Last night at Grumpy’s, Jags, No Nickname Amanda, and I had a conversation about Art, Artists, and whether you can go on enjoying the art if you find out something really gross about the artist. I am not sure how we got on this topic, but it had something to do with Joni Mitchell and No Nickname Amanda’s short story about a teenager who pursues a much older man. Somehow it led us to Woody Allen.
Jags, who is something of a film buff, talked about how she doesn’t enjoy Woody Allen’s movies since he essentially married his daughter. Which is a valid complaint. However, she doesn’t have the same problems with Roman Polanksi, who can’t even come into the country because of some shennanigans with a teenager back in the seventies.
No Nickname Amanda talked about how heartbroken she was when she found out Roald Dahl was a Nazi (which was total news to me) and how she had a tough time dealing with Salinger after reading Joyce Mayanard memoir about her relationship with the reclusive author.
On some level, I can appreciate and accept the art on its own merits. However, art is not created in a vacuum and what I struggle with is whether your support of art by, say, an anti-semite is perhaps tacit acceptance of that viewpoint? Is it?
I’m a big proponent of ‘voting’ with my check card. It’s the reason that no matter how grand my curiosity, I won’t read a book by James Frey or Jayson Blair. It’s the reason why, when in Rock & Roll Bookclub [before we purged the undesirables) when someone wanted to read a book by some right-wing conservative nutjob I raised a stink about how I absolutely refused. It’s the reason I haven’t been inside a Walmart since about 2001, because I refuse to spend my money at a place with policies I find so abhorrent. Of course, I realize this is a slippery slope and that most corporations by their very nature go against my beliefs (profits over people), but I do what I can when I think about it.
Is this something you too struggle with? or does it never even cross your mind?