Does an artist's personal foibles and failings affect your esteem for them?

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Photon46

Ginger Baker's recent death has provoked bickering on other forums as to whether discussions about personal failings are appropriate when discussing and evaluating an artist's legacy. The furor over Michael Jackson's legacy in light of well known accusations is a good example of the polarized ways people react to unsavory revelations about someone's character. Some proclaim they can longer listen MJ's music after the allegations. At the other extreme, some fans engage in social media public shaming campaigns against anyone that mentions the allegations publicly. I've seen editorials where the author states they can no longer listen to James Levine's operas and must hide all his recordings because of his alleged improprieties.

So, does finding out that an artist you greatly appreciated has behaved badly affect your ability to appreciate their craft? Personally, I can separate the artist as a person from their artistic creations and it just reinforces how we all can have demons and angels competing inside us. Where should institutions draw the line as far as banishing artists from public performance or display if they're accused of misdeeds? Do you regard living and dead artists by different standards as far as behavior and the way you regard their creative legacy? Many seem to judge the dead who lived in a different cultural milieu by the standards of today.

Please, let's keep this as non-political as possible and try to avoid having this end up in quarantine.

Tyson

I generally don't know and usually don't care to find out.  But sometimes that is unavoidable.  In those cases I tend to draw 2 lines. 

First line:  are they still alive?  If they are dead, then I really don't care one way or the other. 

2nd line:  are they hurting other people, or just themselves?  If they are only hurting themselves, I have no problem enjoying and supporting their art.  Things like drug addiction, thrill seeking behavior, or just being a generally unpleasant person, these all fall under "only hurting themselves" category. 

However, if they are still alive and they are hurting people or have hurt people in the past, then I won't support them in any way.  Things like murder, rape, molestation, beatings - those things should not be brushed under the rug, particularly if the person hasn't stopped doing it and/or hasn't tried to make reparations. 

mix4fix

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If an artist becomes to political, no more for me. Other than that, I go case by case.

I don't listen to Chris Brown. So, it didn't change my impression after the Rihanna incident. Maybe, she needed a pop.  Who knows.

(that doesn't mean I am for violence)

S Clark

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Furtwangler is not less of a conductor because he was a Nazi, but it makes him less of a man. 

Photon46

Furtwangler is not less of a conductor because he was a Nazi, but it makes him less of a man.

That sums it up well for me. Many, many artists have remarkable legacies for both their achievements and their failings as humans. Sometimes their abilities to scale heavenly heights of artistic accomplishments are only equalled by their hellish personal behaviors. Caravaggio was a phenomenal painter and a murderer, Egon Schiele was one of the greatest draughtsman that ever lived and a pedophile.

MttBsh

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I couldn't really listen to Michael Jackson's music before his inappropriate behavior came to light  :D
If I were to avoid purchasing music from artists based on their personal foibles most of my music collection would be gone.
but I tend to agree with Tyson - if they are known to hurt others, I'm not interested in anything they have to say or to play. I know Ginger could be a pretty antagonistic and sometimes violent man, but he also showed a lot of concern for people and even for animals. So I'm keeping my Cream records.

Elizabeth

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The reduction of a career to a one sentence 'capsule' homogenized so the mindless hoards never have to think for even a tiny fraction of a second.... Not my thing.
So clearly I am way over on the side of Humans are Humans. they each have good, bad, some terrible, some maybe even saintly bits in each person. One flaw does not make a person evil. Or a saint.
However in our "One sentence is all that anyone has time for" World. It is scary that so many folks are willing to support such madness.
My particular peeve are companies which fire workers for private messages, or non work related hobbies, interests, nothing to do with work, and not done at work. just you're fired. Get lost.

IMO it all have gone way way too far.
 I think part of it is the whining... everywhere. All you see on Yahoo is somebody is 'outraged'... And since even one person is outraged, well, Cosmic Event!
Sad.

CSI

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It is not good to be judgmental, especially if you follow popular artists. I grew up knowing that drug taking was a bad thing. I also grew up an ardent jazz fan. If I limited myself to the musicians who were not or had not at one time been users or addicts I would have only listened to the Dave Brubeck Quartet (not that there's anything wrong with Brubeck's music). I've always admired the musicians who had been addicts but who managed to quit - usually because they knew they were going to die if they didn't but also because they realized that drugs were wreaking their creativity, not enhancing it.

rollo

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  Only if it affects my deep personal beliefs will I not support them. I will not support a racist, bigot, liar or someone who calls me names for my belief. The music they produce has ZERO to do with it. I may love the music however choose not to buy it. In my white room with black curtains. Loved Bakers drumming disliked him.

charles

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There's nowhere to hide. If you knew everyone's secrets you'd never be able to do/buy anything.

Early B.

  Only if it affects my deep personal beliefs will I not support them. I will not support a racist, bigot, liar or someone who calls me names for my belief. The music they produce has ZERO to do with it.

Agreed. Whether they produce music, films or any other form of entertainment, I won't support an asshole. A good example is Eric Clapton who is well known for his racist rants.  It's ironic because he gained fame and notoriety by copying the music style of the people he despises.

wushuliu

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  Only if it affects my deep personal beliefs will I not support them.
charles

Agreed. Everyone has to decide for themselves where they draw the line. If it's one thing I've learned in this Internet Age of Too Much Personal Information, it's People. Are. Weird. We believe and say all kinds of whackadoodle stuff. It's truly a feat of humanism that we nevertheless choose to behave as a society, however imperfect, instead of packs of raving lunatics.

If I stopped watching/listening everything that involves someone whose personal behavior offends me I'd be left with nothing but Mister Rogers.

wushuliu

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Agreed. Whether they produce music, films or any other form of entertainment, I won't support an asshole. A good example is Eric Clapton who is well known for his racist rants.  It's ironic because he gained fame and notoriety by copying the music style of the people he despises.

OMG I just looked that up. Had no idea. The stuff he said was just plain bonkers. Like I said. People. Are. Weird.

charmerci

Not at all for dead people. Very likely, the people they abused get the royalties. Hypothetically for example, I love Picasso's painting but I would never have let my sister/daughter be with him - or least know what they would be getting into by being with him -not pretty.

As for live people, it depends. As others have said, people have their shortcomings - but there is also a limit. Some people go over that extreme line for me.