Re: RARA-AVIS: Re:Art and Morality

From: Sandra Ruttan (
Date: 24 Feb 2007

I¹m not Miker, but this is what I want to know from those who think art does have a moral imperative: Will you boycott a movie/book/album that you believe is immoral? And how do you determine that if you haven¹t seen/read it? In Jim¹s case I can ask the specific question, because of the statement below: If you know the author isn¹t an honest, charitable person will you boycott their books?

If art has a moral imperative do consumers have a moral obligation to support what fits their moral imperative? If you purchased something that was what you would consider immoral would that make your purchase an immoral act? What about the concept of fruit from the poisoned tree? If the artist is immoral can they produce moral work?

I don¹t consider child porn art, or plagiarism. That¹s not art, that¹s theft. Art is the creation of beautiful/thought-provoking/compelling work through painting, drawing, music, writing etc. If you¹re stealing, not creating, it isn¹t art.

I have worked as a professional photographer. At one point I spent a few months taking school photos, along with a number of other photographers. Were those photos art? Not by my definition. The art was what sold for
$300/image, not what was produced from moving lines of kids past an artificial backdrop. So, I don¹t consider child porn to be art either.

The problem I have with the statement below is that it presumes into how people must live their life in order to be an acceptable artist. It would certainly be nice if people were all that way, although then we wouldn¹t have crime fiction because we wouldn¹t have crime. I¹ll admit this is why I am more of a police procedural junkie, because I prefer to invest my thought in how to get the bad guy, instead of dwelling on how to get away with murder. It would be fair to say my own values influence my reading, but does it make someone who likes Silence of the Lambs immoral? No.

I balk at starting down a path that ultimately leads to investigating the author¹s background first to determine if they are suitably moral before reading their work. Now, if I¹ve met someone who is not a nice person and I am put off by their behaviour and then find out they¹re an author, I¹m not as likely to try their book. But if I read an author and love their work and then find out they¹re a jerk, should I stop reading? What if I find out they¹re an alcoholic? Should I boycott the books to keep them from buying booze? If my imperative is ³to protect those who can't protect themselves² surely I must have a responsibility to make sure they aren¹t using their money for things that will hurt them - ?

I haven¹t heard people make arguments like this since I was being lectured not to listen to secular music or read books written by heathens.


On 2/24/07 11:54 AM, "JIM DOHERTY" <> wrote:
> So the question isn't about artistic imperatives.
> It's about moral imperatives. All people, even
> artists, have an obligation to be honest, to be
> charitable, to be respectful of others, to protect
> those who can't protect themselves, to keep their
> promises, to live up to their committments, etc.
> That's the essence of moral behavior.

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