Separating Art And The Artist

If you’re a consumer of any media and someone who thinks even a little bit critically, then the task of separating the art and the artist is one you’ve probably you’ve encountered at least once.

For everyone it’s a different process, and I wanted to kind of explain how I personally do it, though even I go back and forth a lot and there is no one right or wrong way.

Its Complicated gif.

I guess to start, it depends on what Bad thing the artist did. Some things are unforgivable in a way and can’t be passed off as uneducated/jokes. Some things are also more offensive to certain people, which is valid. It’s up to you to decide where the line is for you, but you also need to understand that others may have different feelings. I think in general, society is pretty good at ‘cancelling’ the predators or at least not letting them off the hook so quickly. For me, the people who caused actual harm to another person knowingly is usually something I can’t forgive. However, there is a point where if it happened like two decades ago or something, sometimes I can see the growth or sometimes I can feel less bothered because it was so long ago. I’m not saying this is right, but in the case of, like, Rob Lowe’s sex tape with a minor, I wasn’t even born then, this scandal isn’t really something big and hanging over his acting still, so I feel like I can enjoy his work for the most part. Similarly, I can usually get past a rude Twitter joke (eg. James Gunn) or a genuine misunderstanding/unknowing (eg. Lady Antebellum‘s name) or somewhat unharmful problematic things (eg. Tom Cruise being a Scientologist but overall being a fairly unproblematic celebrity).

Another thing I consider when separating art and artist is their involvement and how personal it feels, and this is something that can vary for everyone. After Chris Brown beat up Rihanna, I had and still do have issues listening to his music (not that I was ever a huge fan). It’s his voice you hear, sometimes his brain behind the lyrics or beats, and it’s too personal, whereas in the case of JK Rowling and Harry Potter, I don’t think of her or her TERF views when I read the books. For things like books or movies where I don’t literally see the director/writer/producer, usually I’m able to get lost in it all and focus on everything else so I don’t really think about the creator at all even if it is their words or ideas. I still try and not watch movies by problematic people (eg. Woody Allen), but I find it easier to separate on that basis.

I wish I could but I don't want to, gif.

Furthermore, the size of one’s involvement is also something to consider, especially when it comes to financial support. I love the movie Tower Heist but Casey Affleck is a part of the cast, and he had sexual misconduct allegations that he apparently paid off quietly. He’s not a main character in the film, nevertheless it’s certainly something that slightly soured my enjoyment for it. But I’m not going to not watch the quality movie I like because he’s in it for a bit. Everyone else on the cast is, as far as I know, fine and worthy of my respect, so while he is in theory getting a slight bit of residual money from my view, I don’t think it’s the end of the world because a lot of good people are also getting it. It’s easier to financially cut off people like YouTubers who are directly in the spotlight of their content and making the most money by not giving them views/clicks.

It’s unfortunate that we as consumers feel like constantly we’re forced to give up/dislike things that perhaps once brought us joy, but we united hold so much power, and we really can control a lot with our opinions and actions, so ‘cancelling’ problematic people and things can really send a powerful message, though I don’t necessarily agree with complete mob-mentality and hate-spreading. If you can successfully separate art from the artist while still being informed and thoughtful, then I don’t see a reason why you can’t still like things. After all, we’re all human and no piece of media is completely unproblematic, but being able to think critically is important. That being said, there are plenty of comedians and TV shows and actors and whatnot out there, so if you never want to watch a Louis CK special or hear a Lea Michele song again, then that’s fine, and I’m sure you can find similar content from better people.

You have the power.

At the end of the day, as I’ve said before when writing about similar topics, it does come down to you and your own ethics. Though you are only human too, and I do think that in general there should be more room for forgiving and a chance for growth. A friend pointed out recently how some people, often the far left, love to see a fictional character grow into a better person, but they’re often the quickest in real life to end someone’s career with cancel culture over similar things, and I do think I’m guilty of this mindset myself.

In general, I don’t think we should just ignore the artist and their issues; social media, influence, and political positioning is too powerful to just set aside so we can watch a movie. We live in a world where the artists are put on such a pedestal and we can’t let that be abused. It’d be easier, sure, but that’s just not a reality. So we must do our best to separate what we can so we can live while still having a functioning conscious. This is how I go about it, but I’d love to hear how you do it.

 

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Everyone Cross Your Fingers For My Laptop

On Friday night my laptop decided to just stop charging. No amount of jiggling the plug or anything could get it going. And so it eventually ran out of power and died.

My father opened it up and tried to poke around, but he couldn’t get it working. And our neighbour, who is our usual go-to tech fixer is out of town for a few days which is so rude. How dare he abandon me in my time of need.

I’m offended by that gif.

I use my laptop a stupid lot. Like, we’re talking close to 11 hours a day. And while my mother has nicely allowed me to use hers, I feel bad hijacking it just to watch dumb YouTube videos, so I’m making do with my phone for the dumb stuff and only using her laptop for important stuff like Virtual Quidditch. It’s a good, humbling throwback to high school when I almost exclusively used my phone for internet needs.

But even in high school I did not blog on my phone. I always like doing ‘work’ of any kind on a larger screen, even if WordPress has made blogging fairly doable on mobile. That being said, this post was fully written, edited, and published from my phone. So if it looks weirder than other posts, you know why. I think WordPress should spent less time forcing block editors at us and more time making sure mobile editors have all the features we need because I already know editing text colour will be a pain here. (Update: after an hour of playing around with code, I cracked and edited the text colour on the old family laptop. Get it together, WordPress).

But what’s a little more suffering? 2020 has and surely will continue to be a hellish year, so a busted laptop is really just par for the course.

 Oprah shrug gif.

I know we have other old laptops somewhere in the house too, so I’ll probably go dig one of those up to also use in the meantime. I hope mine is fixable. I have hard drive backups so I’m not too worried about the stuff on it, but I really don’t want to have to buy a new one and adjust to it.

So that’s what’s up with me. I like doing update posts, but lately I don’t really have anything worth sharing. What’s going on in your life?

 

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I Made Pickles Again, And Here Are Some Tips I Didn’t See Elsewhere Online

Exactly as the title says. Two months ago, I tried my hand at pickle-making for the second time. I did it for the first time last September, and while the pickles were good, they weren’t flawless, and the process wasn’t as frictionless as I would have liked.

i can do so much better disappointed in myself gif | WiffleGif

For my second time, I ended up getting a deal on cucumbers at the farmers market (go while they’re closing up, they’ll want to get rid of it all) and ended up with exactly 150 cucumbers, which is about 160% more than I had in my first go. But I loaded up with jars from my grandmother’s house, and I, with my mother’s help, pickled them all. We were able to improve from our first attempt.

My newest batch all jarred and ready to sit in the basement for a while

Anyway, since I’ve done it twice now and am obviously now a pro, I thought I’d offer up a few tips that I had, especially since most of these are tips I didn’t see elsewhere in my research.

  1. Assuming your cucumbers are average pickling size and you quarter them into spears, you can fit around 14-18 spears in a medium-sized mason jar. I advise packing them in as much as you can. (This works out to about 4 or 5 cucumbers per jar).
  2. Soaking the cucumbers in ice water for 1-4 hours beforehand is supposed to keep the pickles firm.
  3. You shouldn’t reuse jar lids (with the seals) for canning. Rings are fine, but seals are supposedly a one-time use thing. Of course, you can still use them as lids for regular, non-preserving jarring needs.
  4. Out of the 150 cucumbers, I had to throw out ~10 in total if you add up all the bits I cut off for being soft or brown inside. Keep that in mind if you’re doing mental estimates with your haul.
  5. Always. Add. Garlic. My mother convinced me to not put garlic in a few jars, and I underestimated how important they are to the taste. The pickles aren’t bad without them, but it’s so much better with garlic.
    Vegetables | Engoo Global
  6. Be careful putting boiling liquid into jars. And don’t shake the jars once the liquid is in there. Doing all my pickling in shorts and a tank top is perhaps not the best idea I’ve had, as there was one hot water incident that I got lucky with.
  7. A lot of websites suggest doing a 10-minute hot water bath once your jars are filled and closed, and this is to mostly kill off any bacteria and ensure the seal is good, but I found that doing so resulted in softer pickles, so on our second go, we sanitized the jars in the dishwasher right before filling them, and did the water bath for just 2 minutes. No deaths yet.

I did have two pickling cucumber plants growing in the garden, and while they did produce, it certainly wasn’t a lot or at once, so I couldn’t rely on that for proper large-scale pickling, but I did try my hand at half-sours. Cucumbers apparently don’t/shouldn’t last long in your fridge, but I had about 10 saved up for over a week and when I cut them open, they seemed fine, so I shoved as many as I could in a jar, drowned them in a 50-50 vinegar/water brine with garlic, pepper, salt, and dill, and put it in the fridge for 10 days. I read that 4-7 days is fine, but I wanted to ensure maximum pickling. 10 days worked perfectly for me as they were still crunchy and very sour, so if you’ve also got a small garden’s worth of cucumbers, I very much suggest this method as it’s a lot less work and waiting but the flavour is great!Pickle Cucumber Sticker by GumiPoni for iOS & Android | GIPHY

Anyway, that’s all I have to share! It’s not too late to go to a large grocery store or late farmers market and get cucumbers of your own to pickle! I hope these tips helped you.

 

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When Or How Does A Musician Retire?

I was thinking about Madonna the other day. The radio was on and ‘Borderline’ played, which is, in my opinion, one of her best songs. Anyway, I was very much not born during her glory days, but she was still around when I was growing up. Do you remember that song ‘4 Minutes’ that she had with Justin Timberlake? That song came out in 2008 aka the year pop music peaked. That song was, again in my opinion, the last decent thing she did. All her albums and songs since have just been cringy and very auto-tuned and such a departure from her music in the 80’s. Not to mention that she’s sixty, and personally I don’t want to hear songs about a sixty year old clubbing or hooking up with people. I don’t think people my age like her new music and I don’t think people my parents’ age like it either, so I guess I’m wondering who does like it and why she’s still trying to keep her music alive in the mainstream. She’s Madonna. She has a decent legacy and she could let people live with that instead of serving up new garbage. Like are you really going to listen to this and tell me it compares to ‘Borderline’ or ‘Material Girl’?

Yeah No Thanks gif.

Obviously she likes making music still and she still sells out concerts, so I’m not trying to force someone to stop doing something they like and are good at, but she stands out to me as the only person I can think of from the 80’s who’s trying so, so desperately to remain relevant that it’s almost weird. Remember when she forced a kiss on Drake a few years ago? Weird.

I’ll admit, I have not really sat down and listened purposefully to Madonna’s music from the past decade, so maybe I’m not giving it a fair shake, but from the bits I’ve seen and heard, it’s just disappointing to me.

that's my opinion gif.

See, there other less weird ways to still be musically active but without tarnishing your discography. Take Canada’s own Bryan Adams who was also thriving in the 80’s. He still tours and released an album last year, but he stays in his lane and isn’t trying to cling onto spots on the top 40’s stations. Plus and perhaps most notably, he recently wrote all the music for a Broadway musical. Yes, it was for Pretty Woman, a show we can all agree was 1000% not asked for, and yes, the show and music was apparently on the lackluster side (I’ve yet to watch/listen), but it was still a good move for him, in my opinion, where he could do something a little different and stay a little relevant in a mature way.

The Resident Residentonfox GIF by Fox TV - Find & Share on GIPHY

Getting celebrities to write showtunes is a popular thing, and I think it’s a place where the artists of yesteryears can thrive. Many already have: Cyndi Lauper did Kinky Boots and Sting did The Last Ship and Elton John did Billy Elliot. There’s also music competition shows that need judges/mentors, music TV shows that need producing, and music foundations to be funding.

When should an older singer just take the L and retire? Or, on the flip side, when should an older singer who has stopped making new music take a chance and do something other than tour around small venues to the same aging audience? There are a lot of really talented singers and musicians from the 70’s and 80’s who are still alive and there are ways for them to do something new and make themselves known to a new generation without seeming so desperate to be the most famous.

what do you think about that? gif.

I’d love your thoughts on the matter. Or maybe you don’t have any because you don’t spend your free time thinking about Madonna’s recent career moves, which I suppose is valid…

That’s all for now!

 

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Monthly Look Ahead: September 2020

Aaaand here we are in September. I know some people love fall and the cooler weather but I am not one of those people. Either way, here are some small things to look forward to in my September.

monthly look ahead logo

  • Last month DC comics had a 24 hour fan event called the DC FanDome in place of going to SDCC. Panels were livestreamed online for free and it was very well done. I watch a lot of DC TV shows, and unfortunately for me, most of the TV panels were moved to a separate day, Sept 12th. So now I have that to look forward to, even though I doubt there’ll be a whole lot of new info to be shared because filming hasn’t started for the shows.
  • Season 2 of The Boys starts on the 4th. It’s not a show I loved but it’s interesting enough and filmed in Toronto so yay for that.
    The Boys.
  • The Emmys are on the 20th. Luckily all the shows in play were finished before Corona, so aside from the event being done online, there should be no changes to winners or anything like that.

Aaaand that’s it.

What do you have going on in your September? Leave a comment or make your own MLA post!

 

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