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
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
In this hellscape of daily horror,
Endless pressure and fatigue.
What to do then
With tainted meaning and art from which
In total honesty
If the creator still lives
And the pain of the hurt haunts their works
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.