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Fairy Godmother
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JULY 9, 2010 8:06AM

Averting Our Eyes

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I have long been fascinated by the question of whether it is possible to separate the art from the artist.  The history of the world is full of people who have contributed works of art, statesmanship, beauty, even humanitarianism while simultaneously possessing great blackness in their hearts.

There are numerous examples. Thomas Jefferson penned the American Declaration of Independence while owning slaves.  He is generally believed to have treated the slaves on his plantation with some measure of respect, though I wonder if it is possible to truly respect an individual one owns.
declaration of ind 

Richard Wagner, a blatant anti-Semitic, composed the opera  Lohengren. Most of us don’t know this opera, but most of us are very familiar with a passage from the opera played at weddings since the mid 1800’s.  It’s called Wedding March, The Bridal Chorus, or simply, Here Comes the Bride.
sheet music here comes the bride 

How many artisans, writers, musicians in our history have produced works of beauty while committing reprehensible acts?  Do those acts invalidate whatever goodness their creators may have fashioned?

What can be said about a person who appreciates the art of someone whose name elicits images of the most loathsome, gruesome, unfathomable atrocities against over 16 million people?
hitler landscape 

What can be said about a person who appreciates a film that captures elegant, graceful athletes, despite the director’s friendship with that madman?  Leni Riefenstahl was quoted in 1937 by a Detroit reporter as saying: "To me, Hitler is the greatest man who ever lived. He truly is without fault, so simple and at the same time possessed of masculine strength.”

The same person who finds some of Hitler’s pastoral paintings to be beautiful also finds some of Riefenstahl’s Olympic footage graceful, some of Jefferson’s words inspiring, some of Wagner’s music brilliant.
Shall we turn our backs on the Declaration of Independence because its primary author was an active participant in slavery?  Shall we stop our ears and run from every wedding when we hear strains of music written by an anti-Semitic?  Shall we avert our eyes when seeing a beautiful watercolor brought into being by a mass murder? 
We could, I suppose, take upon ourselves the burden of researching the politics of each person, historical or contemporary, with whom we have any measure of contact.  In doing such research I am confident we will find many heroes  who have behaved with some measure of despicable behavior as well as many antiheroes who have occasionally behaved admirably.

Can Jefferson’s apparent benign treatment of his slaves compare with Hitler’s atrocities to people who he felt were inferior to him?  One immediately rushes in and exclaims, “Why, of course not!”  

I wonder.  If a Jeffersonian slave sat down with an inmate of Dachau and compared notes, which one could lay claim to having endured the most horrific treatment?  Would you be willing to trade places for one year with either person?  

My initial bias says, “Oh, undoubtedly I would take up residence at Monticello.  After all, he treated his slaves relatively well.”  But I am blind to the realities of that slave.  I cannot invision with intimate clarity what it would be like to live in a world where an individual has power to reassign me to circumstances away from my family, or even to restrict me from legally marrying the person of my choice.

Oh.  That’s right.  As a lesbian, I am restricted from legally marrying the person of my choice.  Ah.  Well, that’s just a small restriction after all, isn’t it.
unity candle 

Am I ignorant and unsympathetic to others because I honor a very small piece of brightness in an otherwise decayed and depraved life?  Perhaps. I don’t think so, but I don’t know.  I do know that if I demand from others who engage in behaviors that I find ignorant and unsympathetic to me that I will soon tire from my demands.

I don’t have time for such demands.  I have time to appreciate beauty wherever I find it.  Sometimes it is in the open air, fresh, clear, universally applauded.  And sometimes it is under a rock, soiled by the sins of its creator.  

To read the precursor to this post, please see High Diving, The Sequel.

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Kit: I think you explained a most difficult subject very well. I would add that we should not recognize anyone in America who is not a Native American. After all, their country and their culture were robbed from them by our ancestors. Therein lies the rub. Where do you start the clock, as to who is right and who is wrong. I never heard of the German pro-Nazi lady until this dustup started. I can see the Jewish point of view very well. If I were in their shoes, any hint of pro-Naziism would rankle me. I went back and watched the whole video, and I just don't think a video of people diving rises to the level of pro-Hitler support by anyone. That is a real stretch. Just my view. R-

Moving question. How can one hear, "Ride of the Valkyries" and not be moved? Yes, he was anti-semitic--but the genius. It's hard, because you feel hypocritical. Nonetheless, I choose to love the art. I may choose to loathe the artist. Thing is, I can choose.

The toughest are those who attack the queer. Now it takes it to another level because it is at your essence. Can I enjoy the art of a lesbian hater? Can a Jew appreciate the music of Wagner and still hate the man? Tough one. I'll see.
Kit..I was very surprized at your post and my heart actually hurts. I guess I have one question for you and it has nothing to do with being a lesbian or a Jew. Could you appreciate the art of someone who sodomized a parent or child that you loved? Liberal, very often sounds so "oh, let's just be open-minded here", but my God, the line has to be drawn somewhere.
IMO the Hitler paintings are too minor and *eh* to overcome their associations. Riefenstahl’s Olympic film is reportedly very nice - but is it Great Art enough to overcome the associations - it and the film glorifying the Reich constitutes the body of her famous work (I understand she did stuff after the war, but it's not as famous), and I wouldn't be able to 'appreciate' it objectively.

The Canadian public TV did a program last night on Nazi propaganda, most of which was vile and crude...and we all know what it led to. This is still so personal and raw for people still living that I think it is not a good thing to bring it up and 'defend' it, or whatever you're doing. Not in the same class yet (that will take a lot more time) as Jefferson or Wagner.

A footnote-- we mostly think of the Jews that the Nazis persecuted, because there were so many, but there were other groups too, including homosexuals...
Interesting questions, Kit. Jefferson is a bit of a red herring here: not an artist, but a thinker, whose work is a work of political philosophy, hence open to be judged by political and moral standards. Similarly, Riefenstahl sacrificed her art at the altar of politics, and thus probably should be judged in that light (as Speer, as well). One might appreciate technique and even identify elements of genius, but in the end one must also think there's a bit of debasement going on. (How much easier to have artists who rail against injustice or mock the powerful!)

Then you have those who create art that is (sometimes, though not always) separate from their politics. The painting could certainly be seen as representing a Teutonic idyll and triumphalism. On the other hand, devoid of identification, it might have been painted by an artist from a number of different countries. On the other hand, it doesn't proclaim greatness; for the sublime, I'll take a Bierstadt.

But these are good questions, I think. Not ones that always elicit easy answers.
I see you are trying to justify posting the Riefenstahl video. Even though its offensive, you still have it up. This is what I expected. People at all costs will protect their ego, even when deep down they know they are being insesniive to others.
What you are doing is this
"a guy walks down the streets of san francisco with a picture of the assasin of Harvey Milk plastered against his chest'

Do you find that offensive?

Well I find it offensive that you posted a Riefenstahl video on diving when you could have chosen so many others
Kit, I will be thinking about this one all day. It is extremely thought-provoking. Perhaps different yet not so different is my Mel Gibson example.
I will never see a Mel Gibson movie to save my life. Anyone who uses the "n" word, and puts down Jews and gays will never get a penny from me. _r
Your whole post is malarkey. All that effort just to justifya wrongdoing. Most people would realize they were wrong and remove that highly offensive video. As a jew I am appalled at your callousness to an obvious exposed nerve to our people. It is so wrong what you did and all you are trying to do is prove that what you did was ok.
You should be ashamed of yourself for not removing that video
Sorry, but Riefenstahl explicitly created that video of the Olympics on your other post as propaganda for Hitler's Third Reich. It's one thing to say, "She was a good filmmaker," it is another to say, "I can use and praise her 'art' regardless of what she did/said/represents."

The films Riefenstahl made for the Nazis, including the clip you used on your post, can never be divorced from their context. You can admire her abilities all you want, but pretending that her films don't represent--glorify actually--the man responsible for despicable evils is at best extremely naive. Given that you continue to support your use of that video (that's really the best "diving art" you could find???) it calls into question your willingness to denounce evil when you see it. Would you have paid to see her films in 1930s Germany because it was "just art"?
It is so sad to think that someone can create beauty with a heart full of hate, but it shows that we can all have a divine spark along with the not so divine.
It's also sad that someone's ego is so large and heart is so stone cold, that they won't remove a video from OS - simply because it would be an admittance of being wrong.

Kit knows what she did was wrong- but that gigantic ego will fight until its last breath. Ego stops her from removing the offensive video. She knows she is wrong
this is a great post on many levels. As to the question of rejecting works of beauty by otherwise "flawed" people, it really makes us have to look at ourselves in how we attribute some kind of godlike perfectionism over real human talents that are just vastly greater than most others. These days we give athletes and models incredible amounts of "credit" (money, social position) based on morally irrelevant skills. then we are astonished when they are still human, and perhaps more abusive than most.
I think that putting today's standards of "equality" on the past doesn't serve us well because of social, economic and religious norms that are vastly different. Jefferson might have been a better person because slavery was normal, and he saw the humanity in his slaves and recognized the need to change our perceptions about human equality. There would be no changing of the entire status quo at once, but he planted the seeds of undermining what was then the social fabric.
Exceptional post. Very well said.
I actually don't think that you should remove the video, Kit. At this point you have made clear that you think there is nothing wrong with it, so why not leave it up.

On the other hand, I'm disturbed that so many people are comfortable saying that art is somehow always divorced from the person who produced it, the context in which it was produce, the purpose it was meant to serve, etc. There are grey areas, no doubt, but there also seem to be clear-cut cases where it sends a message, perhaps unintended, perhaps not, when we display certain art works.

Can the Nazi symbol be seen as just an attractive design element?
Kit the difference of course betw the slave and the Dachau inmate is that Jew is there to be killed however miserable and immoral the plight of the slave. I am NOT making a moral comparison; I'm saying that bc the intent of the captors in your comparison is just so different, I'm not sure the comparison holds.
At the same time, I've no issue w OS serving as host to any opinion or image.
Hell yes.......I love that last sentence and take it to heart....what an interesting view point....Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I say behold and take it all is all around us....we just lose sight .This was my first read this morning and I enjoyed every word.
Susan: it appears some choose 'art' above 'life'. Id she doesn't understand that she has offended numerous people, then she is in a sorry state. She won't take it down, because she doesn't give a damn. This piece she wrote here, was all about defending HER behaviour. She doesn't care that she offended others. That is very apparent . She doesn't answer us, because in a dialogue there really is no defense. It is obvious that this woman doesn't have the decency to take down the video. Some people would rather die than admit they were just plain wrong. It is pathetic that a grown woman has to act that way
Personally, I can't deal with it. The reason why I cannot listen to certain music, or watch certain movies (yes, Mel Gibson does come to mind). To me, the art is ruined in this light, forever tainted by the mind who created it. Is it fair of me to think that way? Am I being overzealous? Maybe, but then again, I can't help it.
I agree with Vanessa about Mel Gibson, also. I think that continuing to support his movies is equivalent to saying that you think it is no big deal that he is a racist. It is a big deal and there should be some public approbation. I don't think arguing that we should condemn some behaviors means we have to condemn all of an artist or public figure's flaws. And I absolutely cannot agree that because we all have flaws is it OK to promote the work of someone like Hitler or his fervent admirer Leni Riefenstahl.
Everything is a lesson. Without examining the past -its glories, its horrors- and without understanding ALL OF IT we are doomed to repeat all of the mistakes. Examination IS part of responsible citizenship. Scholarship IS part of putting things in context. What is wrong with laying everything out and seeing it for what it is, acknowledging the beauty pain, unspeakable inhumanity and then looking at it in terms of current situations. Looking for lessons everywhere...not under rugs...and then attempting desperately, armed with all the full weight of knowledge carrying it forward to attempt to create a better tomorrow? How are we being manipulated by images and ads and politicians even now? I think it is important to view all sides...even the ugly ones in the interest of full understandings. I have learned a great deal not only from this post, but from the comments and commentators here. Thanks to you all for giving me a much more thorough understanding of the possible machinations of an OS post; I appreciate seeing the full range of participants...Eyes thoroughly opened-still beats keeping them shut.
Ignoring all art produced by those with questionable (or downright abhorrent) moral/ethical values would leave us with very little in our libraries and museums. I am glad that more people are willing to consider the artist when admiring the art. I don't think its something to be resolved, so much as yet another layer of complexity in trying to understand the object or creation.

At the core, I know that good people can do bad things, just as I know that bad people can do good things. We can't erase the knowledge that we are all both flawed and gifted.

P Muse- what you say is all good in Paradise - but many people have the philosophy that if it feels good its ok- I think that at times you have to take a stand- and confront that which is wrong. She has offended so many and doesnt give a hoot. Of course if Hitler killed 6 million lesbians, she'd be singing a completely different tune. Funny how that is...isn't it?
This is certainly not a simple issue. It is one I have literally wrestled with at a personal level for fifty years. Thanks to each of you who have contributed to this dialog with provoking questions and observations.

Thank you, ClarkK.

Dave, as I expect you know from some of my prior posts, the European devastation of Native American society weighs very heavily on me. We will never know with certainty how many indigenous people on this continent were exterminated as the result of the European invasion, which you and I now benefit from. I do not take this reality lightly, but have not fathomed the means to escape it.

Irania, Yes, I am glad we have the choice to decide what we love, admire, respect.

Cindy, I don’t know where the line is drawn. I suppose it is up to each of us to draw our own line. My work, as has that of many others, been occasionally discounted simply because of my demographics. It breaks my heart to witness blatant discriminations.

Myriad, I agree with you on this point. The estimates of the death toll during Holocaust vary between 12 and over 26 million. At least six million of these were Jewish people. Silverstrim presents a well researched synopsis of this. As for Hitler’s work being “minor,” most art critics agree with you. His talent was certainly not superior to many. It is, in fact, a matter of taste. Very simply, I like some of his art.

AtHome Pilgrim, I am no art critic, and have no skills whatsoever in divining ideological underpinnings of a canvas. I simply like what I like, and do not like what I don’t like. I am no fan of Picasso’s cubist work, though I think he shows extraordinary talent for his portraits. Yet, it is his cubism that merits him the greatest accolades. Again, a matter of preference, I suppose.

Joan, I was very disturbed by Mel Gibson’s blatantly racist comments, and it certainly taints my views about him personally.

Susan, I don’t know if your information is accurate or not. I’ve read an alternate perception about Riefenstahl’s motivations in making Olympia written by a man who has taught this subject at the college level. I don’t know what her motivations were. Sharing the film does not glorify it or the participants in the making of it. The film in question captured the beauty and grace of athletes from many nations. That alone is why I selected it.

Romantic Princess, I am fascinated with the notion of the “divine spark,” and appreciate your thoughts on this.

Micalpeace, thanks for focusing on what is written in the post.
Oryoki Bowl, you are so right. Can people living in the 18th century be held accountable to the standards of 2010? Perhaps in some ways yes, perhaps in other ways no. I suppose we each must come to our ideas about where those lines are drawn.

Jonathan, I agree that the plights of one group cannot cleanly be compared to those of another group. I frankly don’t know which group I would choose to be in if I had to choose between being in a place where death was imminent or living in a place where I could expect to be treated as livestock for all my days.

Diary of a food addict, I do tend, like you, to soak in beauty where I can find it. All too often what we see most exposed is darkness.

Vanessa, I have enormous respect for you and your work. Part of my point in this post is that we, in fact, often are exposed to and even admire the art and work of those about whom we know very little. We simply do not know the intricate ideologies behind each action that we both admire as well as loathe. We each must decide what to do.

Persistent Muse, You speak clearly, and my position in this matter is very similar to yours. Ignoring the realities of history threatens us with repeating them.

Reader Not Writer, Yes indeed! If we simply destroyed all works of art and music which are offensive to some of us, if we dismantled all policies that some of us find repugnant, if we quit speaking to others who sometimes offend us, we would soon find ourselves living in a very tiny, very stagnant, very dull world.

Jerusalem Mike, you clearly will believe what you choose, and I am certain that nothing I add or subtract will dissuade you from your course. I leave you to that.
You have offended many people today Kit and your little comments were all laced with platitudes and wishwashiness. Do us all a favor, wake up, use your head, realize you have offended many here, quit trying to defend yourself as you are beginning to sound foolish and just take down the video.

It's unbelievable the lengths people will go to to defend their actions. You amaze me............
Riefenstahl spent a lot of time trying to soften her image after WWII, including altering and concealing (or attempting to conceal) facts about the films she made for Hitler and the Nazi Party. She made Olympia in 1936, and although some people have tried to sell the notion that she was less enamored of Hitler by that time, she told a Detroit News reporter in 1937, "To me, Hitler is the greatest man who ever lived. He truly is without fault, so simple and at the same time possessed of masculine strength."

When the Germans occupied Paris, she sent Hitler the following telegram: "With indescribable joy, deeply moved and filled with burning gratitude, we share with you, my Führer, your and Germany's greatest victory, the entry of German troops into Paris. You exceed anything human imagination has the power to conceive, achieving deeds without parallel in the history of mankind. How can we ever thank you?"

I think her motivations are pretty clear.
Susan, I used that quote in my post. Curious. How much of my post did you actually read?
Kit, I'm glad to know that you agree with me about Mel Gibson. Would you still see his movies even though his comments "tainted" your opinion of him? Maybe that is the difference in opinion here. Some of us have a very hard time separating the "evil" from the "evil-doer."
Now see? I told you I was going to come back after I gave it more thought.
Joan, I never was that huge of a fan of Mel's to begin with. And so many others in the entertainment business do horrific things as well.

Consider the drug use and DUI's racked up in Hollywood alone. I've worked with drug addicts and DUI's for years and have seen first hand the human shambles it leads to. I am more horrified and offended at these behaviors than I know how to say. If I were to never watch a movie in which even one member of the cast or crew committed these acts I expect I'd never watch anything ever again.

I think to some extent most of us do separate the "evil" from the "evildoers" - and quite frequently without even being aware. Each day that we pump gas into our cars, we are supporting in some measure the dangers to our environment. I've learned how to reduce my dependence on petroleum products, but I don't know how to separate myself entirely from it.

These are the lines in the sand.

We each have to determine where those lines are for ourselves. And I think it is impossible to know the full ideologies of the people who produce the art and other products we enjoy. As you say, this is no simple issue.
Kit, that was my point, although maybe I wasn't clear. I was quoting back to you your quote from Riefenstahl because you said in your comment to me that you don't know what her motivation was. I added the later quote to point out that she consistently spoke of Hitler in worshipful language.
Thanks for clarifying, Susan. Actually, the one quote does not tell me what her entire motivation was, it only serves to suggest she idolized someone who most of the world believes to be demonic. I was merely suggesting to you in reference to one of your previous comments that there were others who had spent a considerable more time and thought to this issue than I have who believe she was somewhat ambivalent in her motivations during the making of the film. I simply do not know what her motivations were during the making of the film.

Well, we can discuss this all day, but I doubt it's going to get much clearer for either of us.
I'm sorry, that comment above came out terribly garbled also. I'm writing without proof-reading my comments, for which I apologize.
This was so well done. It's someting you will think about tomorrow and the next day.Rated with hugs
As I said, Linda, this is something I've wrestled with in some form or another my entire life. It is, I'm sure, something I will continue to wrestle with.
Kit, I applaud your bravery in writing a Post which was sure to elicit both admiration and outrage. While I do not believe that art of any sort can be entirely divorced from that artist, the art can be appreciated on many levels and examined within the context of the life of the artist without implying approval of represensible behaviors. In my mind, there are no ideal or absolute artists---nor is any artist without flaws or inconsistencies. After all, it is part of the humanity in us all! Kudos and I truly hope you continue to express yourself without fear of disapproval. It takes guts! I may not agree with every statement in your Post, but I absolutely respect opinion. Let your mind rove! It's called Freedom of Speech, I believe. Sorry, but I am a bit fired up now.
I have been impressed with the discourse and ideas presented.

As for "wishy-washy-ness" in such issues, I am generally pretty "guilty" of that. It's why I don't usually express a strong opinion one way or the other - I often don't have a strong opinion. In "real" life, which is to say my day-to-day interactions with the world around me, I do my best to stand up for what is good and right. Beyond that, there is much that I do not know, and so I watch and listen and take in whatever information comes my way - including the opinions of many. I am also aware that it makes me "wishy-washy" - or at least appear to be so.
Racism has to discriminate for or against a particular race.

These are a few of the examples that Disney is a racist organization.

Indians from Peter Pan
Merchant from Aladdin
Sebastian from The Little mermaid
Crows from Dumbo
King Louie from the Junglebook
Siamese Twin Gang from Chip ‘m dale rescue rangers
Sunflower the centaur on Fantasia
Uncle Remus from Song of the South
Thursday from Mickey Mouse and a boy named Thursday

Now with this knowledge if you do not want to be associated with a racist company:
a. You should not watch anymore Disney movies.
b. You should not go to Disneyland or Disney world or Euro Disney
c. You should not buy any Disney toys or books
d. You should not buy any food products that has Disney characters on the packaging or associate with Disney
e. You can not eat at Mcdonald’s; they sell Disney toys in the happy meals
f. You cannot buy or wear any clothing item that has a Disney character on it
g. You cannot shop at any store that sells these items. Kroger, Walmart, K-mart, Target, Best buy, Meijers, The mall, ETC……
h. You can never again watch any actors that have been associated with these Disney movies past or present.
i. You need to find a cable tv or satellite provider that does not have the disney channel subscription.
j. You cannot associate with any employee that works at these cable tv or satellite stores.
k. You cannot access internet service at all if your internet is bundled with your Disney subscribed cable.
Just a question, Kit.

You yourself have said that "As for Hitler’s work being “minor,” most art critics agree with you. His talent was certainly not superior to many. It is, in fact, a matter of taste. Very simply, I like some of his art."

Reifenstahl is famous as a film maker for her pro Nazi propaganda.

It is very unlikely that people who are not art or film historians would have any knowledge of, or regard for, any work by either Hitler or Reifenstahl were it not for their politics, and the horror arising from their politics, so to me, their "art" is inextricably linked to their politics.

Where do you stand on their politics, if you don't mind me asking?
My "Irish" is up and I posted a comment without proofing here is the revised edition:

Kit, I applaud your bravery in writing a Post which was sure to elicit both admiration and outrage. While I do not believe that art of any sort can be entirely divorced from the artist, the art can be appreciated on many levels and examined within the context of the life and history of the artist without implying approval of represensible or repugnant behavior. In my mind, there are no ideal or absolute artists---nor is any artist without flaws or inconsistencies. After all, it is part of the humanity in us all! Kudos, and I truly hope you continue to express yourself without fear of disapproval. It takes guts! I may not agree with every statement in your Post, but I absolutely respect your opinion and freedom to express your thoughts. Let your mind rove! It's called Freedom of Speech, I believe. In civil discourse, one can agree to disagree without becoming offensive.
I have a personal situation that I always refer back to when thinking about these types of issues. Many, many years before I ever knew him, a good friend made some horrific and devastating choices in his youth. He exhibited the worst possible judgment and committed a terrible crime. He was convicted of a felony offense and sentenced to several years in prison. I met him after he was released from prison and was "re-entering" society. Never in a million years would I have guessed he was capable of anything like that and I only knew because he was honest and told me exactly what happened. Despite all of the mitigating circumstances that led to his poor choices, he took full responsibility for his actions, but will be the first to tell you that he can never undo his crime.

So with all of that backstory, does the fact that he once committed a horrific crime mean that everything he touches is tainted? Can he never produce art or contribute to society? Do his past actions matter more than his current intentions or his future capability? Is it impossible to reconcile his past identity with who he has become?

His story has taught me an incredible lesson. It would have been easy to turn away and reject him as just another ex-con, someone who I should distrust and spurn because of his crimes. But I never would have gotten to know the good, hard-working, sensitive, and caring friend that I would literally trust with my life. I could never condone the poor decisions of his youth, but I also won't use them to define him or spurn him. What's done is done - what matters most to me is what comes next.
Doreianna, Thanks for your well thought out comment. As you say, we are all with blemishes in some manner. I prefer to see what good I can in whatever package it exists rather throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Thanks for taking time to return with your edited comment!

Owl, I don't have many fixed opinions. I don't think that makes you and me "wishy-washy" - that phrase I reserve for people who flop back and forth on the same issue just to remain popular.

happy, you make one of my points better than I did. That is, that taken to the extreme, boycotting everything that is associated with something we find offensive becomes (1) ridicules and (2) nearly impossible unless we live on a deserted island.

Webbigail, My focus in this post and in my use of Riefenstahl's video is on the art and artisan, the work and the person behind the work. I believe I have made my disgust for any kind of dehumanizing policies very clear in this post as well as many others I have written.

Reader, Thank you for returning with this story. I have worked with so many people in the court system who, like your friend, have made horrible mistakes. I've made some as well. As you so aptly describe, the crimes do not define the person.

Naturally, Hitler and his cohorts demonstrated a long pattern of heinous crimes and most of them did not accept responsibility for their behavior as your friend did. Nonetheless, yes, I believe it is possible, in most cases, to appreciate what good exists in virtually anyone.
Art, in my opinion, is a gift from god. Any creative work, like cooking, gardening, making a straight fence line, or walking on the moon, is worthy of honor. The person who sewed a straight seam ... on the pants Hitler wore when he signed death warrants ... was proud of his straight seam and his work is not evil.

I think you have the right to post your stories, and to illustrate those stories. If I find them offensive, I will stop reading. If I find them promoting an evil thing, say you write an advertisement for child prostitution, I will notify authorities.

You wrote a moving story about fear, failure, and the courage to overcome them. You illustrated that story with a film of athletes performing their craft. I do not believe you wrote an advertisement promoting the hatred of Jews or anyone else. I do not believe you are evil in any way. I am reading you, but will not respond to comments made here by anyone other than you. I will not use your post's comment section to get into arguments with other people.
Pretty damn thoughty post and comments for a Friday. Good conversation, excepting the veering off into personal attacks.

We're all here for discussion and agreement/disagreement, folks. That's what makes this such an interesting site. If Kit didn't "give a damn" about how her post had offended people, she never would've taken the time to respond and defend her choice.

By the way, just read an editorial about Jefferson--he nearly ruined himself buying things on credit his whole life.
While other might debate my labeling of this man as "genius," I have pondered this very topic with respect to Eminem, who I believe has really written some beautiful, virtuoso rhymes in his career, but whose personal politics and statements I find abhorrent. I am able to shut off my dislike for him personally and appreciate the music, but it's not always easy.
this is a thought-provoking post and raises some interesting questions. my partner and i have discussed similar things, especially about art and music. i don't know what the answer is or that there really is an answer. i think something like this is very personal and subject to much disagreement amongst us.
Absolutely fascinating and educational. I learned some things today and that is good. I find it hard to believe that we can pretend to know people or understand their motivations by what they write, paint, film or "God forbid" post or leave up or take down. Kit I like what you write, I like what I know of you and appreciate that. If I ever don't, I won't read it anymore -- seems pretty simple to me. The idea of loving the production but hating the actions of the producer is certainly more complicated. Thanks for provoking thought.
dianaani: putting 'art' above human feelings is perverse at best. Get your priorities straight!! Your response is once again terribly offensive and it ignores mankind
Kit: What you wrote and how you tried to defend yourself- showed people what you are all about - I and many are not impressed- to me it's amazing how 'provincial' you are. Get out of your little town, open your eyes to the world- and just rethink what you did. Not removing that video is the ultimate in stubborness. Take it down, cut your losses and maybe you will regain the self respect that you so obviously have lost since posting that
There is no small injustice.
Well, I think everyone has had the opportunity to weigh in on this very important and complex issue. I am going to close comments now, which is my custom when anyone choses to hijack my blogs. And yes, if you can't speak your mind in six tries at the bat without repeating your original message, I'd say you probably don't have anything to add to the discussion.

The video will remain as is, for reasons already discussed.
Comments are now closed.