The art v. artist issue is a pet peeve of mine. The inability to separate art from artist, thinker from thought, has lead (in my experience) to people denigrating work by everyone from Nabokov to Hemingway to Martin Amis. It’s also lead, in the case of Salman Rushdie, to decades worth of death threats. The poster’s gender generalization about Faulkner as a “man” points to the belief held by some that if an artist doesn’t strike the right sort of moral or political postures, or meet some other arbitrary “standard,” they can be brushed aside as wrong or inferior, or even silenced altogether. This hearkens to the sort of rubric a Nazi, Puritan, or Islamic radical might come up with to define “immoral art.” Say what you want about the man or woman, but don’t denigrate his/her art or thoughts based on your opinion of him as a person. To me that is the height of stupidity.
- Kurt Baumeister, writer, friend