1. Good post. I listened to a documentary that posed a similar question about Lewis Carroll.

    Most of the time, we probably should separate the artist and their work. Every single one of them will have something we disagree with, and if you could examine the life of many authors and inventors from ancient times, many of those offenses will likely be heinous. We wouldn’t stop using the wheel just because the person that invented it was awful. So as long as everyone is willing to stand against what Michael Jackson did, then it’s probably OK to listen to his stuff(though I never payed much attention to his music and can’t say whether the content of it was ok). But if people were defending his actions just because he was a good artist, that would be another story.

    Hearing all this reminds me of my childhood, though. My parents always kept a close eye on me and practically never let me be babysat by anyone. And the rare babysitters they picked were always close family members or friends. People act like it is paranoid to guard their kids that closely, but sadly it really isn’t.

  2. Rachel Nichols says:

    Tchaikovsky molested servant boys. But listening to Swan Lake doesn’t enable this behavior since the composer is where money and fame are irrelevant. He’ll never hurt another child. Nor will Jackson. The question is if the works of people like this encourage others to harm children. There are “works of art” that do this.

  3. Art reflects parts of the artist. Artists many times view their art as a part of them, or an extension of them, or as a child they hold dear. I think we inherently associate artists with their art, and so the sins of the artist automatically darken the art itself, at least to some extent. I can’t stop Michael Jackson’s past from making me less likely to enjoy his music. And I have no desire or moral reason to deny what naturally happens in my soul when I hear he abused children (namely, being repulsed by both him and his art).

  4. Something else to discuss in this matter is what people put emphasis on after they learn a person is horrible. I read an article recently about a serial killer(Ted Bundy, I believe) that brought up the issue of people primarily discussing Bundy, rather than his victims. In some ways that’s probably good since it gives the victims/their families more privacy, rather than forcing them to relive everything. Still, some people practically glorify Bundy, and will treat those like him as movie stars even while they’re still alive and being brought to justice for their crimes.

    In some ways, people are wired to pay more attention to problems/dysfunctions because that helps us understand, solve or protect ourselves from them. At an innate level, that’s probably partly why people have a fascination for the villains like Bundy. But, some people take it WAY too far and let their fascination turn into glorification, rather than a focus on solving the problem. So, no matter what, people need to make sure they are respecting the victims, and that if they do research the villains, that they do it in order to understand what happened and how such bad things can be prevented.

What do you think?