Who was the author?

by Laura Demilio

--if you don't want to say, I understand. But I certainly agree it is deflating when an artist we admire turns out to be an awful person and crushes our esteem. (think of how cruel and dastardly John Lennon could be to his friends and first wife and son by that marriage -- but yet, what a gifted individual who, during and post Beatles, contributed so much innovation to rock music and culture)

And.... do we really want to know if someone has committed, proven and without a shred of doubt, something utterly reprehensible? Not someone who is just flagrantly unkind, churlish during interviews, selfish and hedonistic, but someone who has done something repugnant and awful, and everyone is absolutely sure of it; all evidence leaves no doubt in anyone's mind. How would we come to terms with that?

Well. . .. here's an example. Carl Orff was a bang-up terrific composer -- but totally supported Nazism. Do I still listen to Carmina Burana? Yes, I admit that I do.

However, "better not to know" is to have. . . not so much the ambiguity, but a reasonable chance that the person is equally considered not to have been proven guilty of a ghastly crime, or didn't go along with a hideous political state of affairs, or didn't arbitrarily ruin people's lives, or wasn't cruel to animals.

We WANT to know "they didn't do it." We don't want to know, yet many feel they somehow have to know, as it's only responsible, if such people did. Does this not leave a tinge on our enjoyment of their music and writing? Or can we effectively block it out, and would we be somehow lacking in emotional scruple if we did so?

Posted on Dec 4, 2017, 11:58 AM

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