Boycott those bad boys

On second thought, is that really the answer?

If Alexander Fleming were found out to be [a] horrific man, we wouldn’t stop using penicillin. And if Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were nightmares, we’d still buy computers. That goes without saying. It’s only in the arts that people valiantly claim to refuse to ever partake in any creation. When it comes to film and television production, that boycott or sudden shut down can punish far more people than just the accused. It harms the entire cast and crew. But more to the point, boycotting art suggests it’s a convenience we can take or leave. People will make more and different art. It’s a dime a dozen.

Except it’s not.

Art provokes and enlightens and sparks further ideas. I have Picassos on my wall, Heidegger in my bookshelf, and Hitchcock online. These were not good men, but these were men capable of creating things that affect me, images and ideas that nobody else could possibly create quite the same way. Artists are one in a million, and destroying their work or denying their ability to create, just denies society access to one more chance to be woken up from our zoned out existence. Art is individual. We’re each affected by particular and specific ideas, which are often rare, revealing themselves far too infrequently to toss aside in hopes that they will be taken up later by someone with better behaviour.

From this here site, ten years ago:

Inasmuch as everything else you’re going to read about the late Ike Turner focuses on his seriously-dysfunctional relationship with Tina, I’m going to spend some time on the musical stuff, which starts in his late teens in the Mississippi delta with the founding of the Kings of Rhythm, who cut one of the contenders for First Rock and Roll Record in late 1950: “Rocket 88,” credited to Kings vocalist/sax player Jackie Brenston and his, um, “Delta Cats,” written by Turner, who played that amazingly-distorted guitar. Chess picked it up for national distribution and watched it become a jukebox staple.

And back in the day, we believed in a statute of limitations, or at least Tina Turner did:

After they split, her career eclipsed his, at least partly because he had some serious brushes with the law; the pair were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, but Ike, in jail on drug charges, did not attend the ceremony. (Tina, graciously, accepted for him.)

On the other hand, I’m not inclined to cut Roman Polanski any slack, but maybe that’s just me.


  1. ETat »

    23 December 2017 · 8:58 am

    Well, looking at the art they created – yes, dime a dozen, and replaceable. He is not Michelangelo – he is Woody Allen.
    And it is Tina’s choice to forgive – but we should not. At least we should stop listening to artists as some moral gurus. Don’t look up to them; they are cynical demagogues, manipulators for material gain.

  2. Roger Green »

    23 December 2017 · 10:15 am

    This conversation comes up a lot – John Lennon was an ass, but he reformed. Studio executives had casting couches long before Harvey Weinstein.
    And, as you’ve mentioned before, the sins are not all equivalent. I’d still listen to old Pairie Home Companion episodes, if I could find them.

  3. CGHill »

    23 December 2017 · 3:08 pm

    I seem to recall that they used to sell old episodes on tape, but that was a long time ago.

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