Tag Archives: Boycott

Evan and Gordon Talk: Separating Art From Artist

GORDON: Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, welcome you here to Evan’s Dignity Memorial Art Gallery to view these lovely pictures of houses and flowers and stuff. The artist? Adolf Hitler.

Why, you ask, do we have Hitler’s youthful paintings and sketches? Because tonight we’re going to be talking about separating art from the artist, and whether or not such a thing can be done.

EVAN: To throw out an example, let me refer to the science fiction author Orson Scott Card, a man famous for writing Ender’s Game and for being pretty staunchly opposed to homosexuality in any form.

DC has hired him to pen a new “Adventures of Superman” comic for them, and quite a few stores have decided to boycott this product and not stock them. This being done, of course, as an act of protest.

GORDON: We’re not talking about some latent disapproval of homosexuality people, we’re talking about full blown vitriol on OSC’s part. Here’s a quote from him on the subject:

The dark secret of homosexual society—the one that dares not speak its name—is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally…

OSC straight up declares  in one piece of his, that he will not simply advocate, but will actively engage in the overthrow of the government should it ever attempt to legalize gay marriage:

Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage

EVAN: Which is straight-up reprehensible, which I hope you’ll agree with regardless of your personal stance towards the very loaded topic of gay marriage, etc.

GORDON: Absolutely.

EVAN: On a similar note, we have Frank Miller, a legend in the comics industry.

 The guy penned Batman: The Dark Knight, 300, Sin City, and had a marvelous run on Daredevil that really defined the character. The man’s a legend.

He’s also on record for calling members of the Occupy Movement “nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness.”

The Occupy Movement doesn’t have the same hot button status gay marriage does, and it’s arguable that people are less certain about it, but that doesn’t make the things Miller said any less ignorant or wrong.

GORDON: Again, this is true. But we’re not here to list off the artists and creative minds who have maintained ignorant or bigoted positions over the years.We’re here to talk about separating them from their art, and I’m going to submit that one some fundamental level, it can’t be done.

EVAN: Alright, let’s hear why.

GORDON: I’m going to cite Miller’s iconic work The Dark Knight Returns, which has just recently been adapted as an animated film.

It’s not hard to see Miller’s borderline fascist views bleeding through in the book, as he takes pot shots at “reform not punishment” imprisonment, youth (portrayed as violent, stupid, barely comprehensible thugs that even Alex DeLarge would be creeped out by), and even the latest Robin’s parents being portrayed was whiny, drug-addled liberals.

While I doubt Miller was using much restraint, I’m going to submit that the artist is almost always too close to his or her art for her views not to bleed through.

EVAN: So members of Oprah’s book club who read The Education of Little Tree, by former member of the KKK Forrest Carter, should have been able to pick up on his racial sentiments?

GORDON: I said “almost.” Obviously there are exceptions to the rule.

And this isn’t to say that the work itself is to be shunned; I really and truly enjoy Miller’s work, even though he has a goose-stepping, paranoid Islamophobe.

Because of this, in particular.

EVAN: So we shouldn’t let the beliefs of creators affect our enjoyment of their work?

GORDON: I’d hope not. That would preclude me from liking anything done by Dali, any music written by Wagner, and so on and so forth. My issue isn’t with enjoying something a despicable person has made, my issue is with hiring someone you know is despicable.

Would I listen to “Flight of the Valkyries”? Yes. if Wagner was alive today, would I hire that anti-Semite? No way.

EVAN: That’s a really good point. For example, anyone who buys the new “Adventures of Superman” comic will actually be indirectly funding various anti-homosexual movements that Card himself supports. In this case paying money for his product actually results in an action you probably aren’t okay with.

That doesn’t mean that you couldn’t read his comic and think, “Huh, that is a great take on the Last Son of Krypton,” which is entirely likely since he really is a great writer. His art isn’t necessarily affected by his beliefs, but your buying his art supports them, in a roundabout way.

It’s a metaphor for rejection

GORDON: Despite the counter-arguments in DC’s favor, the simple truth of the matter is people aren’t going to be boycotting these books simply because they’re angry at Card- they were angry at him before- they’re also angry at DC for not having the basic decency to not go into business with a raging homophobe.

EVAN: No matter how good a writer, or any other kind of artist, is, there will always be another who approaches them in talent who doesn’t espouse the negative views that they do. The fact of the matter is that DC has other options.

But going back to the topic at large, we confirmed earlier, in a way, that knowing about an artist’s beliefs after you’ve already appreciated and enjoyed their work shouldn’t rob you of that. If I see a painting and think it’s quite lovely, then find out Hitler painted it, that doesn’t suddenly cause it to become hideous in my eyes. At least, it shouldn’t.

GORDON: And because of the pressure we the audience can put on companies to ensure that bigots and nutcases aren’t given a platform, we should try to keep the artist and their work tied together.

EVAN: Voting with our wallets, which should really be done in every area of our lives [buying ethically produced products, high quality entertainment, etc.].

GORDON: Kinda thrown off by the fact that some wallets are thicker than others. But such is Capitalism. Overthrow the bourgeois. Down with the system.

EVAN: But that is a topic for another day. One that I may or not be hopping on, simply due to a lack of knowledge on the matter.

And it’s also about time we wrapped things up.

GORDON: I submit that next week we discuss poverty, as more and more of the nation (and world) slips into it.

EVAN: And I think that we should talk about Gordon never seems to win these polls.

Ha! Just kidding. We could maybe talk about . . . eh . . . yeah, I got nothing. I’m gonna open up my spot to be viewer submitted, just to see what ideas you have in mind.

GORDON: How gracious of you. Perhaps you’ll even close us out here?

EVAN: Thanks, as usual, for tuning in. If you have anything you want to tell us in general, feel free to email us at culturewarreporters@gmail.com, we’re always happy to hear from you.

Evan and Gordon Talk: The Greatest Flaw of This Generation [Continued]

EVAN: Last week Gordon and I discussed the greatest flaw of this generation, and discussed apathy, laziness, entitlement, and creative bankruptcy. Deciding that we had much more to work with, Gordon left us with this question last week, which heads this continuation of the topic:

““Do we want to be good, or do we just want to look good?”

GORDON: I’m not entirely sure I can come up with any swift dismissal of this possibility, I mean- look at the world we live in. Do we believe in being environmentally and socially conscious? Absolutely. But to what extent? I mean, we’ll chuck our soda cans in the recycling, but are we gonna picket Monsanto?

Are we really just observing these “little” things because they’re expected of us? Do we actually care one way or another?

EVAN: As far as recycling goes, we do that in Canada because it’s the law. Looking good only has so much to do with it.

If we want to go with the example of, say, giving a few dollars towards an environmental organization [or maybe because the fundraiser was cute], that works a little more maybe. It at least contrasts with picketing/protesting. I think we care, but maybe not enough? That’s if we’re quantifying “care” now by the actions that it results in.

GORDON: Is it, perhaps, that we’re cynical? Do we as a generation ultimately despair of the effectiveness of any method of change? Is the reason we’re unable to really go the distance when it comes to our causes because we think it’s all just in vain?

EVAN: Do we think it’s all futile? I mean, we’re certainly led to believe that to some extent. To focus on environmentalism, the extent of the destruction to this earth is growing ever closer to irreversible, and we’re made aware of this.

As far as documentaries and the like go, however, we are told over and over that what we do does indeed matter. Being conscious about how we spend our money and that sort of thing.

GORDON: That’s what we’re told, but then again, the creators of such documentaries are overwhelmingly members of older generations.

Look at the Occupy Movement, for example.

People were there from all demographics, but more than anyone else it was the youth- our generation. Despite massive popularity, that venture ultimately met its death under the boot heels of riot cops and a fog of pepper spray.

It’s been about a year since it all started, and the situation is the same, yet there’s really no push for any resurrection of the movement or even for any major protest at all. Have we given up? We’re all the same people- we have all the same drives and values- have we simply despaired of peaceful protest?

EVAN: It’s funny you should say that, since just yesterday former protesters gathered in a park in Toronto to call attention to the movement that happened a year ago.

That aside, maybe you can explain what exactly happened as the movement petered out. It’s somewhat well-known that the weather was a large contributor to those occupying various streets and cities, but what else led to its collapse. Was it simply fatigue?

GORDON: I’d blame massive crackdowns on the part of the mayors of the occupied cities- let’s not forget that mayor Jean Quan pretty much turned Oakland into a warzone. Injured a protesting war vet so badly most folks thought he was going to become the first casualty of the movement (he pulled through, fortunately).

EVAN: This sort of all falls back to a point I made in relation to apathy our first attempt at this topic. That people care, but simply don’t feel like stepping outside their comfort zones. I realize that this may seem like a ludicrous thing to say in the face of the Occupy Movement, but I feel that the vast majority of youth, our generation, don’t want to do what it takes.

They, we, value comfort too much.

GORDON: I’m gonna have to second that theory.

I remember back when I was in college, going door-to-door trying to get students to boycott various unethical companies [Coca-Cola, Nike] doing business on campus. I was amazed at how many people would nod their heads and smile and agree with each and every word out of my mouth until I called on ’em to stop buying those companies’ products.

Guts. We got none. Difficulty with the concept of actual sacrifice, you know?

EVAN: And the refreshing taste of Coca-Cola is the very basest of comforts. If we can’t part with a caffeinated beverage we’re into, then what can we do?

I’ve joined in your personal boycott of the company, and although it can be a little difficult, it’s certainly nothing compared to being beaten by batons as I march on Parliament.

GORDON: Is that it then? Are our values just skewed ever so slightly in favor of immediate gratification? Do we prefer keeping our skulls in once piece over bread and freedom?

EVAN: History would say: yes. At least until things reach a certain point. Until we realize that being comfortable doesn’t outweigh what we put up with to get that comfort.

GORDON:  So what’s the word for this?

EVAN: To put it simply would be “laziness,” and we both know it’s more than that.

GORDON: “Over-Attachment,” perhaps?

EVAN: “Comfort-Loving”?

GORDON: “Hesitation”? “Looking back towards Sodom”?

EVAN: Looking back towards Sodom assumes that they’re actually doing something.

GORDON: It’s a fear- a very specific kind of fear. The kind where you “choke” just before doing something major.

EVAN: I’m going to say there’s probably something in French or German for that, but since we’re writing this in English we’re pretty limited in our options.

GORDON: Can we make one up?

EVAN: Heh. I don’t see why not.

How about . . . “Statusquophilia.”

GORDON: “Fluxophobia”?

EVAN: Haha, I like how we went different directions with our Greek roots.

GORDON: As do I. Shall we have the readers vote?

EVAN: Sounds good to me, and we should be wrapping things up anyway. Want to summarize how we got here?

GORDON: Ultimately, o readers, it all comes down to this. The great and terrible flaw of our generation- from what we’ve discussed- is not a sin of commission. We are not entitled, we are not lazy, we are not without our values. Our fault is in what we lack the guts to be good, the balls to be bad. In short, the unwillingness to part with what we have for the chance to attain something more. We’re trapped in a dance with the devil we know.

EVAN: Vote for the terminology you like more. “Statusquophilia,” meaning a love for things as they are, or “Fluxophobia,” meaning, in this case, a fear of sacrifice.

GORDON: For next week’s topic, we’ve got: Zombies- Are We Beating a Dead Horse At This Point?

EVAN: Or what is going on with all the wars on television? I’m referring to programs like “Storage Wars” and the like. Real wars are happening, I realize this.

GORDON: And with that, people of the interwebs, we are out of time- make sure to vote for your preferred word as well as the topic for next week, and be sure to check out our new “Fame/Shame Day” feature!