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Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Politics of an Artist

I began thinking about this certain subject after I unfollowed someone on Twitter for talk I thought was just inflammatory and unfair. It reminds me of a particular episode which happened almost twelve years ago when one of my favorite artists, Marilyn Manson, said in an interview he would be voting for George W. Bush in the upcoming elections. Bush's camp responded that they had no wish to be associated with such an artist and thus, he could keep his "vote". 

All the people who read my blog tend to notice I stay out of politics and with good reason. It is like religion for me. You never know how another person feels and instead of insulting someone, I would rather insult no one at all. I don't know whether half my friends are Republicans, Democrats or Anarchists and I don't much care either because I feel everyone has the given right to think any way they wish. As long as we are friends, I consider there to be a mutual respect there; you respect the way I feel about certain issues and I will respect yours as long as the way you feel isn't defamatory or out and out racist in concept. I still take each individual as they come and never make blanket statements about any ethnic group of people. I tend to think of a lot of the problems we have in society nowadays as being class rather than race-ethnic issues. Poverty has touched people across the color scope and as long as those wealthy corporate industrialists realize they can continue to use the Proletariat's prejudices against them, they will.

So, what is this post really about? Well, I was discussing with a group of my friends about Stephenie Meyer and Twilight series. I didn't realize many of her fans didn't know she was a Mormon. There isn't much wrong with her choosing to be a Mormon but as they have some pretty inflammatory opinions about non-white people, I am a bit weary of anyone who chooses this sect of Christianity for themselves. It's a bit like asking a Jewish person to be friends with a neo-Nazi and hope their views about people of the Jewish persuasion don't get in the way. 

Ms. Meyer is an artist but she is also a person and we as people have free will to believe in what ever we want to believe in; what we might want to keep in mind is the public will find out and there might come a time when someone decides not to buy your work because of your personal views. I realize this all too well (I sometimes think I should have gone into Marketing had I not had a knack for writing). Once you become famous, your views no longer belong to you and what ever you think, you have the ability to influence, especially if you are an artist.

Has Mr. Manson turned me into a hardcore Republican? I'm afraid not; then again, he isn't one of those hardcore Republicans but a more moderate one who's more concerned with the bottom line. Republicans have always been, generally, the low-tax party and Democrats, the high-tax party. If you were a millionaire superstar, which party would you choose (unless you were disgustingly Warren Buffet-Bill Gates-Oprah Winfrey rich and don't much care about paying your share of the taxes)? I don't know about you but I'm not that wealthy yet and probably never will be. I don't mind paying taxes but I would like to bring some money home too. These are the values of the Republican party I have always found to be sensible. The morality issues, well, I won't open up that can of worms because that's what this whole post is about, offending people without really knowing it.

Yes, there are some people out there who are easily offended and it doesn't really matter what you say or do because they would look for an excuse not to buy your work anyway. But when you are talking about issues of ethnicity, sexuality (ie: areas of life people don't decide as there isn't a line you settle into before you are born to choose whether you want to be strictly hetero or strictly homo, Polish or Italian, Somalian or Lebanese, Japanese or Korean ... that's kind of outside any of our control, know what I mean?), it is always best to err on the side of caution.

Question(s) of the Blog Day: Do you think your political outlook influences your work as an artist? Do you feel you should be able to express yourself as artist regardless whether anyone is offended by your views or not, or do you believe it is okay to self-censor and tone it down a bit?

What I am Reading:
What is Morgan Bailey up to now? Buy Kissed By Fire and read for yourself!
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/82621
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1105160405
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kissed-Fire-Sunwalker-Saga-ebook/dp/B005I58P1S

Added to My TBR List:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/HALLOWEEN-COLLECTION-INDIE-ECLECTIVE-ebook/dp/B005LPGG0C
Available Free on Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/86993


Laura Eno said...

I try not to offend people - I live my life, you live yours - and grow weary when someone spouts hate in the guise of free speech. I've unfollowed a few people for doing that.

Unknown said...

Laura, I agree. I believe the internet makes some of us fearless nowadays and many people believe they can just say anything about anyone and there won't be any consequences. All bets are off once you become an artist of any kind. A comment you make, even in jest, can be taken out of context and that is the hard part. Sometimes, there isn't a delete button. ;-)