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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

vetting spleen


The Scene:  A party for writers

The Story:

She:  "An artist has no responsibility other than to make art."

He:  "If I knew you truly believed what you just said, I'd cut your throat and call it art."

The Lesson:

Writers are ordinary people who simply write more than most ordinary people.  They have no monopoly on good behavior, morality, or the practice of virtue.  Instead, they use their skill in using language to wound or to attempt to heal.  The snippet of dialogue above does not tell the whole story.  The whole story would be a novel, an epic, a stage play, or a learned treatise on human insensitivity.

Being insensitive to the full range of reactions her statement might trigger, She endangered herself. She was apparently oblivious to the possibility that art does not exist in a vacuum and that those who create art do have responsibilities that exceed the act of creation.  He, being a writer totally committed to standing behind his words, demonstrated insensitivity to the injury his words caused.

The recommendation:

She and He ought to be examined in the contexts of whole stories that inform us about our "normal" behavior and how we choose to locate ourselves in the realm of responsibility.

Jerry W. Ward, Jr.                            February 15, 2017

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