Let’s talk about people and their damn opinions, artists specifically.
For the past few months, I’ve noticed an upswing in social media posts that go something like this, “I really wish X artist would just stick to making art and not politics. If I want politics I’ll go to someone who knows what their talking about on the news.” The specifics can change, but this general posts has been floating around too much.
Sure, it has popped up occasionally. “I wish Dixie Chicks would just shut up and sing songs about murdering their husband,” or “Kanye doesn’t know shit about George Bush and that hurricane,” or “What does Chaucer know about King Richard’s Feudal Rule? He should just stick to trudging down the road naked.” Okay, I may have lost the thread a little with that last one, but you get it.
Anyway, artists are an opinionated bunch of fuckers. Think about it. We believe in ideas so much that we craft and nurture and develop them for public consumption. We all have opinions to share and you, the audience, are taking them in every time you view the art.
“But hey,” you say, “I’m talking about Poppy Popstarbreeches going off about the war in Atlantisgandacrainzia.”
Maybe it’s because I spend a lot of time listening to political music like punk or hip-hop, but that’s bull shit. All right. Everyone has opinions and given how polarizing the last 12 months have been what can you expect?
I am not saying you have to agree with what they say, or even like it. You have to make the choice over whether you can, or even want to, separate art from the artist. If you love every book Luscious Novelicous has ever written and he hops on Twitter and rants about an opposing political opinion you have two options. 1: Unfollow him on Twitter and continue to enjoy his books without the commentary. 2: Unfollow him and never buy his books again because he’s an asshole who clearly can’t see that your decision was properly weighed out by memes and Facebook posts and you clearly have the correct answer to the shortage of toilette paper in Shitshanesburg.
Now, artists have a choice to make.
An artist can choose to be silent on social issues. They can wish for their art to speak for itself. Art is plenty capable of doing this. Is 1984 an less of a social commentary without George Orwell schooling us on how much Commies suck in 140 character vignettes? No, it’s not.
If an artist does remain silent and only focuses on creating and sharing their art, for god’s sake let them be. Some artists don’t want the spotlight. I worked with a marketing manager once who took one look at my platform and said, “Your last two blog posts are political, change that or you will lose readers”. This person was only interested in making and selling books and that’s a-oh-kay. If you come across one of these artists your best bet is to leave them the hell alone and enjoy the art.
On the other hand, creators can choose to share their views. This can be done subtly with, say, a tweet once a day or two that points out that a total lack of balls is really hurting the national economy of Ball Pitlandia. Or this can be done with several tweets a minute stating we need to rise up and start a militia to rise up against McDonalds for using good grease and fancy chicken in their nuggets because we want the shitty less-than-chicken we were raised on.
Choose your adventure wisely because trust me, my friend, there will be consequences.
“But, Alex,” you say, “I was just trying to make the world aware of the plight of the Tennessee Spotted Horny Goat and it’s lack of ability to find a suitable lover to sway with gently through the night while listening to Huey Lewis and the News.”
Sure you were. Like I said, you are perfectly okay to do that, but guess what. A whole lot of people don’t give one single fuck about Horny Goats and a handful of people think all Horny Goat should fuck right off a cliff and die a terrible death you noob with your damn feelings should quit crying and get a real job and while you’re at it moisturize your face with metal shavings because in my day men were real men not these crybaby millennials.
See what I’m saying here? Opinions, all of them, are somewhat polarizing. If you share them, clearly and publicly, there’s a good chance the 20% of people will love you for it, 20% of people will hate you for it, and 60% of people will think, “Whatever, I just wish he would finished the newest Plot of Chairs: A Melody of Hot and Cold book.” So if you are willing to turn off a fifth of your readers, cheers, mate go ahead and tweet away.
But please, please, please be aware that some people are going to disagree with you. And here’s the shocker, they’re allowed to.
To sum things up as a reader (Listener, viewer, whatever) if your favorite artist gets all uppity and starts talking about the quality of sea foam and how it’s effecting the Sea Foam Fairies of the Lesser Barricade Coral here are your options:
*Ignore them and buy their books anyway.
*Ignore them and don’t.
If you’re an artist and you really, really want to tell everyone about how an epidemic of firefeet is scorching toes across the nation here are your options:
*Write a story that is an allegory about the firefeet dealer and how they are striking down the epidermis of too many phalanges in their prime.
*Hop on your social media of choice and say, “Fuck firefeet and everyone who thinks they’re okay,” and understand that you are probably going to piss off a few members of your audience, possibly enough to never buy your work again.
I’m not saying it’s wrong. If you feel the need to stand up for something, do it. Just understand that someone who believes the polar opposite of you is also standing up by boycotting that hack author who said the president’s tan is awful.