Morally Justifiable Theft?
The main question floating around in my head since all this Kevin Spacey stuff came to light is this: is it okay to pirate House of Cards? What about Weinstein Company, Woody Allen and Roman Polanski films? Mile's Davis' catalogue? R. Kelly's catalogue? Ted Nugent's catalogue?
The song Do What U Want by Lady Gaga was on my writing playlist, but R. Kelly makes a bit of money every time I played it, so I killed it; my pennies don't need to fund his cult. I have remorse for buying Midnight in Paris on Blu Ray when I was “getting into directors.” I think about the sticky wicket known as The Pianist and even though I saw it via Blockbuster after the hype died down; in reality, it’s a movie by a rapist that won an award for a man who then celebrated by sexually assaulting Hallie Berry on stage, and it was bushed all off as “male adrenaline,” much like the iconic V-J Day in Times Square photo.
I think about watching Apocalypto the other day, and to do that, I stole the hell out of it, with no remorse. In relation to the other ways that I’ve supported rapists, pedophilic predators and serial garbage-men, is the theft of Mel Gibson’s movie morally justifiable?
Is it acceptable to steal from the people who’s dirty laundry we’re aware of? Does it make us hypocrites if we learn someone like James Franco had been beating puppies on set since 2007? (Just an example, I really doubt Franco could hurt anything other than our sensibilities with some of that goofy stuff he puts out). Is it our responsibility to disregard the art of people who live reprehensible lives? If so, why haven’t we thrown away Woody Allen and Roman Polanski? If Franco was beating puppies since ’07, does that mean we can still, without guilt, watch Spider-Man 1 and 2?
Where do we draw the line? I really don’t have answers to these questions right now, but I do have to think about Marky Mark and his funky bunch of moral complications.
I’m not going to get into the details because of two things. 1) He did time. 2) He has since (and recently) acknowledged his past and made the (paraphrased) statement of "I guess I’ve made my bed,” albeit after some questionable decisions.
When Wahlberg went to have his crimes pardoned, people started reaching out to the victim, Johnny Trinh, who was completely unaware that it was Marky Mark that assaulted him. The man showed great humility and compassion by being unwilling to allow pain to continue in either of their lives. Wahlberg allowed his request for a pardon to lapse, effectively dropping it, and has since made peace with Trinh himself.
After reading the interview with Trinh, I think we should all let it drop. It’s like the headline says, Marky Mark got a pardon from the only person who matters.
Then there’s Alec Baldwin. Baldwin is on tape being horrible, has written in his memoir about that incident where he called his daughter a pig, and more importantly, he reconciled with her. Recently, in a move from left field, he got in front of the train himself and said that he has “bullied women in a sexist way." Not bad, kinda weird, but for a guy with a history in the climate of airing histories—it makes PR sense at least. He’s acknowledging that he knows what we know.
What do we do with Alec Baldwin? Do we have a line when it comes to offenses? I’d say rape and sexual assault is the line, but verbal attacks, racism and general bullying can’t be discounted. This is a slippery slope, one I do not know how to navigate on a tangible level.
What do we do with all this information about our favorite artists?
And again, I have to ask: