Comic Talk and General Discussion

Separating the artist from the art
ozoneocean at 6:36AM, Sept. 28, 2016
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Can you do this?
You know, when you find out an actor, musician, comic artist or whatever is an arsehole or says things you disagree with or is a criminal, can you separate that from their work and still manage to enjoy it?

Or does it taint everything they've ever made?


I've thought about this a lot. I think I can usually separate the art from the artist. And I DON'T think that consuming the work of that artist in any way legitimises what I disagree with about them personally, endorses their criminal behaviour or whatever… unless the art is specifically about that.

I still read Dilbert every day, even though Scott Adams is a bit of a dillweed.
I'm sure I could enjoy the music of Gary Glitter if I ever bothered to make an effort to listen to it, even though he's a horrible child molester.
I'm sure I could even do the same for redneck gun-nut animal abuser Ted Nugent.

What about you guys?
 
KimLuster at 7:41AM, Sept. 28, 2016
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I generally can with drama actors

I love Tom Cruise as an actor, but the real face-of-Scientology nutjob can kiss it!! Daniel Day-Lewis is a method-guy from hell but I love everything he does…!

I have a little more trouble with comedians. Steve Martin and Chevy Chase are generally considered to be RL Jerks, and when I see them being funny (and they can be very funny), it often feels a little tainted. Heard similar about Kevin James, and I find myself not super-interested in his new show…

Funny that I find the RL Ted Nugent more interesting (not saying I approve of everything he says/does) than anything he does professionally
bravo1102 at 8:50AM, Sept. 28, 2016
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You guys should get a job as an airport screener on the over night shift. Then you get to meet all the celebs you can handle and find out who the good guys are.
Ted Nugent is a real down to earth guy you can have a beer with.
The same was with James Garner (I know someone that did there) and Steve McQueen.
Bill Murray is exactly like his persona in movies like Caddyshack or Zombieland. He really is like that.
Chevy Chase is intimidatingly tall and is sardonic and snarky. Get past that and he is pleasant enough.
Bill Cosby is a colossal asshole.
Dr. Isaac Asimov was lovely and funny but you had to approach him the right way and remember to call him doctor.
Harlen Ellison is also snarky and sarcastic, even caustic but he is pleasant enough once you get past his sarcasm.
David Gerrold is a downright pleasure to be with.
Any member of Monty Python are wonderful guys, very approachable and irreverent. Graham Chapman was powerfully shy and soft spoken, and Cleesey can be arrogant but is ready to admit he is full of himself.
Sean Penn is an uptight dickweed.
Billy Crystal is wonderful, down to earth and very approachable.
Mel Brooks is a riot.
Gene Wilder was a very mild and soft spoken and incredibly nice.
Tom Cruise is tiny. He's like one of those annoying yappy dogs.
Bruce Springsteen is soft spoken and gentle and you never even realize it's him and until you're right next to him looking at model trains in Red Bank.
Robert Plant is very nice and pleasant to breakfast with in Worchester.
Clint Eastwood is wonderful as was Chuck Heston. Very down to earth guys. People you can talk to and who are real.

I'm usually inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt. Having worked in customer service related jobs dealing with tons of people, I know everyone has their bad days and a smile can break down all barriers. Everyone is fighting their own battles so I can easily separate the artist from their art. Sometimes in judging others we bring along our own prejudices and project our feelings upon them. They're just there and we take their desire to get on with their life as arrogance or stand-offish when they're just wishing they were any place else but where they are.
ozoneocean at 10:14AM, Sept. 28, 2016
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Are you talking about the people you've met? :D

Fair enough, people are real and all that, but what about those who have done awful things, like:
OJ Simpson?
Garry Glitter?
Bill Cosby?
Rolf Harris?

And it's not just about celebs…
What about the art of Hitler? Or his writings?
Many associate Wagner with the Nazis and so can't stomach his music.
Some say that the Prophet Mohamed had sex with an “under-age” girl and that's reason enough to dismiss all Muslim culture
Can you appreciate Triumph of the Will without thinking about the fact it was made to glorify Nazism? Or appreciate the retro neoclassical architecture of Albert Speer and separate the fact that He owed all his fame to Hitler's gang?
 
KimLuster at 1:33PM, Sept. 28, 2016
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I think, sometimes, when we reject someone's art based on their RL personas, it could be that we're fighting back at them in the only way we can…

A similar thing can happen in sports. Right now, Colin Kaepernick (a professional American football player) has taken to kneeling when the American National Anthem is played before games (to not stand and place a hand over your heart is generally considered a jerky thing to do). Kaepernick claims he's doing it as a protest against unfair treatment of African Americans in the U.S. Nearly everyone agree that is his right, but many are also talking of boycotting games he's in, burning his jersey, etc, as a way of showing disapproval against what they considered scumbag behavior on his part…

For fans of Sports and Art, there really is no other way to show one's disapproval (outside of criminal behaviour).

Of course, Fans can be real slimebags too - many, many times celebrities and sportsmen aren't near the jerks people target them as…

I'd also like to know if Bravo really met all those people… (I suspect he has, being in that line of work…)
last edited on Sept. 28, 2016 1:55PM
usedbooks at 1:52PM, Sept. 28, 2016
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Knowing someone's personality or interest outside of their art can help you put their art in context and better understand it. (Also works the other way around, especially for passionate artists and musicians who express their inner feelings in their work.) I don't think artand artist can ever be completely separated, nor should it. Art is supposed to be a form of expression not solely production.


On the other hand, the viewer/listener finds themselves in a work as well. The artist might mean something completely separate from what is perceived. Knowing what an artist intends shouldn't take away from the meaning to those experiencing it but can add a dimension to it. Art is an interesting melding of expression and experience.


There aren't many actors who are artists, though. They are usually performing someone else's vision. (Maybe that's why you find comedians an exception. It's not their acting but their writing, which is more part of them. Comedic work is more improvised and less directed as well.)
KimLuster at 2:08PM, Sept. 28, 2016
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That's actually a good point, UB - hadn't thought of that!
bravo1102 at 5:00PM, Sept. 28, 2016
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So now acting isn't an art? Performance is an art. You may not do the writing but your interpretation of that text is art. Theater and film are collaborative efforts.

Ozoneocean, those were some pretty specious examples. Everyone always has to bring up the Nazis. What about Holy Mother Church. Are you willing to dismiss art made for such an oppressive organization art? As an atheist does that Rob any of Bach's sacred works of their beauty or artistic genius?

No, it just supplies context. Much of the art of totalitarian regimes is empty anf representational. There are exceptions like the poster art of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.

It us generally agreed that the lines of the Koran are some of the most beautiful poetry in Arabic. That would make Muhammed a great poet even if he didn't indulge in fanatical conquest with lots of vengeful and ruthless killing. His marriage to young girls was part of his culture and period.

My brother is the airport screener. Most of these encounters are his. There's also my sister who frequently goes to Broadway and has had chances to meet and greet performers backstage. Some of those theaters are absolutely claustrophobic and there's no not being intimate with the artists.

Enough. Just re-read the last paragraph of my previous post. People are people. Their personality is context but if they make or do something extraordinary I can appreciate it. The author was, is and always will be an asshole but damn if he couldn't arrange a great Symphony, or make pretty pictures or whatever.
usedbooks at 6:05PM, Sept. 28, 2016
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I might be being cynical. I see too many actors who just suck at acting these days. (Or directors that don't allow them to shine.) I suppose even they are as much an artist as the people mass creating souvenir paintings and knick-knacks. (I also feel bad for some of the actors being stuck in front of green scenes interacting with placeholders.)

It's art as expression versus art solely for production. If the audience gets something out of it, it doesn't matter whether the artist put much of himself into it. It just seems much more meaningful when both happens. I hate the idea of artistic products created solely for an audience. I'm sure it happens a lot though.




Bravo, you put it very well about “context.” It's nice to have context for any art or artist. I like to observe a work knowing nothing first to find my own angle in it and then learn more about the artist's angle/background/objective. (Admittedly, after I read about Dali, I found myself noticing all the ants in his paintings. That started creeping me out. I never gave them much thought before.)
last edited on Sept. 28, 2016 6:27PM
ozoneocean at 8:42PM, Sept. 28, 2016
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Bravo- there's nothing what so ever that's “specious” about those examples, they're not even extremes, in fact they're perfect examples and this is one of the cases that it's entirely appropriate to include Nazis ;)

My answer is that I CAN appreciate the art of Hitler, Triumph of the Will and the architecture of Albert Speer, but not the writings of Hitler. That would take a lot more mental preparation.

I don't think your “context”, “people are people” etc thing really explains away the criminal acts of those artists: rape, child molestation, murder etc.
I could understand if the knowledge of those crimes colours the experience of the creative works of those people.


@Usedbooks- An actor is an artist in the context here.
You're right though that the work of an artist is an expression of themselves, but they're not always the same person they were when they made it.
Hitler wasn't a monster yet when he was an artist, OJ Simpson wasn't a possible murderer when he was in Naked Gun…

Sometimes people like works more BECAUSE of the reputation of the artist: Byron, Hunter S Thompson, Alestar Crowley…


@Kim- I don't know if “fighting back” at an artist (or sports person), using their work against them because you don't like the person, is very appropriate… I'm not sure but I tend to think that wrong.
 
last edited on Sept. 28, 2016 8:43PM
bravo1102 at 10:14PM, Sept. 28, 2016
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Someone once said that they were an egotistical bastard not worth talking to but not to hold that against their work.


Outside of a few amateur water colors, some public buildings and Leni Riefinstahl how much German art have you looked at? Triumph of the Will is so derivative of other period filmmakers. Look at Fritz Lang, Pabst and other German Expressionist directors. She was only building on them and also the work of 1920s Russian filmmakers like Eisenstein. Look at Lang's M, or Metropolis. The Nazis did nothing new, they made everything bland . The true artists of Nazi Germany were its engineers. The Tiger I was a cubist masterpiece, but an overweight, over complicated mess like so much else of Nazi Germany. Bloated and functional like the idealized statues of the Aryans. And to me an example of art without value. A valueless example, therefore specious.
last edited on Sept. 28, 2016 10:42PM
ozoneocean at 3:23AM, Sept. 29, 2016
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Bravo, your dismissal of the example is rather specious, if I may say so. :)
The quality of the art is irrelevant here. The thing is the art VS the artist, no matter how good you think the art is.
 
KimLuster at 7:33AM, Sept. 29, 2016
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Ozone, fighting back is instinctual, and I think it may be the root of why so many choose to reject the art of an artist who's otherwise reprehensible outside their art. I think most snap-judgments are of this nature. We have to use higher brain levels to separate art from the artists, and lots of people can't (or don't try to) do that. People associate everything that comes from a person (art, music, writings, accomplishments, family…) with that person… It's why the children of repugnant people are often the subject of ridicule or even violence. Guilt by association - we all have that tendency…

But I actually agree that we should try to rise above that, so yes, reject art to fight back is wrong (though I prefer thinking of it as a inability or refusal to rise above…). Nevertheless, we have to accept the reality of it… If a work manager scours your social media and finds things that reflect badly on you, they know that it can also reflect badly on the company, and demand you clean your act up…!

Any artist with any sense should recognize this as well. If I wanna sell my music, maybe I should be a bit more careful about doing things that could piss off my fan base…!!
Genejoke at 12:03AM, Sept. 30, 2016
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I'm late to the party but…

I was a big fan of the lost prophets, but haven't listened to them since the singer was convicted of numerous child sex offenses.I can't separate his voice and lyrics from the crimes. However I can to a degree with Gary glitter. Perhaps it's because I was never into Gary glitter.

So in relation to Hitler and his art, I imagine it would be far easier for someone like me to appreciate his art than it may be for a jew. That said there may be a power to it for them.

Tim cruise and scientology doesn't bother me, I don't see him as crazy and more than any Christian actor is crazy. He's a smarmy git but gold at what he does.
KimLuster at 8:26AM, Sept. 30, 2016
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No, Tom Cruise isn't necessarily any crazier than any other whack-job who takes his religion too seriously (like Mel Gibson and his torture-porn version of Christianity), but at least those who cling to a mainstream religion have tradition, upbringing, mind-molding, etc, as somewhat of an excuse, but Tom Cruise was an adult already well into his rising movie stardom with he decided that an eccentric sci-fi author was a prophet of the one true faith!! It takes a special level of strange to take that leap… IMO!!
Genejoke at 1:46PM, Sept. 30, 2016
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Why? If you believe in ancient fairy tales or more recent ones the end result is the same.

At least scientology admits it's roots are fictitious. Anyway this could derail the thread. You mention Mel Gibson, I have no issue with him despite his views he still does what he does well and it doesn't colour m6 views of his work
bravo1102 at 5:17PM, Sept. 30, 2016
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ozoneocean wrote:
Bravo, your dismissal of the example is rather specious, if I may say so. :)
The quality of the art is irrelevant here. The thing is the art VS the artist, no matter how good you think the art is.

You're right. Sorry.

Most art I see , I can easily seperate the artist from what they produce. It may reflect their inherent flawed character but who they are is irrelevant. Totalitarian regimes often strip any feeling and creativity out of the art they produce. Though it can make for good horror or study in persuasion or even worship of some fatalistic cult of death.







KimLuster at 7:08PM, Oct. 1, 2016
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Genejoke wrote:
Why? If you believe in ancient fairy tales or more recent ones the end result is the same.

At least scientology admits it's roots are fictitious. Anyway this could derail the thread. You mention Mel Gibson, I have no issue with him despite his views he still does what he does well and it doesn't colour m6 views of his work

I'm just saying the weight of tradition can make it harder for people to see the fairy tale… Anyway…

To get the thread back on track, despite how you personally feel about Mel, in light of some of Mel's anti-semitic rants he got caught doing, would Passion of the Christ do as well with the general public if released today instead of 2004?
bravo1102 at 9:43PM, Oct. 1, 2016
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KimLuster wrote:
Genejoke wrote:
Why? If you believe in ancient fairy tales or more recent ones the end result is the same.

At least scientology admits it's roots are fictitious. Anyway this could derail the thread. You mention Mel Gibson, I have no issue with him despite his views he still does what he does well and it doesn't colour m6 views of his work

I'm just saying the weight of tradition can make it harder for people to see the fairy tale… Anyway…

To get the thread back on track, despite how you personally feel about Mel, in light of some of Mel's anti-semitic rants he got caught doing, would Passion of the Christ do as well with the general public if released today instead of 2004?

Yes, because it's intended audience doesn't care or is sympathetic to his point of view as a conservative fundamentalist Catholic. Did the apparent Anglophobia of the Patriot dampen its popularity outside of the UK?


Don't make one or two actors your favorite whipping boys just because of a few rants. What about Roman Polanski? He is a serial seducer of under age girls. Does that make The Pianist any less of a great film?

How about Bill Cosby? Does his long history of drugging and seduction damper how much you love his comedy? Robert Mitchum was busted for pot possession in the 1940s. John Wayne destroyed the careers of several people because he felt they were “unAmerican”

Some actors lose their careers because they take stances unpopular in the industry. Once it became known that they were conservatives the careers of Kelsey Grammer, Jon Voight and Dennis Hopper effectively ended. Ever wonder what happened to the guy who played that great security chief on Babylon 5? He came out as a conservative and *magically* his career was over.

It works in many ways. Someone doesn't like your opinion and you're done. You're only as good as your last box office. Look at the career of miss box office poison herself; Katherine Hepburn. She wore pants! She was a woman who spoke her mind when you didn't do such things. She was a great actress in spite of those critics who kept predicting the end of her career.
Genejoke at 11:30PM, Oct. 1, 2016
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Interesting comments about the political views, is that it or did their careers just not progress for other reasons?

I think I'm more likely to have issue separating artist from art if their views are strongly reflected in their at and it's very much opposed to my own views.
ozoneocean at 5:19AM, Oct. 2, 2016
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We talked about this for a Quackcasts that'll go up next week,
We came to the conclusion, after reading through all the posts here and discussing it, that in order for the artist to “taint” their art in your eyes you generally have to have a personal reaction or connection to what they did.

-Similar to what Genejoke is saying.

So it doesn't matter WHAT the artist does or why, what is important is how you the viewer feel about it. And there can be “triggers” (HAHAHA I get to use that word! XD), for everyone, no one is completely immune.

Jim Dyar who does Grin and Spirit can't stand anything by Tom Hanks because way back in the day he was in a film that demonised Dungeons and Dragons. Jewish people are going to have stronger views on the art of Hitler than I will etc.
There's no right or wrong about it either. It's all down to the individual (or group that you're a part of).
 
bravo1102 at 7:29AM, Oct. 2, 2016
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And this whole thread got me to pull out an old outline for a World War II comic about differences between the Eastern and Western Fronts.
KimLuster at 5:38PM, Oct. 2, 2016
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@bravo: being conservative isn't a death knell for an actor… Stallone, Swarzenegger, and Eastwood prove that…! I agree the deck is stacked against them though..
bravo1102 at 5:36AM, Oct. 3, 2016
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KimLuster wrote:
@bravo: being conservative isn't a death knell for an actor… Stallone, Swarzenegger, and Eastwood prove that…! I agree the deck is stacked against them though..

Each one of them is practically an institution with their production companies. Eastwood still faced an uphill battle getting American Sniper made and distributed.

I have watched a lot of movies with political agendas that were much better hidden than Triumph of the Will. And I can appreciate them as art despite their agendas. The original Birth of a Nation remains a great accomplishment in the history of film and is a technical masterpiece. But it was extremely racist even for its time despite the occupant of the White House singing it's praises.

And the new film with the same title about Nat Turner's Rebellion will probably be just as charged with a political agenda and get the history just as wrong. There has been a host of recent research actually looking at the records of the event that have overturned much of the accepted story. I expect to be as disappointed as I was after the Patriotor Fury
last edited on Oct. 3, 2016 5:38AM
ayesinback at 8:38PM, Oct. 3, 2016
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Just read through this thread and I'm still at square one, wondering what qualifies as “an artist.” There seems to be 2 types, one who creates art that expresses the creator's vision And in some fashion affects an observer, and secondly, a master of one's profession, like an engineer, or doctor, or (imo) an actor.

As for politics, I find it absurd that celebrities with no background in history, social science, or science (of any kind) think that the public should be swayed by their opinion any more than by the opinion of any one else, whether they are artist, athlete, or a master at their craft. I had immediate respect for Brad Pitt when I read his response to someone asking his opinion about candidates a few elections ago, along the line of: Who cares what I think? I'm a grown man who wears make up for a living.

As to the topic, I admit I might lose “affection” for someone's work if I learn that the artist was habitually cruel, but I don't think it dims the art's “importance.” For example, he wasn't the worst human being, but my enthusiasm did nose dive when I learned about what a schmuck Picasso was. So I don't make efforts to see his work, but I still see genius in some of his pieces.
You TOO can be (multiple choice)
bravo1102 at 11:36PM, Oct. 3, 2016
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So Ytzach Perlman and Robert DeNiro are merely technicians performing the art of others. I understand. Cross the bow in such a way, deliver a line like that and that's all there is to it. And we all know that piano playing is a flip of the wrist and Opera is all breathing. ;-)

Picasso was a schmuck, but he had days where he was tolerable. It's really hard to find any artist who is a level headed nice guy. They all have their demons. Imagine trying to share a room with Van Gogh? Poor Gaughan nearly went out of his mind. No wonder he ran away to the tropics. Leonardo had two speeds: warp drive or spaced out. Michelangelo was an arrogant know-it-all with a bad case of obsessive compulsive disorder. It's kind of hard to find a great artist in history who was a genuinely nice guy.

There was one artist notorious for being difficult with interviews. When asked he replied simply, it's not that I don't talk, it is just that outside of my work I have nothing to say. And that ended the interview.
last edited on Oct. 4, 2016 12:12AM
ayesinback at 7:04AM, Oct. 4, 2016
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bravo1102 wrote:
So Ytzach Perlman and Robert DeNiro are merely technicians performing the art of others. I understand. Cross the bow in such a way, deliver a line like that and that's all there is to it. And we all know that piano playing is a flip of the wrist and Opera is all breathing. ;-)

I find it interesting you singled out opera versus someone like Judy Collins …

Yes, you gave examples of “type 2 artist.”. Here's another: a ballet dancer performing a breathtaking leap and then landing on toe in exquisite extension, or a diver twisting 3 times in the air before knifing the water. These are masterfully skilled technicians who thrill us with their unique abilities. However, I don't see “artist” as a level of mastery. There is incredible depth and beauty in interpreting art, of performing that which few others can, of collaborating with the creator, and it definitely merits celebration, but why is mastery in any endeavor less than being called an artist?
You TOO can be (multiple choice)
ozoneocean at 9:41AM, Oct. 4, 2016
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What I meant by “artist” is just anyone at all who is a part of a creation that you consume: painter, actor, singer, musician, dancer, architect…

On the subject of painters and sculptors, they come in all shapes and sizes. There are dick-heads who can't interact with other people very well and there are wonderful human beings who're a joy to be around. I've known a lot :D
(the art world was a very big part of my life)

My fave historical guy was Caravagio. He was a very bad man, but as a painter he craps all over Leonardo sideways, back the front and ten different ways over a month of Tuesdays.
 
ayesinback at 11:22AM, Oct. 4, 2016
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ozoneocean wrote:
What I meant by “artist” is just anyone at all who is a part of a creation that you consume: painter, actor, singer, musician, dancer, architect…

A Chef, a teacher, an athlete, a surgeon (oral and otherwise), a civil engineer, pretty much any designer, a seamstress, a cobbler, HATS, “the art of the deal” …

But it's not just Any teacher or one who teaches, or one who sings, acts, sews, designs, or paints. Is it?

Otherwise, the list of non-artists is quite short.


You TOO can be (multiple choice)
bravo1102 at 5:12PM, Oct. 4, 2016
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ayesinback wrote:
bravo1102 wrote:
So Ytzach Perlman and Robert DeNiro are merely technicians performing the art of others. I understand. Cross the bow in such a way, deliver a line like that and that's all there is to it. And we all know that piano playing is a flip of the wrist and Opera is all breathing. ;-)

I find it interesting you singled out opera versus someone like Judy Collins …

No voice and can't carry a tune. Like Bob Dylan horrible as a performer but writes lovely lyrics just so long as anybody else sings them. I only recently started listening to opera regularly but it's so nice to hear what a human voice can sound like carrying a tune all by itself rather than warbling to heavy accompaniment.

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