Irregardless Magazine

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Research as a Necessary Part of Creation

I’ve been helping a friend of mine with his story about addiction and mental illness. We got into a discussion on how best to represent his characters, and I told him that as long as he was developing his characters with knowledge and respect, then he should be all right.

He questioned whether this was even necessary. He’s just trying to tell a story—create art. Is that really his responsibility?

My argument was yes, absolutely.

When you create art you enter a conversation with your community, and as with any conversation you enter, you have a responsibility to know what the **** you’re talking about—when you open your mouth you’re responsible for what comes out of it.

I’ve discussed before the effects that pop culture can have on society, and these effects do not leave art immune to criticism. Creative people often misinterpret “free speech” as meaning that there can be no consequences to their creative acts, but depending on the potency of the act, the consequences can be exponentially greater.