Midnight Pub

I am confuse about a thing I read recently


Last night, I finish reading the book "Hell Yeah or Not" write by Derek Sivers, and one chapter[1] made me confuse. It said that we should not reject a work because the person who create this work could be a "bad" person (and I said that euphemistically) or just because we don't like this person.

I am OK that I should not ignore work from people I don't like only because of it, but it is more difficult in some time in case for work from "bad" people.

Besides, if I understand correctly and follow this advice, I should separate the "artist" (at large) and the person extremely, but I think some works is the reflection of the person who created it.

I have an example. Where I live, there has a popular polemicist with political ideas I am not in step with, and never I could appreciate his works because his works is tinted by his political ideas.

The other problem is seen here that if I like a work, I could like the other work from the same author. If I ignore the author, I could miss some other of his works that I could appreciate too.

I am a bit confuse.

[1] The mirror: It’s about you, not them.


It's art, so it's subjective. If the person who made something you like is shitty to the point that it starts effecting how you view that art that you like, that's valid. Don't let this book convince you that you *have* to disentangle the artist from the art. Death of the author is a real thing, and works can be interpreted as independent entities, but that's not the only way to look at something.

The example I always refer back to is Heidegger, a widely read and admired philosopher who also happened to be a literal Nazi. People often are able to disentangle his (oft times very visionary) work from his fascist tendencies, but there are some thousands and currents within his oeuvre that jibe really well with fascism and that makes me super uncomfortable, and colors the rest of his work for me to the point where I actively avoid it. Is that "stupid"? Maybe, and I'm not about to say that everything Heidegger wrote was "wrong" just because he was a Nazi, but that sure as hell doesn't mean I have to *like* it, either.



Shitty people often have parts of their personhood which are genuine and capable of being appreciated by everyone. Of course, a shitty person who is an artist isn't going to generally limit their art to reflecting these pieces of their soul. It happens somewhat frequently, though, that the core of a work is decent, even if the shitty author's shittiness are present somewhere in the periphery. However, a piece of art should be judged on its own merits and not necessarily with the author.



I agree, and also the standards for shittiness today are set quite low. There have been (and still are) truly shitty people, even monsters, but the most common case is simply that of a flawed human being. Which we all are.



Black-and-white thinking is in vogue right now. Obviously extremes exist, and there have been people who were completely irredeemable, but the vast majority of persons, opinions, and even actions lie in the vast sea of grey between those two extremes.

Like, if I went to someone's house, and they seemed to be big fans of Hitler's paintings, it would be a definite red flag. But if there's a painting on the wall by an artist who made a socially insensitive statement in 1972 or something like that, I'm not going to really care.