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Political Views Of Authors
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1.       gokuyum
5049 posts
 19 Jan 2011 Wed 02:31 am

Do you think we should appreciate an author´s works without considering his/her political views? How can we act if we dont like his/her ideas? There are many great authors who were/are criticised because of their political opinions by people. Some of them were/are accused of being a traitor, some of them of being a religious fanatic, some of them of being a communist and many many other things. Do you think their approaches decrease the value of their works?

 

In my opinion we should appreciate authors´ works without considering their political views. Because everything change. It can also change what is right or wrong in the future. Yesterday´s traitor can become tomorrow´s hero. Or yesterday´s fanatic can become tomorrow´´s humanist, etc... Look at the past and now you can see the examples.



Edited (1/19/2011) by gokuyum
Edited (1/19/2011) by gokuyum
Edited (1/19/2011) by gokuyum
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Edited (1/19/2011) by gokuyum

2.       barba_mama
1629 posts
 19 Jan 2011 Wed 04:52 pm

It depends on what the author is writing about, and how these views influence the writing. There is a difference between a romantic novel, a thriller, or a column in a newspaper.

3.       gokuyum
5049 posts
 20 Jan 2011 Thu 12:23 am

 

Quoting barba_mama

It depends on what the author is writing about, and how these views influence the writing. There is a difference between a romantic novel, a thriller, or a column in a newspaper.

 

Let me give an example. For example Pascal was a very religious man, does that have to decrease his works´ value for an atheist?  Or for example some Norwegians think Knut Hamsun was a traitor; does that have to  make his works less valuable for Norwegians?



Edited (1/20/2011) by gokuyum

4.       vineyards
1954 posts
 20 Jan 2011 Thu 01:22 am

We know that art has almost a sacred quality. Regardless of how artists may irritate people with their works sometimes, they are given a privilaged status and anger is usually directed at those who try to restrict artist´s right to express himself. We know that Adolf Hitler was an artist too. Assuming that his works live up to artistic standards and that they are still available; should we have them on display? 

5.       alameda
3499 posts
 23 Jan 2011 Sun 02:19 am

Ha ha...so true vineyards. I know when I was much younger I used to look to "artists" with reverence, that is, until I got to know more than a few. I found they are just as likely to be jerks as anyone else. In fact, many are very egoist, thinking theirselves to be very special in all areas. Being profound and informed thinkers is not always included in the list of gifts. 

All too often, the "art" produced  has little more value that a trained animal is capable of.

 

Quoting vineyards

We know that art has almost a sacred quality. Regardless of how artists may irritate people with their works sometimes, they are given a privilaged status and anger is usually directed at those who try to restrict artist´s right to express himself. We know that Adolf Hitler was an artist too. Assuming that his works live up to artistic standards and that they are still available; should we have them on display? 

 

 

6.       barba_mama
1629 posts
 25 Jan 2011 Tue 05:07 pm

 

Quoting gokuyum

 

 

Let me give an example. For example Pascal was a very religious man, does that have to decrease his works´ value for an atheist?  Or for example some Norwegians think Knut Hamsun was a traitor; does that have to  make his works less valuable for Norwegians?

 

It depends on what is field of work is. Pascal´s math is still math. There is not intervening of God in his mathematical work, so as an atheist you should not care about Pascal´s views in other parts of his life. However, if somebody is a pedofile, and writes books about children´s psychology and their development, you SHOULD take his sexual views into mind. There is too big a chance that his sexual preferences will influence his professional views.

 

7.       barba_mama
1629 posts
 25 Jan 2011 Tue 05:11 pm

 

Quoting vineyards

We know that art has almost a sacred quality. Regardless of how artists may irritate people with their works sometimes, they are given a privilaged status and anger is usually directed at those who try to restrict artist´s right to express himself. We know that Adolf Hitler was an artist too. Assuming that his works live up to artistic standards and that they are still available; should we have them on display? 

 

Hitler´s work was not up to standard. If it was, he probably would have just kept on paiting little trees and houses. Instead, he was pissed of since he did not get the credit for his work that he thought he deserved.

You can also turn this thought around. Hitler was a vegetarian. Should we think better of Hitler now that we know he was all for animal rights?

8.       gokuyum
5049 posts
 26 Jan 2011 Wed 04:36 pm

 

Quoting barba_mama

 

 

Hitler´s work was not up to standard. If it was, he probably would have just kept on paiting little trees and houses. Instead, he was pissed of since he did not get the credit for his work that he thought he deserved.

You can also turn this thought around. Hitler was a vegetarian. Should we think better of Hitler now that we know he was all for animal rights?

 

 Who decided Hitler´s works were not up to standart? And what if someone thinks they are valuable. Should we blame him/her?

9.       gokuyum
5049 posts
 26 Jan 2011 Wed 04:38 pm

 

Quoting barba_mama

 

 

It depends on what is field of work is. Pascal´s math is still math. There is not intervening of God in his mathematical work, so as an atheist you should not care about Pascal´s views in other parts of his life. However, if somebody is a pedofile, and writes books about children´s psychology and their development, you SHOULD take his sexual views into mind. There is too big a chance that his sexual preferences will influence his professional views.

 

 

 What if a pedophile writes a book about history, does this make the book less valuable?

10.       alameda
3499 posts
 26 Jan 2011 Wed 11:11 pm

Actually, pederasty was an accepted part of Greek culture, but much of their works are considered very valuable. Read about Pederasty in Greek culture.

Is not Socrates considered an important scholar/author? The list is quite long....who ever is interested can do their own research.

Quoting gokuyum

 What if a pedophile writes a book about history, does this make the book less valuable?



Edited (1/27/2011) by alameda [spelling]

11.       Elisabeth
5732 posts
 27 Jan 2011 Thu 05:30 am

 

Quoting alameda

Actually, pederasty was an accepted part of Greek culture, but much of their works are cosidered very valuable. Read about Pederasty in Greek culture.

Is not Socrates considered an important scholar/author? The list is quite long....who ever is interested can do their own research.

 

 

 

Social expectations and social norms were a LOT different in the time of Socrates.  While I understand your point, I think when you apply the social standards of today many works of the Greeks would never see the light of day.  

This forum topic started me thinking, though.  When I was studying human anatomy and physiology at university some years ago, we learned that some of our modern medical knowledge and advances came out of horrific experiments done on human subjects during the Holocaust.  While almost all people would agree on the level of moral repugnancy involved in the experiments, one can not deny that medical advances where made.

Knowledge is knowledge.  Can/should people ignore it because of how it was obtained?  To make ourselves feel better, we can say that these people did not die in vain that their deaths, although horrific, have saved countless lives. Still it doesn´t make us feel better about it.  

Maybe its a question of the greater good.  If a work of art or discovery is made and serves the greater good, maybe the ends do justify the means.  It is a moral question either way.  

My thoughts anyway....

 

 

12.       alameda
3499 posts
 27 Jan 2011 Thu 07:06 am

Hmmm....the old "the end justifies the means" idea. I disagree with that concept. Rather I see it as salvaging something from the remains.

I don´t think anything could justify the Holocaust.

Quoting Elisabeth

Social expectations and social norms were a LOT different in the tim e of Socrates.  While I understand your point, I think when you apply the social standards of today many works of the Greeks would never see the light of day.  

This forum topic started me thinking, though.  When I was studying human anatomy and physiology at university some years ago, we learned that some of our modern medical knowledge and advances came out of horrific experiments done on human subjects during the Holocaust.  While almost all people would agree on the level of moral repugnancy involved in the experiments, one can not deny that medical advances where made.

Knowledge is knowledge.  Can/should people ignore it because of how it was obtained?  To make ourselves feel better, we can say that these people did not die in vain that their deaths, although horrific, have saved countless lives. Still it doesn´t make us feel better about it.  

Maybe its a question of the greater good.  If a work of art or discovery is made and serves the greater good, maybe the ends do justify the means.  It is a moral question either way.  

My thoughts anyway....

 

 

 

 

13.       Daydreamer
3743 posts
 27 Jan 2011 Thu 10:53 am

It is a very complicated issue. On the one hand, we are perceived as a whole in most situations, on the other, the fact that somebody is a great, say, mathematician, doesn´t have to mean they are people of high ethics. Should we discredit person´s achievements in one area of life because of what they do on an unrelated ground? Does being a murderer or a psychopath make somebody a worse painter/musician? Finally, can we appreciate the book knowing that the author is not a person to look up to? Well, that´s all up to us individually. Personally, I think I can appreciate one part of a person´s life and still be critical of another.

Then there is a different problem, does being a well respected artist mean they should be treated differently in the eyes of the law? We´ve recently had a great example of how who you are influences the execution of  law (I´m talking about Polanski here) but also, how quick people are to find it justified or, even to protest against his being brought to justice. I wondered if they´d be as involved into defending him if he were John Smyth from Arkansas.

It is true that crimes against morality or against ethics advance sciences like medicine. You don´t have to look at the horrid crimes of Holocaust to see that. Post mortem examinations used to be illegal, yet, where would we be now if it weren´t for people who broke the law?

Does end justify the means? I don´t think it should be applied as a general rule. But I know sometimes you just have to try to make the best of the worst.

14.       alameda
3499 posts
 29 Jan 2011 Sat 04:49 am

One artist in particular comes to mind, Leni Riefenstahl. Her work is amazing, beautiful, innovative, but her work gets little credit due to her association with the Nazis. In her later years she joined Green Peace and took up underwater photography. She lied about her age, at 72 she claimed to be 52 in order to get certification. Her underwater photography is beautiful, but mention the name Leni Riefenstahl and you get cold stares from many.

Quoting Daydreamer

It is a very complicated issue. On the one hand, we are perceived as a whole in most situations, on the other, the fact that somebody is a great, say, mathematician, doesn´t have to mean they are people of high ethics. Should we discredit person´s achievements in one area of life because of what they do on an unrelated ground? Does being a murderer or a psychopath make somebody a worse painter/musician? Finally, can we appreciate the book knowing that the author is not a person to look up to? Well, that´s all up to us individually. Personally, I think I can appreciate one part of a person´s life and still be critical of another.

 

 

15.       barba_mama
1629 posts
 29 Jan 2011 Sat 08:31 pm

I don´t have much difficulty seeing the lines here. Let´s take the nazi movie maker as an example. I don´t deny her talent, especially her technical skills. Now, would I sit down and enjoy a nazi-propaganda film is she made it? No, I wouldn´t. She made this piece to bring across an idea which goes against my own believes. Let´s say she made a non-nazi related movie. Would I watch it? Depends... if she uses my money to kill some Jews in a gas-chamber, I will not buy the movie ticket. If the movie is unrelated in any way to her nazi-past (or present) I have no problem with enjoying a her good movie.

There are enough Jews nowadays who drive in a VW beetle and listen to Wagner, right?

16.       vineyards
1954 posts
 29 Jan 2011 Sat 09:09 pm

We can make a short list of qualities describing art and artistry:

Aesthetic

Creative

Complete

Universal

Humanistic

Virtuous

Politicaly benign

Inspiring

Pro-freedom

Provocative

Pro-advancement

 

If a work of art lives up to these standards there must be no doubt about its artistic qualities. If you do not possess these attributes as a person, you cannot produce works of art. 

 

 

 

17.       gokuyum
5049 posts
 30 Jan 2011 Sun 02:17 am

 

Quoting barba_mama

I don´t have much difficulty seeing the lines here. Let´s take the nazi movie maker as an example. I don´t deny her talent, especially her technical skills. Now, would I sit down and enjoy a nazi-propaganda film is she made it? No, I wouldn´t. She made this piece to bring across an idea which goes against my own believes. Let´s say she made a non-nazi related movie. Would I watch it? Depends... if she uses my money to kill some Jews in a gas-chamber, I will not buy the movie ticket. If the movie is unrelated in any way to her nazi-past (or present) I have no problem with enjoying a her good movie.

There are enough Jews nowadays who drive in a VW beetle and listen to Wagner, right?

 

 A complicated issue. For example Heidegger supported Nazis but then he seemt to have regretted it. Also Knut Hamsun. I like their works but I am not sure about their characters.

18.       barba_mama
1629 posts
 30 Jan 2011 Sun 02:39 pm

 

Quoting vineyards

We can make a short list of qualities describing art and artistry:

Aesthetic

Creative

Complete

Universal

Humanistic

Virtuous

Politicaly benign

Inspiring

Pro-freedom

Provocative

Pro-advancement

 

If a work of art lives up to these standards there must be no doubt about its artistic qualities. If you do not possess these attributes as a person, you cannot produce works of art. 

 

 

 

 

I don´t agree with the list. There have been wonderful religiously inspired works of art. This means that the art was neither universal, humanistic, nor pro-freedom. But I guess that is what is great about art. I think what makes art art, is the long debate that it continues to create. Art is nothing without an interaction, and a reaction.

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19.       vineyards
1954 posts
 31 Jan 2011 Mon 04:11 am

Universal means appreciated, liked or understood by all humans. Religious art is also universal. All around the world the works of religious communities are considered the common assets of all humans. That is why they are universal. 

For example, while not a Christian myself, I adore mosaics depicting Christ and Virgin Mary. I consider any kind of devotion including the religious one as valuable and respectable. For example, the cultural assets of the Indians do not concern only themselves but the entire humanity. Their religion, Gods they worshipped isnpired them to cling together to weave a priceless civilization. 

As for humanism: think of it like this, the humanist tenet does not reject or work against religion. It just puts the emphasis on human and not on God if you like. You don´t have to be an atheist to be a humanist. It is just a flavour of thinking. It refuses the sanctions put by religion on human mind. In my opinion therefore, one could believe in something, go to church or prey God and he can be a humanist as well. Todays religions and clergies are more humanistic than they ever have been. 

20.       vineyards
1954 posts
 31 Jan 2011 Mon 04:33 pm

I noticed you are also rejecting the pro-freedom aspect of art. Anyway, that list is in no way an authoritative one and it only reflects my personal opinions. I just did not want to copy a tombstone list made by some untouchable art authority. 

As for the pro-freedom aspect of art; it is more like an inferred quality than a purposefully designed element. I consider art as a justification of personal merit or value or the reason of the deeds one commits oneself to. Additionally, art may also convey a good or an ugly aspect of an object or a deed. Nevertheless, in all these cases there must be an attitude which may linked to an ethic standard which renders the work the way it is. All ethic systems have certain universal aspects which evolve by time. Freedom is one such quality. As long as you evaluate a work of art within the time paranthesis, you will see no violation of this last rule.

More correctly then there are a number of inferred qualities pertaining to art. These reflect the higher values of society based on the time frame in question. Pro-freedom is an inferred quality and therefore it is expected to exist in all contemporary art.

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