Separating the Art from the Artist

With authors on Twitter and Facebook, it’s easy to feel like we know them better as people. But what happens when authors aren’t as cool in real life as their work? At Fiction Writers Review, Celeste Ng looks at what it means when an artist is a jerk–or worse. Where does the line fall for cutting a previously beloved piece of art out of your life because the creator is sketchy?

Ng writes: “If you, as a reader, know an author fervently supports a cause you hate, every word that author writes might seem tinged.” I’ve certainly felt that before. She brings up Orson Scott Card, who is anti-gay. I read and enjoyed Ender’s Game before finding that out. It hasn’t made me burn my copy of Ender’s Game, but I haven’t picked up any of his other work. But I can ignore a generally unpleasant writer as long as his/her unpleasantness isn’t morally offensive in some way. For the most part, I think a work of art should be able to stand on its own.

Fortunately, I can’t think of a lot of people in the children’s/YA world I’d have to cut out. (Writers, please don’t give me a reason.) Do you ever stop reading someone’s books because you found out something unpleasant about the author?

0 thoughts on “Separating the Art from the Artist

      • Deborah the Closet Monster says:

        Exactly! Knowing what’s really behind that visage and voice makes it impossible for me to knowingly support him (without very, very good reason) in the future.

        I had to throw that caveat in because I work in contracts. Whenever I start to say “never,” I immediately imagine someone threatening to, say, steal my dog if I don’t hand Mel Gibson $10. :p

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