Artists and morality (that old chestnut again)

The Philosophy of Art & Aesthetics.

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bennie
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Artists and morality (that old chestnut again)

Post by bennie » February 21st, 2005, 5:26 pm

Jerry Springer: the opera
Salman Rushdie - the satanic verses
Theo Van Gogh - Submission Part One

http://www.channel4.com/culture/microsi ... nsive.html

http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0 ... 84,00.html
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0432109/

---

Where do you all stand on the idea that an artist should be free from moral constraint?

Morals force self censorship, so should an artist be free from morals to create the art that is in him/her to create?

Our fundamental right to free speech has never been more at threat than it is now, not by the evil, evil terrorists that live in the sand, but by the governments who tell us that in order to protect ourselves from this invisible threat we must hold a finger to our lips and put a lid on our liberty.

Is it important for the artist to go against the grain of this oppression as a questioner and viewer of society?


I think that, as artists, it is very important that we push buttons. If you are remotely socio/political in your art I think you have to question religion, even poke fun at religion and use it as the punchline to some great painted joke.

If you mock or ostracise someone for their political beliefs then you are an ignorant biggot who has no respect for people's feelings. However, if you are questioning and mocking someone's religion then I think this is completly different.

If someone mocked my religious beliefs I'd like to think those beliefs were strong enough to withstand the mocking and so, I'd just turn to them, with a smile, and say, "I appreciate your views and I defend your right to voice them, but I still think that there is, and never has been, a god, and the idea that there is a god is laughable to me."

If the most sensitive and touchy people make the rules and then they expect us to live by them, I think that's quite unsettling.

I also think that any person's religious belief should be strong enough to withstand questioning (and that's what this kind of art is: a big question mark, a jumping off point for a discussion)

There's a law passed, or on its way to being passed in the UK which will make it against the law to poke fun at religion. That is an infringment on our rights. I'm not sure what has happened with this law actually because there was a lot of fuss created around it.
well I write music review so I do:
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hester_prynne

Post by hester_prynne » February 21st, 2005, 8:45 pm

against the law to poke fun at religion?

So how do they define poking fun at religion exactly? does this mean citations for saying, "oh god, that was funny!", stuff like that?
Wow.

Funny. Heh, we here in America are allowing G Bush to corrupt the word "democracy" and use it like a religious crusade.
Shrug

I find it all very depressing, not to mention unsettling, so i've given up following any of it. I just want to be happy and if I'm going to get blown to bits i'd rather just not know.
shrug again.
enjoyed reading your post as usual Ben. That's a first rate poem you got going in creative writing too....
H 8)

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Artguy
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Post by Artguy » February 22nd, 2005, 10:03 am

Avoiding negative action is harder for an artist than most....because of our sensitivity to the human condition.....empathy is seen and felt even for the worst perpatrators....

hester_prynne

Post by hester_prynne » February 22nd, 2005, 8:17 pm

oops, thing stuttered or sumpin....
Last edited by hester_prynne on February 22nd, 2005, 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hester_prynne

Post by hester_prynne » February 22nd, 2005, 8:19 pm

Indeed true. But this artist is learning, that compassion, empathy, is time after time just thrown back in my face like mud.

An immovable beast seems upon us.
A hammer on my well-intentioned head.
I just want to hide anymore, I'm afraid of being empathetic, or compassionate.

I'm tired of crying, of being angry, feeling more and more alone.
I'm all cried out.
There is nothing I can do to permeate the thick level of injustice, oppression and murder that keeps on mounting, and is continually supported.

Mind you, I am broken. Severely curmudgeonized and apathetic. The evidence is just too damned convincing.

I'm rereading the Fluteplayer. I love that book. Everytime I read it's sordid, disturbing pages I feel validated.

H 8)

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Post by sooZen » February 22nd, 2005, 9:27 pm

Bennie...some insighful thoughts and good questions.

Power is a mighty thing and can cause those Poobahs with it to want to control everything within their range, especially those with a voice.

I don't think that it is up to artists or anyone else to be political if that is not their bent. If some lady wants to paint flowers or some dude wants to paint his shoes, cool. They should and I cannot judge motives or their paths, even though, for myself...it would not do. If an artist wants to speak out, to be a catalyst for change without, then by all means she should do so, without, yeah, I said "without" constraint.

"They" are fixing to slash the arts funding from the Arts Resources Department here in Phar Lepht to the bone. No more funds for Music Under the Stars, no more People's Gallery, no more Art in the Park, because why? Why because no one will stand up and say, BULLSHIT! unless we the artists affected do so.

"Without art, there is no human history." Cecil B. Lee

And censorship is the worst kind of crap I can think of but, we as artists must be willing to accept the fringes of what exists in art in order to accept what is deemed acceptable. Society or tribes have no such strictures and must do what is best for the good of the whole.

Morality exists within each one of us, we innately know what is right from what is wrong for ourselves. That little voice inside that tugs at us when we do something beyond the our own inner beliefs and truths will knock inside our head and heart unless we listen. Some artists just want to shock, rap the consensus in the head, flip a few wigs and that sometimes makes it harder for the rest of us but we must allow them the freedom (or they must take it) to do so for all of our good. I am not into sick art but I defend sick art.

Lead by example, I say. Be a light unto others and that is my religion. For someone that needs a guru, a master, a path to follow because they are lost...then go for it. I am not about to knock someone else's thingee unless it infringes on others paths. No one, not one of us has all the answers for anyone besides ourselves. We have opinions, beliefs, even truth but these are only sacrament for the willing and be careful what you swallow.

Peace,
SooZen
Freedom's just another word...



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Post by sooZen » February 22nd, 2005, 9:41 pm

Hes...living in fear is no way to live is it?

When we let our emotions or our egos rule then control is lost, (our self control) for we cannot control what others may do or say and IF we let the world rule how we feel, we experience di-stress, dis-ease, and the dam-nation of our very BEing.

I read your words and felt empathetic, like I wanted to make you a nice cuppa chamomile tea, rub your feet, lay my hands on you, tell you that all things pass in their seasons but I am far away and cannot so you must 'buck up buckeroo' on your own. Remember all those that you have touched, the old fogies, the child you raised and here, on the net.

Bitter tea is no drink for you...

Peace,
SooZen
Freedom's just another word...



http://soozen.livejournal.com/

hester_prynne

Post by hester_prynne » February 22nd, 2005, 10:26 pm

Thank you Sooz.....and yes I'll buckaroo buck up, I always do....
I feel more centered today than I have in a long while....but I sure miss my old happy go lucky self....

There have been many many kicks down in the past two years...and it's getting to me. I crave some let up.

adjusting is never fast or easy.
But, you are right, it'll all be alright.
I appreciate your kind words.
I really do

really sucks about how they are cutting out all the art programs.
I really really hope you and your community can find a way to make them back off from doing that.
I hope all us communities can. It's happening everywhere!

H 8)

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Post by mtmynd » February 22nd, 2005, 10:36 pm

Bennie - interesting topic, lad. :wink: This had me goin' for awhile...

The thing that keeps coming back to me is the law you spoke about ... defending religion.

If the attacks on religion is only from artists, then I feel the threat is only a threat to those that are somehow insulted by the way the artist has portrayed that person's religion. There was no actual threat of violence or a need to defend a person's well-being through the artist's interpretation - a form of free speech as you referred to, which we all need to support.

How can one defend religion? It sounds good on paper, but what is being defended? It may be necessary to defend the practioners of a religion, it may be necessary to defend to building of the practioners of a religion and it is perhaps mandatory to defend the relics of religion from destruction... but to defend religion is defending a non-existent commodity. What are the dimensions of religion? ... the weight of religion? Religion, in and of itself, is no more than a belief. It is a no thing. Religion per se, cannot be defended but only debated by the believers versus the non-believers, and that would be the defense of the human(s), whether they be the practioner or the antagonist.

These links you provided show (to me anyway) the absurdity of those that call themselves "believers", only because it shows the shallowness of their own beliefs. But conversely, those that make ridicule of anothers beliefs also show their lack of understanding, at best and their lack of compassion, at worst, towards the sensitivity of the believer. When either side of the fence feels threatened the human response is de-fence.

What's necessary is to show the weakness, i.e., the hypocrisy, of any religion, and hypocrisy is rampant throughout belief systems. Humor is a great balance in dealing with any weakness, religion included, but humor, unfortunately, is a rare human quality when confronting the strict and immovable system of religion that has been carved out of dark and frightened souls who fear the very thing they worship. It may take an artist or two, especially with a sense of humor, to loosen these folks up, if ever...

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Post by mousey1 » February 23rd, 2005, 1:56 pm

To speak your mind is always commendable. Can it ever be wrong to do so? It sheds light.

If you're going to use your art, your talents to poke fun, it is your right to. However to say that it's wrong to poke fun at someone's political beliefs but not wrong to poke fun at someone's religious beliefs is of course a double standard.....

All strongly held beliefs have to be able to stand up to ridicule, whatever is thrown at them. I believe God has a sense of humour, there are scads of examples,(don't ask me to point them out, see them for yourself :) nice little cop out, eh?) Humour is good, yay for humour, but cruel humour, belittling humour, makes me wonder what's behind it. Still and so, you have a right to express yourself.

Writers and artists should not be constrained, morally or otherwise in what they write or portray, the only example I can think of where one should be, is in regards to child porn. We had an example of that here in Canada when a so-called art appreciator said his photos of children were art, nothing more, but they were clearly borderline porn, if not blatantly a cover for his perversion, so really I can see a need for laws in this instance.

As far as making a law against poking fun at religion, or against any form of free speech, it is completely ridiculous. To attempt to legislate the tongue, the mind into obeyance is nonsensical.

Again, I'd rather see in the light of day what people are doing, thinking, then wonder about it in the dark. If that makes any sense. :roll:

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Post by bennie » February 23rd, 2005, 5:34 pm

thanks for your thoughts, mousie, mtmynd, buddhabeeatch, art guy and, hest.

Hest: Image

Not that I, in any way, live by this. I wish, more than anything actually, that I did live by it. But I don't.

Incidently, this statue is on the clyde pathway in glasgow.

I was interested in finding out your thoughts to this question because I find that, more and more, (as I get older :roll: ) I'm getting interested in what's on the outside. I'm bored by everything and I want to find the limits. Morals help us to "know" "our" limits, but sometimes these limits are imposed upon us rather than being the actual limit of, for want of a better term, what's decent.

I want to write poetry in baby blood on papyrus walls of parliament. There, I said it. pheww.

haha, thanks for your thoughts.
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lescaret
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Spout and Spew

Post by lescaret » February 23rd, 2005, 7:02 pm

Damn, wish I'd noticed this thread earlier today when I was chained at work with a monitor and no chaperone, now it's after work and time to rush off to the pub for a "writer's meeting" (me and a childhood friend both working, as we say, on our books, meet to discuss once a month or so, he's married, gotta' get home to house and kids etc etc etc and I I I wonder what....?)

BUT - Bennie, I don't think you should be constrained by moralistic hubris when you dip your pen point in the baby's blood to scrawl your sermon on the parliment mount. Personally, though, I hope that babycide wasn't involved. If there is any moral to live by it's "thou shalt not kill anyone but thyself".

Your questions beg a longer and more considered riposte than I have the time or mind sense to offer in this moment.

You ask "...should an artist be free from morals to create the art that is in him/her to create?"

Great Scot, man! Of course! Where would we be without Gaugin and his hairy indifference, his sweating Polynesian lust and boorishness? Or Burroughs with his laconic disregard for the bourgeoise? Or the monstrous Francis Bacon with his recreated nightmares in salacious oils?

Hell, most of these people I'd avoid sitting down to dinner with. Imagine a drunken Kerouac babbling about Vietnam and the sacred spirit of the American flag? Could I handle that? I doubt it.

Let it rip, just don't hurt anyone.

Now, Hester. This disturbs me:

"I find it all very depressing, not to mention unsettling, so i've given up following any of it."

Wrong approach, definitely. Of course the world is on fire, a smoldering lunked sphere orbiting in oblivion but is that any reason to eschew awareness?

Oh I know - check out, back to the land, fly with butterflys, make love, not war, braid flowers, listen to crystals, wait for the pears to ripen so we can make pear desserts.

Sorry. Not ranting at you but at that sentiment of defeat, that giving up.

It's folly to go for a walk and pay no attention to where you plant your feet. Know your ground. Your neighborhood. Your city. Your country. Your planet. As best as you can.

Take a rest now and then. But don't stop paying attention. One less aware artist is one more victory for the Forces of Evil.
"... accept balance on the turbulent promenade."

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Post by mtmynd » February 23rd, 2005, 9:14 pm

lescaret - "One less aware artist is one more victory for the Forces of Evil," is a damn good line. I like that.

TY

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Post by mousey1 » February 23rd, 2005, 11:38 pm

MOUSIE!!!!
MOUSIE!!!!
MOUSIE!!!!

Y oh Y oh Y oh Y????


Smart guy! 8)

Baby blood? Sick bastard! They need laws for people like you! :x

:P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P

Ya, ya, just ignore me. :)

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Post by stilltrucking » February 24th, 2005, 6:08 pm

I think that, as artists, it is very important that we push buttons.
"I don't punch anybodies ticket" Steven Gaskin

Do we push the buttons because we are just kind of bored and curious to see what happens.
Like a child testing his limits with a parent?

I tell you one god dam thing for sure bennie, "God is not mocked except by believers" free thinkers got nothing on believers when it comes to mockery. For god's sake look at our dear leader over here in the states.

i am ranting and raving
Last edited by stilltrucking on February 26th, 2005, 2:32 am, edited 4 times in total.

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