A few weeks ago I found myself innocently humming the tune of ‘Two Little Boys’ by Rolf Harris. Then I remembered something. I remembered what we’ve come to know about Rolf Harris over the past few years and it seemed like a good reason to stop humming that song. It had taken on a sinister meaning and seemed inappropriate.
But is the song inappropriate now or is it alright for whistling around the house?
It’s a small incident that’s been nibbling away at me since.
Can the art people make, the songs people sing, the sermons ministers give be separated from their person they are or is it a stand along thing to be judged on it’s own merits?
I think that of course they can. Then other times I’m not so sure.
Here are some examples I’ve been thinking about.
For years people have been able to watch The Cosby Show and enjoy it as an innocent sitcom.But if the allegations against Bill Cosby that are flying around at the moment prove to be true does that change The Cosby Show? Does it mean that it’s no good now?
The same with the Woody Allen films or Michael Jackson songs. Incidentally I wonder why it’s OK for radio stations to play Michael Jackson songs but why it’s not OK to play a Gary Glitter track? What is the difference?
Some people don’t like Bono, they find him irritating for reasons such as tax arrangements and being a preachy rock star. Should we judge the latest U2 album (or any U2 album) with Bono’s personality in mind or is that irrelevant to the music? Lots of people seem to have reviewed Bono rather than the music.
One night I was listening to Lead Belly knowing that he was an American folk/blues music legend. When I started to read about his life story I found out that he had been in prison on numerous occasions. Once I found that it out it changed how I was listening to the music. I found I didn’t enjoy it as much.Should I allow the story of his life to colour what I hear in those 3mins?
On the other hand I’ve been known to crank up The Rolling Stones, they’ve some brilliant songs.
The knowledge that Bill Wyman in his late 40’s was dating a 13 yr old doesn’t seem to make me think less of The Rolling Stones. We probably don’t even know the half of what went on with some of those rock groups yet their excesses are seen as the stuff of rock legend. Jimmy Page apparently was infatuated with a 14yr old girl. Why is it rock n roll cool if a 70’s rock stars does it but hideous when a 70’s DJ?
Another example are some of the Psalms, the songs we sing and prayers we pray on Sunday morning written by King David. King David who was also a murderer.
If I was a ‘good man’ would that show in the work I create and make it good? Or does that not matter when it comes to creating music, art,writing could I just as easily write a good song if I was a murderer?
Should I be free to enjoy Rolf Harris singing ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport’ just much now as 10 yrs ago? (Not that it was ever a good song)
I’m not sure why it’s nibbling at me.