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May 28, 2018 | by  | in The F Word |
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The “F” Word

Houston, we have a problematic fave (PF). He’s brilliant and talented and just released a brutally honest single that is nothing less than a masterpiece and one of the most important music videos of our time. He is a fantastic actor, and he has yet to release a song that I can resist jamming out to whenever it comes up on my Spotify.
But he’s also got a history with making rape jokes, which he’s unapologetically defended as “comedy”. His lyrics, witty and puntastic as they may be, are flooded with racism, ableism, and misogyny. Time and time again he has made decisions that I cannot possibly defend, and do not want to.
And yet, whenever I see him on my television screen, or hear him in my playlist, or scroll past news about him in my Facebook feed, I can’t help but become engaged. I’m a fan, but as a member of the Victoria University Feminist Organisation, I also feel like a hypocrite. And perhaps I am.
The thing about humans, celebrities included, is we are all flawed. We make mistakes. We do things we’re not proud of — sometimes we even do things we are proud of, but for the wrong reasons. We constantly justify our bad behaviours, and the bad behaviours of the people we admire.
We’re never going to get an unproblematic fave (except maybe Tom Hanks, but he is the exception to the rule). If we reject art every time an artist does something bad, then eventually we’re going to run out of art completely.
Amid my moral dilemma, I’ve been met by the advice that, sometimes, we must separate the person from their art, and simply appreciate the art for what it is. Which is all well and good, but where do we draw the line? I can say that people make mistakes, but the reality is that if a “regular folk” had done the same things my PF has done, I would have cut ties with them long ago.
When I began writing this, it was supposed to be an opinion piece, but reading it over, I see that it’s less that and more an indecisive mess. As it turns out, I know nothing, other than that I may or may not be a total hypocrite.

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