9 Dec

art Gerrit Van Honthorst, Saint Sebastian, c. 1623, National Gallery London

Two posts from other sites about audience entitlement, the apparently growing resentment towards any creative person who dares to try making a living from giving audiences the things they seem to feel they’re entitled to, and the impossible double standards to which artists are being held. They’re referring mainly to US musicians, but virtually all of it applies to writers, visual artists, film makers, etc. anywhere. We’re all in the same boat and we’re all subjected to the same kind of determined attacks at the moment. I strongly encourage you to read both posts in full, but I’ve pulled out a few of the most cogent quotes.


“The American artist is expected to be both a saint and a martyr. Operate outside the capitalist system and we’ll praise you for your creations, call your poverty a quaint kind of martyrdom that has nothing to do with us, and at the same time resent you for being holier than thou. Try to operate within the capitalist system and we’ll call you out as an imposter.”

“The reality is that we’ve reduced American culture to a system of arbitrary donations and pats on the head. That isn’t sustainable.”

“Repressing artists by making it impossible for them to survive as valued members of the working class represses our whole society… And every word of encouragement we give our children when they draw a monster, or play the guitar, or write a story that expresses their unique personality will become meaningless – when they see their parents close their wallets and their hearts to those who dare to take that dream into adulthood.”


(Note: Unlikely artists’ rights advocate Taylor Swift previously mentioned here, although it was written before the subsequent backlash against her for speaking out. As Lincoln Michel also points out in the linked post, you don’t need to have any love or sympathy for this millionaire pop star– I certainly don’t– to see how screwed up it is that anyone would vilify her for making a rational decision about her own financial and professional wellbeing; a decision that removes her from an exploitative situation and doesn’t substantively detract from her fans being able to access her music.)

“It is bizarre enough to think that an artist “owes” you something when you’ve paid them nothing, but the entire idea of “mean” artists who are taking advantage of their fans is especially bizarre in a time when artists give more of themselves to fans than ever before… it is only the most extreme fan entitlement that could resent them for taking a small portion of that and asking a few bucks for it.”

“The bottom line is that artists’ rights are workers’ rights. You are not being progressive or radical by denying artists the right to control their own work. You are not helping the underprivileged by making it impossible for anyone who isn’t already rich and privileged to take up artistic careers. Your pirated Taylor Swift song isn’t feeding the poor. If you want to fight the power, maybe try hacking JP Morgan instead of pirating a vampire romance for your Kindle.

In fact, the constant devaluation of art has been a huge boon for large corporations. There is no one happier that it is increasingly acceptable to pay nothing to photographers, artists, writers, and musicians. Doritos would love for you to crowd source their next TV ad and Apple is thrilled you’ll pay more for an iPod because you know you can steal the music you’ll listen to on it.”

PS You can buy my book really easily from the top menu or sidebars of this blog, HIIIIIIIINNNNT.

One Response to “SAINTS AND MARTYRS”

  1. Alistair 27/12/2014 at 12:13 PM #

    Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.

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