Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The way we live now...

Just a short thought today…

I was reading the New York Times Book Review, which is generally a mixture of infuriating and dull. Occasionally there is a gem, such as this Q&A with Daniel Handler.

Disappointing, overrated, just not good: What book did you feel you were supposed to like, and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

I won’t name names, but for the life of me I am mystified by the appeal of novels showing us the Way We Live Now. I am interested in the Way We Lived Then. I am interested in How Some Other People Live, and I am interested in the Way We Might Live Some Other Time. But most of all I am interested in the Way We Don’t Live Now, a book with the essential strangeness of great literature. The strange illuminates the ordinary. But somebody tell me, please, what the ordinary is supposed to illuminate.

Add "movies" to "novels" and I feel the same way. Wallowing in the ordinary seems a product of those writing seminars where you're supposed to "write what you know" which has led to an avalanche of films and books about upper middle-class dudes and the women who don't love them even those those dudes are like really chill but whatever those girls were bitches anyway. You know. "Real life stories." "Art."

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