Ignorance is bliss and I can't claim ignorance anymore


#1

How do just enjoy things that you know perpetuate horrible shit? Like, after going out of my way to educate myself on the issues women face in America after #metoo and other things…how am I just supposed to go listen to whatever’s hot in hiphop right now, or go watch a problematic movie. Or even just hang out with certain people now.

Is this normal? It’s not like I wish I was i ignorant to what I know now or anything. But things definitely didn’t feel this…intense before. And I don’t know what to do other than keep what I’ve learned in mind in my own creative projects. And hope I have some kind of positive effect I guess.


How do you care for the world and yourself at the same time?
#2

I think the issue is complicated because of how art, in many places in the world, has become a capitalist enterprise (i.e. if I give money to a terrible person, then I’m supporting them financially). It’s a lot less complicated with dead creators since I’m not personally giving William S. Burroughs or HP Lovecraft financial support by buying their books. Of course, there is also the argument that, by consuming their work, you are helping to spread their hateful ideologies or toxic worldviews.

Ultimately, though, I think it comes down to how you react. If you consume problematic material and then create something that confronts that problematic material, you’re helping the conversation. If you completely ignore problematic material, then it continues to fester. In the wake of the Trump presidency, I think about how things like 4Chan and /r/The_Donald were ignored by the mainstream media despite (arguably) having a huge impact on the election. I feel like a recent Waypoint Radio even talked about this with GamerGate, about how a lot of people ignored it because they didn’t want to give it attention and thought it would go away. Heck, in Austin’s NYU speech, Frank Lantz said that he did just this.

So, to answer your question, I think this is a very normal struggle. How do we consume problematic media without supporting its creators? How do we condemn a message without also boosting its signal? I think demonstrating this sort of thoughtfulness is already a huge step in the right direction, though. And maybe there isn’t a clear-cut answer; maybe every situation requires its own approach.


#3

I don’t know if it is normal, but I do experience this.
The acceptance I’ve come to is that living in a material world temporarily isn’t solved. The feeling of struggle means that you are where things are happening. It’s THAT we feel tension that gives us a sense of compassion and morality. So in my opinion, it sounds like you are in a helpful stance and it’s just a matter of maintaining an ability to both care and be honest while staying alive and happy.


#4

I’ve more or less covered how I feel about here:

Though it’s really the second paragraph that is relevant here which I will copy paste:

“And also it’s one thing to like something in spite of it’s problematic content. Frankly on an individual level I don’t really think voting with your dollar means anything most of these things work on a scale too large for it to matter but I think we really need to start asking ourselves if we need to be running glorified free ad campaigns for them. I really like Horizon Zero Dawn. The native appropriation stuff in and around that game fucking sucks and I don’t really talk about Horizon much as that game don’t need me telling people all the ways in which I Think it’s great so they run out and buy it. There’s plenty of other stuff to praise I don’t need to go out of my way to try and canonize it as Saint Zero Dawn, Saint Of Extremely Ill Considered Use Of Racist Terminology And Also Great Combat. It’s okay to like something and not share that with the internet especially in our social media age, it’s okay to find value in something flawed even extremely so (though I believe there have to be limits on just how far you take that for it to still matter) but we need to think about what being vocal about that love means in an age where it can be removed from it’s context with the push of a button and the only thing you have is Zero Dawn Saint Of Great Combat with all the qualifications removed”


#5

While dire on its surface, my reading of this popular sentiment is not as fatalist as it sounds, and I think offers a lot to consider with regards to your concerns. While there is no PERFECTLY ethical way to ‘consume’, be it culture, media, products, or whatever, there are better ways to consume, and better things to consume. Try your best, to the best that you are financially/emotionally/physically able, to be ethical in making these decisions.

You have a moral compass, you have your knowledge, and you know that things are more complex than they seem. Think a bit about what you’re considering to engage with, and do what feels right. Is this book written by a shithead? Is this album by a good person produced by a shitty person? Is this television show on a service owned by a conglomerate that’s run by a shithead? The questions get more complex, but what you do with the answers is up to you, honestly.

This reasoning process can (and should) be extrapolated to other methods of consumption: how are these pants this cheap? How do they make this cleaning product? Why is this ingredient in so many things? However, while culture is almost always a frivolous expenditure, things like clothes, food, and household supplies are not, so you may not be able to afford to give these answers the weight that they may bear on your conscience.

Remember: there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism. If you need medicine and hate GlaxoSmithKline, or you need nice clothes for an interview but H&M is the only place in your budget, you can’t really afford to give them the finger by not ‘supporting’ them. These things aren’t your fault. You didn’t create the capitalist model into which you were born. But, wherever possible, challenge yourself to find a way to do what you want to do or have what you want to have in a way that aligns with your values.

It’s more complicated than it was when you weren’t asking yourself these questions, but it’s also more fulfilling to engage with them.


#6

Going off of something @bronson brings up in his post, I get this feeling a lot when I talk about how Lovecraft is my favorite author. That’s not going to change, that man’s capability to build suspense and terror are what made me want to be a writer, and still continue to serve as motivational material for myself towards that goal, but that does not mean I don’t understand how problematic certain passages of his stories are. I agree that it comes down to how you react. I acknowledge the problems created by the material and use my own knowledge and experience to discredit them. I love how Lovecraft can describe a moonlit graveyard in the hidden reaches of a Massachusetts river bog, but I loathe his repeated use of “simianism.” The best way to go about content when it comes to the question of morality, using your brain and acknowledging a case by case basis is the best bet. Before I started listening to the Waypoint Podcast, I had no idea what certain concepts were such as ableism, or why not thinking about pronouns was a form of disrespect, especially in the medium I use to relax, video games. Keep opening your mind up to new ideas and points of view, and you’ll be able to see why negative content has no legs to stand on, confronting its propagation.

Be active, use your brain, actually give a shit about fellow humans. If it takes too much energy for you, follow the advice of one of my creative writing professors: Fake it till you make it, and practice makes perfect.


#7

OP bringing up hip-hop up is interesting. When it comes to good works produced by problematic people I normally am torn between the whole “Death of the Author” letting the work stand on its own thing and not wanting to support the artist with my money. A lot of hip-hop right now is turning that on it’s head for me though given that so many artists are turning out to be awful people.

Modern hip-hop is different because it’s both largely free through mixtapes, and also has way more value tied to the rapper’s personality. So while I’m not actually giving a scumbag money, there’s less of a separation between art and artist to keep me from feeling icky due to enjoying it.

Right now I don’t really ditch a rapper cold turkey out of principle, but learning shitty things about them just saps my enjoyment until I stop listening. It could happen immediately after learning about it or gradually, but with so much quality stuff out there it’s pretty easy to just find an alternative.

In closing: RONNYJ please stop producing beats for fucked up people and KOOL AD I am sorry to say go fuck yourself.