I wrote this in December of 2016, on a Tumblr account that no longer exists. At the time, I was using Tumblr as a place to put random writing that didn’t quite “fit” on my real blog.
I read “Conflicted” in episode 15 of my Words of Jen podcast.
There is a person whose creative work I absolutely adore. But, the person’s political ideology is a complete opposite to mine. I’m not sure what to think about this. I’m not sure what to do about this.
There is no doubt in my mind that I still love this person’s creative work. It is beautiful, and visceral, heartbreaking and enlightening and sometimes all of this at once. This person’s work reaches me emotionally in ways that few things can, and I really appreciate it.
We have an interest in common, and some of that interest makes its appearance in that person’s work. It makes me connect to the person’s creative work more than I might have if we didn’t have that common interest.
So far, I’ve been able to separate the person’s work from the person’s political ideology. I don’t know this person beyond their creative work, but I get the feeling the person is intelligent, and well educated, and someone who has a deep understanding and awareness of the suffering that people experience – as well as the beauty in life. I believe this person is a good person. I think this person has some religious beliefs that include a benevolent higher power.
But, this person’s political ideology is different enough from mine to give me pause about following them on social media. The person does not follow me and I doubt they would like some of the things I post there if they were following me.
One of this person’s most recent creative works has little pieces where the person’s political ideology comes shining through. I didn’t notice that happening in this person’s previous creative works – but I see it in this one, and it kind of bothers me.
At the same time, the way those political ideas are expressed within the work actually fits within the context of the creative work. The only reason I see it as jarring is because it conflicts with my worldview – so maybe the problem is me.
Or, maybe the problem is that the political ideology I’m seeing in this person’s latest creative work is one that is typically expressed by people who would consider me to be “less than” because I’m poor and have had several times in my life where I needed government assistance. It’s hard to encounter those types of political ideologies right now, while I am struggling financially despite my best efforts and am extremely fearful of how I will survive if I lose the assistance I’m currently receiving from the government.
I’m not yet done consuming this person’s most recent creative work, and I’ve become invested in seeing where it goes and how it resolves. And, to be honest, I’m enjoying this person’s most recent creative work almost as much as I have enjoyed the person’s previous creative works. This newest creative work is in a slightly different… let’s say “genre” then the previous works.
I would not hesitate to recommend specific creative works from this person to people whom I think would enjoy the works as much as I have. But, it’s hurtful to encounter these (probably unintentionally) unkind political views as I work my way through this person’s creative work. I want to be immersed in this creative work as I was in the person’s previous creative works – but the political ideology keeps popping up and breaking the immersion I crave.
So, I am conflicted.
I’m not sure how to sit with this problem or how to make the mismatched pieces fit together into a picture I can live comfortably with.
Conflicted is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.
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