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On Purity

Noted film, tv and mad scientist musical creator Joss Whedon has come under fire this week, due to public allegations from his ex-wife that he had multiple affairs with actresses while married to her. Therefore, she posits, he is, and never was a feminist.

I will not be defending the morality of Joss Whedon's actions. Affairs, with people whom he is in a position of power, while married is morally indefensible.

I also won't directly quibble with the retconning of him as suddenly no longer a feminist, as certainly one's actions should reflect the ideals you wish to uphold


Lately, I have been trying to eat less meat. This is related, I swear.

I still eat meat. Here is what I do

If I am at a restaraunt, I look to see if there is any vegetarian option that I might find appearling. Often, there is. If not, I check if there is any seafood I might enjoy, and choose that, however I do live in the midwest, so often I end up picking a chicken or pork dish, sometimes beef.

The function of this is to eat less meat, while still retaining the flexibility to eat meat, since at the end of the day, food is food.

I am not a vegetarian. There is not an ideological or dietary term that I know of that covers that. Opportunistic vegetarian maybe? Still, not a term that a true, capital-V vegetarian would likely accept or recognize, despite the fact, that both of our goals involve eating less meat.

Politicians and constituents in this last decade have also been very tied up with rigid and inflexible labels on both sides.

Republicans at both the state and federal levels can't vote for taxes, even if those taxes involve being fiscally conservative. Even if this inflexibility ties the hands of a politician to fix broken tax laws by passing a new, better tax reform law.

On the left, there was a general outcry about Bernie Sanders support of a Pro-Life Democratic candidate.

Both of these positions are enshrined in the planks of the respective party, so adherence to them makes some sense, but it seems more than that.

In many cases, a small impurity does corrupt completely. A drop of red ink on a nice shirt makes it unsuitable to wear out of the house. Dropping a negative sign in an equation renders all futher calculations incorrect. A drop of sewage in a gallon jug of water renders it all non-potable.

More recently, at the alt-Right rally in Charlottesville, there was a collection of drops of people, containing more than a trace amount of "Nazi sewage"

Any normal President, would have taken the opportunity to push down their personal opinions, and attempt to calm and heal the nation by doing a very poor job of attempting to make a very nuanced point, that not *all* of the people in the protest were bad. Sure there is a red spot on the shirt, but the rest of the shirt is clean.

I, personally, have no problems calling people who march with Nazis, Nazis.

I also, believe that the President was right in a way, in the same way that an Internet commentator helpfully points out that "Not all men" harrass, demean, assault women. An accurate, but unhelpful distinction.

He might not be wrong, that painting everyone present as a "Nazi" can be worrisome, as that can serve as a radicalizing force. Even if the great majority who showed up are scared off by being associated with Nazis, you still run the risk that a certain, small percent of those people who didn't come to that rally as self-identified Nazi's, might *accept* the label. The sort of "I guess if I believe in fighting for what is right then I'm a Nazi!" people.

This was likely not the concern the President had when attempting to so studiously lexically separate the onions from the sauerkraut. Especially tone deaf given how scared a large number of minority groups were by such a strong Nazi and white power show of force. Terrifying and unprecedented in America.

But in the end, judging things performatively seems to make a bit more sense.

If someone created works of art depicting women as strong, smart, capable and fearless, are those feminist works, even if the creator was also an unfaithful husband having affairs with people he held power oer?

If a man who waved a Nazi flag on one day, goes back into hiding and never again has the courage to do, or espouse any Nazi rhetoric or hate, is he a Nazi?

I don't know the answers to these questions. Which I guess definitively makes me not a pundit.

8 comments:

What if the works of art depicting women as strong, smart, capable and fearless were used as a means to have sex with women who were in a position of weakness? It seems that Joss was not simply incidentally a cheater, but that he used his very outspoken position as a feminist as a tool to manipulate women.
by: Red Dot (contact) - 23 Aug '17 - 10:56
Sure, but does anybody know where I can buy some cialis?
by: Red Dot (contact) - 05 Sep '17 - 09:41
Spam comments have been cleaned up, and Captcha re-instated.
by: Kyle (contact) - 12 Sep '17 - 12:36
> What if the works of art depicting women as strong, smart, capable and fearless were used as a means to have sex with women who were in a position of weakness

If producing good art with the intent of impressing people into having sex with you invalidates that art.

Then I suspect almost all art is now invalid.
by: Kyle (contact) - 12 Sep '17 - 12:37
And does the intent of art mean nothing to it? If a Soviet radio program (Mothernight) was actually a coded message to America, does that not change its meaning?

Yes, many people produce art to impress others. To create art about women in order to manipulate women does indeed affect its proper interpretation. It is manipulation, and between Whedon and Louis CK, it seems that far too many male feminists have taken that mantle specifically to dominate/harass/manipulate women.
by: Red Dot (contact) - 25 Sep '17 - 00:10
Whedon and Louis have been at their trade a very long time.

Saying that they make their art "specifically" out of their urge to manipulate women seems disingenuous.

It isn't their art that put them in that position, it was their eventual fame and success that they abused.

Could be that makes them bad people.

So really the question seems to be, can "bad" people make "good" art?

I don't trust myself to be the judge of other, but I can judge how people's art affects me, and that seems a better metric to me.
by: Kyle (contact) - 27 Sep '17 - 14:20
I'm late to this thread, but it is an age old question. Can you separate the art from the artist. The athlete from the person.

Joss Wheaton, Bill Cosby, Michael Vick, and so many more examples.

Can you admire the art of an artist that you despise. I think most people have a really hard time separating the two, but some people can do it.
by: Mike (contact) - 10 Oct '17 - 10:15
Definitely, what a fantastic website and informative posts, I definitely will bookmark your blog.All the Best!
by: James (contact) - 15 Oct '17 - 15:09



 




Meta Information:

Title: On Purity
Date posted: 23 Aug '17 - 02:04
Filed under: General
Word Count: 787 words
Good Karma: 3 (vote)
Bad Karma: 3 (vote)
Next entry:  On Running
Previous entry:  The Man Who Cried Wolf in His Youth

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