Opinion: Like the Art, Hate the Artist?

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

Not too long ago, I opened a forum posing a question highly relevant in these times. I should’ve worded it differently, but basically, is it possible to separate and like the art from its creator who turns out to be a total jackass?

It’s an issue that’s hot in the midst of the rejuvenated Me Too Movement (It initially began in 2006.) where highly successful, powerful and/or respected people (almost exclusively men) are accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape by mostly women. Some of these men are or were movers and shakers in the entertainment industry with their work known and loved all over the country and around the world. The accusations levied against them, with possibly more to come, critically tarnished or straight up destroyed their legacies and severed permanently any chance of more opportunities for them to ever redeem themselves career wise.

The world is being taught a cruel but necessary lesson that a talent alone doesn’t mean that the person is worthy of being considered a role model. Being able to create great art doesn’t necessarily mean that the artist is great. Sure he can compose good music. Sure he can create amazing paintings. Sure he can sing, act, cook or write. But none of that tells who the real individual is.

With that said, can we really separate and like the art but can’t stand the artists who made the art? Well, it all depends on the individual, because there’s no objectively right or wrong answer. Some believe that you can while some cannot, but some people both sides agree that one cannot defend the artist after what he’s done that turns out to be true. Though, people try anyway, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re bad people. In an age of suspicion, we question everything, especially what’s told to us about people, the ones we know and don’t know. On the other hand, facts can’t be argued, but again, suspicions are abound to what’s considered fact and fiction in the minds of people unable or unwilling to grasp the harshness of reality.

In most cases, you have one person dropping their love for one creator while supporting another for the same misdeed, something just as deplorable or something subjectively worse. Some people still love their work regardless of how many screw-ups they’ve done, are doing and probably will do. And you have those who’ll leave their idols if they get so much as a traffic ticket.

Like commenter Herneith said, celebrity culture is overrated overall, if not confusing and – at times – poisonous. Many of us view artists, past and present, as gods incapable of sin. But in the end, they’re like any other human being, and many of them have skeletons in their room-size closets. What the Me Too Movement helped to remind us is that as talented as our beloved stars are, they are not above mistakes or sin. Some are obviously sick, but there’s no doubt that they’ve changed the world with their talents, and like it or not, these people are a part of the culture of creativity and we have to take the good along with the bad, especially the bad.

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