Welcome to yet another discussion post here on the blog.
Today, we’re going to be discussing a topic that’s been plaguing my thoughts for the past few weeks.
Should an artist’s actions outside of their craft have an impact on how we perceive their art?
If you’re a part of our Banned Book Club Twitter group chat, you would’ve noticed that several of its members have been asking themselves the same question. That’s because our BoTM for May is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. It’s a powerful book about a 14-year-old Native American kid who leaves the Spokane Reservation to go to a school attended predominantly by white students.
Sherman Alexie is obviously an excellent writer whose book is moving and opens discussions on intersecting identities. Sherman Alexie has also been accused of sexual harassment by several women.
Before I started reading the book, I was so sure I would hate it. I thought I wouldn’t be able to separate the author from his book. But, funnily enough, I was. I enjoyed reading the book. I gave it 4 stars.
And I feel super guilty about it.
In light of the #MeToo movement and the allegations of sexual assault in the publishing industry, this is something that needs to be discussed.
Is it ethical to like a book or appreciate a piece of art by an artist who’s morally reprehensible? If we do like their art, is it tantamount to almost shrugging off their actions, turning a blind eye to their atrocities? Or is art merely aesthetic and it’s entirely okay to appreciate it despite the artist’s actions?
Let me know what your stance is in the comments!