This week I jumped into a discussion on another blog, Daniel Green's "Reading Experience," on the post "Publish or Perish.) (See www.noggs,typepad.com/the_reading_experience)
On matters of literature, Green is my ideological opposite. He has a selfish view of literature-- if he had his wish the art would belong to him alone. The idea of reaching the masses is anathema to him.
He's advocated the polite kind of
of gentle words
and stripped-down verse
no rhythmn of rumbling building energy
of shouted unpleasantries
that shake the listener's spine--
no rhyme or euphonious line--
Not poetry at all.
And so he's far distant from the long ago literary performer who was the inspiration for THIS blog, Will Shakespeare.
THE QUESTION was about Ray Carver, and whether the art belongs to the artist, or to the conglomerate system of literary bureaucrats and skyscraper offices that bought it.
It's strictly a question of control. Amazing to me is how writers like Daniel Green are so eager to cede control to the hierarchs.
The irony is that people today applaud themselves for their non-conformity, yet are the most conformist generation of the most regulated and conformist society in history.
This subservient attitude is bad for literature and art.
An eye-opener for me was when I researched the original documents regarding "Shakspere," to understand the actual person.
His mentality was 180 degrees opposite that of writers today. With his writing itself he was restricted by no one. (He couldn't go too far with ideas against the Crown, of course.)
This man-- he was only a man; a roustabout actor-- felt free, as writers today are NOT free, to play with words, grammar, spelling. He wasn't a product of the Academy. There were no dictionaries. No editors as we know them. He was as much, or more, an artist of verbal language as of the written kind. His words and grammar were often made up on the spot. (He was much like a couple clown actor street writers I know.) This character Shakspere would never, NEVER, fit into today's hyperregulated system of literature.
Literary people today want stylistic standardization because they're creatures of the precision and standardization of the Machine Age introduced with Industrial Capitalism. The artisan exchanged for the assembly line.
Do we really need the standardization of literature? Which means, of our minds?
Well, to be plugged into proper jobs in this institutional bureaucracy or that one, that's why.
But what has this to do with art?
WHAT HAS THIS TO DO WITH ART???
Sure, Shakespeare was a genius, we say now. Yea, sure.
But in a way he wasn't a genius at all.
He was a scrambling boozing shitting struggling-to-survive-and-have-fun-while-doing-it character. He had fun, and today, hearing his words, seeing his plays, we have fun also.
Were Blake and Van Gogh geniuses?
Or were they not eccentrics of original vision?
What fun is there in foillowing the crowd?
Better to break the rules, snub the regulators, the school marms, the high priests of culture to step eagerly into the unknown.