Saturday, June 28, 2014

Marion Zimmer Bradley's Works and Sexual Molestation Allegations Against Her: Is the Art the Artist?

Just read a Washington Post article about "Re-reading feminist author Marion Zimmer Bradley in the wake of sexual assault allegations". I can't say that I've ever read any of Marion Zimmer Bradley's works, though I have heard of them.  Based on the passage of ritual rape mentioned in the Washington Post article, I gotta say, I'm never reading any of Marion Zimmer Bradley's works. I don't think I would recommend them to others, either. That's simply my personal preference. Basically, it's not my cup of tea.

However, this does raise the old question: can the art be separated from the artist? Is the art the artist? If  it becomes known that an artist behaved in a despicable or disgusting manner, can the art still be enjoyed and appreciated? 

Even though I would never read any of Marion Zimmer Bradley's works, and probably wouldn't recommend them to others, my answer to the question "can the art be separated from the artist" is still "yes".  I do think it is possible to separate the art from the artist, even though I know plenty of other people who say it isn't possible. I know some people think the art is the artist.

Though I am not personally interested in reading books penned by Marion Zimmer Bradley, I would not call for a wholesale ban of her works. I would not call for a Marion Zimmer Bradley book burning. Her works are her creations, but they are not her. The art stands separate from the artist.

I will admit, after Michael Jackson faced repeated allegations of child molestation,  I was very tempted to ban his works from ever being a part of my personal CD library. However, Thriller is just too good a work not to have in my collection of 80s albums. (I especially had to have "Thriller" itself - I absolutely love Vincent Price's contribution to the song.) I can separate the art from the artist enough to enjoy Thriller, even though the artist faced child sexual abuse allegations.