Alright, so to start off I’d like to define a “blog”. Honestly, when blogs were gaining popularity and I began to hear the word more often, I was usually reminded of a “Blargg”. (for those of you who don’t know, a Blargg is an enemy from the Mario universe that lives in lava and tries to eat you. I’ll attach a link). So for our collective sakes, mostly mine, I’d like to define for you a blog/blog entry. According to Dictionary.com a blog is “a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites.” Awesome. Lets move on.
Recently, in class, we had an interesting discussion regarding Lewis Carroll, whose real name was Charles Dodgson. We came to the conclusion that, based solely on his career as an amateur photographer, he was a pedophile in some capacity due to many of his subjects being young girls. [Instructor’s Reply: well, not exactly. I only presented this as conclusion often discussed in Carroll studies]. Granted, some of his photographs were nudes, but they number about 30 out of the surviving 1000 photographs and all were taken with the permission of the parents. In the light of this opinion of Carroll’s sexuality as deviant and perverse, we were asked how it affected our view of his work, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Those who gave their opinion were varied in how their view of Carroll affected their reading. Some were unaffected, some extremely. The question then arises, how should we deal with the issue of the Artist versus the Art, (in this case writer and work)?
Many people, both inside and outside the class, have suggested that the art and the artist are inseparable, others suggest that one certainly effects the opinion of the other, and still another group argues that they have no bearing on one another at all. I feel that it lies in a kind of balance. Does supporting a piece of work support its creator? Yes. Does that necessarily mean that you condone their behavior? Not necessarily. In the end, the question truly becomes, can you forgive the artist’s inherent faults and darknesses of the soul so that you might still find a kind of love for them, if only for the sake of their art? I believe that we not only can, but we must. For anyone engaged in any kind of consumption of art work, be it film, music, photography, architecture, or any other medium, we must remember that the creators, the very souls behind these wonders that we love and hate alternately, are human. Has it not long been accepted that humans are flawed and broken in some way? Then how can we find it in ourselves to condemn those who reach out with the core of their being, pour their souls into their craft, spend the only irreplenishable currency, Time, on their creation, in the hopes of creating joy and understanding in others when we ourselves wish for such an outpouring and long just as they to be understood? Are we not, ourselves, just as broken? You may argue to yourself that you are not a pedophile, nor are you a murderer, nor do you beat your wife, or any other great allegations we may lay on some other person if we believe them guilty. But haven’t you made mistakes, don’t you also have parts of yourself you keep hidden, isn’t there also a hungry dark on your inside that makes you feel anger, pain, hatred, and violence?
We musn’t think of ourselves as better or as worse than another, merely different in our flaws. In this way, I argue that it is not the faults and wrongdoings of the artist or author that taints our love for their work, but out realization they they too are broken just as we are and that we choose to turn away in disgust. In the light of this, I choose to still love Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland just as I did before this class.
Also, just for fun, it has been argued that the pedophilic allegations against Carroll, or rather Dodgson, are skewed and false. Dodgson did, in fact, have many friends outside of young girls and many relations with grown unmarried women. Does this completely excuse him from the possibility that he was a pedophile? No, it does, however, force us to do our own research on the subject rather that accepting what may have been taught and believed for too long. I suggest for further reading this page written by Karoline Leach.
Thank you for your attention. I would like to remind you at this time that the former is my opinion and that I have no expectations of anyone holding to the same. I merely hope to offer an alternative to the common and the “vulgar” to use a dated term.
When Should We Separate the Art from the Artist, Maria Puente; http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2014/02/06/when-should-we-separate-the-art-from-the-artist/5228631/
“Lewis Carroll”: A Myth in the Making, Karoline Leach; http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/carroll/dreamchild/dreamchild1.html