Does Art Stand Apart from the Artist?

Photo by angelocesare.

This has been on my mind lately. It started with reading HP Lovecraft. The short version is that he was racist – even more so than expected for his time, but he still produced some great work. Some very thoughtful comments on that post led me to state this:

“Yes, his racism is ‘unfortunate’ to say the least, but I do believe that art stands beyond the artist. All humans have flaws great and small, and if we discounted every artist based on their personal problems we’d have no great art left.”

I believe that, but I believe it in shades of gray. I keep going back to it, turning the concept around in my mind, studying it from different angles. Is there a line? An exception? Does it vary for each consumer, for each artist, for each piece of art? I think it does. [For the sake of this post, I’m going to consider “art” any creative product. I’m not arguing merit or quality or semantics here; just product.]

I think that this is the reason that we study “context” when we study literature. It’s not just about the actual story; it almost can’t be. The time, place, and beliefs that the author was writing from change everything. Almost all antique literature is racist, for example, because almost all people being published more than a century ago were racist. The same goes for misogyny, classism, treatment of mentally ill people, etc. If we decide to hold artists accountable for their personal beliefs, that leaves us two options when it comes to our literary heritage: 1) get rid of all of it, or 2) get rid of all of it where those beliefs were expressed.

I’m not okay with that. Are you?

So if we allow that art can be based on its own merit apart from that of the artist, what are the exceptions? Perhaps when the negative beliefs can’t be attributed to the creator’s time/background. (That would knock out Lovecraft. Again, I’m not okay with that.) Perhaps when their actions cause ramifications in the real world? There are some chillingly beautiful portions of Mein Kampf, for example, but to study that work without attaching the context would be absurd. What about a less global example, such as A Clockwork Orange? That gets into my old topic of reader vs. writer responsibility. Where’s the line?

A different example is modern popular art. Celebrities. Don’t we judge every contemporary movie, TV, and music star based on their work combined with their public (and often private) lives? Does the racist outburst make Mel Gibson’s movies less worthy? Does it make Paula Deen’s cooking less tasty? I’m not being tongue-in-cheek; I’m really asking. Does it? Can it? And is that fair? And what about drug and alcohol abuse? Clothing? General morals?

Sometimes their personal beliefs change our interpretations of their work, even if those beliefs aren’t apparent in certain works. I’ve been faced with the question recently in deciding whether or not to submit a story to a venue sponsored by someone who publicly denounces a group of people I support. Should their choice to be vocal about their beliefs affect my estimation of their work, their reputation, my potential association with it?

Which brings up another complication: how many other markets and artists that I support go against my values without my even knowing it? Sure, we can condemn those who are vocal about their beliefs, but how many people privately believe the same things? Does public announcement change the game? What if that publicity was unintentional? In other words, should we judge someone more or less harshly if they meant to come out for or against something than if they never intended to get involved in the debate? It might be easy, as a consumer, to say yes: judge away. As an artist, the thought of my art being judged on my beliefs even if they are irrelevant to my work is disturbing.

As I mentioned, this goes beyond ‘art’ in the strictest sense; this expands into product. There’s been a lot of hullabaloo lately about companies coming out in support or denouncement of various causes, and many consumers are basing their consumption choices on those public declarations. (Chick-fil-a, JC Penny, Papa Johns.) Do beliefs hold a place in products that have nothing to do with them? Or in practices that produce them? What would the world look like if people only bought art from companies whose beliefs they agreed with?

I don’t have the answers. I suspect this topic is a little too broad for a single blog anyway. I do believe, though, that art can stand apart from the artist. I believe that sometimes it can’t. I also think there’s something in between, where one can censure the artist – or some portion of them – and still value the art.

What do you believe?

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  • Fictionfitz

    I am about to write a morning meditation on words from the biblical Song of Solomon. “You are all-beautiful, my beloved, and there is no blemish in you.” Who of us could that possibly be? It sounds more like puppy love, first love, racing for the exit before anything bad happens. Racism is but one of our many foibles we race by.

    I often work as a chaplain, sometimes with those near death. No matter their character, it is time to listen and show love, and not reflect back to them the error of their ways. For tomorrow may not come for them, and it is my hope that the good they have not embraced will embrace them, and through this, evil will retreat into remission.

    In this world, to look for or to see one with no blemish, is either a gift or a blemish of our own.

  • Peggy

    Very interesting and thought-provoking post! My mind randomly pulled up a conversation with a stock broker from some twenty years ago. He specialized in futures, which can be a higher risk form of investing.
    One of his newer clients rather self righteously instructed him that he refused
    to deal in any “immoral” product related to drinking, gambling, etc. The broker
    found that hilariously funny, since he considered the practice of buying &
    selling futures little more than gambling. That conversation seems to me to be
    a funny example of the complicated gray areas of life and the inevitable issue
    of relativism that ensues.

  • Regina Richards

    Fascinating question. I agree there are gray areas.
    Here’s a bit of a reversal: if great art is to be considered tainted by the sins of its creator, then should poor art also be considered enhanced by the virtues of its creator? Should we wear unflattering clothes because the designer is a kind person? Should we read poorly crafted stories because the writer is nice? Should we hang indecipherable paintings on our walls if the painter is industrious?
    My personal answer would be YES!! — but only if the designer/writer/painter is a blood relative and under the age of 12.
    So says a mother who has on many, many occasions worn huge dangly paper earrings decorated with crayon scrawls and attached with tape to her ears to church and other public venues and spoken with other adults as if nothing unusual going on.

    • 🙂 Motherhood is a beautiful thing. But actually — friends and families aside — your reversal does raise an interesting point. In fact, I feel I’ve seen this happen before. Reality contest tv shows are great examples of this. Project Runway or So You Think You Can Dance contestants are often voted through more on their likability than on the quality of their art. Fascinating way to think about it; thanks Regina!

  • Marialena Carr

    Thanks for a thoughtful piece. I think it is indeed a gray area because personal beliefs are, of course, personal and even morality has historical contexts and, in the present, contentious areas. How we respond to the actions or beliefs of the artists will likely depend on our attachment to those beliefs and to the degree to which the artist’s beliefs are reflected in the art.

    Of course translating a person’s beliefs/positions to their work is one component of censorship.

    One concern is that if we separate ourselves from art by people whose personal beliefs or moral compass is unacceptable to us, we may become increasingly tribal, where we only listen to those who share our beliefs. I fear that this can be a loss.

    I think that a variety of reactions to this conundrum is a good thing because without passion and outrage, things may be slow to change, but without tolerance, we might always be at war.

    • So well said, Marialena. That last sentence is highly quotable! I really think you’ve summed it up perfectly.

      • Marialena Carr

        Glad it clicked for you. Thanks for pushing us to think!

        • My pleasure! This is my favorite type of blog post, actually. I set up a question (and some follow-ups) on a complex topic, and then you guys take it away with a great discussion. I’m so lucky to have such smart, thoughtful readers!

          • Marialena Carr

            This is definitely a great debate post. So many aspects to it. And it’s fun to participate in a community. As Nina said, it goes for the person-product divide-meld goes for bloggers also.

    • Forgive me for commenting on someone else’s thread, but that last line is exactly what I’m talking about in my comment. What people are passionate and outraged about today may be proven wrong tomorrow — well, not literally tomorrow, more like 20-30 years down the road. When people are determined to change something, it’s never completely known what the effects of that change may be. For instance, if it was decided to save the 7-toed Bloopy lizard from extinction by outlawing hunting of it, and then 20 years later, the Bloopy population overruns the countryside and been responsible for the extinction of many other species. Darn Bloopy lizards! lol

      • Totally! I think sometimes the intent behind a choice can be moral and the outcome can still be negative. (You know what they save about good intentions, after all.) Also, Bloopy lizards is a hilarious name for a species. Hilarious.

      • Marialena Carr

        Absolutely. That’s why I applauded the importance of both responding with passion and separating our passions from our response.

  • This is a tough subject and I find myself vacillating from one opinion to another. Salvador Dalí comes to mind. He was formally expelled from the Surrealist group because he thought surrealist art could exist apolitically when his contemporaries were increasingly leaning left. He made a concerted effort to keep his political beliefs (of which he said little) apart from his art. On the flip side, Ayn Rand’s work is near impossible to separate from her objectivism philosophy.

    LOL I’ve started to add to this reply several times and have deleted everything. It’s just too hard to answer your question. 😉 Great, thought-provoking post.

    • I’m glad it tickled your thoughts! And thanks for the tidbit about Salvador Dali; I didn’t know that!

      • Dali is one of the few artists I know anything about. He’s probably the only surrealist painter I like. I’m one of those ‘I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like’ people.

        • I am too, Missy! I’m also one of those people who is generally much less interested by the artist than the actual art. For example, I never got into knowing band members, etc. I just like what I like, and that’s usually enough for me. 🙂

          • I’ve found myself steering clear of musicians and actors that I liked when I was young because of their outspoken views. I don’t mind that they think differently than me, but too many have the attitude of, ‘if you don’t believe what I believe, you’re stupid’ and that galls me. Everyone has opinions, but celebrities have become increasingly guilty of using their positions in the public eye to sway fans to their way of thinking about politics, religion and social issues. People should think for themselves. If they don’t know about an issue that their favorite actor is advocating, they should do their own research – listen to both sides of issues – and make their own decision about where they stand.

            When my youngest nephew was in his early teens, he asked me to buy him Eminem’s CD. I told him no, but I gave him a reason. I’d heard the lyrics to Eminem’s songs and they offended me (it’s very had to offend me). I wasn’t going to contribute to his career. I told my nephew he could listen to him if he wanted, it was his choice. Of course, he found a way to get the CD. But as an adult he isn’t a fan.

            On the other hand, Norah Jones and Pink have both written songs with political undertones and I still listen to their music. They’ve made their opinions known, but don’t beat their fans over the head with them.

            Wow! That was rather long-winded. *blush*

          • Not at all! I love this type of discussion. And actually I’m glad you brought up Eminem, because he’s a fantastic example. I happen to have the opposite viewpoint in this case. I completely understand why you’re offended by his lyrics. I mean his songs run the gamut from misogynistic to homophobic and beyond, but for me none of that matters because of how INSANELY talented he is. (Not that I’m saying I would necessarily let my children listen to him; I think that’s a different matter.) In this case, for me as a consumer, art takes priority over the artist’s personal values. I’m genuinely not exaggerating when I say I believe he is a creative genius. So he really is a great example for this debate, because here we are two intelligent, reasonable adults and yet we have opposite opinions on the topic. Cool!

          • I don’t dispute Eminem’s talent, it’s the rendering of that talent that bothers me. Why the shocking lyrics? It makes me wonder if his lyrics are a representation of him or are they art separate from the man? We’ve come full circle. 🙂

          • And so we have! Which just exemplifies why he’s a fantastic example for this topic. Thanks for introducing this, Missy!

          • Paula L. Harvey

            I totally get this Melissa- you should see me when I’m in my car and an Eminem song comes on the radio, I’m so conflicted that I don’t know what to do with myself, turning the station and then going back…lol, it’s pretty sad.

            I had a friend who I used to do volunteer work with and quite frequently, we’d come across some really heartbreaking situations where we couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t try harder to change their situation in life etc…and she’d quietly say, “People are products of their environment.” (in other words, sometimes people see their mother’s and grandmother’s lifestyle and simply copy it instead of changing it) and I think that’s basically true. Of course, at our core, we are who we are, but the way we speak/act has to be somewhat shaped by the way we were raised.

            For example my mom is from nyc, and I was born and raised in Louisiana, yet, sometimes when I get angry/emotional, I find myself speaking in a new york accent, which is just…absolutely ridiculous, but it makes sense when you know that I was raised around a woman with a thick NY accent. So, I agree that most of Eminem’s lyrics are completely inappropriate but in his music he explains where he came from and this leads me to believe that he’s rapping in HIS language, that’s him simply speaking from the heart. It’s brutal and it’s different from the way I speak, but it’s him being honest.

            While I’m not a fan of the way he views women or of the majority of his life choices, I appreciate his contribution to music simply because I appreciate his honesty.

          • Paula, I chuckled when I read about your nyc accent. My southern accent gets thicker when I’m angry.

            I do believe we are a product of our environment. We aren’t born with hate in our minds, we are taught to hate, we are taught intolerance, etc. If we’re lucky we’re taught to love and accept. That is the crux of the problem I have with Eminem. He’s lyrics influence people (mainly teenagers) and that influence is UGLY. I’m not suggesting he start writing lyrics filled with rainbows and fluffy clouds and love and peace. His honesty could be tempered though. His song, Guilty Conscience, with Dr. Dre begins with promise. You think maybe he’s going to send a message that violence and criminal activity isn’t the way to go and then by the end he gives up on the conscience and goes ahead and shoots.

            I would never censor any artist. I’m an adult and my moral compass is firmly ingrained. Teenagers are still struggling with right and wrong. When they hear a rapper glamorize robbing the liquor store, or raping his mother and doing drugs without representing the flip side of those things, it sends a very negative message. It’s chilling.

          • Paula L. Harvey

            Yep, it is chilling and very sad : (

          • Yes to all of this. As I mentioned, I think monitoring what one’s children listen to is a different issue than enjoying art as an adult — and it’s a complex one that I have conflicting thoughts on. But to me the idea of Eminem censoring his content even a little is heartbreaking. It goes back to what @marialenacarr:disqus said about the dangers of silencing voices that differ from ours. I would rather people not listen to Eminem than he change what he’s saying for the sake of diplomacy. Like @paulalharvey:disqus mentioned, his brutal honesty *is* part of his art. His rather tragic life story is told through his music, and that’s a story that far too many people aren’t aware even exists in today’s society. Yes, his popularity could glamorize his life circumstances to young people, but it’s also undeniably a wake up call to many adults. Thank you both for all of your thoughtful responses!

  • oooh, this is a complicated topic. So many important thoughts here. It truly is hard to separate the artist from the art and art from the artist. (I guess that’s the same thing.) Even in the blog world, for example, are we poised to enjoy posts more by bloggers we like and by bloggers who are kind to us and our work? I thing probably–yes. What in one person may seem charming in another might look like too much navel-gazing.

    Lots to think about here! Not sure what we can do about it either.

    • You’re right; this totally applies to the blogging world too. I absolutely have my favorites that I’ve come to depend on for good content, and that no doubt biases me to future posts. Not to mention that we all tend to build friendships this way, and of course we favor our friends! I’m not sure that it’s a problem, really, so much as something to keep in mind so we maintain perspective.

  • Melissa Crytzer Fry

    You continue to amaze me, Miss Annie. What a deep, thought-provoking post, which – ironically – reminds me of reactions to the new Kmart “Joe Boxer” ad of the men in their boxers, jingling their bells. Apparently it caused an outrage by offending some viewers, when I found it nothing but hilarious and somewhat empowering (that men were – in a tongue-and-cheek fashion – being objectified the way women are constantly objectified in the media). So what does that have to do with your post? You posed the question: “Do beliefs hold a place in products that have nothing to do with them?” and “What would the world look like if people only bought art from companies whose beliefs they agreed with?” Some of those offended by the boxer ad said they would “never buy from KMart again because of what the company stood for.” What can one surmise that KMart ‘stands for’ based on this ad? The company presumably hired a creative agency to drum up some buzz about a product and the KMart brand (and I think they did a heck of a good job. Looky here: I’m STILL talking about it). I would argue that beliefs and product have nothing to do with one another in this instance. Hmm…

    • Aw, thank you Melissa! I think the Kmart ad is a good example. Personally, I was baffled by people being so offended, but that’s sort of besides the point. The point is exactly what you said: consumers chose to purchase or not purchase from this company based on perceived values. The fact that said values are 1) perceived, not stated 2) likely not representative of the company as a whole and 3) irrelevant to anything having to do with production or sales only makes the issue more strange and interesting to me. Great thoughts! Thanks for *chiming* in. 😉

    • Regina Richards

      My husband hates that ad, while I find myself grinning all the way through it.

    • I think the KMart ad is hilarious! I don’t understand all the fuss – just look at the Victoria’s Secret ads with women in lingerie wearing angel wings. As a Christian, I probably should be offended by it, but I’m so desensitized by the peddling of sex that it doesn’t bother me. Let the men jingle their bells. 😉

      • This is true. I think it’s just that it’s a fresh ‘offense,’ maybe? I have zero doubt that people complained about the overly-sexy VS ads at first, but they lost the battle and now we’re numb to it. The Kmart ad is still fresh, though.

  • You brought up a very important and complicated subject. I imagine each person must decide where their own boundaries are.

    This brings up a related topic I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. Moral superiority. People (and groups and countries) can be so sure of the unassailable logic of their morality that they believe it should be universally accepted like a one-size-fits-all T-shirt. But one-size never fits all. And what is ethical/moral truth today may be shown to have faults and be discarded in the future. Like in the 70s when certain criminals were acquitted on the “product of their environment” defense, or when Leary advised a whole generation to “Turn on, tune in, and drop out.” Those didn’t work out too well, did they? It’s easy to be judgmental of others. It’s much harder to be tolerant or sympathetic and admit others have a right to their opinion/way of life even if it conflicts with socially accepted ideals.

    • This is very true, Lexa, and a relevant point, I think. And of course it works in reverse, too. Things people don’t even consider a problem now will be the source of retrospective moral outrage later — much of it seeming abundantly obvious. That’s why we so often look at our history with embarrassment and discomfort.

  • Paula L. Harvey

    Hey Annie!

    This is such a good discussion, I love that you bring up these kinds of topics!

    It was mentioned that to hold an artist accountable for their personal beliefs would mean either: 1) getting rid of their work in it’s entirety or 2) getting rid of the work that specifically expresses their politically incorrect views. It seems that there’s a third option, one that I would support. The journalistic approach of seeking the truth about the artist as a whole, their background, their culture, everything that made them who they were and then, lastly, analyzing what affect their art has had on various audiences. This way, the public is allowed to see the artist’s work for what it is: as the unique product of a flawed individual (whose flaws may have been so bad as to condemn him/her as racist/bigot/or whatever). It seems that such an honest approach to art history would not only be educational but beneficial to our society in that this kind of openness would grant us the opportunity to learn from our history. If we hide our history, we have nothing to learn from. On the other hand, when we accept what’s happened in the past, we learn to avoid repeating the mistakes of previous generations.

    So, I think that an artist can be held accountable for their work, simply by being exposed for who they really are. Let us see their art AND the reason why it was created.
    Also, I’m inclined to believe that censuring art is dangerous. When an outspoken/talented person is censured, they automatically become shrouded in mystery and that kind of mystery can lead to them being elevated into something they’re really not.

    Again, awesome question! Do you ever think about vlogging? Your questions would be great for a vlog on youtube too. If not, this is great too : )

    • Thank you, Paula! I’m not sure. Wouldn’t vlogging mean I’d have to put on pants? Kidding… kind of.

      I think you raise a great point, which is basically individual evaluation + moderation. In the case of historical art, for example, this is often the best way to interpret. But just to play devil’s advocate: don’t you think there’s a place for art not tied to an artist? One example is the oft-said adage, “Your work should speak for itself.” Say an artist only writes one novel and publishes it anonymously. I still feel there’s value there, don’t you? Not all artists want their personal lives revealed, or even their circumstances. Personally, I lean more toward this in the art I consume. I like art that doesn’t need the artist’s explanation. Historical context is good (and often necessary), but where’s the line between being freed by context and being trapped by it?

  • jclementwall

    This is such a great subject, Annie. I think about it all the time too. For me (and, really, it is such a personal, gut-level thing, all we can do, I think, is speak for ourselves), it isn’t black and white. I do tend to be more forgiving of artists who were flawed in a way that, in their day, most people were flawed.

    In modern times, I think it does make a difference how public an artist or company is with their views. I think when you make your (controversial) opinions public, you do so knowing the risk to your work’s popularity. As an artist, not every opinion I have is worth that risk, but some are. As a consumer, those same issues that I’m wiling to risk my own popularity over influence my willingness to purchase. I’ve stopped buying Barilla Pasta, for instance, and I wouldn’t buy clothes from Abercombrie & Fitch or Lululemon.

    I don’t seek out the viewpoints of artists or companies before I decide to support them, but if they go public with something totally at odds with my own value system, I am absolutely influenced. It’s hard for me to move past that, even though, philosophically, I do think an artist’s work should be able to stand alone. I think maybe that’s human nature… so we should all think about what we want to make public and what should remain private. (Another meaty topic!)

    • I 100% agree with everything you’ve said. In modern times, I do feel less forgiving of the more outspoken. I think it’s an interesting dynamic of fame and opinion. Some artists use their success to further their social or political beliefs, and I have no doubt the best of them can’t imagine not doing so. I can see someone thinking it would be wrong not to use one’s fame to better the world. But others value their art more than their clout, and I think that’s just as respectable in a different way. I think an argument could be made that using one’s fame in a manner unrelated to how you obtained it is morally questionable. There’s not a clear-cut answer here for me. But you’re totally right that this is something we should probably contemplate as artists ourselves.

  • Rivki Silver

    Oh, great question. This is something that has come up in my classical music work, where some of my peers won’t play certain composers due to the composers’ anti-semitism. But since the bulk of classical music was written at a time (and in a place) where anti-semitism was a given, I pretty much assume they were ALL anti-semitic, unless otherwise indicated (like, they were Jewish).

    My limit is when an artist is completely unashamed of their biases, bigotry or massive egos, that’s when I tend to step back and assess whether or not I want to let their art into my life and my head. Because at the end of the day, whatever we imbibe does influence us to some extent, and I don’t want to have negative influences bouncing around in my head. So it depends. Thanks for the food for thought.

    I understand where you’re coming from with your reticence about submitting a story to a venue. If you’re still on the fence, I would run it past a mentor or good friend and see what they think. It is your reputation, and your prerogative if you don’t want your name associated with something you don’t support. You know?

    • Totally. And I think you make a great point about things influencing us. The brain is very programmable, so even if we intellectually know that something we consume is wrong, that doesn’t mean that it can’t filter into our subconscious thoughts. All great things to think about. Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

  • Traci Kenworth

    I do believe we all have differences depending on when we were raised and things we were taught. Yes, racism is wrong and we should draw back from the ugliness of it. But at the same time, if we didn’t read stories from yesterday because the author’s views were different from ours, we’d never learn better.

    • It’s undeniably true that our upbringings influence our beliefs. But it’s also true that if no one ever challenged that we wouldn’t have any forward progress in society. I think you’re right that we need to remember where we came from in order to appreciate what was wrong and why.

  • Diann

    Wow, this is such a huge and complicated topic, and I’ve loved reading your post and the discussion around it!

    I do think you could take this from a variety of angles and still have lots to talk about! (For example, I found a similar issue–not about the author but about some of the social norms–and wrote a post about it when I re-read To Kill a Mockingbird last year.)

    Anyway, for myself, I absolutely choose not to patronize certain stories/establishments based on my belief system. WalMart is a perfect example of that, even though really it’s not as if tons of other chains haven’t driven out small business as well. Even if I ate chicken, I would never go to Chik-fil-A. On the other hand, when it comes to art and music it’s sooo much harder for me to monitor myself even though I think I should. String beautiful words together or paint a gorgeous image, snap an enticing photo and it’s harder for me to stay away. And music is the worst. Set words that I would never listen to otherwise to a good beat, and I’ll have to tear myself away (if I can).

    But all that said, I definitely stay away from certain things because of some (to me) bad thing, but it is highly personal (aka inconsistent-looking from the outside). -Diann

    • You’re right; it is highly personal which things are deal breakers and which things aren’t. I also think there’s a certain amount of privilege necessary to boycott some places, like Walmart, for example. Some families simply can’t afford to pay higher prices for the sake of conviction, you know? I guess it could be argued that they could, but I don’t think it’s that black and white. My point being that much of modern consumer morality is actually a privilege. That word is often used in a pretty negative way, but that’s not how I’m intending it here. I’m just reflecting that it’s pretty cool that we’re in a position to choose these things, because not everyone can.

      • Peggy

        Excellent point about privilege! I think we all too easily forget how privileged most of us are. You reminded me of a grocery store that used to be in the very poor part of our town. I went once and was shocked to see that prices were substantially higher than they were in the grocery stores on the other side of town. Theoretically, these people should have boycotted the store that was making it’s money off the backs of the very poor, but realistically, many of them didn’t have cars or a decent transit system to make a “moral” statement. Our discussion about art & morality is far away from many peoples’ reality.

        • That’s so sad. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I worked in a store that did that. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with voicing morality through purchases (or a refusal), but I do think it’s good to remember that not everyone can, and it isn’t fair to judge them for that. And to be thankful that we have that option.

      • Diann

        Oh I would never say it’s black and white. Also, not that there aren’t savings I could really use, but I absolutely agree about the privilege point. That has ramifications for so many things.

  • Cynthia Robertson

    Your thoughtful post called to mind the purge of art forms in
    China in the last century. People had to hide violins, sheet music and records,
    paintings, books…anything that was not culturally approved of by the new communist
    governing body. Scary. I am for free speech and expression. Always. We’ve
    become very PC in the States, and that’s scary too.

    Writing is revealing of the author, no doubt. I don’t
    believe I would have liked Lovecraft, for a variety of reasons, not
    withstanding his obvious racism, but I still admire aspects of his work, and
    wouldn’t want to see it obliterated. Good post, Annie.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Cynthia! That is scary, although it led me to an image of all art becoming anonymous. Horrible if due to force, but the artist (and idealist) in me is intrigued nonetheless…