A couple nights ago I wrote about Morgan Freeman, kind of defending him, because despite his lame ass ‘We’re at war with Russia’ video, I still like him as an actor and respect him as a human being.
I meant to segue from that into one of my regular themes, which is that you have to separate the individual from their work, the art from the artist. If you expect everybody in public life to be a good person, you’re expecting too much. Look around. Half of the average people you know are assholes in some way or another, and there’s no reason at all to think that success, fame, or money would make anybody any less so.
After Charlottesville, in the wake of the furor to take down all the Confederate statues, I had internet friends who felt we should also remove statues of Jefferson and Washington, because they were slaveholders.
A few cities have canceled Columbus Day, and replaced it with Native Americans day, which is kind of token, and only 1/30th as long as black history month, but whatever. I’m not against Native Americans having a day, or a month, or even reparations which they certainly deserve, but I think Columbus, evil, crazy, racist and ignorant though he was, is kind of an important figure in American history.
Pound was a Nazi. Elia Kazan, an absolutely brilliant director from the McCarthy era, was a creepy scumbag who was perfectly willing (him and Ronald Reagan) to co-operate with McCarthy. William Burroughs murdered his wife, or at least accidentally manslaughtered her with a gun while high as a full moon over a pumpkin patch, Edison stole other people’s ideas, Picasso and Gandhi both treated their wives like dirt, and Abbott and Costello, believe it or not, didn’t like each other in real life.
Nobody’s perfect. A few days ago, a Facebook friend was trying to convince me what a monster Freud was because, apparently, he was dismissive of child abuse. Damn.
There’s nobody in life who is above criticism, but let’s try to keep things in perspective. Talent is not exactly the same thing as morality. And we shouldn’t look to celebrities as role models, or else we’re going to be continuously disappointment.