This is a rant

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This is a rant. Art is not sacred. The way we treat each other is sacred. Real change demands structural change, radical, revolutionary. No artistic vision is worth the sacrifice of another’s dignity.

Today on our early morning run, Heather and I talked about structure. How humans hew to structure, even if it’s not serving us well, because that is our nature. Real change demands structural change; true on scales both macro and micro, societal and individual. I wish I had the tools and knowledge and education to do something that would support wide and deep systemic change. Or maybe that’s not how systemic change occurs. Maybe it’s more radical and revolutionary. I believe in policy, and the power of policy to affect change, but unless it’s applied, policy is worthless and sometimes worse than worthless — because it provides a mask to corruption while pretending to hold the system to account. Why didn’t they report earlier? Why are they coming out now? They should have gone to police. This is a case for the courts, not the court of public opinion. It’s nothing but unsubstantiated gossip. Fill out the paperwork, go through the proper channels, and we’ll get back to you.

Yeah, this is a rant.

This morning, I heard a snippet from a radio interview: a woman arguing that the penalties against the former director of Soulpepper theatre in Toronto were too harsh — He built the company! His artistic genius! (Full disclosure, one of the complainants in the civil case against him was a high school friend, though we haven’t been in touch for many years.) To the woman on the radio, I raged: You’re arguing that artistic vision is worth the sacrifice of people’s safety. You would protect a man whose behaviour at work harmed people — because he was a good fundraiser??? Because the art was good??? This is skewed morality.

Art is not sacred. The arts are not sacred.

The way that we treat each other as human beings is sacred, or should be.

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For the second day in a row my old friend Kristin is on the front page of Canadian newspapers, one of four women accusing a director of sexual abuse. In our high school production of Anne of Green Gables, she played Diana to my Anne. We had so much fun. Kristin absolutely sparkled with wit and comedic talent. I am so proud of her bravery now.

I have a theory. Power may indeed corrupt and absolute power may indeed corrupt absolutely, but many who seek power are already corrupt, particularly in systems in which corruption, in its many forms, is rewarded: think manipulation, harassment, bullying, and other norm-flaunting, disrespectful, selfish and narcissistic behaviour. Those more inclined toward self-reflection, those who don’t want to harm others for their own profit (or be harmed), who don’t want to lie and self-inflate and backstab and cheat to “play the game” are weeded out of the system, deemed weak, losers, failures. The powerful believe their behaviour is normal.

Maybe we all do — until we don’t.

Let’s say that time is now. Let’s find ways to circumvent the system until the system changes.

I repeat: Art is not sacred. Neither are artists. The artistic process has never needed to be destructive, harmful, cruel, violent, vindictive, ugly, competitive, or vicious in order for good art to exist. Don’t be fooled by the propaganda.

Bottom line: If you’re hurting people in the process of making your art, you’re doing it wrong. You never earn the right to be an asshole. (Also, side note: nobody needs to see your penis.)

xo, Carrie

Word of the year, 2018
Cartooning project, week three

5 Comments

  1. Excellent. Timely. You’re absolutely right. Art, however important to a culture and to those who make it, is not sacred. It can perform a sacred function, I think, but those who make it are still participants in a system of relationships and everyone in that system (in all systems) deserve respect and kindness. And you’re right.” If you’re hurting people in the process of making your art, you’re doing it wrong. You never earn the right to be an asshole. (Also, side note: nobody needs to see your penis.)”

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  2. This is fantastic, Carrie. Especially the last two lines — I agree with Theresa! Rant on!

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  3. Diana to your Anne of Green Gables. Sounds like that would have been a lovely performance.

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  4. Amazing, thank you. Please continue to rant, write, draw and help to create a better world. I’ve been a Soulpepper subscription-holder for many, many years and I am sick about what has been going on there and elsewhere. Thank you for helping to put words to truth Carrie. Peace.

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  5. Fire. Good fire.

    Reply

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