The OF Blog: A short, profane post about dead horses, Jerry Springer, etc.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A short, profane post about dead horses, Jerry Springer, etc.

I've been mostly offline the past week or so (a brief respite next week before a few more storms of testing and audits), so I really didn't get the chance until now to read two recent articles that were sent to me via email:  Damien Walter's article in The Guardian, "Can fantasy tell the truth?" and Mark Charan Newton's response to the escapism discussion within.  I really wish I had not read those, because frankly what underlies a lot of the arguments made in those posts (and even more in the comments) is a steaming pile of horseshit.

What I took from the original article and the response (again, as much the comments as the actual articles) is yet another establishment of a straw man against which the commentators can joust.  Maybe there should be some sort of fucking "truth commission" (pun intended) set up to investigate all these allegations and see which ones might hold water instead of the piss that some aim to take out of half-imagined others.  The literary/fantasy horse is dead, beaten to a pulp and then ground into a grinder for horse sausages for those who like the taste of (re)processed arguments.

It is really annoying to see this sort of argument coming out so vociferously from one faction of a general readership.  It just continues, with very little new being said.  Just the same old bullshit being pumped out of the literary sump pump, I guess.  What makes it worse is this growing sense that several who participate in such "debates" are what I think of as incestuous readers:  their reading tree has no branches and they keep coming back for the close kin of whatever book they read again.  Such readers (not speaking for those who like multiple genres of literature, mind you) might as well be intellectually inbred if they are reading and re-reading stories that have few narrative modes or means of viewing the world.  Reading only for one purpose, whether it be escapism or furry buggering tips, is self-limiting.   It doesn't matter if it's a literary fiction, thriller, fantasy, or BDSM roleplaying, if the reader chooses to limit herself to a very small pool of story modes, that reader might as well be the literary version of those "I like to fuck my relatives" idiots that go on The Jerry Springer Show.

Maybe this harsh, short post will rile a few.  If so, so be it.  Rather that this be my last, very irritated response to this nonsense.  Man should not live by bread alone and all that jazz.  Now to get back to alternating between the very good The Crippled God, which has a lot of interesting things to say about the human condition, Langston Hughes' poetry, Faulkner, and several others in multiple genres who, in their own idioms, have a lot to say about truth, life, struggle, sorrow, hope, despair, and peace.  Hell if I care what labels they are given; the crossbreeding of ideas from reading each of them only serves to benefit me as a person.


chris said...

I've been posting on the Guardian site for a couple of months now but no more I think. The arguments are rather 'entrenched' I feel and for me there is nothing more to be learned there. Set knee jerk responses are the norm unfortunately.
Was amused (and slightly offended) to be named as one of the 'chattering classes.'

Larry said...

Yeah, it's as if all one needs to know is the title and the byline in order to get what all will follow next. But I guess it generates visibility for that newspaper.

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