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R.A. Rubin

Almond is in the Hunter Thompson school. Reality, fact finding, logic, none of it matters. It's all about feelings. If I feel Bush is a monster, I feel better. Then my world makes sense to me. Dan Green is right all the way. A writers politics can ruin his art. Green may agree with Almond's politics, but he is a mench.

Robert Nagle

This is one of those perennial artistic questions about which neither side is really trying to exclude the other's point of view entirely. I know you've written about it before, and so have I.

Here's my random thoughts about your recent discussion

I'll just add one thing:

"As soon as artists become political commentators, to that extent they cease to be artists."

When I taught literature in the 1990's at an Albanian college where political discussion was forbidden by law (!), I heard the exact same viewpoint expressed, both about artistic creation and literary interpretation. (This was in fact an overreaction to previous decades where both education and art was unduly politicized). Quite frankly, I find both extremes to be stifling.

Sally L

You people are so high falutin it's not even funny. Who says a memoir can't be considered art? Read Katherine Mansfield's diaries and tell me they are not art. Dudes. Come on.

I think the point Steve is making is that people who create things should be free to express themselves in the way they see fit, not in a way that will appease the most readers, their editors or the general public.

Above all, they should not be afraid to say things they want to say.

When Maplethorpe (sp?) was photographing his erotic "nude" veges and flowers, do you think he considered the religious liberals who would eventually shut down his show? Did his beliefs effect his art? Yes.

Steve is advocating that artists not shut down their identities in order to sell more stuff. As in the Dixie Chick faux pas, artists are so afraid of hurting the bottom line, that they say next to nothing to suggest that they have any thoughts about this big world of ours. That's too bad, and frankly, way boring.

"What I am suggesting is that artists need not regard their political identities as wholly separate from their artistic ones — especially given our unique historical circumstance." (Steve Almond)

Artists like Eminem and Kanye West have been politically brave; said unpopular things (some of which I don't agree with) and so what? They got heard. That's the point, exactly.

Dan Green

Who are "you people"? I haven't read Mansfield's diaries, but I already know they're not art. They're diaries. They may be well-written, but that alone doesn't make them art. Art is art and diaries are diaries. And political sloganeering is political sloganeering.

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