Separating the Art from the Artist

All the news about Harvey Weinstein in the last couple of weeks has gotten me thinking about this age-old question again: Where do you separate the art from the artist? What do you do when you discover that the creator of a work you love is an asshole, has done something heinous, or is even an outright criminal? Is there a point where a person becomes SO repugnant that you can no longer support the creative work they were involved in?

If you’re a fan of someone’s work, you really want to believe that they’re a good person, too. And when they’re not… It’s tough.

Bill Cosby It's TrueI’ve got lots of examples from my own fandom. David Letterman was my late night comedy idol. He also admitted to having sex with several women on his staff. Roman Polanski directed Chinatown, one of my favorite films. He also pled guilty to drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. Bill Cosby was one of the greatest stand-ups of all time. I grew up listening to his comedy albums. He’s also, by all evidence, a serial rapist. I’ve loved Gerard Jones’ work as a comics writer and historian. I’ve even interviewed him via email. And late last year he was arrested under suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography. And I’ve read so many different versions of allegations against Woody Allen, it’s tough for me to know what to think.

Usually, I can separate this stuff pretty well. But sometimes, I can’t. I was able to watch Letterman until the end of his show, partly because he manned up, admitted what he did wrong, and apologized. But I still haven’t been able to go back to the Cosby albums I own. I don’t know if I ever will.

Greg Hatcher wrote about this issue last year, calling it “The Cosby Problem” and “The Card Line.” In the comments section of that column, I wrote:

My opinion of Gene Roddenberry has plummeted over the last decade or two, and more or less cratered out in the last year. it would take too long to explain why, but I’m now of the opinion that he was a marginally-talented writer who was a piece of shit human being. But I’ll still always love the original STAR TREK. I might have a tougher time if GR was one of the people on camera.

That’s still more or less how I feel, although I guess I’ll try to explain a little further where my negative feelings about Roddenberry came from. Because it’s really tough for me to like “The Great Bird of the Galaxy” these days.

Gene Roddenberry Evil KirkWhen I love something the way I do the original Star Trek, I want to learn everything I can about it. So I’ve read a lot of books about the making of the show. And most of the time, I end up becoming even more fascinated by it. But in the case of Gene Roddenberry, the more I learn about him, the more my opinion of him lowers. It boils down to four basic reasons:

He constantly lied to build up his own myth as a television visionary. Roddenberry claimed that Star Trek was the first show to ever receive a second pilot. (Not true. Gilligan’s Island and The Dick Van Dyke Show had both done it first.) He claimed that the mixed race crew on the Enterprise only happened over network protests. (Not true. NBC was all for increased diversity on their shows. They’d already aired the 1965 series I Spy with Bill Cosby as a equal costar with Robert Culp, and in 1968 ran the Diahann Carroll sitcom Julia. And outside of Susan Oliver as a green Orion slave girl, the cast of Star Trek‘s original pilot “The Cage” was lily white. Even the character named “Jose” was a blond-haired, blue-eyed white guy.) He claimed that NBC didn’t want a female first officer on the show (Not true. They just didn’t want Roddenberry’s mistress, Majel Barrett, playing the role. Roddenberry ended up cutting the part of Number One rather than recast it with someone else.) He claimed that the character of Chekov was added because of a review in Pravda complaining that there were no Russians on the Enterprise. (Not true. Russia wasn’t airing Star Trek during its original network run, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. had been featuring a Russian character as a regular three years before Star Trek did. Roddenberry & company actually wanted to get a young, cute moptop in there, like Davy Jones from The Monkees.) And Roddenberry constantly repeated the myth that Harlan Ellison’s original script for “The City on the Edge of Forever” had Scotty dealing drugs on the Enterprise. (Not true. The character of Scotty doesn’t appear anywhere in Ellison’s script, and Roddenberry kept repeating this lie even after Ellison called him out on it.)

Gene Roddenberry 1970s
Photo by Susan Sackett.

He did some really shady stuff to squeeze every last dime out of Star Trek. Roddenberry stole unused film clips from the Paramount vaults to sell to fans through his company, Lincoln Enterprises. He rewrote a scene in a third season episode of Star Trek just to showcase a Vulcan pendant he was planning to sell to fans. He wrote lyrics to the Star Trek theme song just so he could get 50% of the royalties, thus screwing composer Alexander Courage out of half of his money. He was going to have James Doohan and Majel Barrett do the voices of Sulu and Uhura on the Star Trek cartoon series until Leonard Nimoy raised a stink about it, insisting that he hire George Takei and Nichelle Nichols. And that’s not even getting into all the shady stuff his attorney Leonard Maizlish did in Roddenberry’s name.

Spock IDICHe constantly hogged credit from others. Roddenberry took credit for the conception of Edith Keeler, even though the story of “The City on the Edge of Forever” originated with Harlan Ellison. He surreptitiously rewrote screenwriter Harold Livingston’s drafts on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, putting his own name first on the cover sheet, even though he wasn’t supposed to. And he somehow got sole creator credit for Star Trek: The Next Generation, even though he only rewrote D.C. Fontana on the premiere episode to expand its length, and David Gerrold wrote the original version of the series bible.

He used the casting couch & commonly cheated on both of his wives. Roddenberry had affairs with both Nichelle Nichols and Majel Barrett before Star Trek. According to Herb Solow and Robert Justman’s Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, he only cast Andrea Dromm as Yeoman Smith in “Where No Man Has Gone Before” because he hoping to “score” with her. He announced that he was divorcing from his first wife Eileen at his daughter Darleen’s wedding. And after he married his mistress Majel Barrett, he carried on a 17-year affair with his assistant Susan Sackett.

Gene Roddenberry Spectre
Gene Roddenberry on the set of his 1977 pilot SPECTRE.

But the final straw for me was when I read the opening excerpt from Grace Lee Whitney’s book The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy on Amazon. In it, she describes an assault she suffered at the hands of someone involved behind the scenes at Star Trek, and it’s a harrowing read. After reading it, I became convinced that “The Executive” who assaulted Whitney after a cast party was Roddenberry himself. (I’m not trying to convince anyone else of this – believe what you want to believe – but all of the pieces fit. Especially when you read in Inside Star Trek that one of Roddenberry’s hobbies was polishing stones and read in The Longest Trek that Whitney’s assailant gave her a polished stone by way of apology. Yes, it’s circumstantial evidence, but it’s such an unusual, specific detail that it points the finger square in Roddenberry’s direction.)

So yeah, I don’t think much of Gene Roddenberry as a person. I’m convinced that, as charming or charismatic as he could be, he was a pretty crappy person. But fortunately, I don’t have to interact with him as a person. John Byrne probably put it best when he said that yeah, Gene Roddenberry may have been an asshole, but he was the asshole who gave us Star Trek. And like I said, I’ll always love Star Trek.

Batman Michael Keaton Bob Kane

Bob Kane is another one. I love Batman more than anything, but sometimes it’s really tough to overlook that his co-creator was such an egotistical, two-faced bastard.

Bob Kane Two-Face
Two-Face image by Jack Burnley, NOT Bob Kane.

I’m honestly not too upset with Kane for using ghost writers like Bill Finger and Gardner Fox on Batman, or ghost artists like Jerry Robinson, Dick Sprang, and Sheldon Moldoff. Using ghosts was a common practice in the 30s and 40s, and Kane wasn’t doing anything that lots of other cartoonists weren’t.

Bob Kane painting

The problem with Kane is that he kept up the lie long after it was no longer feasible, and instead of trying to make things right and give his collaborators some of the credit and money they were due, he doubled down on the lie. He commonly lied about how much writing or drawing he did on Batman stories, even to the point of claiming that 1960s stories obviously drawn by Irv Novick or Carmine Infantino were really drawn by him. He went out of his way to deny that Bill Finger had anything to do with the creation of Batman, to the point of writing a vicious letter to a fanzine for daring to suggest the idea. Kane’s logic ran like this (see if you can follow): Bill Finger obviously isn’t the co-creator of Batman, because if he was, then I would have credited him as the co-creator of Batman. Kane had others do paintings of Batman and Robin that he claimed were his own work. He did conceptual drawings of Batman for the 1989 movie that were largely swiped from Todd McFarlane panels in Batman: Year Two. Hell, in his (ghost-written) autobiography, Kane even claimed that he hooked up with a pre-fame Marilyn Monroe, using her as the model for Vicki Vale.

Marilyn Monroe
Color me dubious.

Kane was also lucky enough to live long enough to reap some of the glory that his collaborator Bill Finger didn’t get. And yeah, Kane expressed some regret in his bio that he didn’t give Bill Finger the credit he was due during his lifetime, but that was a full 15 years after Bill Finger had died in poverty. For all his contrition in print, Kane proceeded to do jack shit about the credit issue the remaining nine years of his life. It was only due to the efforts of people like Mark Tyler Nobleman that Finger is credited on Batman today and his heirs are finally seeing some money from the character, nearly 80 years after his creation.

Hell, if you ever doubt Bob Kane’s towering ego, just take a look at his gravestone:

Bob Kane grave

So yeah, much like the guy who created Star Trek, the guy who created Batman was kind of an asshole. But again, I can compartmentalize it pretty well, probably because I didn’t grow up on Bob Kane’s Batman. I grew up on the Batman by folks like Gerry Conway, Doug Moench, Don Newton, Gene Colan, Mike W. Barr, Jim Aparo, and Alan Davis, along with reprints by people like Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Dick Giordano, Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, and Terry Austin. And outside of the broad strokes, those Batmen are pretty far removed from what Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, and others were doing in the 1940s. So distance helps. But imagine if all of those gentlemen had chosen not to work on Batman because of stuff Bob Kane had done 30-50 years before. Wouldn’t we all be a bit poorer for it?

…Is it a copout to compartmentalize this stuff? I don’t think so. My feelings on this matter are pretty well expressed by a sequence from the 1980s Bloom County, where Binkley and his friends try to become vegetarians for moral reasons. They keep making more and more adjustments to their lifestyle in the name of moral purity until finally, they end up like this:

Bloom County Moral Purity

Life is imperfect and filled with compromise, and everyone has to walk the line that they’re comfortable with. If you try to cut yourself off from every piece of art from someone you find morally objectionable, at some point you’re just depriving yourself of things you might enjoy, or learn something from. And that’s just making your world smaller, bit by bit.

So while I will never excuse the heinous shit that Harvey Weinstein has done to people in his lifetime (and good lord, is there a lot of it – fuck that guy forever), I can still consider myself richer for loving films he had a hand in, like The Tall Guy, Bob Roberts, Pulp Fiction, or Swingers. I’m a better person for having seen them, even if he’s not a better person for having made them.

See you next week with something less heavy.

80 Comments

  1. frasersherman

    Adding a couple of bad ‘uns to your list:
    •Marion Zimmer Bradley. Love her SF (well most of it), but she married one of the NAMBLA founders and said she didn’t seen any reason to warn kids or parents about his predilections. Daughter said she was verbally/physically/emotionally abusive.
    •Al Capp. Li’l Abner at its best was a wonderful strip, but he cheated on his wife and back when he had a TV show or two used the casting couch (Goldie Hawn’s talked about being pressured to put out).
    I still enjoy reading both.
    And of course Julius Schwartz and Isaac Asimov had their er, issues.
    If it’s a writer I was thinking of reading, it’s simple though. John C. Wright’s right-wing rants for instance simply got me to cross him off my “get to someday list.” Costs me nothing.

    1. On that Marion Zimmer Bradley one, the real disgrace there is how many pros, fans, and convention promoters closed ranks to protect and enable her scumbag husband, and the vicious abuse, harassment, and slander they heaped on anyone who spoke up.

      Same reason why I will never attend DragonCon. Yes, Ed Kramer is gone and in prison where he deserves to rot and die. But the people who covered for him, who lied to protect him, who attacked and harassed his accusers (pretty seriously damaging Nancy Collins’ career and threatening her life for over a decade), they are all still there, still unrepentant, still denying their complicity in his crimes. When President Pat Henry and board members Dave Cody and Robert Dennis are all dead or removed from any involvement with the convention, I might consider attending, but as long as these evil garbage people are involved, I will never set foot in the city of Atlanta.

  2. For me, the line generally is based on two things:
    1. Does the art in question promote, defend, or excuse the artist’s evil actions?
    2. Am I financially supporting or tacitly endorsing the artist, thereby facilitating and enabling his evil to continue?

    The first is why I haven’t watched a Woody Allen movie since I found out about his predatory relationship with his girlfriend’s daughter. Both MANHATTAN and HANNAH AND HER SISTERS instantly became creepy as hell to me.

    The second is why I have not seen a Roman Polanski movie since he was arrested for drugging and repeatedly raping a 13-year-old girl.

    My usual approach to “separating the art from the artist” is to just wait until the artist is dead, and then avoid those works that attempt to justify their actions.

    1. frasersherman

      MANHATTAN doesn’t bother me but yes, it’s amazing how much Michael Caine in HANNAH foreshadows what we saw down the road. Similarly Cate Blanchett in BLUE JASMINE seems suspiciously like Allen inflicting suffering on a Mia Farrow surrogate (her fatal mistake is not being more understanding when her hubby falls for their teenage babysitter).

        1. frasersherman

          For the purposes of a movie, I’m okay with it, so long as nobody’s being coerced or forced and she’s past the age of consent. I know not everyone reacts to it the same though (it came up in discussion elsewhere).

          1. Edo Bosnar

            Well, for my part, I hated Manhattan the first time I saw it, largely because of that creepy story line with the 17 year-old girl, but also because I found the whole thing a pretentious pile of garbage – and that was long before I knew all of the other stuff about Woody Allen, so there was never that “in retrospect” aspect for me.

          2. frasersherman

            I love Annie Hall and several other Allen films (Midnight in Paris for instance) but while I like Manhattan no, I didn’t see it as a career high point even at the time.

        2. M-Wolverine

          Yeah, I saw a bunch of his movies back in college, and thought he was overrated then. Some of it was fairly funny, but it wasn’t the earth shattering stuff his then fans thought of it. Mainly a New York-bias it seemed. Looking back I’m sure there are some who cling to it, but Annie Hall winning Best Picture over Star Wars seems ridiculous by almost any measure. I know there’s the standard Oscar flip-flop backlash after going populist with Rocky the year before, but Annie Hall wasn’t changing motion pictures.

          But the whole endeavor is the perfect example of a screwed up person putting their neurosis on screen. But the mental gymnastics Hollywood defenders go through to justify his actions “well, he wasn’t actually his daughter, just his long term live in girlfriend’s daughter” would have most people’s heads explode if we were talking that power relationship in the workplace, or by a non-famous person. It doesn’t have to be technically illegal to be totally creepy and abusive.

          1. I liked a couple of Allen’s post-Annie Hall movies. Radio Days is one, and I loved Broadway Danny Rose, but Purple Rose of Cairo is my favorite Woody Allen movie. (A) he’s not in it, and (B) it’s not about a neurotic guy trying to get somewhere with a woman out of his league, as most of his movies seem to be.

    2. “For me, the line generally is based on two things:
      1. Does the art in question promote, defend, or excuse the artist’s evil actions?
      2. Am I financially supporting or tacitly endorsing the artist, thereby facilitating and enabling his evil to continue?”

      Good questions both.

      “in MANHATTAN, he plays a 42-year-old man dating a 17-year-old high school student, and everybody is okay with it. In retrospect, creepy as hell.”

      And Mariel Hemingway has stated that Allen actually tried to get something started with her in real life, as well. I think he invited her to the Cannes Film Festival or something. But yeah, definitely creepy in retrospect.

      “Annie Hall winning Best Picture over Star Wars seems ridiculous by almost any measure. I know there’s the standard Oscar flip-flop backlash after going populist with Rocky the year before, but Annie Hall wasn’t changing motion pictures.”

      WHAT? C’mon, man. ANNIE HALL is basically the template for the modern romantic comedy. It absolutely changed motion pictures. I mean, so did STAR WARS, but I think ANNIE HALL is a perfectly worthy Best Picture winner.

      “Not to sidetrack the conversation too much, but with the exception of Radio Days, I really don’t like any of Allen’s post-Annie Hall movies…”

      BULLETS OVER BROADWAY is great. MATCH POINT is pretty amazing. SCOOP I remember being good frothy fun, and I enjoyed VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, although I haven’t seen either one since their initial releases. I think that’s the last movie of Allen’s that I’ve seen.

      1. frasersherman

        I haven’t liked most of Allen’s 21st century films, but Midnight in Paris is excellent. Owen Wilson makes one of the best Allen surrogates as the lead, the story is good and Marion Cotillard is irresistible as the female lead. It was a hit at the box office so apparently I’m not alone in that.

      2. Edo Bosnar

        O.k. I admit I’d forgotten about Bullets Over Broadway, and I’ll concede that it’s quite good. Didn’t like Match Point, and haven’t bothered seeing the others you mentioned. As for Purple Rose of Cairo, that’s one I liked when I first saw it, but liked it less and then even less upon two repeated viewings. Not sure why, really.

      3. M-Wolverine

        I mean, it was a well done romantic comedy, and set the template for like 90% of Allen’s later movies, but I don’t know that it really broke any ground in the romantic comedy field. We were talking about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, which is the main thrust of this movie, and it hardly originated in this film. Is the POV a bit different in that it’s coming from the male perspective. But that hardly became the norm for romantic comedies. I don’t think it’s a Citizen Kane, where it doesn’t seem groundbreaking because everyone uses that stuff now. They had used it before, as well as after.

        Transformers shouldn’t be winning best picture, but every best picture wasn’t actually great just because it was “artsy and forgotten.” We’re probably never going back to the highest grossing movie of the year being the best picture winner, but a movie can hit the cultural consciousness and still be quality. And I don’t think history is being kind to films like Annie Hall.

  3. Jeff Nettleton

    For me, it depends on how much the person in question is present in their art. For all of his credit hogging in Star Trek, Roddenberry isn’t that strong of a presence. DC Fontana, Gene Coon, the writers, directors and performers are and I can watch Trek without associating Roddenberry with it, other than pitching the concept and his work on shaping the pilots. Most accounts give credit to Coon for developing the series into what most fans love. I am not much of a fan of Next Gen (just never really drew me in) or any of the later series, so it’s not an issue. I enjoy the cartoon; but, again, its the writers, performers and the people at Filmation that bring that enjoyment, not Roddenberry. So, it is easy for me to separate him from Trek.

    It’s much the same with Kane. Kane is responsible for so little of Batman that he is little more than a name attached to it. I know the elements I enjoy came from Finger, Robinson, Sprang, Moldoff and the generations that followed. I read his book (assuredly written by someone else) and cried “Bull*COUGH*COUGH!” at just about every page. I was greatly tickled by remarks by Will Eisner, in that book where he speaks with Frank Miller, about how he and Kane were contemporaries at DeWitt Clinton and the same age, yet Kane kept shaving years off his age, in interviews. Eisner’s wife would read such an interview and call out, “Will, you just got younger!” He said he helped Kane with drawing, while Kane helped him with the ladies. It seems Kane’s best talent was in charming people (or conning, depending on your point of view). The Marilyn thing doesn’t stand up to basic scrutiny, base on the timelines of their careers. I looked at it once and it appeared they were separated by the entire continent, when he claims to have met her.

    Weinstein is another I don’t associate with the actual films he produced. To me, they are the product of writers, directors and actors. I have always felt that producers get way too much credit for such endeavors. In some cases they do shape the work (like George Lucas); in others, they are the administrators who make the shoot work, and get a bigger slice of the money pie. Harvey worked a lot with younger talent, but it is still their talent, to me, not his.

    Letterman and Hugh Grant are people who owned up to their mistakes; and, to the best of my knowledge of reports, haven’t repeated them. To me, that is a sign of maturity and contrition and worth giving a second chance.

    Cosby is another matter. I tried watching the Cosby Show; but, he is so much a part of it. i found myself making sarcastic remarks (No, really, you?) and couldn’t take in the plot and comedy. It may take time and a sense of real punishment for Cosby’s crimes (though I somehow doubt justice will ever be done, there). In a similar vein, I can’t watch Jeffrey Jones or Stephen Collins in things like Ferris Bueller or Star Trek TMP without thinking of their crimes.

    I have similar feelings for others. I don’t care how good L Ron Hubbard’s pulp writing may have been; he was a con-artist who preyed on confused and insecure people and built an organization that has done a lot of evil. I have never read Orson Scott Card; but, his recent era statements haven’t made me want to start.

    With others, I don’t seem to have a problem separating person from work. I greatly enjoy Kipling, yet he is pilloried now as a proponent of Empire, who encouraged enlistment during WW1 and attacked those who refused or expressed doubts about the war. He paid the price, though, with the death of his own son. Still, there is such a richness in his writing. I prefer The Jungle Book and the Just So Stories, which inhabit a fantasy world that is mostly separated from his politics. Burroughs is another, though when I encounter the racism, I move on. I’ve read more of his other stuff, rather than Tarzan, so it hasn’t been quite as bad (I have only read the first couple of Tarzans, and haven’t gotten to the rest, yet). I was never much of a Woody Allen fan; so, no problem there. Sleeper and Take the Money and Run are the only films of his I enjoy, apart from What’s up Tiger Lily? and he is a minor presence, there (apart from the writing of the redubbed plot and dialogue).

    I suspect how personal the connection is to the artist is the greatest factor. I used to be a pro wrestling fan, though my interest had greatly waned, after the demise of WCW. I mostly watched older matches, by that point. Then, the Chris Benoit murder-suicide happened and any interest in modern wrestling was gone. benoit was a performer I greatly enjoyed and respected; but, he became the final exhibit in a parade of early deaths, mental illness, chemical abuse, and warped business practices and professional sensibilities that made up modern pro wrestling. It was always a warped business (much like comics); but, it became truly warped in the 1980s, with the prevalence of steroids, narcotics, and the national stage.

    1. “Letterman and Hugh Grant are people who owned up to their mistakes; and, to the best of my knowledge of reports, haven’t repeated them. To me, that is a sign of maturity and contrition and worth giving a second chance.”

      I think the fact that they both immediately owned up to their mistakes and apologized when their scandals broke are a BIG part of why their careers survived.

      “In a similar vein, I can’t watch Jeffrey Jones or Stephen Collins in things like Ferris Bueller or Star Trek TMP without thinking of their crimes.”

      I’ve certainly seen ST:TMP a few times since the Collins story broke. I don’t have a great deal of trouble there for some reason. Maybe because I haven’t seen him in too much else (I never watched SEVENTH HEAVEN), or because he’s generally so bland in the film. Jeffrey Jones… Yeah, there’s a bit of creep factor there.

      “I suspect how personal the connection is to the artist is the greatest factor.”

      True. I’m a HUGE Elvis Costello fan, and I could’ve written about the incident where he drunkenly uttered racial slurs while he was getting into a fight with Stephen Stills at a bar. It really damaged his career in America. I’m sure if it had happened in the internet age, it would have damaged his career much more.

    2. Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

      I’d actually check out Ender’s Game. Card’s bullshit is a lot easier to tolerate once you’re positive that he’s a guy struggling with the burden of being both a descendant of Brigham Young and a deeply closeted gay man…combined with the fact that most of the shittiness started after his son’s death from CP complications in 2000, just three years after losing a daughter the day she was born.

      He says some deeply shitty things, but I do think he’s earned the right to be as fucked up as he is.

  4. M-Wolverine

    I’m sure we all started wanting to like our stars, whether they be writers, directors, actors, athletes, whatever. But lots of them are not really all that likable. Truth be told, the same could be said of people in general. Read any comment section and start to lose faith in humanity. But is it a higher percentage in these public areas? Maybe.

    You’ve often got wealth and power which can go to a person’s head, and gives them the sense that they’re better than others and can get away with more. And people who want to achieve these heights often do it on the backs of others, whether in business or otherwise. There weren’t a lot of benevolent warlords.

    More specific to this, the entertainment field seems to attract and allow a lot of broken people. There’s something messed up about wanting to actually BE someone else regularly, because being you isn’t enough. Some can get away with just playing a character, but a lot who take it seriously really want to become the person. All the while trying to be in the public eye as much as possible. The odd combo of “I don’t like myself but everyone look at me!” has to be a mind trip. Artists are often artists, or at least really talented ones because they’re tortured enough to expose all those emotions publicly.

    How to deal with it? I’m at the point, as an adult, that I really try to not care about what they’re doing as long as they’re just being assholes. Because if you let that throw you off, you’re never going to watch anything again because you’re not going to find anything with just good people in it. Whether it’s Mel Gibson or Alec Baldwin, and everywhere in between, they have issues.

    You draw the line from those who are just sort of awful people, and those who are actively hurting others. Nobody is carrying Cosby Show reruns anytime soon because no one can watch them in the same way. Then again, someone will probably give Roman Polanski another award soon. Doesn’t mean I’m going to watch what they’re awarding him for.

    There’s also what role you play, and how out front of it the work is. If you’re an actor you’re being watched for 30 minutes to 2 hours. If you’re the director, well, what’s on screen is mostly you. Nowadays we’re getting studio movies that have the studio touch, but if it was all producers there’d be no difference between Empire Strikes Back and the Phantom Menace. I’m guessing if Kevin Feige or Kathleen Kennedy had something horrible come out about them it’d be bad for the company appearance over all. Weinstein? Sure he was greenlighting a lot of big movies, but can you say any movies really have “Weinstein touch” (which sounds really bad now), other than the artsy fair his company produced? I don’t see Pulp Fiction or any of those and think “oh, I can see Weinstein produced this” rather than it’s a Tarrantino movie. If it’s just his money, well, I don’t know you’re going to enjoy anything about life because most of it came from people with lots of money, and most of them got all that money in not so palatable ways.

    And when you’ve got a Cosby or a Weinstein, the amount of evidence is pretty damning. But now we’ve got everyone in the world coming out and telling their story, but they still won’t name names. Which who is that helping? So some of it might need to be taken with a grain of salt. I have no doubt Roddenberry was a crappy dude. I mean, who the hell announces a divorce at a wedding?!? People hide that they’re dying not to screw things like that up, and you think THAT is a good idea? Shitty person. And yeah, he cheated on his wives, but when you’re his mistress cheating on his first wife you can’t really complain when he does it to you, can you? It fit the pattern for something to have happened to Grace Lee Whitney, but she was pretty messed up, and everyone’s memory is a little wacky, but an addict’s memory is all over the place. So maybe it all happened exactly as she said, maybe it didn’t. Doesn’t change the fact that Roddenberry couldn’t come close to the ideals he preached with Star Trek. (Which is just becoming more clear in Hollywood, not happening more).

    1. The odd combo of “I don’t like myself but everyone look at me!”… is the very basis of the “nice guy” looking for his Manic Pixie Dream Girl. “I’m damaged in a lot of ways, but you can fix me!” he cries to every girl that looks like his fantasy. That might be why this particular trope keeps showing up in one movie after another.

      1. M-Wolverine

        Ha, it’s certainly a great deal of romantic comedies, and even more with the nerd boy fantasies, but it certainly felt like we were playing one of those “name the movie from the description” word games, and you just described Scott Pilgrim. (Not sure if the comic gets more in-depth and presents less obnoxious characters than the movie, so I’m not using the original as my likeness).

      2. frasersherman

        I don’t think it needs that much explanation. The idea of being pursued by someone awesome is an appealing one, it just sticks out more when the woman’s doing the pursuing. I loved What’s Up Doc? (which is sometimes cited as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl movie) for that reason when I first saw it, and it’s still charming (yeah, Streisand’s a crazy stalker, but she’s a charming crazy stalker).

    2. Jeff Nettleton

      It is a common trait of people in the performing fields that there is a great need for acceptance and attention. For many, the cheer of the crowd first fed those needs, in formative years, and they have chased it ever since, whether it is the “acting bug,” the desire to be a rock star or whatever. That need for adulation drives them. It’s not a recipe for a healthy person and those industries prey upon those people. Their talents are exploited by opportunistic money people, who feed them the affirmation and massage their egos, while they look for the next pigeon. not all, certainly, but more than the minority. It’s a large part of why substance abuse and relationship issues are such a part of the entertainment industries, and why few relationships of two performers seem to work out for long periods of time (more often, one of them leaves the field behind).

      Damaged? Yeah, quite a lot of them.

  5. Le Messor

    the first show to ever receive a second pilot. (Not true. Gilligan’s Island
    Hah! I’ve just been to a beach where they filmed Gilligan’s Island‘s first pilot. 🙂 The tour guide pointed out where the Minnow was beached (in the first pilot and the credits for the actual show).

    NBC was all for increased diversity on their shows.
    I have a piece called Letter From A Network Censor on CD. According to that spoken-word track, they demanded it. It’s a parody of the kind of notes TV shows used to get from their networks, written / read by… who? Oh, yeah… Gene Roddenberry.

    John Byrne probably put it best…
    John Byrne is one of the people I thought of first when I saw what this article was about. I love his work, but don’t want to meet him because by all accounts he’s a real jerk. I’ve even seen people defending him and still making him look bad.

    John C. Wright’s right-wing rants for instance simply got me to cross him off my “get to someday list.” Costs me nothing.

    This. This is what gets to me every time I see these posts.
    I’ve said it before; I’m not hard left. That means I don’t automatically tune out the right; I don’t automatically hate everything they say and pat myself on the back for my tolerance. I don’t watch media constantly portray every right-winger as a rabid, intolerant bigot who is trying to destroy everyone who disagrees with them and nod along, blindly thinking ‘Yeah, they’re all like that… look at all these examples I can think of… from other shows / comics written by left-wingers’.

    Apart from right-wingedness, there’s my Christian faith. I see ideas I can’t get behind constantly and consistently promoted in media; sexual immorality is in just about everything (I don’t believe in sex outside of marriage at all; I’ve seen Hollywood promote adultery; I think the movie I’m thinking of is called The Lady In Red, but it’s far from an isolated example). To see people acting shocked when the people who constantly preach lack of self-control as the only lifestyle choice are suddenly revealed to have no self-control is… well, I’m not as shocked as those people.* I’ve been dealing with reading people who make lifestyle choices I don’t agree with all my life.

    I believe in only one God; I see multiple gods in comics / movies all the time (Thor and Wonder Woman to name just two recent examples).

    That means that I don’t have the privilege of even considering boycotting every single artist I disagree with; the left have too much of a strangle-hold on the creative industries (Hollywood, comics, the music industry; not sure about prose works).

    If I decided to stop reading every single person whose politics / lifestyle I disagreed with even a little bit, I’d give up on every bit of entertainment I have. There just wouldn’t be enough left to make it worth my while searching them out.

    Also, did you notice something in my examples? Not only do the people I read contradict everything I believe in in their home lives – they also put it right there in their works.

    So, yeah, I’ve been separating the art not only from the artist, but also its own message all my life.

    * FTR: I know little and care less about Harvey Weinstein.

    1. frasersherman

      Sorry, I think Wright IS a rabid intolerant bigot. He admits that the mere sight of two men holding hands makes him want to commit a violent attack on them (he appears to mean it quite literally), and he considers women getting outside their God-given roles (support her man, raise the kid, have witty banter with male lead if she’s single) is unnatural and barbaric. And that the left hates great art because thinking about art requires us to consider that maybe white Europeans are inherently greater artists than other ethnicities.

      Out of curiosity, have you tried Christian movies/books? From what I’ve seen of it, it might fit your taste better.

      1. Le Messor

        I’m sure we can all think of someone who… seems super nice and whose work simply ain’t that memorable.

        Or, isn’t that good. Rob Leifeld has a reputation as a nice guy (from my understanding), but isn’t well-respected.

        1. M-Wolverine

          For all the head slappingly out of touch moments he seems to have, the actors and people who work with Zack Snyder seem to generally like him, and defend him and not just their work in the movies. Even Gal Gadot said that Justice League is definitely his movie (for better or for worse) and not Whedon’s. And I’m beginning to believe she really is Wonder Woman. So he might be an ok guy who is just kinda tone deaf.

          1. Le Messor

            people who work with Zack Snyder seem to generally like him

            … which goes even further than:
            “seems super nice and whose work simply ain’t that memorable. Or, isn’t that good.”

            An artist I really need to separate from his ‘art’, because even if he is nice, I still hate his work.
            I get the same feeling about Akiva Goldsman.
            Oh, and I talked to Dan Abnett for a while once, and liked him… but I dropped his Nova soon after because it was just really boring.

      2. Le Messor

        Hmm… the above comment was meant to reply elsewhere (but it reminded me I hadn’t answered this part of this one, I hit reply to this one to try to do both at once, and apparently it moved that reply instead).

        Out of curiosity, have you tried Christian movies/books? From what I’ve seen of it, it might fit your taste better.

        As a rule, no. My complaints aren’t about things that don’t fit my tastes, per se but about things that fit my tastes extremely well but feel the need to insult me while doing it.

        There are plenty of exceptions, of course, but I find most Christian books and musics to be not that great. (C.S. Lewis is one obvious exception; and there are some bands you’ve never heard of that are good.)

        I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a Christian movie. Most tend to be dramas for one thing (as I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t like dramas), and the ones that are spec-fic still aren’t that good.

    2. “I have a piece called Letter From A Network Censor on CD. According to that spoken-word track, they demanded it. It’s a parody of the kind of notes TV shows used to get from their networks, written / read by… who? Oh, yeah… Gene Roddenberry.”

      I have that. It was on a record from the 70s called INSIDE STAR TREK, that largely consists of Roddenberry talking to various TOS cast members about the show. I think everyone is on it except Nimoy, who was suing Paramount over likeness rights at the time (They were using his likeness as Spock without his permission in Heineken ads). So of course Roddenberry just got Mark Lenard instead, in character as Sarek to talk about his son Spock. There’s a detailed explanation of how a Vulcan-Human hybrid was carried to term by Amanda, if you’re into that sort of thing.

      The “Notes From a Network Censor” thing was taken from one of GR’s college lectures, and was something I’m sure that Roddenberry thought was a BRILLIANT piece of satire, but it doesn’t really work for me. Largely because a lot of it is just Roddenberry giving his rationale for his own atheist/humanist beliefs (“What kind of God creates imperfect humans and then blames them for his own mistakes?”), rather than satirizing how network censors really operated.

      “John Byrne is one of the people I thought of first when I saw what this article was about. I love his work, but don’t want to meet him because by all accounts he’s a real jerk. I’ve even seen people defending him and still making him look bad.”

      My general feeling on Byrne is that he gets more grief than he deserves. My own personal interactions with him have been generally pleasant. One was an email politely turning me down for an interview in BACK ISSUE (Of the “If I said yes to you, the floodgates would open & I would be swamped with interview requests again” variety).

      The other was at Star Trek: Mission New York last September, where I had a nice chat with him and he autographed several issues of NEW VISIONS for me. He even posed for a picture with me shaking my hand. I mentioned it here at the AJS, actually. You can see the picture here: http://atomicjunkshop.com/star-trek-boldly-goes/

      And when I wrote about NEW VISIONS here at the AJS in February (http://atomicjunkshop.com/john-byrne-new-vision-star-trek/), one of my friends on Facebook let me know that Byrne liked the review and said it was by “someone who GETS it.” That made my day.

      And anyone who’s friends with Roger Stern and Walter Simonson can’t be all bad. Those guys are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life, and I don’t think they would be friends with a total jerk.

      1. Second to Roger Stern being really nice. Met him a ton of times over the years at Ithacon, and he’s always nice, even when I’m just a dork who mumbles something or other about his great work.

        So presumably he hangs out with at least decent people.

        And it seems more like Byrne is just really, really adamant in his beliefs, which is not in itself a bad thing. Certain takes of his that I’ve heard of seem…not so good, shall we say, but in general, I prefer someone who believes what they believe and attempts to justify it, even if how they do so isn’t in a lovey huggy way, I suppose.

        1. Le Messor

          Sorry, I think Wright IS a rabid intolerant bigot.
          That’s fine if that’s your reason, but what you wrote before was:
          John C. Wright’s right-wing rants for instance simply got me to cross him off my “get to someday list.”
          Meaning in your mind all you had to say was ‘right-wing rants’ and that was enough to make your audience understand why you shunned his work. If written ‘homophobic misogynistic rants’ in the first place, this would be a very different conversation.
          (I don’t actually know who John C. Wright is and I cringe at the idea of reading right-wing rants, so I wasn’t about to look this stuff up.)

          The “Notes From a Network Censor” thing… doesn’t really work for me. Largely because a lot of it is just Roddenberry giving his rationale for his own atheist/humanist beliefs

          Dude, you know that I agree with you!
          I only brought it up because it showcased Roddenberry contradicting the point about fighting the censors to have mixed races on the ship (one of the notes was ‘we want more diversity’).

          Second to Roger Stern being really nice.
          You mean he isn’t really stern?

          anyone who’s friends with Roger Stern and Walter Simonson can’t be all bad. Those guys are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life, and I don’t think they would be friends with a total jerk.
          Maybe they’re friends with him because they’re nice and nobody else will do it?
          😀
          Seriously, it’s good to hear an actual defence of Byrne that actually defends him. (Which I think I said on the other thread, too.)

          1. “Dude, you know that I agree with you!
            I only brought it up because it showcased Roddenberry contradicting the point about fighting the censors to have mixed races on the ship (one of the notes was ‘we want more diversity’).”

            Ah, OK. I didn’t realize that part was what you were referencing. I haven’t listened to that thing in the better part of a decade.

  6. As to Cosby, well, even without the rape allegations, the stuff on Himself…he basically admits that he and his wife were child abusers, if you take the track about getting the kids ready for bed literally. So, really, it’s not like he was the golden father anyway, even before the allegations of the other stuff came out.

      1. True.

        I suppose I mean more that by him joking about beating his kids with a yardstick, the image of Cosby as golden father should have been tarnished even before the other allegations.

        Literally “every night it’s the same thing” probably isn’t the truth, but it sounded like it was a non-zero amount of times that it happened…

        1. Jeff Nettleton

          You have to remember the era that album came out; it was still considered perfectly fine to physically discipline children, even in schools. Cosby took it to a comedic extreme; but not that far, when you listen to the piece, compared to people who actually spanked their kids. I’ve heard far worse from other comedians.

          Some of his earlier stuff, from the nightclub era, might set off some warning lights.

  7. I think the other thing with Letterman is that unless I misunderstood it, the sexual relationships were all consensual. Yes, there’s the power dynamic involved with being involved where he’s the boss, so it’s definitely not a good situation, but it wasn’t, from anything I heard, a Weinstein like situation. Although I love Dave so much I probably did dismiss certain elements of the story if they were worse, I can’t deny that.

    The relationship certainly explained how that one woman would end up on air all the damn time.

    But considering that Dave was involved with Merrill Markoe when the show began (and she was a lot of the brains of the early NBC show, from what I understand), and I believe Dave’s wife was also a writer on the show, it’s not that odd that Dave would have been involved with staff. Screwing around behind your wife’s back is certainly not behavior to model yourself after, but like you say, since he apologized and didn’t re-offend, he hasn’t been pilloried since.

  8. Y’know, in the mid-’60s, would American TV networks seriously caved and included a Russian officer just because Pravda complained about it? That claim doesn’t even make any sense from Roddenberry.

    I’ve read the Harlan Ellison scriptbook for City on the Edge of Forever. (and speaking of separating art from artist, Ellison is one in that category for some people, I think because of his very opinionated views)

    It’s good stuff (and he reused some of the bits that didn’t make the air in other stories), but it’s amazing that he seems to think that they wouldn’t have HAD to make cuts to it in order to make it work — it’s a long and complicated story that doesn’t utilize the main concept of the show, really. He does mention that with other TV stuff he did, he worked with the producers to make things work, and Roddenberry didn’t seem to want to compromise at all, but that story is so epic, especially as originally written, it HAD to be trimmed plenty. Of course, a lot of the cuts changed some of the meanings of things, and while being mad that Roddenberry didn’t want a drug dealing officer on board seems to push it (no, it wasn’t Scotty, but it does work as shorthand for what Ellison had in the script, as I recall — there IS a guy dealing space drugs! so Roddenberry is technically wrong but conceptually right), the solution to that (Bones: oops, I tripped with an open syringe) is goofy AF.

    The other great part of that Ellison book is when he tells about The Shat coming over to his house to read the script, and how Ellison realized that The Shat was counting lines to see if he got more or less than Nimoy. HAHA!

    1. Re: The Pravda thing, Brian Cronin looked into it a year or two back & he found that according to memos of the time, GR apparently WAS under the impression that such a Pravda review existed. But the Monkees thing was a bigger factor.

      On Ellison’s original script for COTEOF, there’s some stuff in there that I think is downright BRILLIANT & was a shame to lose, like Jewels of Sound, Trooper and his poignant sacrifice, the ultimate fate of Beckwith, and Spock’s line about being offered the universe for love. But there’s also stuff in the aired episode that I like better. So it’s a bit of a draw for me. I wish the final product could’ve been closer to Ellison’s original script, though.

      1. Wow on that Pravda thing.

        As to COTEOF, I don’t remember where I heard it (I don’t think I came up with this myself, anyway), but it just shows how amazing the original script was that the truncated version is still such a great episode. I know it was TV Guide’s pick for the best Trek ep/the Trek representative on their 100 best TV episodes or whatever list.

        1. I think that the Snopes piece was what I was thinking of. I couldn’t recall for sure if it was Snopes or Brian, and I didn’t feel like double checking, because, well… That’s what I do when I’m WRITING my columns, not necessarily when I’m COMMENTING on them. (Fact-checking is time consuming, you guys.) 😉

          1. Le Messor

            I think I just remembered it being on Snopes because they don’t usually cover this kind of thing. (Not that this is the only time they have, it’s just not their usual bag, baby.)

      2. M-Wolverine

        Yeah, I got the impression he wasn’t saying he did it because Russia demanded it, but because he realized that it didn’t make a lot of sense at the time to talk space exploration and leave out any Russian people, with all they had achieved. Maybe he did it mistakenly, and maybe he did it because he could just meld his Monkee character in with it. Who knows.

    2. frasersherman

      The Twilight Zone Companion says that when Agnes Moorehead was in the episode “The Invaders,” she likewise did a quick look through for her lines, then asked why her role was so small she didn’t have any. Of course, she’s on screen the whole time, it’s just that she never says anything except a scream or two.

  9. Mario Ribeiro

    Sometimes it’s nice to turn things upside down.

    Why this question only arises when the artist does something wrong? There are many artists (entertainers, personalities) who seem to be genuinely nice and we have no problem separating them from their mediocre work. I won’t name anyone here, because it may end up with “I think XXXX made better movies than Woody Allen.” I’m sure we can all think of someone who defends the right issues, who seems super nice and whose work simply ain’t that memorable.

    It’s so juvenile! To endure a boring play/ song/ movie just because it’s against racism. Give us great plays, songs and movies against racism, not dumb ones!

    Also, let’s take Polanski, and no, I’m not defending his actions. What he did is horrible and I’m not going to spend my time defending him. But why are we so comfortable in defining him for one horrible act and not for the incredible suffering he went through before that? I’m really not giving him a pass. Clearly losing your mother in Auschwitz and your wife to Charles Manson doesn’t give you the right to rape anyone. I just find it interesting how these tragedies bring him very little sympathy. Anyway, they don’t make Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown or The Tenant any better or worse, and they certainly don’t help his weaker movies.

    Why do we always focus on the negative?

    1. “Why do we always focus on the negative?”

      …Because you’re not supposed to do negative shit? You don’t generally get extra points in life just for doing the right thing, or for not doing the wrong thing. I’m reminded of the old Chris Rock line: “‘I TAKE CARE of my kids!’ You’re SUPPOSED to, you dumb mother–! What do you want, a COOKIE?!?”

    2. frasersherman

      We focus on the rape because raping a 13-year-old girl is a vile thing to do. And it’s not like he’s paid for it. That he was a Holocaust survivor and lost Sharon Tate to the Manson murders doesn’t mitigate it. And it extinguishes any sympathy I have for him.

      1. Mario Ribeiro

        Sorry I wasn’t clear, Fraser, but I’m not asking for sympathy for Polanski. For the record, I agree that he should have served time. I just used Polanski because he’s very easy and I’m very lazy. Sorry, meant no offense.

      2. M-Wolverine

        I mean, most people who do bad things had a screwed up childhood. Charles Manson, as named, had a really screwed up childhood. Why do we focus on all that encouraging murder-stab-kill? Because, much like the actors/etc who do good, lots of people have horrible childhoods, and avoid doing horrible things to others. More often they don’t avoid doing horrible things to themselves, but you don’t get a pass because you had it rough.

        1. Mario Ribeiro

          Again, sorry I mentioned Polanski. The point was that the tragedies he suffered don’t affect the work, for good or bad, so I don’t see how his vile act does. I was sleepy, I am sleepy. Sorry about all that.

          1. frasersherman

            It’s not so much it affects the work but it may affect our reaction to it. For example, feeling we don’t want to give X any money or even see any of X’s films. And in some cases, it does affect our reaction—as I said upthread, Michael Caine’s character in Hannah and Her Sisters is such a forerunner of Allen’s break up from Mia Farrow (falls for her sister, cheats on her, declares the heart wants what it wants) that it’s hard not to let Allen intrude on the work.

          2. M-Wolverine

            FWIW, I don’t think anyone needs to be sorry about anything. Maybe there are better examples, but we’re just discussing ideas. Seems pretty civil for the Internet. I don’t think you were offending anybody.

          3. “The point was that the tragedies he suffered don’t affect the work…”

            I think it’s largely acknowledged that Sharon Tate’s murder DID affect the ending of CHINATOWN. Robert Towne originally gave it a more conventional happy ending in his screenplay. Polanski overruled him and gave us the bleak ending we know today. You don’t go through the stuff he went through without it affecting your worldview.

      3. Given that he openly cheated on Sharon Tate throughout their marriage, her murder gets him a little less sympathy, I think. She once told an interviewer “We have an arrangement; he pretends to be faithful, and I pretend to believe him.” If she hadn’t died, they would no doubt have been divorced within a couple of years.

  10. Louis Bright-Raven

    Jim MacQuarrie says he considers two points:

    “1. Does the art in question promote, defend, or excuse the artist’s evil actions?

    2. Am I financially supporting or tacitly endorsing the artist, thereby facilitating and enabling his evil to continue?”

    Okay, here’s a test sample —

    In Summer 2011, I published WINGMAN: THE ART OF LOUIS BRIGHT-RAVEN VOL. 1. It’s a retrospective of my career up to that point, as well as a preview to projects I hope someday will see the light of day. Now, there’s a few pages in there where I have an inking sample over Gene Ha’s cover to OKTANE #1. OKTANE was a creator owned series Gene did at Dark Horse in 1993 with writer Gerard Jones, who was later charged with child pornography in 2016. Now, I ‘endorse’ the OKTANE concept, saying I miss it and wished there could be more of it. I got permissions from Gene and Gerard to use the image in question for the book. They don’t receive a royalty, but let’s assume you don’t know me personally and you just saw the book in a store, picked it up and flipped through it and came to that and saw the name Gerard Jones and me ‘promoting’ a work of his.

    Now let’s assume this is the only objectionable element you found to my product. Would that be enough to make you not buy my book, given that the work was produced years before the discovery of Jones’ actions? Why or why not?

    1. That would not stop me from buying the book.

      Point 1: I don’t know the comic in question, but I’ve never heard anyone suggest that OKTANE has a pro-pedophile message, the way some of, say, Piers Anthony’s or Woody Allen’s work does.

      Point 2: Unlike, say, Harvey Weinstein or James Toback, what Gerard Jones was accused of does not require any real power, status, or money to carry out. Somebody sitting in a trailer in the middle of the Mojave Desert could download the same pictures he’s charged with. Buying work that references his old material is not going to in any way support or endorse him or provide any necessary credibility or power that would facilitate his actions.

      If Jones put out a new book that was going to generate income for him, I wouldn’t buy it, but I will happily pick up second-hand copies of his books on comics history, knowing that (a) he gets nothing from it and (b) the work in no way relates to his criminal actions. The only book of his that’s become problematic is “Killing Monsters” because it is about how children relate to media and its influence on them.

      The Gerard Jones case is an interesting contrast to the high-profile ones discussed in the article. His crime was a private one, him sitting at home alone being creepy. It’s only a crime because the photos in question are documentary evidence of actual crimes committed against children, so by acquiring them, Jones and others like him provide the market and incentive for the perpetrators to continue. If he were accused of seeking out and assaulting kids himself, I’d judge him a lot more harshly. If the guy were forcing aspiring comic artists to send him photos or meet in person and promising to get them into the biz, that would be a much bigger and more immediate problem.

      Where can one buy your book?

  11. Louis Bright-Raven

    “Where can one buy your book?”

    Best way right now is to order it directly from me via PayPal at louisbrightraven@yahoo.com

    My store site bit the dust and I haven’t had a reason to rebuild one – not enough new (printed) content. (Please DON’T buy it though Amazon or eBay, those are other people who bought single copies and are just trying to sell theirs, and from the 3-4 I’ve seen online, they’re charging 200-400% of the cover price because I signed it. Just buy from me and get it signed for cover price. LOL)

    Greg Burgas can do a review of the book here at AJS if he likes (he bought or we traded some books and I sent him a copy back before AJS was launched as I recall, but I asked him not to review it at CBR), or I can send anyone who is interested a preview PDF via email before you order.

    It’s a 48 page B&W art and text book, roughly 8.5 X 11, softcover, and features about 50-60 images in conjunction with text, with my inks over several pro comics pencilers and other famous persons (Gene Ha, Jose Louis Garcia-Lopez, the late Jeremy Dale, the late Matthew Kammert, John Dennis, Paul Robert Smith [not the X-Men guy, a different Paul Smith], Chris Burns [you mean the cosplay actor dude, husband to Miracole Burns? Yup – we went to college together and Chris was a damned good penciler in his own right back then], Uko K. Smith, and others, and features some preview content to my as yet unreleased creator owned projects SPELLSEEKER, BLAKE & TERROR: INTERGALACTIC THIEVES, and REVOLUTION 2250. The price is $9.95 US / $10.95 international plus shipping. It ships bagged and boarded.

    You can see also the cover of the book and a few interior images from it at https://bright-raven.deviantart.com/gallery/40200017/Wingman

  12. Hal

    “(H)as a pro-pedophile message, the way some of…Woody Allen’s work does.” Hm. I’m very dubious about that statement, in Manhattan isn’t Tracy 17, therefore above the age of consent? So, “pro-pedophile message” appears to be altogether too strong and extremely problematic. That is not to say that that aspect of Manhattan – the relationship between Isaac and Tracy – is unproblematic itself as although I think that movie is a small beautiful masterpiece, it is not really possible to feel discomfited by that particular element. Apart from anything else, Mr Allen had a short intense communication with the young Stacey Nelkin which was, um, odd to say the least.
    I do think it is misguided for someone here to castigate Allen for movies in which he pursues women who are out often out of his league as in what we laughably refer to as “real life” he was involved with Louise Lasser and Diane Keaton, neither of whom were lacking in attractiveness, talent, or intelligence so “out of his league” seems rather a conservative and hidebound judgment. Perhaps if he looked like a certain creepy permagrinning scientologist with a penchant for leaping on couches and, recently, injuring – BWAHAHAHA! – himself in foolhardy stunts it would be considered more believable? I find the preponderance of movies in which that last person runs and jumps around even as he toboggans toward the grave far more irritating than Allen’s featuring of attractive women (although Carol Kane in Annie Hall is to me far more appealing than the dreary likes of Julia Roberts tho’ Penelope Cruz is Penelope Cruz!) especially as Allen usually gives them strong roles (I can’t stand films such as Husbands and Wives – specifically the treatment of Lysette Anthony’s character – or the Oedipus Wrecks sequence from New York Stories tho’. Yeuch.) To each his own of course. 🙂 Allen is a difficult, sometimes annoyingly pseudish, figure in real life but he has made many good and a few great movies while there are so many lacunae around Mia Farrow’s original attacks, so many things that don’t add up, that although Allen appears a morally…flexible shall we say? individual I seriously doubt the toxic accusations made against him nor can I see Soon-Yi as a helpless dupe spun in his web for two-and-a-half decades. I hope I am not wrong. Dylan Farrow is damaged but I’m not convinced that that damage was done by Allen rather than a vengeance-crazed wronged Mia Farrow. (Moses Farrow describes Farrow as abusive so it is a game of who do you choose to believe, despite it not being a game at all.)
    Reading about Roddenberry in Fifty-Year Mission was incredibly depressing and appalling, he was worse than I thought. Even though the likes of Harold Livingston are ridiculous puffed-up delusional assholes as well, whilst Rick “The *ick” Berman appears to have carried on in Roddenberry’s footsteps according to Terry Farrell. Ugh. Star Trek and some of the spin-offs still work tho’, particularly as the likes of Gene Coon, Dorothy Fontana, Michael Piller et al played great parts in creating the things that are good and worthwhile, as someone else pointed out above.
    Letterman remains Letterman; prickly, narcissistic, dickish, likeable, complex, mercurial, selfish, brilliant, human. There is clear blue water between what ol’ horndog Dave got up to and what the likes of creepy Bill Cosby and scumbag Weinstein are accused of doing; Letterman’s actions may not be anything of which to be proud but they were not forced, coerced, or non-consual and don’t change my opinion of Late Night’s greatness (all praise to Merrill Markoe too!).

    1. Age of consent varies by state, depending on a variety of factors; I don’t lean particularly on the legality question; my father married my step-mother when he was 44 and she was 15, and that was legal in the state they were married, so to me the “ick factor” takes precedence. I go with Malcolm X’s “half your age plus 7” as the demarcation point where one becomes officially creepy. But that’s just me.

      As for Mia Farrow, her continued vocal praise and support for admitted rapist Polanski makes me think her claims about Allen may be driven more by revenge than moral outrage, though it’s not uncommon for people to take a far more rigid stance where their own kids are involved. I’m not going to call Dylan Farrow a liar though; something happened to her, and I doubt it was entirely indoctrination by her mother.

      Even if everything he’s accused of was legal, I find it creepy. Even though Soon-Yi was not his adoptive daughter, and he was not married to her mother and never lived with them, taking nude photos of her as a teen is to me no different than a Little League coach or church youth group leader taking similar liberties with one of the young people under their charge. Even if he was more “family friend” than step-father or uncle, it’s an inherently unbalanced situation and an abuse of power.

      Long and short of it is I think the guy’s a creep and I don’t want to support him. So I don’t.

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