Thursday, October 10, 2013

The opinion of the artist

I have an interesting question for you guys.

Tomorrow, I plan to post a review of the book Ender’s Game. The author of Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card, is well known for being anti-lgbt. Enough so that some people plan to protest the upcoming movie adaption of Ender’s Game. And I am very pro-lgbt.Card has also been quoted comparing President Obama to Hitler, saying he is "by character and preference, a dictator."

I bring this up NOT to start a debate on Obama's merits as the president or gay rights or equal rights or marriage rights or any of that. So please, do not focus on that part of this post.

But I bring it up because it led me to a broader question:

Do the personal opinions of an artist – a writer, a director, an actor, etc. – affect the way you view their work even when that work is on another subject altogether? Or I guess, does it change the way I should view someone’s work?

There are enough examples of authors with controversial or offensive opinions Buzzfeed made a list of them. Roald Dahl was a self-identified anti-semite. Dr. Seuss has been accused of being racist. And to broaden it from only authors, Walt Disney has also been accused of being racist. Disney!

I went ahead and read the book, mostly because I didn't personally spend any money on it.

But also because I'm not sure whether I feel like the author's personal opinions should relate to my reading of their book. You know?

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Does it bother you if you find out that an artist you love holds opinions you disagree with? How much does it affect your appreciation of their work?

PS: Please, please keep the comments kind. I do not mean to attack anyone with this post. Merely to bring up a broad discussion. I reserve the right to delete comments I find offensive. Not that I expect it. Just in cases.


Tamara said...

You getting deep girl.

Personally, I really try to not allow an author's personal opinion to alter my view on a book they've written, or at the very least I try to keep an open mind. I read an article once that talked about how people tend to stick with people that have similar beliefs and that's why things are so hard to 'change' in the world. Human rights, etc. Ever since then I've tried to be more open concerning others opinions.
At the very least it gives me insight into another belief, though, whatever.

You could also probably relate this back to actors - just because an actor did something horrible (publicly cheat on their spouse, make some type of racist comment, etc) do you not watch their upcoming blockbuster? Most people say they won't but they do anyway.

Great topic Abs!

Kate said...

It's funny, at first, I skimmed this article and saw the question at the bottom. My first response was going to be. Orson Scott Card bothers me, but Ender's Game is my favorite. Thennnn I went back to the top and read what you had written. Ha. Great minds?

I'll be honest. I've read Ender's Game 2-3 times. And I plan to read it again. It's my favorite (Tied with To Kill a Mockingbird, of course) When I first read it, I was in middle school. I had no idea who Orson Scott Card was, and even if I did, I had yet to truly form my own beliefs at that point.
But now, I know how he feels, and I HATE it. There are a lot of his beliefs, that he has shared very publicly, that make me sick. Even still, I can't NOT love Ender's Game. Because I loved it BEFORE I knew more about the man behind the book.

I can't deny that if I knew about an author's belief BEFORE reading the book, it would definitely shape my reaction to it. In some cases, I may not even read the book.
Should that be the case? I don't know. On the one hand, I feel strongly about my beliefs, so I should stand behind them. At the same time, we all HAVE our own beliefs, so as long as the author/artist doesn't force them on me, I'm ok.

It's tough.

Cassy said...

If I know something like that about the artist, I do keep it in mind when reading/viewing/listening to his/her work. But if the work really doesn't have anything to do with the offensive opinion (a la Dr. Seuss), I am able to fully appreciate it, even if I wouldn't necessarily want to have a cup of coffee with the artist.

My somewhat bleak worldview is that almost everybody has something pretty bad about themselves. The upside of that view is that I can get past things pretty easily and allow myself to always search for the good. I haven't read Ender's Game yet, so I'm really looking forward to your review. I hope the author's alleged anti-lgbtq don't shine through in the book, because I'd really like to enjoy it :)


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