certainly be bored in the process.
     
  2. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    I just thought you might like to know that there is at least one other person out there who agrees with you 100%.
    Except that I would have put the thread in a different area. [​IMG]
    But this sort of thing has been happening forever and I doubt it will end any time soon.
    People burned Beatles albums after John made the "bigger than Jesus" remark.
    They burned Sinead's when she ripped up the pope's pic on SNL.
    Maybe I should boycott Bing Crosby movies because he has gone on record as an obnoxious homophobe who said he would disown his own kids if they were gay.
    Maybe I should boycott Charlton Heston films because I don't like guns.
    But nah.
     
  3. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Good points all, but surely it would color one's opinion of a work if a person had found out that the artist he admired was found guilty of something heinous, say child molesting, or if he had murdered his wife for instance.

    Do people in the US still admire and revere OJ Simpson for instance?

    Just an opinion.
     
  4. Kevin Coleman

    Kevin Coleman Second Unit

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    Steve,
    Why do you assume admiring a piece of art means admiring the person that created it? IMO they are not the same.
    If OJ simpson were to sign with the Patriots tomorrow and play in the superbowl this weekend and gain over a hundred yards I would admire the feat but I couldn't care less if OJ got hit by a truck the next day.
    Kevin C. [​IMG]
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Mainly, it's a emotional response, which can be sometimes irrational, but we humans are that way, so there you go.

    Can you imagine if Hitler was a great artist? I'd find it tough to admire anything that man "created" in light of what he "destroyed". It's an emotional and human response given the facts surrounding such an "artist".

    Art is emotional, it's the emotions that art evokes that speaks to people. Couple those emotions with the other emotional baggage (of the artist's past transgressions) and you have a recipe similar to a relationship that is "no good for me no matter how good the sex was."

    Sometimes people can forgive, but they should never forget.

    Some people don't get past the "forgive" part when taking in art.
     
  6. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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  7. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Kevin, I understand what you're saying, but its a personal reaction, if I had a painting on my wall for instance, which I admired and showed off to visitors, and later I find out that the German artist had been involved in the deaths of millions during the Holocaust, I would definitely take it down, hide it or try to sell it, it would affect my opinion of it, and my conscience.
    Another person might say fuck it and keep it up on his wall.
    On the other hand convicted rapist Mike Tyson still draws the crowds even though he is hardly the most beloved of boxers, maybe everyone wants to see him go down.[​IMG]
     
  8. Kevin Coleman

    Kevin Coleman Second Unit

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    Tyson right that is a train wreck waiting to happen. I just hope I am there to see it. He was supposed to be on LKL last night but his "handlers" backed him out of it.
    Kevin C. [​IMG]
     
  9. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    It's not about judging the art. It's about refusing to support the individual who created that art.

    I would never avoid a film simply because I disagree with statments made by said artist. There is a huge differance between What Victor Salva did and John Lennon's "Bigger than Jesus" comment.

    In that thread I did not make any comments about Jeepers Creepers being a bad film, thus I fail to see it as judging art.

    It's amazing to me that some people seem to express more concern about people like myself refusing to watch a movie based on my personal morals, than they seem to be about what this Salva guy is 100% proven to have done.
     
  10. Paul Richardson

    Paul Richardson Second Unit

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