Can You Separate The Art From The Artist? | Slightly Civil War

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    The Escapist

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    This week on Slightly Civil War, Yahtzee and Jack debate whether you can separate the art from the artist.
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The Escapist
The Escapist

Watch this week's Slightly Civil War episode - Is Xbox Game Pass Good For Gaming? - https://www.escapistmagazine.com/v2/is-xbox-game-pass-good-for-gaming-slightly-civil-war/ Don't forget, you can also find the podcast on Soundcloud, Spotify, iTunes and more if you just want the audio version. https://soundcloud.com/user-944993929/can-you-separate-art-from-the-artist

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wobbly sauce
wobbly sauce

I am on the, you can split the art and artist. Art is only art if someone says it is. I am also 1 that doesn't watch trailers and goes in blind.

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bob steel
bob steel

First: With regards to the topic it should be a mixture of the two. If you like something, then the behaviour of the creator shouldn't stop you liking it. But if you don't like what they are doing, then you should feel free to not support them financially. It is then up to you if you refrain from partaking in their product until it becomes public domain, or if sail the high seas to enjoy it. Second, Jack: Cancel Culture is a real thing. It only affects the little people whose names you would not know though. Celebrities tend to take a little hit in their career, but bounce back, particularly if they start to spout the doggrel of the cancellers. There are plenty of stories of people losing their jobs due to either their opinions, or what others perceive to be their opinions, and even people who have had their bank accounts closed after they have been accused of things. Also it is a fleeting thing: if a cancelled person keeps their head down, people will forget after a few years and they can start to rebuild their life. That doesn't mean they weren't cancelled, just that they survived - others haven't and have taken themselves out of life because of it. There is a celebrity going through court now that lost high-profile roles (one in a long-running franchise where he is the central pillar of the pirate stories (not saying the name as there is reportedly some blowback from YT for naming the two of them)) after being accused by his wife. So far in the court case it seems they were both bad, but she was worse and had made up the things that she said about him. I will also add that a lot of cancel culture seems to strike after the accusation, but before any evidence is forthcoming, so a lot of the effects are either undone or do not fall because evidence against the accusation emerges. And Thirdly: Was Lovecraft as bad as they are saying now? Yes he had a cat called "N", but was that word considered offensive in America in 1910? Not as far as I am aware. Stop applying modern context to stories written over 100 years ago: it was a very different time. Yes Lovecraft did sometimes insult a group of non-white people, but he was referring to that small group, not all people that shared a skin colour. And no Shadow Over Innsmouth was not about inter-racial mixing: it is a story about inter-species mixing. Part of the horror is the alien look to these people, and the implication that someone has slept with a monster - voluntarily or not is left to your imagination, and either way is unnerving to say the least. You can say that may cause problems if / when we meet aliens, but that is not the intent of that story - in Lovecraft's work, all the Aliens that are met are hostile with the exception of the Cats of Ulthuar. Lovecraft was afraid of people that he didn't know and suffered from anxiety about socialising, so it is understandable that he would write stories about being uneasy around people. I would also say that in the current climate it seems impossible to do the actual craft of writing fiction: too many times people ascribe feelings and motivation to the author, often projecting things that are not present in the work onto them, seemingly because the people doing the projecting hold those feelings themselves. For example seeing a description of a group and applying that same description to all people that share a characteristic with that group. Or by seeing a non-human race that is described as evil and filthy and applying that to a certain group of people, even though that group is represented elsewhere in the story as normal people.

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Jesse
Jesse

Then there's the unrelated problem of bad art. Wagner is good art done by a bad person. Removed from the context of the artist and any monetary relationship, Wagner's art is amazing. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Triumph of the Will is still a monstrosity, even if you have no idea who created it, and it always will be. It's core purpose as art is distinctly awful.

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Jesse
Jesse

You two are arguing two *completely different* questions: 1) How does art relate to the artist? 2) Should we give money to horrible people? These two issues only come together when we reach the commercial marketplace, and conflating the two is what makes the problem seem intractable and complex. Taken separately, they're generally not hard to deal with. 1) Can art be separated from the artist? Yes, to various degrees, as one sees fit. One can simply be ignorant, or choose to de-contextualize the artist from their work if one so desires. This is a purely intellectual and mainly subjective exercise of little interest to anyone outside of a humanities major. 2) Can you consume art from a bad artist without empowering them and potentially aggravating the harm they seek to cause? *No* Not until they or their estate is legally separated from their art and can no longer benefit from your consumer behavior. This isn't even really debatable. Money is fungible, and if you give money to a bad person, you can reasonably expect it to be used for bad things. You are then to some small degree complicit in that activity. Sorry. On the plus side, once the artist is dead or their rights to the work otherwise dissipated, then that onus is lifted. Simply declaring them dead in any intellectual sense is pointless, as they and their estate still have legal right to benefit from the consumption of their work, which is the actual problem.

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Nyarlat Hotep
Nyarlat Hotep

The most conflicting are the rare instances, when it is the terribleness of the artist that has produced the great work of art. HPL is probably such a case, where mental and physical illness and extremely harsh life have produced both vile xenophobia and genius art which has since become the basis of modern horror. Similarly the genius poetry and music of italian futurists are in a lot of ways the direct result of their fascistic ideals. I think the uncomfortable fact is, that not only can vile people produce great art, but art can be great despite itself being vile, sometimes even because of it. When appreciating art, it's important to keep all this in mind and approach each instance individually. Sometimes you can separate art from artist, sometimes you can not, and sometimes you must not. Nevertheless, if you aren't able to not think about Rowling's supposed transphobia while reading Harry Potter, perhaps you should take a break form Twitter for a while.

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Brad Johnston
Brad Johnston

Can you separate the art from the artist? I think Yahtzee proved that yes you can while Jack kept arguing whether or not you should.

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Elliot Barton
Elliot Barton

hasn't death of the author been a thing for a long time

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Herr Schmidt
Herr Schmidt

Assuming not being qualified to discuss something might be the first step in actually coming close to doing justice to the topic when it comes to a non-academic debate.

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Noir Guason
Noir Guason

I find that is the crux of the matter. I think in ones mind you can separate the art from the artist. You may have a change in tone or style once the original artist is gone but it could still be enjoyed. THE REAL QUESTION IS... in supporting work originally made by a monster, am I putting money in that monster's pocket? I feel that should be the real deciding factor. Who benefits from my support of a platform or property. A monster? or someone else? Once that's figured out I feel the choice is made much easier.

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Prince Dogboy
Prince Dogboy

James Gunn

17 dager siden
Carver6661313
Carver6661313

regretfully have to side with jack on this... because now knowing you've both gone full movie bob (never go full movie bob) detracts heavily from any enjoyment of your other content also very funny that jack feels fine about casting judgment on someone else like he has authority to declare someone else is good or not...where the same people bitching and cancelling people for tweets would do the same shit to jack for best of the worst jokes he's been part of

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sadi654
sadi654

Wagner was antisemitic, racist and nationalist but he died nearly 40 years before the nazi party existed so he wasn't nazi which is an important distinction to make but still makes him horrible person

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UnresolvedExternal
UnresolvedExternal

JK Rowling didn't even say anything wrong. She was correct in what she said.

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Media Malpractice
Media Malpractice

It's funny how this only comes up with entertainment. No one has the person building their house investigated or gives them a questionnaire to make certain they have the right opinions. We ignore people's opinions about shit ever day. You do it every time you go to a restaurant or a grocerie store. I don't care any more about the opinions of my favorite artist than I do a construction worker. If I can live in a house built by a racist, I can read a book written by one.

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Media Malpractice
Media Malpractice

JK Rowling isn't a jerk or a bully. She's a person with an opinion you may not like. She doesn't hate trans people, she thinks thinks "woman" and "trans woman" should be discrete categories. If you want to interpret the former as the latter, fine. But that doesn't make it objective reality. Also, the media completely lied about the subject matter of her recent novel Troubled Blood. The killer was ABSOLUTELY NOT a man dressed as a woman. This is an outright lie. As with all of her Strike novels, it was quite good. And cancel culture fucking exists. Saying otherwise is just disingenuous at this point. Actually, it's worse, it's gaslighting.

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SnuSnuDungeon
SnuSnuDungeon

Excellent work lads! Keep it up💜

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Sean Whitmore
Sean Whitmore

I love Jack, I do. Watched him for years, always enjoy seeing him. But he cannot argue a point to save this life. If the next episode was called "Is it okay to drink laundry detergent" and Jack was arguing the No side, I would just have a bottle of Tide next to me at the computer with the cap halfway unscrewed.

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C.W. Rudy
C.W. Rudy

Would you mind not labeling the producer Harvey Weinstein an 'artist'? It's making me physically ill.

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accquizzer
accquizzer

Why does cancel culture not work? As the saying goes, "One group's heretic is another group's prophet."

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Jacob Billsborough
Jacob Billsborough

I am sure these guys are friends but I do love how the American seems to miss some of the insults thrown at him.

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Ethan
Ethan

It’s a person by person thing some people simply connect more emotionally when they see things and can no longer separate their enjoyment from the people involved. You can recognize historical context of work but also completely ignore that and enjoy the work involved unless the artist’s prejudices make their way into the work. It’s that simple

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Anthony Poli
Anthony Poli

I think it part of it comes down to money and by giving it to them you are funding something that you don't support. Like not seeing movies with Tom Cruise because you don't want to help fund Scientology.

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TFTony
TFTony

The problem with the argument that you need to support the devs, even if it supports the greedy CEOs too, is that it only supports the CEOs. When Activision Blizzard made record profit, they still fired a large part of their workforce. Your money doesn't go to the devs. It goes to the investors and managers, and once they got their new yacht, the change drips down to the actual workers, who then get fired because why not. It doesn't matter.

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TFTony
TFTony

As a German teacher, the ie vs ei explanation hurt my brain. I mean, sure, for an English speaker, it achieves the correct outcome, I guess, but oh boy.

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thegurem
thegurem

*black metal fans laughing nervously *

26 dager siden
TheSneakiestWarlock
TheSneakiestWarlock

It took me WAY too long to realize this is the same Jack from RedLetterMedia.

26 dager siden
MKE
MKE

Re: movies and other collaborative efforts, how many people should be punished for one person's transgressions? Should Edgar Wright be punished because Kevin Spacey is a creeper? Or any other person that happened to be in a movie with him? What about all the people that are in Woody Allen or Roman Polanski films? This is in response to the not wanting to benefit an artist via royalties and such argument. Very few things exist in a vacuum. However, I don't think buying a Harry Potter blue ray condones Rowling's thoughts on others.

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DigitalRoleplay
DigitalRoleplay

I couldn't read 'Will Save the Galaxy for Food' without using Yahtzee's voice in my head. I've never read a book so fast.

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Reece Longden
Reece Longden

My personal opinion: why does the artist's intent matter when developing your own interpretation of their art? It's the Death of the Author idea all over again. Once the work is out there, the author's intent doesn't matter one jot because your interpretation is equally valid. So in terms of your enjoyment of the art itself, no, the creator should not be a factor whatsoever. For example, H.P. Lovecraft. I enjoy his writing, but that doesn't mean that I hold the same values as him. Liking Wagner's work doesn't make you a Nazi just because it was used in Nazi propaganda. The problem should only arise AT ALL in cases where it is impossible to access the art without benefitting the creator (in cases where the creator is a bad person e.g. Lovecraft being a massive xenophobic racist). For example, there are so many second-or-beyond-hand copies of the entire Harry Potter novel series that there is no reason to spend more and buy new just so Rowling can get some of your money. There are always ways around supporting the creator if they offend you.

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Patrick Gass
Patrick Gass

Let’s take a look at an analogy: is it wrong to use the results of Nazi research knowing the suffering it was derived from? I would say, most people agree it’s wrong. The source of a product can absolutely diminish the worthiness of that product. It’s why people purchase free range eggs, it’s why people are against purchasing clothing made in sweatshops.

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Ketone-Kun
Ketone-Kun

Imagine if we took the "we can't like art because the artist" is bad for everything else. I don't know who built my house or computer or fridge; they could've beat their wife or kicked their puppy for all I know, that doesn't mean my house is tainted with their sin now. I dunno why art should be treated differently from any other artifact. Bad people profit from almost all of our purchases. It's almost impossible to live your life without using products made by child slaves in the developing world. We have way bigger issues than getting mad about artists having political opinions we don't share.

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nickg131
nickg131

Attaching artist names to new things is because it makes them sell better, because consumers know they liked the previous WORK, not the person. They dont put michael bay's name on stuff because hes a great guy. It's because the teeming masses eat up explosions and CGI robots.

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David Sifuentez
David Sifuentez

Cancel culture may or may not exist? Wow xD

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alldayagain
alldayagain

This episode was really great Great and solid points all around

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pla1nswalk3r
pla1nswalk3r

I love how living in reality equals trans-phobia now

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Bob Tom
Bob Tom

uhhhh....no?....

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Twenty9 Twelve
Twenty9 Twelve

You can separate them, but really the answer is once you are aware of the actions of the artist, you can’t separate it, it will always flavour the art. The question is, whether that puts a bad enough taste in your mouth to impact your consumption of the art. I will not purchase a product that puts money in JK Rawlings pocket, but I can still look upon the work and the lessons learned and appreciate it. It’s not the art that’s fallen foul in this case. I may yet purchase a used copy of the Harry Potter game for that reason. I have similar feelings about listening to R Kelly.

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LG 92
LG 92

R. Kelly would be my example, I love some some of his songs, the man himself isn't very moral to say the least. But it wont stop me listening to good music.

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Yare Yare
Yare Yare

"supporting bad people keeps them in power"... thats what piracy is for mate

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Josh Phillips
Josh Phillips

here is a fun thought, every artist/creator born before at least 1920 was horribly racist or classist or sexist in some way :D

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Caden Glass
Caden Glass

It is important to consider the artist shittyness might seep into the art. Bill Cosby is a perfect example

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Weirdunclebob V
Weirdunclebob V

"And I will be arguing in my straight forward yet slightly dour way..." lol, love both of your dry senses of humour! 👍😁

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Lloyd Hedges
Lloyd Hedges

Seriously though I think seperating art from artist is the easy option. It's going out of your way to reattach artists actions to there largely unrelated work that takes actual conscious effort. Bill Cosby raped people and definitely should he taken to task for it. His work however that was put together by a large team of people other than him and is not representative of the shit he himself did as an individual. Same as J.k Rowling. She might have made harry potter but at this stage connecting her as the sole representative of her work would be stupid since so many others have contributed to it and therefore so would attaching her actions to the work. She's a bigot, her books and by extension the movies while overrated aren't representative of bigotry.

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Lloyd Hedges
Lloyd Hedges

@Nicholas Heathfield okay man, cool.

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Nicholas Heathfield
Nicholas Heathfield

You're a bigot because you won't allow someone to disagree with your opinion without insulting them: your opinion in this case being that 'biological sex doesn't exist' presumably.

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Lloyd Hedges
Lloyd Hedges

First podcast portion where I've found myself entirety disagreeing with Jack. Still love his stuff though. Almost like I've seperated him from his contribution to his art 😂

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Logan K.
Logan K.

Wouldn't Notch be somebody who ends up on that list of single people that have singlehandedly caused an cultural earthquake? Surely Minecraft became as big of a phenomenon as Harry Potter.

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Zelkiiro
Zelkiiro

Not really. Because both children and adults love and enjoy Harry Potter, whereas only children enjoy Minecraft.

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Ono matopoeia
Ono matopoeia

All I know is if Fantastic Beasts movies get cancelled because of the Rowling malarkey I'll be pissed.

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Ono matopoeia
Ono matopoeia

Example of someone who did one thing doing a different thing that was worse: Greg Weissman. He did Gargoyles, which was amazing, and then later he did Young Justice which is trash beyond the ability of mortal man to describe.

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Gongasoso
Gongasoso

Can u separate the art from the artist? Not without changing how u perceive the art piece. Separating the art piece from the context of its creator is an exercise of interpretation. To do it doesn't necessarily imply that one ignores the author deliberately, just that for the sake of argument the author doesn't matter, a choice that should reasonably supported. The same is true on the other side, often over-corrected: an artist is not the same as its art, obviously. So to ignore an art piece's possible intrinsic value because of the context of the author is also a short-sighted standpoint.

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Seth Foss
Seth Foss

I might be in the minority here, but I don't want to give EA or Ubisoft money, so I don't buy their games. I don't play their games either. I literally have too many games in my steam queue to play. I don't need to care about whatever cow EA is milking this year.

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Chillin Games
Chillin Games

for me, im fine with reading and celebrating Lovecraft but i did not pick up or read Ender's game. I think Lovecraft gets a pass from me because he is so influential on literature and you are no longer supporting Lovecraft the person but just his works but also he comes from a time where they may not have understood that people that are different looking than you does not mean they are different on the inside, its a very weak argument but it just barely makes a pass for me. on contrary to modern authors who have all the knowledge at their finger tips and could easily know better if they just took a second to learn (plus you are still supporting the person behind it when you celebrate their works if they are still alive and their estate is still around). so learn from influential works and dont support stupid modern authors. in fact i would say books like mist born or name of the wind are better than harry potter (certainly better than the later books) and though i never read ender's game, expanse and hyperion have fed my need for sci fi without having to fund modern day nazis and homophobes (i hope) .

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von Ozbourne
von Ozbourne

I wonder if the moral of the story is not just to not only not meet your idols, but to not idolize them in the first place. [not, not... yea that works] As someone who is pretty artistic, I can attest that most artists are kind of broken people to some degree, so it's shouldn't be surprising when that musician who has fan girls constantly fawning over him suddenly turns out to have ...unhealthy relationships with women. Or that movie star who everyone turns a blind eye to because he makes them so much money, suddenly starts thinking he can do no wrong. Or that author who writes about ideal worlds that fans prefer to their own, suddenly turns out to extol the merits of eugenics. Perhaps if people didn't enjoy putting idols on pedestals almost as much as they enjoy tearing them off, we wouldn't have these situations where these people are allowed to get away with this crap until it's too late.

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XIGuyIX
XIGuyIX

Artists inform their art from their own experiences, tastes and politics. You can either agree with them or not. If you think you can enjoy a book about spellcasting children by an author who hates trans people and jews, go ahead. I never cared for the books and I care even less for JK Rowling as a person. She's just given me more reason to not like her.

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Nicholas Heathfield
Nicholas Heathfield

If you can find evidence that JK Rowling hates, and I mean hates transgender people, show it. As for hating Jews, I accept her socialist politics as sufficient evidence of Jew hatred.

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smylexx
smylexx

well obviously we can though there's clearly bias and hypocrisy in this subject. Elvis and Chaplin get a pass but Gary Glitter and Roman Polanski do not. If an artist has a level of 'cool' or 'sex appeal' are they somehow less guilty of the crimes they commit?

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Paul Humphries
Paul Humphries

My take (forgive me if I missed this point in the vid): Once art leaves the artist and joins the public domain it becomes a gestalt and even though the original work of art still exists in it's pure form in the mind of the artist, it becomes a new piece for each mind it encounters, changed subtly or dramatically by their experiences, culture and genetic makeup to become an entirely new work of art, the creator of which is the observer. So I believe that art is separated from the artist *the second* it is seen by another. The real debate lurking behind this one is: is there such a thing as objective reality? Can a piece of art really exist at all? Becuase it's being changed by it's observer, does art only exist as a multitude of facsimilies that exist soley within the minds of observers? What they're really talking about here is "Is it possible for you to enjoy art after learning something bad about its creator?" Which, really, depends on the how the individual feels about what the artist did.

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shortylickens69
shortylickens69

I'm not gonna stop watching Miramax films because Harvey isnt the only person who worked there. I will stop buying Cosby albums and movies because he is always central to his own projects and certainly doesnt need any more money.

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AlucardaLaCarte
AlucardaLaCarte

I miss when Cancel Culture meant the actual police showed up to actually arrest you. It was a terrible thing, and continues to be for some free speakers actually speaking truth to power and not just "being a shithead on twitter" but at least then people throwing a piss-fit about it were justified back then. But, no, no, having twitter be as angry at you for 48 hours as they are at any random woman or PoC all the time is a very, very, very, very hawd thing. And all because you said a racial slur, knowing full well it was a slur, and expected not to face consequences for it. It's like how every comedian whining about PC-culture wants to be Lenny Bruce, but none of them want to do the time that Lenny Bruce did. Also I think Jack's point about removing the artist from the art is removing context is actually an incredibly well-made point and explains why SO MANY on the internet are so keen to do exactly that. Cause seriously, there's nothing that people screaming on the internet hate more than context. It's where all their arguments go to die. And there's something to be learnt from these two people who disagree but are still civil toward one another VS the frothing, tantrum-throwing comment section...

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Nicholas Heathfield
Nicholas Heathfield

.... says the guy chucking petrol around.

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DéJi Vu
DéJi Vu

38:56 - Oh sure, "right kids, I know you're excited for me to read you this book about young witches and wizards in a cool school, but first I need to talk to you about homosexuality, transexuality, transphobia and homophobia, and since you don't know what sex is yet, we should probably have 'the talk' too, but first we need to go over the history of prejudice, bigotry and oppression across the world..."

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Dillon Mosher
Dillon Mosher

The fact that Jack thinks cancel culture doesn't exist while people are dead as a result makes me wonder how much I want to separate his art from him. Maybe I'll just unsub.

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retepsemaj96
retepsemaj96

I think Jack's own example of the bricklayer shows a flaw in his argument. If someone who had layed the bricks or built the walls of your house turned out to be a criminal, morally bankrupt etc. you wouldn't tear down the house. You would want that person to receive justice and not be absolved of those crimes but you wouldn't tie those crimes to the bricks themselves. They are just bricks. Separating the art from the artist doesn't mean they should be "let off" or have their crimes ignored. It is just that the crimes are attributed to them and not their work.

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Lulaire Noroub
Lulaire Noroub

I'd like to again suggest that you put an ad for one of the other shows in between the animated part and the podcast part. It's kind of a jarring transition, and an ad would make that more fluid, plus give you a chance to promote one of the smaller producers on the network.

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Hacknlobo
Hacknlobo

I cannot imagine taking the time to research every creator involved in the thousands of works I take in every year and don't have enough interest to pass judgement on all of them. Even thinking about the amount of effort and stress involved in worrying about supporting the right type of artist and adding in caveats whenever discussing works made by less than ideal personalities is tiring.

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Ketone-Kun
Ketone-Kun

it's hilarious that Jack says "in the real world" everyone does this.... he's applying his experience as a film critic to normal people

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Alien00000origin
Alien00000origin

There is a danger, that I'm just rambling here... but if you are not supposed to accept art from an artist, who is a scumbag, then you have stop all art now, and I mean right now. There is never going to be an artist, who is a saint. Humans are never saints, even if they just don't ever tell their dark sides nor get publicly executed by media and the public. Some of the great artists in the past have been scumbags one way or another (like they say in the podcast too) and we still accept their work in museums and installations "because they were great artists, even thou they made this and that mistake in their lives". (I have The Naked gun box. Do I need to bash it into pieces, since... you know?) It would be just fine with filtering out the past art for scumbags, but every piece of art right now is made by a person, who might turn out to be a scumbag in the future as well. Only way to be sure would be not to accept any artist at all, since they might become assholes, or worse, be an asshole already but nobody has just realized it. (And... there is also the problem, that a lot of scumbags might be criticized by future scumbags?) I don't mean all art has to be just accepted without any kind of an argument, nor people making it, but any art piece you enjoy might be unacceptable. You just don't know it yet...

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DeebZ Scrub
DeebZ Scrub

My go-to example for this is Louis C.K. I used to think he had a lot of really hilarious bits about how gross and overly sexual men can be (and specifically how gross and overly sexual he was). This always came across as an exaggerated caricature of himself, but then it turned out that he was a sexual abuser and that makes all of that material take on a darker connotation and I can no longer listen to it without feeling uncomfortable. He also had some really deep moments on his show "Louis" about how your actions affect people, and one line in particular comes to mind, "When someone tells you that your hurt them, you don't get to tell them that you didn't" but then in the aftermath of the sexual misconduct allegations that comes across as insanely disingenuous and I can no longer enjoy any of that work because of the actions of the artists. In general, I think whether you can separate art from artist is pretty subjective but I think a major factor is how much of the "bad behavior" of the artist that comes to light shines through their work in retrospect.

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Big D Gaming
Big D Gaming

On the flip side. Should you treat a artist badly if they made a bad piece of art? I think most would say no

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Ethan Guttman
Ethan Guttman

Whether I’m able to separate the artist from the art depends on the art itself. It’s much easier to ignore Chris Brown on Waves when all he sings is a chorus, compared to Freaky Friday where Chris Brown plays Chris Brown and is being treated like America’s sweetheart. I wouldn’t be upset if I heard someone still listens to Bill Cosby, but at the same time that’s probably not the comedy album to play around friends.

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questor55
questor55

The reason a name is linked to a work by the publishers is to link the audience to OTHER works by the same artist, not the artist per se. Those works fill in your picture of the artist, which some people will aspire to know more about. Others won't give a fuck. Also, the only reason this is the topic of debate is because of cancel culture. It wouldn't be up for discussion otherwise. There isn't a need to separate the art from the artist unless you demand purity and refuse to accept that human beings are flawed.

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Spiral Curse
Spiral Curse

I think it's on a case by case basis. Like. H.P. Lovecraft was an almost cartoonishly racist xenophobic weirdo, but he grew up in a time when those tendencies weren't that strange and plus he regretted it later. I think that's why people give Cthulhu and Tsuthogoua some slack Now the guy who made Ren and Stimpy, John K, is an unrepentant statutory rapist, manipulator, narcissist, and whiner. He deserves no sympathy and it kinda makes his show hard to watch when you know what he was doing while making it

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R. pizzamonkey
R. pizzamonkey

I think part of the problem is that humans naturally want to put things in to moral binaries. This person is good, this person is bad. And while sometimes it is the case that someone is just an awful person by almost any metric, most of the time it's not quite that simple. It's natural to idolize an artist whose work we love, and aspire to be like them. It's natural but it's not good. All people are flawed, some much more so than others, and so trying to elevate someone above everything just because you like something they made is inevitably going to go wrong when you learn about some bad thing they did or harmful belief they hold. I think it comes down to acknowledging that, while the artist's origin may be important to interpret the work, you don't have to let it control your enjoyment of it. Now, if the artist is still alive and supporting them is giving them a platform to spew hatred, or your money is going to causes you don't support through the author (including, sometimes, the creator themselves), then that's a different story. Then whether or not you can still enjoy the work is aside from the fact that you should probably not be rewarding that kind of behavior. In that case you simply have to weigh whether you think the author's shitty behavior is bad enough that they don't deserve your support. The topic of "cancel culture" specifically is a whole other topic that is so complex that you could write a 40 page dissertation on its philosophical implications, both positive and negative.

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LetMe ReviewApps
LetMe ReviewApps

I don’t think the question is whether or not you CAN separate the art from the artist. It’s obvious that we CAN do it. I think the question is SHOULD we do it. Because you can separate the art from the artist all you like, but the fact is, money goes into the pockets of those whose art we consume. If those artists are bad people, than we enable their badness by making them more financially powerful. That may sound ok when we’re not the ones being hurt by said bad individuals, but the narrative ALWAYS changes the moment we DO become affected, because it is NOT something that should be allowed to happen. That said, a lack of art and entertainment in one’s life is a one-way road to insanity, and so we might end up doing more damage to an individual by barring them from their preferred art and entertainment. So, pick your poison?

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Rob Stringer
Rob Stringer

Can you separate the babysitting from the babysitter?

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rubz
rubz

Harvey weinsteins not a good example use: rolf harris, kevin spacey etc

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Dan Morariu
Dan Morariu

Calling Wagner a Nazi is absolutely wrong. he died in 1883 while the Nazi party and ideology was created in 1919. It is not his fault his art was used by bad people after he die and couldn't influence the way it was used.

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Damien
Damien

Removing context from Art devalues it, the Mona Lisa painted by some guy on the street doesn't matter, Guernica not by Picasso has nothing to it, Caravaggio without his tragic life are just nice oil paintings, Caravaggio also a massive piece of shit I don't separate that when looking at his art I let it be part of the effect and it's why he is my favorite great. Can you separate? Sure. Should you? No why would you deprive yourself of the full picture of something that has moved you like a good piece of art does.

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Paul Humphries
Paul Humphries

The question then becomes "can a piece of art move you without you knowing the context?" Which you have already answered as "yes" because the fact that the art moved you inspired you to research the creator. You've kind of disproved your own point here. Art can stand on its own without the context. Show a kid a disney film. They can enjoy it even though they know nothing about any of the people that worked on it, and are incapable of putting it into any deeper context. Is the art worthless to them? Absolutely not. I think it's a bit smug to say that art can only be enjoyed once you've researched its context. It's just not true.

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Attila Varga
Attila Varga

Calling someone a horrible monster for considering trans women men, is a bit of a stretch. Political opinions don't make monsters. Actions do.

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Arm0ry
Arm0ry

We're also all aware that the people that make the laws that govern our lives are horrible people - see if you can disconnect THAT product of human writing from its writer. Or stop to actively reward them for being horrible people.

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MR. J
MR. J

Johnny depp had his carrier destroyed and his name ruined only for it to come out that he was the victim. But sure cancel culture doesn’t exist Jack.

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Lootwig van Wegen
Lootwig van Wegen

Dear Yahtzee, if you want to wisecrack you should know the facts. Everything you said about german pronounciations was kinda wrong.

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SweetKiren
SweetKiren

What was said: "Interesting starting point Yahtzee, but" What I heard: "Yahtzee butt"

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Jen Weatherwax
Jen Weatherwax

Loved this discussion! Gave me a lot of food for thought. I think Jack made a good point about being aware of the bad things a creator has done instead of trying to not think about it - there is that shadow there.

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Buchanan Dunn
Buchanan Dunn

Most people that are exceptional in some areas of their lives, their art, for instance, are ordinary or even horrible in other areas of their lives.

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MechanicalMonk
MechanicalMonk

What's even the point of the first 10 minutes?

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vasko kabral
vasko kabral

Could the next debate be about if designers should reuse previous concepts in terms of tropes and all of that?

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KainGerc
KainGerc

I look at it this way. There's so much shit in this world that I don't need the extra knowledge of whatever bad thing the creator of the media I'm consuming did or did not do ruining my enjoyment of consuming the product he produced

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Eadbert
Eadbert

i like that you bring up lovecraft his works were really racist, so i'd really say it's hard to seperate the art from the artist here (ofc not in every story, but in a lot it's about immigrants from eastern europe being complete douchebags and getting punished for it) BUT he wanted to change his work in his later year because he went from his little village to new york (i think) and actually met people from other countries, so i'd say he's somewhat redeemed and looking at his personal story, you can actually see why he's so good at bringing up the fear of the unknown, mostly outer space and the sea, because he personally was a person who was afraid of everything he didn't know this is especially shown with the hounds of tindalos and lovecrafts fear of non-euclidian geometry, which completely breaks his usual run of space or sea. and in general, i agree with the notion of there being no evil in enjoying the art of a person who won't benefit from it anyway, so lovecraft should be safe (and wagner and everyone else who's dead xD) i'm only halfway into the video before posting this

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R T
R T

You guys keep going on about JK Rowling but how about another not so straightforward artists like Michael Jackson ? In his case he was accused of molesting little children but yet does that make it OK or not OK to still enjoy his music because he was never actually convicted of these crimes but the prevailing evidence leads one to believe that he very well may have done what he was accused of.

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Jake Hale
Jake Hale

Wonderful job guys!

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Mikey Novak
Mikey Novak

I Love the Aubrey-Maturin Series (Master and Commander) I have read/Listened to the whole 21 Book series. Twice. No Regrets.

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Ryan Latimer
Ryan Latimer

I feel like Jack is the first person I've seen actually say that cancel culture isn't really a thing. I've seen so many people say cancel X or Y person when all they end up doing is removing that from their social media point of view which doesn't really affect them.

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Zelkiiro
Zelkiiro

@Vaas Montenegro Capital punishment should be used exclusively on any and all white-collar crime. You launder or embezzle even a few bucks to buy a soda, you get the fucking axe. Also trying to set up a tax haven = straight to the chair, as well.

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Vaas Montenegro
Vaas Montenegro

@Zelkiiro huh so do you also stand for capital punishment for minor crimes? also 90% of liberal west has grown better since the last decade. millions who'd make joke which would be now considered homophobic and sexist on the net 10 years ago are propogators of gay rights now

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Zelkiiro
Zelkiiro

@Vaas Montenegro Someone who's spouting racial epithets on Twitter is never going to grow or get better. Don't kid yourself.

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Vaas Montenegro
Vaas Montenegro

@Zelkiiro and who is to decide where we draw the line? why does saying something "stupid" amount to ruining ones life? why not give people a chance to grow rather than shutting them down for their opinions so that they just get more bitter?

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Zelkiiro
Zelkiiro

@Vaas Montenegro If you do something incredibly stupid like use racial epithets or say women don't deserve equal rights, then yes. You should face some consequences. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.

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Michael-Paul Thompson
Michael-Paul Thompson

Speaking of changing things for evil purposes, apparently that's why Jurassic World is now a thing, and why the original themes and characters are so uncommonly referenced in the new films. Apparently the intention with changing everything to genetic soldiers and super creatures and worldwide instead of island setting, is so that eventually they won't need to pay anything to Crichton's estate.

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K'hari Jordan
K'hari Jordan

You can separate them....but does that mean you should? Edit: and what do you get out of it if you do or don't.

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Michael-Paul Thompson
Michael-Paul Thompson

Thought building off of this: is this entire debate not simply a question of propaganda? For example, the argument that a piece of music isn't nazi and therefore art isn't the artist; is that not the same as something like Casablanca being written to influence the ideals of the nation at the time? While Rowling writes some bizarre phrases for black people, she never writes her characters as racist, homophobic, and trans phobic. Therefore the books and films never cross the line that she as a person has crossed, and the media never therefore influences its audience. Similarly you can see strange references to what you know the author thinks of any work of fiction or anything really, but that doesn't necessarily make the media guilty unless the media itself is built upon those references. You bring a lot of the context to the art, so it almost becomes your responsibility NOT to bring those references to the characters who (before your imput) didn't actually implicate themselves.

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Hariharan Jayashankar
Hariharan Jayashankar

You know about the arrow paradox, the paradox was a thing because mathematicians hadn't figured out how to deal with infinities and limits. Once that was done the "paradox" is only a paradox in popular culture. Not really a paradox in theory/maths

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7hi5 on3
7hi5 on3

T.S. Eliot - “Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotion know what it means to want to escape from these.”

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MisterGunpowder
MisterGunpowder

I think the final answer to this amounts to how we answer this question: How much of the author's beliefs inform the work? For example, Ayn Rand. Her beliefs are the foundation for everything she ever wrote. It's utterly impossible to read that work and not have those beliefs be a relevant idea to the work. Objectivism was her core driving force, and stating her beliefs in everything she did was very much what motivated her. In her case, separating her from her work is a pointless endeavor, and if you disagree with her fundamentally (like me) it's impossible to enjoy her work. However, let's take H.P. Lovecraft. While some of his work is influenced by his sick racist beliefs, the vast majority of his fiction is not influenced by it. We cannot deny just how racist he was, however, as he wrote one of the most racist poems put to paper and a variety of other horrible racist things. The Call of Cthulhu, At the Mountains of Madness, The Color Out of Space, the Music of Erich Zann, all of these lack any tone of his beliefs. It's possible to separate it by taking what he wrote and transforming it into something that most certainly isn't. This is ultimately the core distinction. If one removes the author and their beliefs from the work, does the work still hold up? Did you, by pulling them out, remove aspects of the work that it relies on? In the case of Ayn Rand, I theorize that if you were to do that with her work you'd be left with an amount of content less than this comment. With Lovecraft, however, his fiction was almost never informed by his beliefs, barring some notable exceptions. (The Shadow over Innsmouth, Facts concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family.) Removing him, you're left with basically everything. This discussion is important and needs to be had with yourself most of all. Art is important. Art is what sticks with us, it's what sits in our mind longest and has a lot to do with our sensibilities as people. So evaluating what art you keep close and whether you're willing to value it and cherish it despite the failings of the author is very important.

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Nicholas Heathfield
Nicholas Heathfield

@Drunken Hobo I expect that how Objectivists view Ayn Rand's personal life is something like how Marxists view Karl Marx's personal life. They might have been poster children for the violation of their own principles, but who cares? We'll worship them anyway I guess.

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Drunken Hobo
Drunken Hobo

Even amongst people who agree with Ayn Rand, her personal life might make them see her work differently. She died poor and relied on the welfare state for medical aid. Surely unforgivable amongst libertarians.

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Paul Humphries
Paul Humphries

Right on.

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Falgalhutkins Marzcal
Falgalhutkins Marzcal

This question applies beyond the notion of problematic artists. It can extend to scientists who have benefitted mankind (and saved potentially millions of lives) but who had what we would consider backward views on hair-trigger issues. Caveats apply to everyone's life and to pretend that we are superior to those we judge is to fail to acknowledge our own troubling views and habits. For instance, the future generations may well want to Cancel us all for driving cars powered by fossil fuels.

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Cliff Lutz
Cliff Lutz

Jack!?!? From RLM best of the worst!?!

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Aidan Beesley
Aidan Beesley

I believe that you can separate art from artist. After all, if you don’t let an artist’s past misdoings influence your opinion of a work, what does it matter if you can separate it or not?

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Andri474
Andri474

There is no real objective answer here. Everyone must find their own separation of art and artist. For me, I have to separate Bethesda from Skyrim every time I play, but for other people, their lies are unforgivable. Many writers, painters, singers or video game developers have skeletons in their closet, and I'm not referring to small social media shitposts and other nitpicks. If we cannot separate art from artist and at least just enjoy the art for ourselves, then there won't be much left to enjoy.

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Scud422
Scud422

You can separate the art from the artist only if the artist didn't put too much of themselves into the art.

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Whawpenshaw
Whawpenshaw

I agree with Yahtzee with the asterisk that unless the artist is dead, enjoying their art usually means PAYING them money. That's the moral issue for me. Not that the art itself is somehow tainted.

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Whawpenshaw
Whawpenshaw

@AlucardaLaCarte definitely. It's really the key to making his whole argument work.

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AlucardaLaCarte
AlucardaLaCarte

The fact that Jack didn't bring this up in the Lovecraft/Wagner part was a little disappointing. If they're dead and have no estate, then yeah: of course you can. Easily. But we're talking about people making art who are hateful and profiting off their hateful views.

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TheCreepypro
TheCreepypro

I like this debate cause you guys really hashed out the nuance behind this argument that I can't help but feel most people miss I tend to side with Jack on this particular topic but I totally get what Yahtzee is saying and don't necessarily disagree I just don't like what he calls things which is just arguing over semantics really and not the actual topic which is how this debate normally de-evolves into

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YOBLECK
YOBLECK

at 13:57 the background goes black for one frame.

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The Elike
The Elike

No, and it is possible to live your life avoiding the blood sucking corporations because I've been doing it since 2018. You just don't care enough to try.

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