Saturday, September 20, 2008

Shut Yer Piehole, Second Helping

I posted some time ago that artists need to get a brain and leave their politics out of their professional lives. This past week, there is a case in point.

Jill Greenberg, both acclaimed and infamous photographer, was hired by The Atlantic Monthly to shoot John McCain. Greenberg, a ferocious Democratic supporter, photographed McCain in a very unflattering fashion, going so far as to alter the pics to give him blood-dripping shark's teeth. To reiterate, she did all this on her own for a paying client.

The fallout for her is that A), her client was forced to issue a personal apology to the picture's subject, McCain; B), she was not paid by her client for her work, and may be sued by them; especially interesting, C), she lost the respect of many in the pro photog community; D), she was dropped from her high-end agency, Vaughan Hannigan, affecting her future work. She was picked up by another agency, but has now branded herself as an activist for liberal causes. How do you think that will play out in right-wing circles (i.e., nearly all high-end corporate gigs) when considering her for projects, especially now that she's well-known for pulling these stunts?

Another curious thing: this Mensa reject is Canadian - not even an American. What a fool.

This is akin to us musicians standing up and saying at gig, "Here's to John McCain winning the election over that asshole Obama." Meanwhile, you're playing at the wedding of the daughter of the head of the local Democratic party. Or how's about professing your love for Jesus at a gathering of Muslims. Nice move, genius. Where's your next gig?

The question remains: For what are you being paid? If the client asks for shark's teeth on McCain, fire away if you are so inclined. But if they're looking for a middle-of-the-road shot in your style, give them what ask for. Or turn down the job. We're talking about professional responsibility, not social engineering on someone else's dime.

So, take as much interest in politics as you like, I encourage you to make an informed choice. But, in public, entertainers need to leave it alone.

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