Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: The Long Goodbye

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 11 Feb 2007

I for one find myself in the odd position of agreeing with Jim Doherty that "The Long Goodbye" is an awful movie while disagreeing with his statements below.

Art isn't a mirror, it's a hammer.

And if you don't get it (and with much of what passes for "modern art" these days, I don't), that's beside the point. That said, just because it's art doesn't exempt it from criticism. In fact, just the opposite.

I thought "The Long Goodbye" sucked. I thought it could have been so much better. I was unsurprised by the revelations that Altman didn't like Chandler's work.

That said, there's no "moral" expectation to which art can or should be held to.

All the Best-


  ----- Original Message -----
  Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2007 10:22 AM
  Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: The Long Goodbye


  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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