The Art and the Artist

A friend recently asked whether one can separate art from the artist. I recently watched a documentary about Miles Davis. I am not a music or jazz aficionado, but something in his music has always struck me, it is special, a world apart.

Miles Davis, by all accounting, was more than a little “flawed” as a human being: I saw almost an apologist point of view from some interviewees concerning his treatment of women, for example. And I agree that cannot be dismissed. He was possessive, violent, self-absorbed, and self-destructive. At the same time, I consider the difficulty he experienced as an African American in the United States in the 20th century(or any time) and the absolute and obvious artistry of his work.

He was a creative in the truest sense, connected so deeply to music, to its exploration, creation, and evolution, even expanding his musical sense into painting.  And yet he had his demons, and he took it out on others and on himself. It’s easy to see the genius and the trauma without dismissing the hurt and the harm.

So separate? Yes and no. Some of his music was borne directly of the relationships where he was clearly a bad actor, and thus cannot be separated. All of it was borne of pure artistry. The music, in some form or other, I think, would have poured out of that soul, regardless. Sometimes the channel is a damaged vessel, and the water pours anyway, much of it landing.

Texas and the Art of Distraction

Today, Gov. Greg Abbott lifted a statewide mask requirements and is allowing businesses to reopen at 100% capacity. We’re so close; estimates are we will be sufficiently vaccinated by May to be able to more safely lift some restrictions.  When Gov. Abbott tried to “open up” in July, there was a huge spike in cases. He is ignoring this or at least hoping you will. We do so at our own peril.

I know some of you will be over the moon about the lifting of restrictions and mask mandates. Don’t let it make you forget that time you had no power or water, and then had to boil your water. Please remain careful. The more people go out and play, the likelier Covid-19 will be there to play among you, and the more likely we will get mutations that defeat the vaccines.  

Dear businesses, the Governor isn’t going to help, the mayors and county commissioners have their hands tied, and (some number) of customers are going to push you. Hard.  It’s up to you: people > profits (profit safely!)  Please, please,  stick as much as possible to distancing, mask requirements, and curbside. Maintain outdoor, distant dining. Restrict staff/customer interaction to masked encounters only. Keep your employees and your customers safe so they will still be around to recommend you to friends, and to book their next birthday or anniversary dinner with you in the summer. I know service folks. Those that can spend well and tip well when they do go out. And they go out a lot. Businesses, hang in there…  it will be easier for everyone by May. Please remember that another spike will harder to get past, if even possible. In the meantime, I am one among many friends who will keep buying from you if you look out for everyone.
Everyone trying to stay safe and keep others safe, I know you are tired. So am I. Keep up the good work. Help each other get vaccinated. And help anyone who will have a harder time than you navigating that system. We’re in a race, now. Pay attention to the roadway and pick up others on the way. 
For anyone still reading, if you think lifting restrictions is anything but an intentional distraction from the heat and water debacle, consider that Gov. Greg Abbott made this decision AFTER he himself was safely vaccinated. Remember you were left without heat and water and now you are left without the protection offered by reasonableness of requiring masks, and holding your distance. Abbott told us we are on our own. Remember, your child may be left without a grandparent or teacher. You may be left without the very essential workers that provide you with the necessities and comforts of life. And later, remember that your vote counts. That said, it’s gonna take more than voting. I’m working on how to get more involved and to do everything I legally can to rid us of the deadly selfishness in our Texas leadership. If we cannot oust them in the next round, I may consider alternate residential options, but others cannot do so, and I am not leaving without a fight. 
Stay safe out there. Love you all.