Your Fave Is Problematic

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by GritNGlitter, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. GritNGlitter

    GritNGlitter Well-Known Member

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    Okay, we talk about this all the time. And I definitely don't think we should stop calling out whatever we want on the monthly Member Store threads, especially regarding the particular artists featured there, but maybe we have enough to say about it often enough that it merits it's own thread:

    I think we all know that people--maybe especially artist people--are flawed. Sometimes seriously and significantly so. Does this influence your enjoyment of a given artist's music? Do you boycott artists for their personal lives or politics or language or any other factor? Do you have specific deal-breakers? And since I highly doubt any of us hold all of our artists to universally high standards on all matters, who do you love (musically) who is kind of terrible (personally or otherwise)?

    And in case you're pretty sure your favorites are pretty okay, allow this topic's namesake to disillusion you.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2015
  2. kickerofelves

    kickerofelves Well-Known Member

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    Huge Black Metal fan, but I won't listen to Burzum. That's the first one that comes to mind for me!

    It's been harder for me to go back to the Flaming Lips - Wayne has gone from lovable weirdo to kind of creepy dude (the Erykah Badu stuff from a few years ago was pretty gross and egregious).

    Also, Thurston Moore for leaving Kim Gordon and seemingly being a pretty thoughtless cad. Which is particularly tough because I caught him at a festival a few years ago and his set was legit FACEMELTING.

    Meanwhile there are a TON of artists who have done comparable / worse things that I probably tacitly ignore. Favs can indeed be problematic!
     
  3. GritNGlitter

    GritNGlitter Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it's tenable to require artists to be morally unassailable--insisting that a given artist should be shunned and boycotted for their problematic words or actions is sure to turn us into hypocrites. Once art is in the world it is living, and I will enjoy it even if it was created by a jackass or monster. So I absolutely believe in separating artists from their art. But of course that is not to say I have never had my feelings change about music after learning something about the artist, or rejected a band or artist outright because I find the lyrics of a particular song repugnant; I always reserve the right to withhold my money from someone I find despicable. But I won't advise others to do the same, and I can't promise consistent application of outrage to seemingly similar situations from other artists. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    An example of an artist I know is deeply problematic: Aside from all the wife beaters of yore (Bing Crosby, John Lennon, probably Paul McCartney, Miles Davis, name a dude), I love Amanda Palmer. So much of her music just basically speaks to me. And she is sooooo insufferable and oblivious to her privilege. Read about her awfulness! But of course I don't love ALL of her music or projects. I never even listened to Evelyn Evelyn--I just kind of pretend it never happened.

    But on the other side, I would never give She Wants Revenge a second chance after that awful song, "Tear You Apart." And yet I dig The Killers album, Hot Fuss. I refuse to justify it. It is too impossible.
     
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  4. Yer Ol' Uncle D

    Yer Ol' Uncle D Well-Known Member

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    As the adage goes, "Nobody's perfect." And that applies to all the artists we love. Though some definitely have a higher, unacceptable level of imperfection than others.

    I think as music fans we tend to be much more sympathetic and understanding of those who fight their inner demons on a personal level. It's viewed as a "goes with the territory" kind of thing. And in a twisted sense it's some of the most conflicted that find a way to channel their struggles into the most beautiful art. Drugs, alcohol, personal and mental issues - tough to name an artist that hasn't been there. Maybe tougher to name a fan who doesn't love an artist or two who fall into this category. It's when the negativity manifests in actions to others that the trouble begins, at least for me personally.

    I think it really comes down to each individual fan - their beliefs, their personal biases and their own moral code determines what's tolerable and what isn't. Sometimes we like an artist that crosses a personal ethical line and the relationship ends. Been there. And sometimes, based on the individual's view, the positives of our connection outweigh the negatives and we take the path of Charlie...

    Bukowski.jpg
     
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  5. Benjamin Dashley

    Benjamin Dashley #NotMyModerator

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    I've never been so happy to not know who someone is.
     
  6. BenMal

    BenMal Well-Known Member

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    I think for me it depends on what it is that's problematic. Some things I have to, well, not forgive, but just forget about it and try and keep it separate from the music. For example, John Lennon being abusive. I can shove that aside and still enjoy his music on its own terms, while acknowledging the awful things he did. I don't want this to come across as me sympathizing or apologizing for people's behavior. That's not what I'm doing. I'm just trying to keep the art separate from the artist. That said, his actions make me not like him as a person.
    Now, I mentioned R. Kelly in the other thread. That's something I cannot separate from the music, not just because of how terrible it is, but because even some of his songs are about his terrible behavior, with seemingly no apology for it. If you want to know more, read this: http://www.villagevoice.com/music/r...t-accusations-against-r-kelly-in-full-6637412
     
  7. nolady

    nolady Well-Known Member

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    Really well put.
    I love much of the work that David Allan Coe did especially in the 70's. But I have a hard time with his later albums that got really racist and misogynistic. While he claims that they are not and are instead a farce, it's still not easy to listen to.
     
  8. captainfog

    captainfog A Prince Among Men And Moderators

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    That blog is reaching a bit with a some of those entries.
     
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  9. Mitchell

    Mitchell Well-Known Member

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    I strongly believe in the idea of separating the artist from their art. John Mayer SUPER stuck on himself as a musician, to a degree that get's pretty annoying, but I love his music. It's hard with a lot of musicians, especially when their music is pretty transparent with the stories it tells. It's the same way I feel about artists in other mediums as well. Tom Cruise is a pretty bonkers dude, but he's also a pretty great actor.

    These people are creating something for us to take in. So, in theory, all you need to enjoy a given album or movie should be presented within the context of itself. When you take other things into consideration, I personally don't think you're seeing it the right way. Obviously there's exceptions to this, but I think for the most part, preconceived beliefs on the creator of a work tend to take away from their original intention.

    That said, I think it's though to separate the creator from their work, so I get how some people have a hard time doing so.
     
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  10. Madtrippinfool

    Madtrippinfool Well-Known Member

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    I got into a huge argument over this with my nephew. He boycotted Kanye because of some of his arrogant remarks. I am able to separate the artist from the art. Lennon was already mentioned above and he is still highly regarded as a pioneer of rock with very little of that ever being brought up. I asked my nephew if he would listen to his Kanye's stuff after he was dead and he said probably. wtf.

    Anyway, with that being said, I still bump South Park Mexican every so often. His version of Mexican Radio and You Know My Name are dope

    He's a convicted child molester for messing with his kids friends during sleepovers. Sick.
     
  11. nolady

    nolady Well-Known Member

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    Child molestation is one of my triggers. Nope, can't separate artist from the art there.
     
  12. Taylor

    Taylor Well-Known Member

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  13. helllord

    helllord Well-Known Member

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    thank you for making this thread! i think it's very important to be informed. yes, you can separate the artist from the art, but i think you need to be able to speak to problematic things they do/have done so you are not an accidental supporter of gross behavior. same goes for any media really, like 30 rock comes to mind (i'd say i overall enjoyed the show and there were very funny things, but there were also things that were very, very insensitive and inappropriate when a more funny thing could have been easily implemented that wouldn't offend a big group of people). i don't know if you should separate it, though. if you support it, you still support the person. you support whatever thing the person did, even if you say "the thing is bad."

    that being said, i have no clue where to draw the line (or where i personally draw it). i think something of it has to do with distance. some of the older artists mentioned (your lennons, crosbys, etc) are easier to acknowledge and move on, as they're not still such a huge influence in daily media. but with someone like chris brown, say, who beat rihanna into a bloody pulp, i absolutely cannot support in any way. he's still very current in media with a strong draw (pull, influence, what have you). any support he gets just overlooks something HORRIBLE that's a HUGE problem in society anyway. women who are abused (or men, ftm) are constantly told to cover it up and move on, and supporting someone who did the abusing and allowing him to continue to have a successful career after such a violent, disgusting display is BAFFLING to me. not only does he not deserve to be a millionaire with named recognition (that's still performing at big award shows???? like????? can you not find someone MILDLY less revolting??), but allowing him to be one sends the message that it's not a big deal to do actions he's done. but then again, i've gone really hard to "look at me now," though i've felt gross doing it.

    it's hard. i think being -less- supportive of people that are hugely problematic without shame or apology (everyone has to learn and start somewhere; people make mistakes, even super gross ones) might be helpful. say you maybe enjoy their album on spotify/itunes/whatever, but you aren't buying every piece of merch they put out and vip concert tickets. but again. idk.

    i have more trouble separating the art from the artist a lot of times because having gone to art school and being an artistic minded person (barf, i know, sorry), i know any art output tends to be a big part of the artist. i think it's hard to say "whatever! they're a dirtbag! but damn, this is a great album!!" because that album IS that dirtbag!! there are so many pigpen speckles of that dirtbag in that thing you are enjoying! does that make you a dirtbag?! or a dirtbag apologist!? i don't know!!!! but i like being the only dirtbag i support!
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
  14. Mitchell

    Mitchell Well-Known Member

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    And I'd agree with that too. There are obvious extreme circumstances to this.
     
  15. BenMal

    BenMal Well-Known Member

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    Ooh yeah, I don't get how so many people still support Chris Brown, it's ridiculous. I can't overlook what he did, even though I'm not a fan of his music anyway. Same with R. Kelly. Same with Bill Cosby.
     
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  16. Mitchell

    Mitchell Well-Known Member

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    It's really interesting that you say this. I like to consider myself an artist too. I'm a Graphic Design Major, so technically in art school too. (*barfs right next you *calls it a social commentary) But I tend to look at it from a different perspective. When I present something I've made, I always want people to take it as it is. I try to look at what other people make and judge it based entirely on what it is and not how I feel about the person. Granted, I've never had to critique a piece by a someone with as terrible a history as who we've described above. Obviously anything I make has certain elements of who I am, but if it's done properly, it should, in my opinion, be presented in the piece itself not in some context you have of me.
     
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  17. DavidA

    DavidA The sun's not yellow, it's chicken

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    I can't think of an artist's whose out-and-out awfulness has caused me to stop listening to their catalogue or following their work. Petty awfulness towards fans or the media doesn't really bother me. I don't really give a shit about song theft (i.e. Bob Dylan) and these peoples' romantic trysts are none of my stickying pudding business. Now, racist or sexist attitudes might force me to reassess their body of work. Hell, I cringe whenever I hear The Beatles' "Getting Better." And a remarkable chunk of Led Zeppelin's catalog pisses me off. So I'll skip certain songs when I can. Same feeling with songs with homophobic slurs.

    But then you've got a guy like Bing Crosby.

    His name gets thrown around these parts quite a bit and it's never because the guy basically invented modern popular singing. No, it's because his son Gary wrote a book about his childhood and in the book, they were descriptions of horrific beatings that he suffered at the hands of his father. The book was published in 1983, six years after his father's death. Bing was not around to address the charges, although I'm sure he probably would've said, "Hey, this never happened." But the accused never got a chance to defend himself.

    I'm inclined to believe that Bing beat his kids. At least his children with his first wife, Dixie Lee. His children with his second wife, Kathyrn, claim that Bing never laid a hand on them. This is not a defense of Bing. But it's important that we try to fully understand the circumstances of these types of allegations and where they come from. Because there are no police reports that we can refer to here in regards to Bing. Same with John Lennon or Miles Davis or dozens of others.

    Context matters. It's not a justification. But let's not belittle the horrific nature of these crimes by not understanding when and how they occurred.

    Bing Crosby's singing style morphed dramatically. in 1927, with the Rhythm Boys, the guy was singing out of a fuckin' horn. Records were recorded on shellac. Male singers had to blare out their songs to get heard. Al Jolson was the most succesful performer in that era. And then the microphone happened. And Bing took advantage of that techonology, developing a newer, intimate sound. He is the first "crooner!"

    He invested in the first company that producer the magnetic tape that would be used to record music for four decades.

    Bing matters. Bing might very well have also been a monster.
     
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  18. Woob_woob

    Woob_woob Well-Known Member

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    For the most part I can forgive people for their actions if they show that they've learned from their mistakes and are moving forward with their life in a positive way. Abuse to a child is where I draw a hard line, especially sexual abuse. I don't support the death penalty, but child molesters deserve it imo
     
  19. DavidA

    DavidA The sun's not yellow, it's chicken

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    Shit, Bing Crosby's recording of Irving Berlin's White Christmas is STILL the highest selling single in the history of recorded music.
     
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  20. Taylor

    Taylor Well-Known Member

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    It is a cringe worthy couple of lines, but in this case, it is a song about redemption. He is admitting he was wrong in his ways and that shouldn't happen, and that message could still be reaching people today because of how popular the Beatles are.

    What's your take on one of your favorites, Sinatra? By all accounts he was a huge asshole (a violent and sex-crazed alcoholic) , the latest with him being one of Pablo Escobar's top cocaine middle-men.
     

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