In her memoir, published last month, actress Tippi Hedren, who has appeared in films such as The Birds (1963) and A Countess from Hong Kong (1967), recounted her ordeal as the object of director Alfred Hitchcock’s obsession and the sexual harassment she suffered when he was directing her in his films.
I am a fan of Hitchcock, whose mastery of suspense, built up with minimal effects, is inimitable. Now that he has been outed as a sexual predator, does the revelation diminish my enjoyment of his work? Should artistic merit be coloured by moral judgment?
Politicians Qin Hui (1091-1155), Cai Jing (1047-1126) and Yan Song (1480-1567) were among the most reprehensible villains in Chinese history, but they were also masters in the art of calligraphy. Taken on their own, their calligraphic works could well be placed among the greats, but because of who they were, connoisseurs and collectors over the centuries have been reluctant to recognise the excellence of their works.
When Qin was not bringing China down as the corrupt, tyrannical and devious prime minister of the Song dynasty, and causing the deaths of upright men such as Yue Fei, he was working wonders with his brush. The writing he used for his official correspondences soon became the standard font for government business across the country. Some scholars even claim he invented the popular Songti (“Song dynasty font”), which is widely used in print and computers.