This is ONE OF 3 responses to Vol 12 John 11 ("Skinning Skinner")...
I thought you were very eloquent and persuasive when you were "spouting off." I generally agree with what you said; however, I do take issue a bit with the view that an artist necessarily has to suffer to do his or her work. That leads to the view that artists should be made as uncomfortable as possible, that they should be given no money for their labors, that they don't need a decent place to live and work, etc.
It's been my experience that artists are just as bourgeois as the next person. They may use money to buy time instead of gross material possessions, but they would prefer not to suffer in the sense that most people mean when they say "suffering artist" -- as in "starving artist."
Doing the creative work is hard enough. Honing one's craft, keeping oneself responsive so that one can think and feel with toughness as well as heart, and doing the lonely labors draft after draft is all hard work. I don't know if I'm sweating blood or not, but I'm certainly sweating something.
How did I get onto this degression? Yeah, I think Skinner is wrong. I would prefer someone like Plato, who fears poets and their power and who would banish them from his Republic, than I would Skinner, who seems to patronize artists and confuses art with kitsch.
Yeah, down with the bum.
[Editor's note: For more thoughts about suffering artists, See Vol 13 John 10]