16 views

The best breakthroughs of 2018 thus far

spe27 - October 22, 2018
Johnny English Fails to Strike Again
Arts
30 views
30 views

Johnny English Fails to Strike Again

Alice Gledhill - October 18, 2018
Sexual assault in the US government
Comment
6 views
6 views

Sexual assault in the US government

Tess Michaels - October 17, 2018
What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
66 views
66 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
104 views
104 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
138 views
138 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
121 views
121 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
146 views
146 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
224 views
224 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
147 views
147 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
298 views
298 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
243 views
243 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
237 views
237 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
267 views
267 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Keeping Warm Out in the Cold this Winter
News
6 views
6 views

Keeping Warm Out in the Cold this Winter

Jessica Hubbard - October 22, 2018

The Big Debate: We should separate the personal live of actors and artists from their creative work

In Favor

William Singh

When addressing this difficult subject, it is usually taken as the default position that a reprehensible human being ought not to win an award for their work. I suspect that’s not least because nobody wants to stand up and say they support those individuals winning, and they are certainly easy to condemn.

There’s a problem, though: I’m never quite clear what the precise argument is as to why we ought to take personal lives into account.

Do we begrudge the accountant who may be really very good at sorting finances, while also being a distant father, an unloving husband and a tax-dodging free-rider?

Certainly we’re probably inclined to dislike them as a human being, but would we say they should not be allowed to do their job?

There are three relevant answers here:

1 – yes, they should not do their job, because tax-dodging ought to be against some hippocratic oath of accountants in particular.

2 – yes, we ought to care, but their lives are less public so we don’t know, and awards less dependent on our public adoration so we are less the agents

3 – no, we don’t care but we should for artists because there’s something special about art.

The first is reasonable enough and we may be inclined to agree. But there is a clear and direct link here between the nature of the ‘offense’ committed and the professional reputability of the accountant. I challenge anyone to provide the same link in the case of art and artists. It seems to me to be quite the opposite case being made when we say reprehensible individuals should not win awards – we’re actually arguing that even if they have produced a quality piece of work they ought not to win. We are saying that despite and irrespective of their artistic achievement purely because of personality – at which point we have already separated creative work from personality in a way that rules out the tax-dodging accountant analogy. There is no direct link between personality and art that we can rely on.

So we might make the second argument: we would, if we could, punish all accountants, lawyers, street-sweepers and artists alike for their personal lives. I won’t dwell on this point because I don’t think it is the most commonly made – but a word of caution is useful. A quick glance at social media feeds is evidence enough for the outrage-mob culture we’ve created for ourselves. I ask only whether the reader feels it is right that for errors of judgement in their own pasts they should be submitted to that level of vitriol whenever they try to do anything with their lives again. Ought we to suppose that anyone who has committed a crime, however bad, should be condemned to permanent unemployment? That seems indefensible.

So the third argument – there is something special about art which makes personal lives inseparable from creative work in a sense beyond that of ordinary professional work. This may seem intuitive, but I would simply ask the reader what that something is.

Is it because art is a creative enterprise, with artists pouring their soul into their work and as such the work is a reflection of the individual? Given the nature of the filmmaking process – a script will go through countless people, both artists and corporates, and then via a director, photographer and so on, plus a whole cast of actors – I find it hard to accept the idea that a film reflects intimately the personality of one actor. And in any case, ‘creativity’ is surely applied in a vast number of areas.

Is it because art is inherently public? This, I think, gets to the most common argument – artists are role models, awards confer society’s endorsement, so they shouldn’t be seen to endorse behaviour.

But I would ask if in following that logic we aren’t ourselves contributing to a state of affairs we allegedly oppose. Celebrity culture hero-worship is itself a detrimental role model effect. The assumption that successful people are good people, and only good people are successful, is clearly incorrect and even more clearly unhealthy. If we are going to criticise the hero-worship of celebrities, we really ought not to perpetuate it. Viewing artistic achievement or awards as personal commendations does just that. They are not. They are no more than recognitions on the part of private industry-representing bodies of technical achievement. We should break down the assumption that people of achievement are aspirational personalities. Personal endorsement should not be conferred by award recognition, and neither should it be soon to do so.

In fact, I would suggest that the public is far more self-aware that artists are not behavioural role models than we often give them credit for. Arguably even more attention has been drawn to the reprehensible character of certain individuals precisely by award nomination than could possibly have been understood by public ignorance.

The simple point of conclusion is this: there is no need for a connection between professional work and personal life. That applies as much to creative enterprise. If you, as an individual, decide that the creative output of a particular artist is undermined by that artist’s personal life, you might of course take against it, or even boycott that artist. But when you say that, for example, awards should only be conferred where the creative and the personal are both to be commended, you are in effect saying that despite and irrespective of the quality of creative output, personality should be a deciding factor in evaluating art. That is very simply a level of analysis which need not exist, and we should be capable of understanding what it is to praise the technical or aesthetic achievement of a work of art independent of associated artists.

Against

Amy Johnson

The personal life of an artist is intrinsically linked to their work. The performances of actors and the works of artists are drawn from their own personal experiences. Routinely artists will tell their audience this, that their work was crafted from their own personal experiences with pain, joy, anger etc. Therefore, to prise the two apart just because it begins to spoil our idealised view of an artist is unfair. This is not to say that artists and actors cannot have a private life of their own, but when they act abhorrently in private, it should be part of the public consciousness.

Casey Affleck received allegations of sexual harassment seven years ago, from two of his female co-workers. Affleck was never convicted for any crimes, as the cases were settled out of court yet this does not mean that allegations of abuse and harassment should not be dismissed.

Brie Larson’s refusal to clap Casey Affleck’s win of Best Actor in a Leading Role at the Oscars has been seen as silent protest from the actress against his victory. Whilst it can be said that this was an admirable move on behalf of Larson who knew she would be open for international criticism, Casey Affleck should have never been nominated in the first place.

Women who accuse men of abuse are routinely doubted and blamed. Amber Heard faced the vitriol of Johnny Depp fans when she claimed that he physically abused her. Yet this case, like many in Hollywood, is a case of a wealthy white women and if they aren’t believed, if they are blamed, what kind of message does this send to other women, to working class women, to women of colour, if they need to report abuse? Men continue to walk away with an untarnished reputation after ruining women’s lives.

However, the issue is a precarious one. It would be ignorant to suggest that people can’t change and rehabilitate and deserve to have a second chance. Those who have spent time in prison and return to society reformed deserve jobs and access to tools to help to better themselves. Just because someone has a past this does not mean we should write them off entirely. However, there are key differences between someone like Casey Affleck and other men accused of abusing women. Affleck is arguably an attractive man with a powerful name in Hollywood. He has a name and an arguably conventionally attractive face to mask his allegations with.

Affleck is just one man in long line of Hollywood stars whose abuse against women has not stopped them from having a career. Sean Penn, Woody Allen, Eminem: all of these men have been accused of assaulting women without it having any impact on their careers. What differentiates these men is that they are in the public eye, they are people to made an example of and time and time again nothing is done to combat the epidemic of the abuse of women. One particularly disturbing example is a Barbara Walters interview where legendary actor Sean Connery says out loud, fully aware he is being recorded, with regard to hitting women: ‘I don’t think it’s bad, and I think it depends entirely on the circumstances, and if it merits it’. Sean Connery has a knighthood.

People willing to ignore the questionable and troubling behaviour of actors because if it spoils their ability to enjoy what they are consuming. Not to mention Hollywood, who would never make a pariah of an actor they consider to be highly bankable. To hear that one’s idol has been creeping into bed with women without their consent, as per Affleck’s allegations, is troubling. Blocking it out is far easier for some than accepting the worrying truth. People who we admire and who are internationally revered do bad things, terrible things, but they are things we cannot ignore.

It is already horrific that the President of the United States, Donald Trump, who holds one of the most important jobs in the world is misogynistic and has received numerous allegations of sexual abuse from women. To revere people in their work is to condone their behaviour outside their job. So often are women told that allegations can ruin a man’s reputations, but how can this be true when so many men continue to achieve greatness after being abusive?

To award Casey Affleck with an Oscar, the most esteemed accolade in his field of work, is an insult to every woman who has ever been a victim of abuse at the hands of men.

Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
16 views
Johnny English Fails to Strike Again
Arts
30 views
30 views

Johnny English Fails to Strike Again

Alice Gledhill - October 18, 2018
Sexual assault in the US government
Comment
6 views
6 views

Sexual assault in the US government

Tess Michaels - October 17, 2018
What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
66 views
66 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
104 views
104 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
138 views
138 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
121 views
121 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
146 views
146 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
224 views
224 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
147 views
147 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
298 views
298 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
243 views
243 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
237 views
237 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
267 views
267 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Keeping Warm Out in the Cold this Winter
News
6 views
6 views

Keeping Warm Out in the Cold this Winter

Jessica Hubbard - October 22, 2018
New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems
News
29 views
29 views

New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems

Jessica Hubbard - October 20, 2018
BCU Black Studies Degree Talk
Campus News
36 views
36 views

BCU Black Studies Degree Talk

Matthew Nicholls - October 20, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Freshers 2018
16 views

The best breakthroughs of 2018 thus far

spe27 - October 22, 2018

As we begin a new school year, this is a great time for Sabrina Edwards, the new Science editor, to reflect on the best scientific breakthroughs of…

De-Stressing with Rob Cowen’s Common Ground
Arts
83 views
Arts
83 views

De-Stressing with Rob Cowen’s Common Ground

Hal Keelin - October 18, 2018

Upon my transfer to Sussex University, I found Robert Cowen’s Common Ground a particularly comforting read. After nearly a year out from academic study, I was finally…

Johnny English Fails to Strike Again
Arts
30 views
Arts
30 views

Johnny English Fails to Strike Again

Alice Gledhill - October 18, 2018

Striking up laughter in cinema screens once again, Rowan Atkinson may have given up playing lovable Mr. Bean, but he hasn’t retired as Johnny English just yet.…

Sexual assault in the US government
Comment
6 views
Comment
6 views

Sexual assault in the US government

Tess Michaels - October 17, 2018

“I believed he was going to rape me.” are the stand out words in Christine Ford’s final testimony at the confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh as an…

What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
66 views
Arts
66 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018

  All you need to know about autumn at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts If you have not seen the ACCA’s new autumn programme, you…

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
104 views
Arts
104 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018

In celebration of Black History Month, Sussex Student Union organised a number of interesting talks and events across October. One of these exciting opportunities was a chance…

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA
Film & Theatre
88 views
Film & Theatre
88 views

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA

Anonymous - October 10, 2018

At the outset, Mr Messier’s FIELD at once invoked The Matrix and Daedalus’ Boiler Room set.  The basic concept of this mixed media performance relies on transducer…

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development
Arts
127 views
Arts
127 views

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development

Kate Dennett - October 10, 2018

To commemorate to this year’s Mental Health Awareness Day, I found it increasingly difficult to draw attention to just one book of relevance in recognition of this…

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective
Campus News
115 views
Campus News
115 views

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective

Chris Ahjem - October 9, 2018

Annually, the University of Sussex welcomes thousands of new students to our Falmer campus and every year the Student’s Union and Brighton based clubs and businesses increase…

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known
News
166 views
News
166 views

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known

Chris Ahjem - October 6, 2018

To celebrate National Badger Day here are 10 fun facts about our animal kingdom namesake Badgers can run up to 16-19 miles per hour which is the…

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
138 views
Arts
138 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018

This coming week marks the celebration of Libraries Week, an event solely dedicated to praising the work of libraries across the UK. This annual event is taking…

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
121 views
Interview
121 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018

The young star is often a tricky title to navigate. There are the big names, who explode into the world with noise, bright light, a big record…

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry
Lifestyle
156 views
Lifestyle
156 views

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry

Rachel Badham - October 3, 2018

Fenty Beauty, launched in September last year, is a makeup line created by global superstar Robyn Rihanna Fenty, better known as Rihanna. It’s not uncommon for celebrity…

Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
146 views
Lifestyle
146 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

Once an art form disregarded by many, 2018 bears witness to the continuous rise of drag as a legitimate, celebrated art. Spearheaded by RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag…

In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
224 views
Arts
224 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018

This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Alannah Myles, the 1991 Grammy winner for best female rock vocal performance for her outstanding vocal abilities for the…

Brighton Needs You!
News
147 views
News
147 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018

Brighton is a vibrant and thriving city that many students at Sussex are lucky enough to call home. But there are many in the area in need…

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
298 views
Arts
298 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
213 views
Film & Theatre
213 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Olek Młyński - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
243 views
Sports
243 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
237 views
Arts
237 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
267 views
Arts
267 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1332 views1
Campus News
1332 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Keeping Warm Out in the Cold this Winter
News
6 views
News
6 views

Keeping Warm Out in the Cold this Winter

Jessica Hubbard - October 22, 2018

You may have noticed the weather getting colder as we approach the winter months. This is a welcome feeling for some after such a hot summer. However,…

New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems
News
29 views
News
29 views

New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems

Jessica Hubbard - October 20, 2018

The new Lewes Road branch of ALDI has opened to the public. Its first customers received free fruit and vegetables and the store has proved popular since.…

BCU Black Studies Degree Talk
Campus News
36 views
Campus News
36 views

BCU Black Studies Degree Talk

Matthew Nicholls - October 20, 2018

Students are due to give a talk about the UK’s first black studies degree as part of Sussex University’s Black History Month events. The free event, which…

Go See a String Quartet: Globally Renowned Artists Play for Free on Campus
Culture
128 views
Culture
128 views

Go See a String Quartet: Globally Renowned Artists Play for Free on Campus

Ketan Jha - October 19, 2018

Classical music can be obtuse. It is easy, especially at free concerts occupied largely by octogenarians, to get lost between movements and melodies. This is especially true…

Bliss Signal Album Review
Music
60 views
Music
60 views

Bliss Signal Album Review

Ryan Bridgewater - October 18, 2018

  CD/Vinyl/Download At first glance, the worlds of black metal and electronic dance music do not seem to have very much in common. The former is characterised…

New Student Energy Project Launches at Sussex
Campus News
36 views
Campus News
36 views

New Student Energy Project Launches at Sussex

Jessica Hubbard - October 18, 2018

A new Student Energy Project has started at Sussex. The project is run in collaboration with The Student Energy Project, the University Sustainability team and Sussex Students’…

Name Changes Made Easier for Students
Campus News
40 views
Campus News
40 views

Name Changes Made Easier for Students

Matthew Nicholls - October 18, 2018

The University of Sussex will now accept unenrolled deed polls as proof of name change to those who wish, granting more freedom and anonymity to those in…

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors
News
58 views
News
58 views

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

The court of appeal has quashed sentences handed to 3 fracking protestors calling them "manifestly excessive". Jail sentences of 15- 16 months were given to the three…

In Conversation with Peter Tatchell: Gender, Direct Action and Brexit
News
70 views
News
70 views

In Conversation with Peter Tatchell: Gender, Direct Action and Brexit

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

Veteran human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, gave a talk on campus. Known for his work with the LGBTQ+ community, he spoke about free speech under attack and…

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’
News
43 views
News
43 views

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’

kenyon55 - October 17, 2018

The NUS has expressed its support for a national referendum on the final Brexit deal, also referred to as a ‘People’s Vote’. This came after Labour MPs…

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter
Campus News
42 views
Campus News
42 views

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

An open letter started by Sussex academics has gained over 1,000 signatures. The letter, entitled ‘Open letter from UK academics: The harsh sentencing of anti-fracking campaigners sets…

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes
National News
90 views
National News
90 views

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

Written by Danielle Ball Shocking witness statements have been heard from the fire crew and call handlers involved in the response to the tragedy The Grenfell Tower…

Renting Unaffordable for Young People
National News
68 views
National News
68 views

Renting Unaffordable for Young People

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

South East among the most expensive areas to rent as revealed by BBC research. Research carried out by The BBC has found that renting is unaffordable for…

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns
Music
75 views
Music
75 views

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns

Lara Antoine - October 13, 2018

Photo by Vojta Dvrocek Whether you’ve seen him in Ezra Collective or featuring alongside other breakthrough neo-jazz artists like Mr Jukes. Pianist Joe Armon-Jones is no stranger…