The Dilemma Of Loving The Art of An Amoral Artist
Separating The Art From The Artist
He is an adorable character. He shares his beach house with his brother and nephew. He knows that it will hamper his privacy, yet he wholeheartedly welcomes them. He is a charming guy. Although he is a sex maniac, he never denigrates a woman. Yes, I am talking about Charlie Harper of Two and A Half Men. The reel character — Charlie was so adorable that the real person — Charlie Sheen became endearing to me.
Yet, this Charlie Sheen was not a very, let’s say, morally wealthy person. He is a playboy in a real life and by the accounts of John Cryer and others, he only loves women for sex. He bit that hand that fed him — the hand of Chuck Lorre. And here, my dilemma begins.
Charlie Harper was so endearing a character that I fell in love with the original Charlie Sheen. Now, will you be comfortable watching the acting of someone who is not so good in real life? The ideal answer should be Yes, why not! However it is tough. I, for myself, try hard not to combine one’s personal life with his professional talents. I have no business in judging what Charlie Sheen does just because I love Charlie Harper. I wrote these sentences rather too easily. But in practice this is hard. You have been loving a person for so long and then suddenly, he becomes the villain in his personal life. We watch movies and series and want to be friends with the characters and by extension, the actors. And then, you hear these things. It takes a mature mind to separate the Charlie Harper from the Charlie Sheen of real life. And it should be done. As I said earlier, we have only one right — either to love the actor’s acting or hate it. Beyond it, it is not our domain.
Back in India, there is a singer named Abhijit. Man! He was perfect for Shahrukh Khan’s songs. His voice had magic! On one hand, the sur — the rhythm and notes were just perfect, and on the other hand his voice was exactly how a macho male’s voice should be. From Tum Dil Ki Dhadkan Mein Rehte Ho to Aye Nazneen Suno Na, Abhijit’s songs can melt your heart, calm your mind and can be great entertainment in parties.
One fine day, Abhijit woke up and defended Salman Khan. He said — Mumbai ke road Aur footpath pe sone ka shauk hai ?? Y not at your village no vehicles to kill u.. Support @BeingSalmanKhan @sonakshisinha .
I thought it was fake news. A man who sings such soulful songs can never say such insensitive things — this was my first reaction. However, to my utter sadness, the news was true. I was shocked. I was thinking if it would be possible for me, now, to listen to his songs and forget about the problems in the world anymore.
It was possible. Those songs were not only good, they were the pillars of my formative years. But then, I was gnawed by the guilt — If I listen to his songs despite knowing what he told, would that mean I support his views ? Man, the rabbit hole was very deep. However, I came to realise after many years — even if you say something bad or do something awful, no one can snatch the achievement that you already got. And on that note, no one can snatch the art that was gifted to the audience by the artists. Even the artists’ own moral bankruptcy cannot negate the good work that has already been done.
Reading Between The Lines -
Does that mean, we should celebrate the books of Hitler? Should we watch the propaganda movie of Leni Riefenstahl as mentioned by Janna Thompson ? No, there is a difference between art and propaganda. Anything — book, movies or paintings — that has the capability of harming a race, religion or individual people cannot be termed as art — it is a weapon. A sophisticated one. And it should be shunned. And by harming, I mean harming, and not insulting. Because, the feeling of insult can be a very subjective matter.
It will obviously be uncomfortable to watch Shakespeare In Love Or My Week With Marilyn after Weinstein’s sentence. However, we should remember that art, when finished, is no longer the property of the artist. The artist loses all control over the art. This vox article goes further to state that the artist becomes dead as soon as the art is done. The art lives on independently. It cannot be touched or defiled. We love the moon light despite knowing that the light is getting reflected by a crater-filled, oxygen-less object. Same is the reason we love the Moon-Walk.
- Marifur Rahaman
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