"The first version on the breaking news story on the BBC News website carried the headline: ‘Talented but flawed producer Phil Spector dies aged 81.’ The BBC said the headline ‘did not meet our editorial standards.’ The text was quickly changed to: ‘Pop producer jailed for murder dies at 81.’ — BBC, 1/18/21

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Separate the art from the artist, I always say. Human beings are very complicated, after all. Did you know that madness and genius often go hand-in-hand?

Why, yes, I am a white man. How did you know that just by reading this internet comment?

But it’s just a fact that a lot of great men — oh, did I say men? Sorry, I meant artists — are deeply troubled individuals. One might say flawed but talented. That’s because they must mine that pain for their art.

Sometimes, they need to mine someone else’s pain, usually a woman’s. That role used to be called a muse, but now it’s usually a wife or girlfriend or a girlfriend’s daughter who becomes a wife. It’s complicated.

I hear you. It’s not really super-healthy. But think of it this way — if you’re going to be abused, wouldn’t you rather it be in the service of furthering a great music or film career? I’d be flattered. Art is immortal. People aren’t!

Besides, the artist served his time. Or didn’t, depending on the scenario. I can’t remember the outcomes for all the great artists who have committed crimes because there are many. Besides, if you’re a liberal, that means you believe in redemption, doesn’t it? I see you like to talk the talk, but not walk the walk. Interesting — that says a lot about you as a person. I guess we know which of us is more forgiving.

Do you think Picasso was a great artist? Of course you do! Everyone does. Well, it just might shock you to learn that he was a real jerk to the ladies. He abused four wives, had lots of mistresses, and cheated on his pregnant wife. But I bet you still wrote your 11th-grade art history paper on Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. See, I was right! Totally invalidates your argument.

Besides, it’s really our gun culture that’s to blame. Maybe if we didn’t idolize guns so much, that artist wouldn’t have bought one and then shot that woman. We as a society practically forced him to pull the trigger, so he’s as much of a victim as she is. It really makes you think.

What I’m saying is I don’t condone his actions. But you know he had a bad childhood and issues with addiction. And maybe a head injury from a car accident. Or his wife was brutally murdered by a serial killer. Honestly, these creative types have a choose-your-own-adventure selection of traumas themselves! It’s no surprise they’re big messes. And there’s no excuse for that, but at least in return, he gave the world some great art. That seems like a fair exchange to me!

Now you’re just being tiresome. He was too busy creating art to get psychological help. Yes, his obituary might have glossed over his crimes a bit, but the man is dead, for Pete’s sake! And he paid a steep price during his lifetime. Bitter people were always trying to cancel him.

What’s your point about him winning an EGOT? When he accepted that last award, he was 75 and he thanked his 27-year-old fifth wife, but there was a lot of pain on the inside. I could just tell. How? I’m an empath. It’s just a gift I have.

Look, I’m a white man so I just get other white men in a way that you, not a white man, just can’t understand. I also play guitar in a Steely Dan cover band, so I think I know a little something about being an artist. Again, I’m not saying that abuse should be excused. I’m just saying that suffering makes for great art! Let’s keep the artist separate from the art, shall we? It’s just not fair to ask them all to be Paul McCartney.