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On Consuming the Art of Immoral Artists

Why the consumer must change the future, not the history, of art By Harrison Clark, Staff Writer

I

t often feels that a dichotomy exists between media consumption and personal ethics. The modern-day reception of “Roseanne,” “House of Cards,” and “The Cosby Show” demonstrates the impact consumer culture has on what society watches (as well as the increasingly controversial nature of what media we consume). Discussions concerning moral transgressions of actors in these shows generally yield two camps: pro-media, which advocates that art forms ought to live on—divorced from their creators—and pro-restraint, which argues that a divorce of this nature is impossible, thereby suggesting that societal transgressors should be silenced. In applying these two thought patterns to modern day perceptions of literature and music, I argue that a pragmatic approach, one which borrows aspects from both camps, is the only way to ensure the delicate balance which protects victims of assault and hatred while preserving the valuable historical context of literature and music. Music and writing are not concepts born of any single living generation; each generation has

left its mark by reaching back while leaning forward. We cannot divorce today’s Stephen King from history’s Mary Shelley, nor the contributions of Leonard Bernstein from those of J.S. Bach, born three hundred years earlier. For better or for worse, history’s composers and writers are embedded with today’s culture. Arts are evolutionary. Just as there can be no ballistic missiles without the Greek catapult or megachurches without the

Music and writing are not concepts born of any single living generation; each generation has left its mark by reaching back while leaning forward. ancient Jews, there cannot be a clean divorce between today’s craft and each link in the chain of its creation. Wagner presents a compelling example of this messy balance. Widely considered one of history’s more influential composers, Wagner’s opera, extreme tonality, and prolific output place 25

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Spring 2019  

We proudly present our first issue! The topics include abortion, the Iran deal, voter ID laws, targeted killings by governments, Hamilton: A...

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We proudly present our first issue! The topics include abortion, the Iran deal, voter ID laws, targeted killings by governments, Hamilton: A...

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