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Old 12-04-2008, 08:47 PM   #1
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The purpose of an artist is to criticize authority where it is due

I know we already have a thread on Iceland, but this merits a separate thread:

Iceland protest organiser in international spotlight | IceNews - Daily News

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The unlikely firebrand, Hordur Torfason, has been organising the weekly protests in Reykjavik for eight weeks now. Today he finds himself in the international spotlight, with his very own feature in The Guardian.

Torfason is an actor, playwright and singer/songwriter – well known in Iceland, but not much further afield. What’s more, Hordur is not a political activist. He is a mild-mannered, bespectacled troubadour.

His previous biggest moment in politics was in 1975 when he became one of the first famous Icelanders to come out of the closet – a decision that took him to near exile in Denmark for many years.
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The Guardian quotes Torfason as saying he believes the purpose of an artist is to criticise authority where it is due. In this capacity, he feels comfortable in his role as de-facto head of the movement calling for new elections and new hands at the helm of the Central Bank of Iceland.
His statement that 'the purpose of an artist is to criticise authority where it is due', is, in my view, precisely true. I know some people think that the purpose of an artist is to paint a few nice pictures, sing a few songs, and go to G8 meetings, but, essentially, they're wrong to think that.

And I would also tend to think that it is precisely because Bono has forgotten this that he has gone astray.
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:19 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by financeguy View Post
His statement that 'the purpose of an artist is to criticise authority where it is due', is, in my view, precisely true. I know some people think that the purpose of an artist is to paint a few nice pictures, sing a few songs, and go to G8 meetings, but, essentially, they're wrong to think that.

And I would also tend to think that it is precisely because Bono has forgotten this that he has gone astray.
I don't necessarily agree that it is "the purpose" of an artist to criticise authority where due, but then it entirely depends on what sort of artist you are. I don't think there is anything wrong with an artist that just likes to paint a few nice pictures, sing a few songs, etc - they're still legitimate artists. But I do admit to being more personally interested in artists who integrate social commentary into their work.

As for Bono, I think he's done a pretty fair job of criticizing authority where it's due, though he perhaps hasn't been able to do it as brazenly now that he's having to work both sides of the aisle so much for his work in Africa. And I do miss that brazenness. Though one could argue that by getting involved to the degree he has and giving the cause such a public voice, that in itself is a commentary on the failures of authorities to act on that issue.
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:24 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Diemen View Post
I don't necessarily agree that it is "the purpose" of an artist to criticise authority where due, but then it entirely depends on what sort of artist you are. I don't think there is anything wrong with an artist that just likes to paint a few nice pictures, sing a few songs, etc - they're still legitimate artists. But I do admit to being more personally interested in artists who integrate social commentary into their work.
i agree with diemen. critiquing authority is definitely one legitimate aspect of art, but it is not a requirement.
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:45 AM   #4
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I think everybody should criticize authority where it is due.
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:00 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by DrTeeth View Post
I think everybody should criticize authority where it is due.
Yep.

Artists are often more flamboyant and get more attention, but everyone is responsible for keeping those in power in line.

Besides, Bono is preachy enough as it is.
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