I am, in theory, a proponent of the concept that you should separate that artist from the art. There is no correlation between brilliance and creativity, on the one hand, and a sense of morality, human decency and a pleasing personality on the other.
Ezra Pound, who wrote perhaps the most beautiful two lines of poetry ever: “The apparition of these faces in the crowd, petals on a wet, black bough,” was a fascist piece of shit. Bing Crosby beat the hell out of his kids. Bill Cosby is a rapist. Woody Allen is a child molester. Mel Gibson is a racist nutcase.
It doesn’t matter. Once their work is out there, it has a life of its own, and that belongs to the ages. Or so I tell myself. But, I was watching a Woody Allen film a week or so ago, where his brother-in-law, played by Alan Alda, is a successful Hollywood director and Allen is the neurotic, struggling, genius writer (as always) and there are several sub-plots going on, classic Woody Allen stuff, and I flipped channels in the middle and watched something else because I couldn’t stop thinking “This guy touched up his little step-daughter in the attic.”
I’m not boycotting Woody Allen movies. The allegations aren’t really clear, or proven, and being a pervert doesn’t stop him from being a genius. What if the stuff they said about Lewis Carroll were true? Would we throw away Alice in Wonderland? We would not. Still, it puts me off a bit and makes me look for something else.
Now, we have a new one to add to the list. Afroman has put out quite a few albums but he’s basically a one hit wonder. He’s the guy who wrote that “Because I Got High” song which was a big hit about 13 or 14 years ago, and is a hell of a lot of fun to do at Karaoke because everybody sings along and, often as not, somebody will offer you a toke afterwards. I love that song.
And, you would think, somebody who loves the good herb so well would be a mellow dude, like Cheech and Chong, like Willie Nelson. But, no. Yesterday, in Biloxi, Mississippi, a woman danced up on stage, which was maybe a bit uncool, interfering with the show and all, but hey, it’s a party, it’s an entertainment event and she was having a good time. She wasn’t a threat or anything.
Then, he turned around and punched her, hard, in the face. Because, beneath it all, despite his artistry, he’s an asshole.
He’s out on bail, but I hope he goes to jail. And I sure hope he doesn’t say he did this because he was high.