RARA-AVIS: Re: The Long Goodbye

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 11 Feb 2007


Re your comment below:

"Art has no moral obligation."

That's about the silliest thing I've ever heard.

All people have an obligation to be moral, to do right, to be honest, honorable, and charitable, and this applies to one's profession as it does to all other aspects of one's life.

Would you say that a cop has no obligation to conduct himself morally? Or a physician? Or a lawyer? We may not be particularly surprised if anyone in those professions acts immorally, but we feel we have a right to expect moral, or at the absolute minimum, ethical behavior from them nonetheless, and we, as a society, exact a price if they don't measure up.

Why should an artist be exempt from a standard we expect of all other members of society.

To say that art has no moral obligation is to excuse a child pornographer as long as his photography is artistic. It's to excuse a plagiarist as long as he improves on what he stole. It's to say that novel that's little more than a racist screed needs no justification as long as it's well-written and tells a compelling story.

You may say that an artist doesn't have to conform to MY personal standards of morality or YOUR perosnal standards of morality in order to justify himself, but to say that an artist need not conform to ANY standard of morality when he's producing art simply because he's an artist producing art is just silly.


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