Do artists and writers have an obligation to take responsibility for the effect their art has on society?

Let's Connect

catherinenew1Just days after viewing the 1994 Oliver Stone film “Natural Born Killers”, written by Quentin Tarantino, young newlyweds went on a random killing spree. When arrested, they gave the names Mickey and Mallroy, the Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis characters who’s killing rampages were glorified by the media. We all recall the “Taxi Driver” connection when John Hinkley attempted to assassinate Ronald Regan, to get the attention of Jody Foster. These are just a few examples of the copy-cat syndrome that occurs when already disturbed people are exposed to horribly violent art. And Catherine Ryan Hyde’s “Pay it Forward” had the opposite effect on the public and was the impetus for a whole movement of doing good for the sake of spreading good. There are endless examples of how specific books, films and music have directly and profoundly impacted society and how responsible writing has had a positive effect on individuals. In defense of freedom of expression, there are times when violence or a disturbing story line has a vital role in creative work. And it is of course a parent’s role, not the artists, to control what children are exposed to. The question is, what responsibility do you think an artists, writer, etc has to influence the reading or viewing public? And, is it possible for someone to make a living in the arts if they are committed to only turning out socially conscious material? Last year in a hot tub overlooking the Pacific, I was fortunate enough to strike up a conversation on this topic with Catherine Ann Jones, an award-winning writer for television and film who is committed to socially responsible writing. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Catherine about her writing and teaching and the role artists play in making a difference in society. To listen to this interview now, CLICK HERE Just days after viewing the 1994 Oliver Stone film “Natural Born Killers”, written by Quentin Tarantino, young newlyweds went on a random killing spree. When arrested, they gave the names Mickey and Mallroy, the Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis characters who’s killing rampages were glorified by the media. We all recall the “Taxi Driver” connection when John Hinkley attempted to assassinate Ronald Regan, to get the attention of Jody Foster. These are just a few examples of the copy-cat syndrome that occurs when already disturbed people are exposed to horribly violent art. And Catherine Ryan Hyde’s “Pay it Forward” had the opposite effect on the public and was the impetus for a whole movement of doing good for the sake of spreading good. There are endless examples of how specific books, films and music have directly and profoundly impacted society and how responsible writing has had a positive effect on individuals.
In defense of freedom of expression, there are times when violence or a disturbing story line has a vital role in creative work. And it is of course a parent’s role, not the artists, to control what children are exposed to. The question is, what responsibility do you think an artists, writer, etc has to influence the reading or viewing public? And, is it possible for someone to make a living in the arts if they are committed to only turning out socially conscious material?
Last year in a hot tub overlooking the Pacific, I was fortunate enough to strike up a conversation on this topic with Catherine Ann Jones, an award-winning writer for television and film who is committed to socially responsible writing. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Catherine about her writing and teaching and the role artists play in making a difference in society. To listen to this interview now,

CLICK HERE

Lets Connect