400blowjobs asked: Does being a shitty person or doing shitty stuff invalidate someone's accomplishments, in your opinion? Like in the cases of Jack Kerouac or MLK jr.?
Well, I don’t think it’s appropriate to draw a comparison in this case to a literary icon with a civil rights leader, since those are two very different types of “accomplishments.”
I don’t necessarily think it’s always terrible to like a piece of art that comes from a problematic source… I mean, I still have my copies of On the Road, Howl, Naked Lunch, etc. and I still (begrudgingly) enjoy passages from those works even if I think their authors are pieces of garbage. But I think it’s important to recognize when the source of a work is not actually the perfectly amazing genius nice guy they’re made out to be… What sickens me is that certain ~artists~ (e.g. the beats I was complaining about) can get away with being shitty people and still be lauded as “American heroes” and “creative geniuses” and “great guys” while the shitty things they’ve done are minimized or simply ignored. Meanwhile, oftentimes others (like women, PoC, people who aren’t straight white dudes) are also making great works but are often overpowered by the loudness and huge insistent presence of shittier people (which applies to probably most creative movements, “scenes,” etc.) I’m glad I wrote that little rant because I got a lot of suggestions for other things to read instead! I’d rather be reading good works by good people who maybe weren’t as popular or visible or well-publicized, than just getting angry about how the popular works I used to like were actually written by jerks…
But in short, I mean, does creating a ~Great Work~ invalidate being a shitty person?