If you’ve listened to today’s Kenny and Kylie Show, you’ll know I don’t have much regard for Orson Scott Card. He’s a master of science fiction and writes great novels, but he’s a terrible person. Learning about his extreme views put me in a situation I had never been in before. Can you separate art from the artist? Is it possible to consume and enjoy the work of someone who you dislike?
This issue isn’t limited to writers. You could apply it to literally anything you consume and for any issue. Do you support Starbucks because of their support of equal marriage and LGBT rights, or do you boycott them for not dealing exclusively in fair trade coffee? When you go to the store, do ask about all the businesses a certain product supports before making a purchase.
That seems crazy, but there’s an app for that if you want to be that serious. Buycott scans the bar code of products and lets you know all the different companies that have a hand in putting it on store shelves. From avoiding GMOs to boycotting companies whose ethics you disagree with, you can do it all.
Who really has time for that, though? I’m not going to lie, I tried buycott for a while. It was a frustrating, time-consuming experience.
The way I see it, no one can be active in their support of every worthy cause out there. We have to pick and choose what means the most to us and throw all our efforts into that ring. I am not saying we shouldn’t educate ourselves. Willful ignorance solves nothing. Still, unless you plan to live off the land, growing your own food and making your own clothing, chances are you will end up giving money to someone you don’t like for something you need.
My main issues of choice revolve around equality between the genders and between sexualities. I can tolerate someone who disagrees with me when it comes to those issues, but I refuse to give my hard earned money to anyone who will use it to injure the fights for gender and sexuality equality.
That’s why I don’t eat at Chick-Fil-As. It was an easy sacrifice to make as I had never eaten at one before. Once I heard they contribute to an organization that works against equal marriage, I was determined never to give them a cent of my money. The same can be said for Orson Scott Card. No one seems to know what he does with the anti equal marriage group he’s a part of, but I won’t risk having my hard earned money going there.
I expect more out of people alive today. I’m a huge fan of Disney despite the fact he would be a rather terrible person by today’s standards. However, by the standards of the 1930s, I imagine he wasn’t too far away from the norm in most cases.
I remember a friend telling me their boyfriend’s mother hated Edgar Allan Poe for having relationships with children, or something like that. I believe he married his cousin Virgina when he was 27 and she 13, but again, wasn’t that pretty normal for 1836?
Even if someone was a terrible person by the standards of their time, since they’re no longer alive, any money I contribute can’t go to them. I guess that’s why I don’t think too much about their ethics.
Are there any authors or artist alive today who you refuse to support? Have you consumed their creations in a way that doesn’t support them or would you consider that unethical as well? Do you hold old actors, authors and artists to the same ethical standards you hold today’s artists?