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  • Writer's pictureTuur Verheyde

Problematic Faves

Updated: Jul 3, 2020

All faves are problematic

But some are more problematic than others.

You can try to drive a wedge between art and artist

But they’re entangled like my keychain.

Some creators are massive pricks,

Have egos like supernovas

Or tempers like tsunamis.

Some have fucked up love lives,

Abandoned spouses, estranged children,

And legions of former

Friends, lovers and colleagues

Pushed away, embittered

Fallen out or in feuds eternal.

Then there’s the ones whose flaws

Are thorns that cut you every time

You wade through their work,

Like with Ginsberg’s paedophilia

Sexton’s abuse

Rowling’s transphobia

And Lovecraft’s hatred and fear

Of seemingly anyone

Who didn’t think or look like him.

It never ends,

The list of creators whose works

Are seminal or great,

But whose noxious

Words, deeds or beliefs

Drip into them

Like radioactive rain.

It is easy to cancel

And discard the problematic

When they were never close to your heart in the first place

Harder, when theirs was the work

That nudged you into becoming a creator yourself,

Or has just nestled itself

Within the landscape of your Self,

That to rip it out cuts off

Another lifeline

In this hellscape of daily horror,

Endless pressure and fatigue.

What to do then

With tainted meaning and art from which

We cannot

In total honesty

disentangle ourselves?

If the creator still lives

And the pain of the hurt haunts their works

I’d say

Don’t amplify or support them,

But help to make

The toxic deeds and words

Of bigots and abusers

Cling to them

Like the pervasive smell of rot.

Enjoy what you enjoy,

But don’t let aesthetics cloud your ethics

Or let one’s art excuse one’s deeds.

And if you refuse to engage with something

Because of the someone who’s behind it

Congratulate yourself on your morals,

But don’t make the mistake of believing

That to do as you did

Is a universal moral mandate

Or that it’s your job to ensure others do the same.

And if the creator’s dead

Then it’s between you and your unproblematic deity.

Guilt, shame, indifference or contempt,

It makes no difference to the dead.

And to creators themselves I can only say,

If telling you not to be a bigot or abuser isn’t persuasive enough,

Remember, legacies are easily destroyed.

Don’t you ever think you’ll get away it.

You will get what’s coming to you.

Chances are good you will even live to see it bury you

And all you’ve made.

And if not

Don’t expect time to rub off the taint

Of what remains of your legacy, if anything.

Only oblivion will ever completely forgive you.

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