Author Topic: Should artists be spared from combat?  (Read 444 times)

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Offline relm1

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Should artists be spared from combat?
« on: March 26, 2020, 05:36:00 PM »
I believe that the tragic combat death of George Butterworth in the Battle of the Somme during WW1 resulted in rules saying artists of substantial merit should be exempt from combat.  Isn't that defeating the whole point?  That combat is very painful and awful?  Should the pain be fully felt by those without substantial merit?  If so, who decides what merit means?  To some, a billionaire or politician has more merit than a poor artist.  Shouldn't the whole point of war be that the cost is devastating and shared to all including artists, billionaires, scientists, nobles, philosophers, peasants, etc?

Offline Roy Bland

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2020, 07:03:58 PM »
In the United Kingdom and former USSR a lot of composers perished in combat.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2020, 01:14:18 AM »
I believe that the tragic combat death of George Butterworth in the Battle of the Somme during WW1 resulted in rules saying artists of substantial merit should be exempt from combat. 

Why would composing symphonies or writing novels have more substantial merit than working hard to provide for one's family and raising one's children?
"Visând, întrezărim prin doruri –
latente-n pulberi aurii –
păduri ce ar putea să fie
și niciodată nu vor fi."

--- Lucian Blaga

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2020, 01:20:31 AM »
I believe that the tragic combat death of George Butterworth in the Battle of the Somme during WW1 resulted in rules saying artists of substantial merit should be exempt from combat.  Isn't that defeating the whole point?  That combat is very painful and awful?  Should the pain be fully felt by those without substantial merit?  If so, who decides what merit means?  To some, a billionaire or politician has more merit than a poor artist.  Shouldn't the whole point of war be that the cost is devastating and shared to all including artists, billionaires, scientists, nobles, philosophers, peasants, etc?

Source?

Offline Jo498

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2020, 01:22:37 AM »
The nazis had a list of artists that were to stay at home to provide entertainment during the war.
But in WW I I think this would have been a moot point. Most of the young men, including the artists were overly eager to join the forces. (My grandfather (*1895 - I never met him, he died when I was a few months old) supposedly cried when as a 19 yo he was first sent home because he was too skinny, he was drafted again a year later or so and survived quite unscathed; the eastern front was not so bad in that war.)And there was also a very broad sentiment and campaigns to shame those who for some reason did not, so excluding artists etc. would not have gone too well.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2020, 01:25:46 AM by Jo498 »
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline relm1

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2020, 07:09:59 AM »
Source?

That is called "Artistic Exemption" from mandatory military service. 

Offline San Antone

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2020, 07:51:48 AM »
That is called "Artistic Exemption" from mandatory military service.

I tried googling this phrase "Artistic Exemption" with various other filters, e.g. military service, war, and found nothing.  Unless you can provide a reliable link, I think your facts are incorrect.

I also think this kind of exemption would be open to fraud.  Who decides who is an artist? 

Offline Florestan

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2020, 08:08:36 AM »
I also think this kind of exemption would be open to fraud.  Who decides who is an artist?

Especially one "of substantial merit".

I am utterly opposed to the idea that in dire times, or even in general, the life of an "artist" is worth more than that of a "John Doe". All lives are equally precious (or equally worthless).
"Visând, întrezărim prin doruri –
latente-n pulberi aurii –
păduri ce ar putea să fie
și niciodată nu vor fi."

--- Lucian Blaga

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2020, 02:49:12 PM »
I tried googling this phrase "Artistic Exemption" with various other filters, e.g. military service, war, and found nothing.  Unless you can provide a reliable link, I think your facts are incorrect.

I also think this kind of exemption would be open to fraud.  Who decides who is an artist?

Yeah, I cant find any source for this either.

Nor can I think of any example of it, not have I heard of an artist calling for it.

I think the OP is outraged by something that isn't even an issue. Or else its just some weird strawman hypothetical.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2020, 03:15:26 PM by SimonNZ »

Ratliff

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2020, 03:08:24 PM »
As far as I know "artists" were still drafted, but it was sometimes decided they could serve their country best by practicing their art, just as scientist might be sent to Los Alamos instead of a foxhole in France.

Offline steve ridgway

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2020, 10:57:01 PM »
It depends on what the society most values. If it had a flourishing and developing art with innovative artists that a significant proportion of the population really cared about and felt enriched the culture as a whole, exempting them might be regarded as beneficial for national morale.
"There is nothing new except what has been forgotten." - Marie Antoinette

Offline Florestan

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2020, 12:54:40 AM »
It depends on what the society most values. If it had a flourishing and developing art with innovative artists that a significant proportion of the population really cared about and felt enriched the culture as a whole, exempting them might be regarded as beneficial for national morale.

Even if such a society existed, I'd still disagree.
"Visând, întrezărim prin doruri –
latente-n pulberi aurii –
păduri ce ar putea să fie
și niciodată nu vor fi."

--- Lucian Blaga

Offline ritter

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2020, 01:40:43 AM »
This all sounds to me a bit like the Gottbegnadigten-Liste of Nazi Germany... ::)
ritter
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„ Kein’ Musik ist ja nicht auf Erden, die unsrer verglichen kann werden“.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2020, 02:03:29 AM »
In both world wars the British Army conscripted War Artists to record the combat. C.R.W. Nevinson was one such example (WW1). This tradition has continued and I remember a female artist being attached to the British Forces during the Falklands War.

Nevinson:
« Last Edit: March 28, 2020, 02:11:24 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline david johnson

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2020, 03:01:26 AM »
Military service - no.  Combat service - depends on the value of other service qualified for.

Offline Roy Bland

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Re: Should artists be spared from combat?
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2020, 03:49:52 PM »