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Author Topic: Drugs in Artistry  (Read 1870 times)

Great One

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Drugs in Artistry
« on: February 25, 2010, 01:29:25 AM »

I'd like to discuss drugs within artistry today...

Drug users, and better yet, musical artists like Trent Reznor, Peter Doherty, Marshall Mathers, better known in popular culture as 'Eminem' et al, have an infamous history with drugs within their profession. It is hard to ignore the influence it has held on their careers. There are numerous cases of it, so it is hardly coincidence. Though some react to drugs differently than others...

Do you consider it a habit that works to their advantage within their profession, or is it a negative thing that they'd be better off without? Is it, the short answer rather than the long solution? Would their careers have a greater longevity if they avoided this influence in their lives?

I know a lot argue that some artists, like the above mentioned ones, and others - even literary figures, like Stephen King - have produced their best works during a period of time they were heavily involved in sampling material of an 'illegal nature'.

Less seriously, should we treat it like in sports and disregard their achievements when they're 'under the influence'; treat it like an enhancement drug?
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Alrin

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Re: Drugs in Artistry
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2010, 04:16:30 AM »

Uncounted people use drugs recreationally every day and lead normal, productive lives. I personally know mothers, fathers, lawyers, labourers, engineers, teachers and musicians, all of whom do (or have) partake(n) of illicit drugs regularly with no negative impact on their professional lives.

In the specific case of the musicians I spoke of, was the habit an advantage? No, it was simply, like all the others, a lifestyle choice. They created great music without the use of drugs and equally great music with. Would these people have greater longevity without the use of drugs? Probably, but generally not because of any interference with their professional lives, but rather simply that it's an unhealthy lifestyle and you're more likely to live a few years longer without partaking of substance abuse.

As for disregarding professional achievements, particularly in the case of individuals within the arts to which you refer, that's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. The work has been produced. What matter the circumstances under which it came to be? Take the lawyer I know, for example. If he successfully argued a case on your behalf, would you like to see the result overturned because it was revealed he'd taken illegal drugs? Do you demolish the perfectly sound bridge constructed by the engineer because he was shooting speed to get through his 16 hour days? (If the answer to either of those questions is yes then I want some of the drugs you're on.)
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Bacchus

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Re: Drugs in Artistry
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2010, 12:36:45 PM »

The Beatles made some of their best tunes while on drugs. Don't think a sober man could create anything like I am the Walrus. Nevertheless, i feel that peoples performances, when music related, don't improve on drugs. Bands love the come to my country and go all out on weed and other drugs. Seen plenty of famous musicians on the stage doped up, and not being able to perform. So my answer is going to be: no, it does not work in your advantage to be on drugs
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charles

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Re: Drugs in Artistry
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2010, 01:16:02 AM »

As for disregarding professional achievements, particularly in the case of individuals within the arts to which you refer, that's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. The work has been produced. What matter the circumstances under which it came to be? Take the lawyer I know, for example. If he successfully argued a case on your behalf, would you like to see the result overturned because it was revealed he'd taken illegal drugs? Do you demolish the perfectly sound bridge constructed by the engineer because he was shooting speed to get through his 16 hour days? (If the answer to either of those questions is yes then I want some of the drugs you're on.)

Well... Another example is important medical research carried out through cruel, human experimentation.  In that sense I tend to disagree that the circumstances under which work has been produced matters little.

Beyond that I do tend to think the drugs helped these people achieve fame but not necessarily by improving or inspiring their work.  More so for the controversy in their actions to take drugs which would give them more air time in the news, etc.  Because both good and bad publicity tend to matter little in the arts world the extra air time translates into greater recognition and more people seeking their work.  Thats not to say the quality of the work is affected, but rather its simply given greater awareness by the public because of the artists fame or infamy.
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Edhelur

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Re: Drugs in Artistry
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2010, 03:19:13 AM »

Beyond that I do tend to think the drugs helped these people achieve fame but not necessarily by improving or inspiring their work.  More so for the controversy in their actions to take drugs which would give them more air time in the news, etc.  Because both good and bad publicity tend to matter little in the arts world the extra air time translates into greater recognition and more people seeking their work.  Thats not to say the quality of the work is affected, but rather its simply given greater awareness by the public because of the artists fame or infamy.

That's a good point when it comes to famous artists: many if not most 'artists' we know about get noticed for something other than (or in addition to) their talent or skills they may have I'm thinking of figures like, er, Lady Gaga and her 'weird', or Britney-who-shaved-her-head-and-flashed-underwear, or Joss Whedon, King of Geeks. What about Lindsay Lohan, who lets self harm scars show and says she's bulimic?
Drugs are just one way to get that attention.

Still, in my very very personal experience, what might be called 'altered mental states' can lead to good and bad artistry. My brother created some of his best music while stoned and/or depressed or manic. My art has been easiest to produce when I'm pretty messed up and feel like I'm overwhelmed and need to crawl out of my skin -- I can (kind of) let art do that for me. Which is not to say that I want to go back there, although taking drugs might be one of the better ways to do it.
Less personally, artists like Cobain, or the Beatles (already brought up, of course) likely would not have been able to make music like they did. Drugs can enable some to see and feel and express things that they couldn't otherwise. How about Poe? His poetry and stories wouldn't be so haunting if he didn't actually know what he was writing about (which, to be honest, is one of the problems I find in a lot of fiction these days).

Still -- I don't know if it's worth it. Brutally raw art, the kind you get the privilege of making when in such a mental state, is fine. It's probably good to get it out, and if you have the public eye and can make people understand, all the better. But drugs and mental anguish (whether former is producing latter or not) are in and of themselves not exactly great. Cobain killed himself that way, as did my brother, as have many many others, often under drugs' influences.
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Syrion

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Re: Drugs in Artistry
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2010, 12:36:04 AM »

Caffeine/theine (same stuff), alcohol (ethanol) and nicotine are common drugs which a lot of productive people use. Yet you hardly hear about that (except if someone shows up drunk at his/her work).

Trent Reznor was afraid that he lost his creativity if he quit drugs, when he finally was clean he kicked himself in the head for that since he realised his productivity/creativity boosted.
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Alrin

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Re: Drugs in Artistry
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2010, 04:39:11 AM »

As for disregarding professional achievements, particularly in the case of individuals within the arts to which you refer, that's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. The work has been produced. What matter the circumstances under which it came to be? Take the lawyer I know, for example. If he successfully argued a case on your behalf, would you like to see the result overturned because it was revealed he'd taken illegal drugs? Do you demolish the perfectly sound bridge constructed by the engineer because he was shooting speed to get through his 16 hour days? (If the answer to either of those questions is yes then I want some of the drugs you're on.)

Well... Another example is important medical research carried out through cruel, human experimentation.  In that sense I tend to disagree that the circumstances under which work has been produced matters little.

You missed my point completely. I wasn't offering approval or disapproval on the means by which an individuals work is created, but merely remarking that to disregard said work because of such is ridiculous. To use the example you've given in the context I myself provided: would you then disregard or destroy the results of such research because of the circumstance under which it came to be? Because that would essentially mean the suffering of said experiments was for nought.
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Bacchus

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Re: Drugs in Artistry
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2010, 09:19:27 AM »

Caffeine/theine (same stuff), alcohol (ethanol) and nicotine are common drugs which a lot of productive people use. Yet you hardly hear about that (except if someone shows up drunk at his/her work).

yeah, but very few artist die of a coffee overdose
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charles

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Re: Drugs in Artistry
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2010, 05:36:39 AM »

As for disregarding professional achievements, particularly in the case of individuals within the arts to which you refer, that's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. The work has been produced. What matter the circumstances under which it came to be? Take the lawyer I know, for example. If he successfully argued a case on your behalf, would you like to see the result overturned because it was revealed he'd taken illegal drugs? Do you demolish the perfectly sound bridge constructed by the engineer because he was shooting speed to get through his 16 hour days? (If the answer to either of those questions is yes then I want some of the drugs you're on.)

Well... Another example is important medical research carried out through cruel, human experimentation.  In that sense I tend to disagree that the circumstances under which work has been produced matters little.

You missed my point completely. I wasn't offering approval or disapproval on the means by which an individuals work is created, but merely remarking that to disregard said work because of such is ridiculous. To use the example you've given in the context I myself provided: would you then disregard or destroy the results of such research because of the circumstance under which it came to be? Because that would essentially mean the suffering of said experiments was for nought.

Your point was pretty much "What matter the circumstances under which it came to be?" and my answer was pretty much "I tend to disagree that the circumstances under which work has been produced matters little" so I don't quite see how I missed your point.

It's the old debate "Does the end, justify the means?" such as the old argument on the medical experiments carried out by the Natzi on Jewish subjects.  I guess a fictional example is the comic supervillian Mr. Freeze who would gladly kill a million people if it meant finding a cure to his wife's disease.

You said "I wasn't offering approval or disapproval on the means" but if you accept the results then you're effectively approving the scientist's/doctor's means and pretty much encouraging others to follow in their stead with the knowledge that even if they're charged, convicted and jailed/killed for their cruel work, then they get to sit proud that they have achieved something.

Maybe the research has found a cure that will either save a thousand people's lives or make the lives of a few thousand people more comfortable. But it's means encourages scientists to follow their collegue and sacrifice a few thousand victims to find more cures.

The suffering of the victims was already for nought benefit to the victims.
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Edhelur

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Re: Drugs in Artistry
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2010, 06:45:40 AM »

This is, of course, a thread-derail, but no matter. I would like to postulate that the end results, the knowledge, gained by Nazi and Japanese researchers/torturers during WWII do not justify the means -- but that neither do they "pretty much encourage others to follow in their stead". We know that a lot of what they did was very very wrong, in many ways, and for the foreseeable future we will continue knowing that and continue not repeating those acts.
All of that doesn't negate the information they gained that has been validated and repeated since then. Justification is not the only way by which ends may be accepted.
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Bacchus

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Re: Drugs in Artistry
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2010, 12:57:58 PM »

i don't think that Charles insinuated that...

But yeah, just because i dislike drugs, that doesn't mean i dislike all music made under the influence of
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Kikori

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Re: Drugs in Artistry
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2010, 12:36:49 AM »

Hahahahaha. I am staying out of this one.

:elf_gloop:
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charles

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Re: Drugs in Artistry
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2010, 06:45:30 AM »

i don't think that Charles insinuated that...

But yeah, just because i dislike drugs, that doesn't mean i dislike all music made under the influence of
meh, I insinuated that the circumstances under which ends are met do not always matter little.  Sometimes, they no-doubt don't mean squat, but other times...

Heck, maybe an even better example to use would be a bar of soap from Auschwitz made from human fat (Still in the Natzi realm, I know *shrug*).  The result is simply that you have a bar of pretty good soap to effectively wash your body with but the means used to create that soap are most certainly ghastly.  The previous examples have been great results from slightly shady means or great results from great horrors but this soap example shows a relatively minor result from great horrors.  Still... if the circumstances under which the soap came to be truly matter little, then there's no problem in simply using a good bar of soap to wash your body.

But yeah, in the case of music and the arts, I can't think of an example where I'd have a problem with stuff produced under the influence.  I don't really tend to believe it helps them alot with the actual production of their work but tends to be more of a note on their character that gains them publicity.
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Edhelur

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Re: Drugs in Artistry
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2010, 03:43:03 AM »

I don't really tend to believe it helps them alot with the actual production of their work but tends to be more of a note on their character that gains them publicity.

Like how some celebrities seem to be famous.. for being famous? The Paris Hilton sex tapes: Look, a semi-famous person did something and now she's really famous! The Britney Spears meltdown (although I'm not sure it was/wasn't faked): Look, a used-to-be-famous person did something crazy and now she's really famous again! Lindsey Lohan? I'm not even gonna go there.

It's like how wrestlers have gimmicks and musicians have hooks, I guess. Some people just decide to use 'think I'm sexy' or 'look I assaulted someone' or 'look I'm crazy' or 'look, drugs' .... and drugs are just as effective as anything else.
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