I'm intrigued by the argument going on about Michael Crichton over HERE. The short and not so sweet of it is that it appears the man wrote a character into one of his novels for the express purpose of saying mean things about someone he was mad at. Because of this, a whole bunch of people are dissing his work and rattling sabers about what a scumbag the writer is. They also take great offense at the fact that Crichton has a different take on the issue of global warming that they do.
So, what I'm wondering is this: Michael Crichton aside, in general if some sort of entertainer or artist (or for that matter car salesman or grocery store owner) has views or habits or behavior I don't like or disapprove of, what bearing should that have on how I evaluate the merits of his or her work?
If someone is a good musician should I avoid their music if I have evidence that person is cruel to cats? Or if I disagree with their politics? I never was a Dixie Chicks fan...but I gotta say I was baffled by the huge controversy over their political comments. What the heck did that have to do with whether or not you like their records?
We live in a pluralistic society where we all have the right to hold and express differing views. I just don't think it's all that important for me to agree with someone in order to appreciate the work the do.
On the other hand, I would have reservations about doing business with someone I found truly reprehensible. The questions is, where do I draw the line??
I totally disapprove of Larry Flynt and everything the man represents. I would never in a million years purchase any of the pornography he has produced. However, should my contempt for that part of his values and business block me from doing any sort of commerce with him if he were to open up some OTHER kind of enterprise that offered something good I did value? I honestly don't know.
I very much enjoyed some of Crichton's early work... others I found contrived. He could be a saint and it would not make his crappy books any better. He could be a contemptible villain and that would not change the fact that I was very much entertained and intrigued by some of his writing.
Recognizing that ALL human beings are flawed creatures who at times do stupid things, at what point to I take my ball and go home, refusing to do any sort of business with someone based on their badness, their stupidity, or their "wrong" views?
Kelly, you've definitely got me thinking with this one.