📓 Problematic Art

Discussing Molly Ringwald’s essay on the Breakfast Club, Cory Doctorow reflects on the importance of problematic art:

Without “problematic,” then imperfect art is “bad” and you have to choose between cherishing the ways in which it improved your life and jettisoning the art and its effects on you. That all-or-nothing framework makes acknowledging imperfections needlessly expensive and thus unpopular.

But with “problematic,” we can have it both ways: “This art, whose flaws I acknowledge and wish to see improved upon, made me happy and improved my life and my understanding of the world.” That statement doesn’t give a pass to the flaws in art, it doesn’t make a virtue out of the work’s hurtful or ugly imperfections — rather, it opens a space to talk about (and thus address) the flaws without having to deny your pleasures, influences and loves.

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