The big news out of Athens this week was the break-up of the band R.E.M., one of the quintessential bands of the 1980s and ’90s and for many members of Generation X. That includes me: “Out of Time” was one of the first albums I owned, and I saw the band live three times — including one short session at an open-air TV studio in Sydney, Australia (long story).
R.E.M. was hardly an apolitical band, and I think it’s quite safe to say their politics and mine didn’t align. But that didn’t bother me in the least. They could be very interesting musically and lyrically (by pop music’s standards, anyway), and the majority of their songs had nothing to do with politics.
Do you avoid artists whose political views differ from your own?
Total Voters: 122
It’s one of the worrying signs of the politicization of everything, however, that I hear people say they won’t listen to this band, or watch a movie starring that actor, because of their political stances. It’s one thing to boycott “Hanoi” Jane Fonda; it’s another to avoid, say, a very fine band like Arcade Fire because they played at an Obama rally in 2008.
When the theme of a particular movie or novel is pointedly political, it’s more understandable that one might want to send a message by not supporting it commercially. Then again, minds that are closed to other opinions reflect another worrisome trend in America.
So here’s your Poll Position this week: Do you check your politics at the door when enjoying the arts and pop culture? Answer in the nearby poll and in the comments thread below. (And apologies for the later-than-usual posting time for Poll Position, but I wanted to give the post on the GOP debate time to breathe.)
– By Kyle Wingfield