QotD: Theory and Practice Edition

Like most of us with a lean toward the right, the Spawn is having to learn to compartmentalize, especially as regards matters of entertainment. She’s having to separate the dance (the popular culture she enjoys) from the dancers (the creators who regard her beliefs and opinions as benighted or evil.) And as I’ve noted in the past, as a writer, reader, and rock musician, if I couldn’t make that separation, I wouldn’t be able to watch anything but the relative meritocracy of sports.

Our current example is multimedia creator Joss Whedon. The Spawn very much enjoys Whedon’s work, from Buffy to his recent film, Cabin in the Woods. However, Mr. Whedon recently released a mock endorsement of Mitt Romney, where he attempts to work a “Modest Proposal” schtick by claiming a Romney win would facilitate a zombie apocalypse. The “bright side” of this would be a decrease in population, an opportunity for “ungoverned corporate privilege”, and an atomistic America where we can “stop pretending we care about each other.” (Of course, our ever-vigilant Gormogons and their minions have already noted that the zombie scourge is quite manageable.)

Well, Kevin D. Williamson at NRO rebuts Mr. Whedon (in the course of an indictment of folks who take advice from song-and-dance men and women), and in the process brings us our QotD:

Romney, whatever else you think about him, is somebody who has fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and visited the sick. In Mr. Whedon’s view of the world, none of that dirty-handed business is necessary: All that is necessary is that one cast a symbolic vote for the man who promises to care, and to express that care by expropriating money from people you don’t like and giving it to people for whom you have a moral concern that is at best theoretical.

Or as Samuel Johnson observed (and as I have previously discussed), “They pay you by feeling.”

So as I said, the Spawn is learning to make the divorce between artists and their art, a valuable (if sometimes uncomfortable) lesson. But I’m not sure she quite has it down yet, as she recently expressed her hope for a Romney victory, “because it will make the people on my Tumblr feed cry.” We’ll need to work a bit on the schadenfreude thing, I guess, but we’re getting there.


About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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5 Responses to QotD: Theory and Practice Edition

  1. Jerome Scott says:

    Whenever I think of the redistribution of wealth, I am reminded of that Monty Python sketch where Robin Hood finds it a dauntingly complex task.

  2. Jeff says:

    As someone who may want to be an artist and writer, your daughter is learning a valuable lesson early. In trying to figure out why something she disagrees with was also effective as art, she’ll more clearly discern tone, composition, technique, etc. She’ll be ahead of many of her peers in that regard.

  3. Javahead says:

    So what’s wrong with schadenfreude? It worked just fine for Conan (of Cimmeria, not O’Brian – though he could probably get *lots* of laughs by reciting the “What is best in life . . .” standing bare chested in a fur kilt).

    More seriously: I know many people who are very talented in their chosen field – and don’t seem to have the sense God gave a goose in any other. Not quite Idiot Savant types, but low-average in every field but their own. The problem is that many assume that outstanding ability in one field equates to equal ability in all. I seem to recall that back in the 60’s and 70’s that physicians were a major target of tax-shelter con men – high income and self-esteem, average financial knowledge. There appears to be a similar phenomena involving people in the arts and politics.

    The good news it that it *is* possible to like, respect, and work with people whose political views are far from your own, given mutual respect and intellectual honesty. It sounds like your daughter is well ahead of the curve in learning this.

  4. Withywindle says:

    The story my dad told was this: Stalin, after World War II, was told that the Vienna Philharmonic was mainly dyed-in-the-wool Nazis. Stalin, rolling his eyes: “Musicians!” — and let them live.

    Doubtless apocryphal, but it should be true.

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