• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

When is it right to denounce music and stop playing it?

Joined
Aug 14, 2018
Messages
74
Likes
169
#41
On this point, one issue that I think deserves more scrutiny is the centralisation of music playback and archiving. We have increasingly moved away from private possession of the playback medium (both physical storage media and locally-stored files) to streaming from the cloud or downloading from these cloud-based services. The problem I think is with these services, in a position of coercion/power remove these recordings from their services. I think it a real problem for listeners who possess little of the playback media themselves, and not of recordings by the artists in question. It means they are deprived of the ability to choose for themselves. Sure, some might say the free market might adjust for it - but is anyone going to reconfigure their streaming source or move to privately possessing the media for a vanishing minority of recordings? I think not.
Excellent point.
 

Cosmik

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 24, 2016
Messages
2,546
Likes
1,253
Location
UK
#42
This thread reminds me of last week's Guardian that had a favourable profile of someone (in the arts) who was "Still out to shock!", while the same edition contained numerous reports of comedians or politicians who had put out a bad tweet or told the wrong sort of joke and were to be 'called out' on their 'problematic' behaviour. Or the R4 programme about the ancient world that celebrated the greatness of history's greatest warriors while in the same programme having a dig at Brexit voters for taking a risk on the UK's economic stability by voting the wrong way.

Do you want your art to be shocking, frightening, inspiring, addressing great themes? But at the same time are you worried that the pianist, conductor or electrician might once have been a naughty boy?

Do your standards change over time? Oscar Wilde is now regarded as some sort of martyr, but at the time he was breaking the law by indulging in the same sort of activities as were mentioned earlier. How long will his 'sainthood' last? If nothing changes but the law, should the responsible arts consumer throw out/start appreciating an artist's work as a result?
 

Thomas savage

Retired Sheriff
Moderator
The Watchman
Patreon Donor
Joined
Feb 24, 2016
Messages
6,704
Likes
3,409
Location
uk, taunton
#45
Pretty close to it (although I'm sure there must be something beyond the pale that might make me sour on an artist I liked).

I'm saying my opinion of them as a human being is different from my opinion of them as an artist.

I think Michael Jackson was both a disturbed sexual predator and an amazingly gifted entertainer with a huge impact on pop music.

My dislike for his sexual predilections hasn't caused me to like or dislike his music any more or less.

William S. Burroughs either accidentally shot or sloppily murdered his wife, then moved to Tangiers so he could both more easily indulge his vices of opiates and love of young boys. That doesn't make me think any less of "Naked Lunch".

If I'm honest with myself, some of my favorite artists are those who have explored the underbellies of human behavior and society. Often that extended into both their art and their personal lives.
Your thoughts on this echo my own, I do however currently feel a awkwardness when contemplating playing anything by Michael Jackson, especially at volume level or in a area that might make that music become public.

So my feeling runs counter to my mind's view, a strange but at the same time common state for me to find myself in.
 

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
5,128
Likes
3,792
#46
No person is perfect or without fault. Even a vile person can do some good. If so, celebrate the good. With art in which you aren't directly involved look at the art. That is all that matters.

Imagine you are from another planet and find the art knowing nothing else about anyone involved. Everyone who made it is dead. If it is good art, it is good art. If it speaks to another living soul that is all it has to do. I think it is hugely detrimental and foolish the way it is the fashion to repudiate the good deceased people have done because they also did some bad while alive. They can no longer do any bad. They can no longer profit from it or be supported in those things. So you are now going to throw out and paper over any good that did come from them and some of which does endure past their lifetime. Only a 5 year old mind would think this something to do.

A similar situation, one of the very best teachers I ever had, was a reprehensible person. He was later found to collect child porn. There were never any accusations involving him and any students. But he did do that awful thing. Much of what I learned about thinking, philosophy and how to approach problems I learned from him. I suppose I might have learned it later from someone else, but he made me a better thinker. Am I supposed to not use those skills once I learned of his huge horrible character flaw?
 

restorer-john

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
1,563
Likes
2,034
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
#47
Where the creative output of an artist resonates with you, the more likely you are to research and learn more about that artist.

Sooner or later you will find out they have one or more characteristics that run counter to your own values.

I remember feeling 'betrayed' when I found out George Michael was not straight. As a teenage boy, I loved Wham and couldn't understand why he was singing about girls when he preferred boys. It was like all his music was a lie. A number of years passed before I 'forgave' him and listened to his music again. I'd separated the artist from the content and was happy again.

Michael Jackson's creative output is unrivaled. Attempts to systematically dismantle and trash the legacy of men who cannot defend themselves is getting very tiresome. Let them rest in peace. I haven't played much of MJ's music for a while, but I will, when I'm ready.
 

Ron Texas

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jun 10, 2018
Messages
920
Likes
488
Location
Equidistant From Everywhere
#48
I remember feeling 'betrayed' when I found out George Michael was not straight.
If all art by gays was avoided, there wouldn't be a lot left.

At least in the US we are experiencing two phenomena. One is sexual McCarthyism. The other, is political correctness. I don't care what people do sexually, unless it is some really serious criminal stuff like rape or child porn.
 

JJB70

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Aug 17, 2018
Messages
882
Likes
1,394
Location
Milton Keynes, England
#49
I've never had an issue with peoples sexuality, and what happens between consenting adults is entirely a matter for them. I've very rarely been turned off an artist by their tantrums and egoism and very rarely been that bothered by their politics (it should ideally be a free world). There are some behaviours which do influence my views and trouble me though, I suppose I'd generalise these instances a being those associated with moral turpitude. On the other hand I do think this is a decision for the individual and I do not like the kneejerk moves to try and airbrush artists out of history.

For all that, I'd like t thank you all for discussing a rather difficult topic in a very civil and constructive way.

I guess I should highlight the recording that kicked the thread off:

https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Lie...ttle+schubert&qid=1552517211&s=gateway&sr=8-2

I'll admit to being a huge fan of Kathleen Battle, I'm also a huge fan of Schubert, and this is an achingly beautiful performance by Battle IMO. I bought this on CD when it was first release and it has always remained one of my favourites yet very few people I've ever met have ever heard of it.
 
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
81
Likes
171
#50
I think few can match Kathleen Battle in Baroque era music. Her full recording of Handel's secular oratorio Semele is superb, with a wonderful cast that includes Marilyn Horne, Michael Chance, and Samuel Ramey. Her Handel Arias album on EMI/Angel was the first of hers that I purchased, nearly thirty years ago. Other than wanting more Baroque from her, I always hoped that she would record more songs by Rachmaninov, as the few she has performed were exquisitely sung. I've never met anyone else who has heard of her at all. My family might know if they didn't tune out everything I talk about haha!

I don't have her Schubert album, and I don't think I've ever heard it. Looking for it on Qobuz now haha, but I don't see it.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2018
Messages
24
Likes
37
Location
Philadelphia area
#51
Here's an example of what can happen when "society" gets to decide when it's okay to sweep an artist's work under the rug. What society values might be a lot different than what you value.

In Japan, any drug-related scandal will more or less end*** your public career no matter how minor. They will pull your work off of the shelves and you'll probably never work again in any public role.
However, you can sleep with an underage prostitute or be caught in possession of child porn videos and... no problem! You're still allowed to make comics for kids. Two different examples:


-----

*** Interestingly, there's a double-standard at work. Japan reserves this harshest treatment mainly for its own celebrities. Western artists' work doesn't get pulled from Japanese shelves due to drug issues. I think it's because Japanese folks are seen as having betrayed/harmed Japanese society by using drugs, whereas whatever the hell Eric Clapton put inside his body in the 60s has no real bearing on Japanese society -- he's merely a foreign curiosity
 

Cosmik

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 24, 2016
Messages
2,546
Likes
1,253
Location
UK
#52
They will pull your work off of the shelves and you'll probably never work again in any public role.
Such a thing doesn't sound 'fatal', but the reality is that it destroys the person involved. Society is quite happy to destroy someone famous (-ish) even if their crime is inadvertent or didn't hurt anyone else. Real criminals who leave a wake of misery and suffering get a slapped wrist.
 

JJB70

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Aug 17, 2018
Messages
882
Likes
1,394
Location
Milton Keynes, England
#53
I think that there is a fundamental difference between taking drugs and predatory sexual abuse. I don't particularly approve of drugs but what people put into their own body is their business. I am a bit of a libertarian and freedom means freedom to do things which other people may find stupid or objectionable. And freedom includes responsibility for consequences. Acts which hurt others are different. I see no equivalency between drug taking and sexual abuse. Abuse can leave victims with life long emotional and psychological problems and my belief in free choice stops short of defending sexual abuse (or other abuse and bullying).
 

Cosmik

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 24, 2016
Messages
2,546
Likes
1,253
Location
UK
#54
What if a musician expresses the wrong kind of politics?
https://www.theguardian.com/comment...t-morrissey-stop-listening-to-him-stewart-lee

For me, it wouldn't really affect my perception of the music. That Stewart Lee was able to dispose of his Morrissey CDs with hardly a thought suggests to me that he was never really a fan of the music; merely of the persona of who was creating it. When his perception of that persona changed, he just moved onto the next one - it was never really about the music at all. He says "it just suddenly seemed irrelevant", which I think is a very strange criterion for enjoying music.

The theme to The Persuaders is not relevant to anything, but I will always enjoy listening to it despite the fact that it was written for an incredibly sexist, white, male-dominated, chauvinistic TV series that portrayed women as mere eye candy (just kidding! :)). Basically, I would love it regardless of what it had been written for.
 

JJB70

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Aug 17, 2018
Messages
882
Likes
1,394
Location
Milton Keynes, England
#55
I've rarely had any issue with a persons politics. I've never really found it to be an issue in music, but certainly I enjoy a lot of books written by people with very different political views to my own. What turns me off isn't so much political sentiment but party political hackery, not because I object to it but because party political hacks tend to just be complete bores. There are political views which go beyond the pale, but ultimately freedom means freedom to hold objectionable beliefs. I love the books and comedy of Alexi Sayle, yet in most ways his politics are at a polar opposite of my own. That said, I guess I'm lucky in that none of the writers or artists I've ever been interested in held views that go beyond the pale (by which I mean the sort of ultra fringe zealots who think genocide is a good idea and such like).
 

Cosmik

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 24, 2016
Messages
2,546
Likes
1,253
Location
UK
#56
A relevant new article:
https://quillette.com/2019/03/13/the-folly-of-disappearing-art-and-culture/
Michael Jackson is not the only cultural icon to have been accused of molesting children. Jerry Lee Lewis married his cousin when she was 13, Alan Ginsburg notoriously brought underage boys into his bed, Gary Glitter was convicted of child molestation, and the sordid R. Kelly story continues to unfold before an appalled nation. Should all of these individuals and their work be erased? And what does it mean to erase individuals, documents, and artworks that have had a noticeable and permanent impact on both culture and our understanding of who we are and were we came from?
If those who hold the rights to content are not willing to be the keepers of truth and accuracy, consumers must do it themselves. And the only way to do that is to maintain an ownership model, and to resist the seductive convenience of a subscription model which offers to make an entire library, art museum, or music collection available at all times and in all places.
 
Top Bottom