Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Taking the artist out of the art

Here's why art and artist should be considered separately:

Ender's Game is a great book.

But Orson Scott Card is a little weird. Right-wing. Intolerant.

Calling a homosexual contract "marriage" does not make it reproductively relevant and will not make it contribute in any meaningful way to the propagation of civilization.

In fact, it will do harm. Nowhere near as much harm as we have already done through divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing. But it's another nail in the coffin. Maybe the last nail, precisely because it is the most obvious and outrageous attack on what is left of marriage in America.

Since I first read the article this morning, the blogosphere has already written the thoughts that had been formulating in my mind while I worked the day away.

We hope we're all astute enough, objective enough, to judge a work on its own merit. I've never been a fan of biography as a means of interpretation and criticism. The problem: when the artist's worldview seeps into the work.

Take for example Mel Gibson and "The Passion of the Christ." The film is not a mere work of art; Gibson proclaims it to be the deepest expression of his soul, of God. Does it matter that his father is anti-Semitic? Maybe. How can the art not be coloured, just a little, by its creator? The art is never pure. We deserve full disclosure.

I read Ender's Game about five years ago, and I'd like to start rereading it this weekend. Family, family structure, family values did figure into the story. It will, I'm sure, remain a great book, a powerful premise. But I'm afraid, too, it will mean a little bit more.

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