Yesterday on BBC Radio there was a report about an Opera performing Wagner in Tel Aviv. I know bupkiss about classical music, but the report went on to detail how Wagner, while a genius and maker of incredible music, was an a rabid anti-semite and Hitler's favorite composer. Having a state funded institution pay for the performing of Wagner's music was seen as objectionable by some Israelis. Others say that, while Wagner the man was an awful human being, Wager the artist made divine music. You can see more about that particular situation here.
Recently there was some buzz on Twitter about Orson Scott Card and his views on homosexuality. From what I gather, these aren't new views, just ones that have come up again. I'd never heard about this author's views before and I'd only ever read Ender's Game, but I think that's a brilliant book. So now what? Would I read anything else by him? Could I separate a personal viewpoint that is so abhorrent to me from the work? Maybe. I'm not sure. I skim over his books in the bookstore and instead of the amazing characters he created and the originality of Ender's Game, I think about his politics. Is that fair? Should I separate the art from the artist? And are there degrees? Unlike my teen self, I recognize that the world is full of shades of gray (that have nothing to do with racy erotica.)
I think for me, in the case of Orson Scott Card, I will read other books of his. But in the back of my mind, I'll be thinking about his politics and wondering how it influenced his writing.
So, what about you? Are you able to separate the Art from the Artist? Have a writer/artist/musician you loved ever been tarnished in your eyes by questionable behavior?