Fifteen: On Claire Dederer's "What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men?"

Read it if you haven't. I finally got around to it. Polanski, Allen, Cosby- the usual suspects, ethical thoughts vs moral feelings, Heidegger, female monstrosity, the notion of genius, Manhattan, Annie Hall, men too, being tired of the patriarchy. A gem, for so many reasons and from multiple angles. Two things that stood out, amongst others, the notion of "We" and the author's <he said/she said> juxtaposition on art and monstrosity:

Who is this “we” that’s always turning up in critical writing anyway? We is an escape hatch. We is cheap. We is a way of simultaneously sloughing off personal responsibility and taking on the mantle of easy authority. It’s the voice of the middle-brow male critic, the one who truly believes he knows how everyone else should think. We is corrupt. We is make-believe. The real question is this: can I love the art but hate the artist? Can you? When I say we, I mean I. I mean you.
— On We
Hemingway’s girlfriend, the writer Martha Gellhorn, didn’t think the artist needed to be a monster; she thought the monster needed to make himself into an artist. ‘A man must be a very great genius to make up for being such a loathsome human being.’”

”The critic Walter Benjamin said: ‘At the base of every major work of art is a pile of barbarism.’ “
— on He said, She said

There are other articles around what to do with the art and work of perpetrators of sexual abuse. Most of them point to canceled contracts, archives on websites no longer accessible. If we are eradicating the work of perpetrators of wrongdoing, I have a feeling we would have very little in the way of cultural artifacts. The wrongdoing shouldn't be condoned- but maybe the better solution is to make more voices accessible, and work seen- those of the minority, those who have survived being outsiders to dominant culture. 

I'd love to have a drink with Claire Dederer.