Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Careless Confessions

It's tough being a writer. Exhilarating at times, yes, but in general, writing great works of art takes time, talent, discipline and perseverance. Unless you're a celebrity. Especially a celebrity with a f*cked up past. In this case, all it takes to be a successful "author" is your desire to regurgitate your awkward private moments, drug addictions and personal failings onto the blank page. Of course these are big sellers. They're the hardcover version of the celebrity gossip magazine. Everyone loves it when the rich and famous suffer, and we allow them to get even richer by buying their crappy, tell-all books. 

Jodie Sweetin, of Full House fame, has written a memoir titled UnSweetined (insert sigh here) in which she describes her crystal meth addiction, blah, blah, blah, and Mackenzie Phillips enraptures us with tales of incest involving her and her late father, John Phillips in her memoir High on Arrival. Is this what "literature" has come to? I admit, on occasion (does every day count as "on occasion"?), I delve into the cesspool of the lowest common denominator and relish in the brain candy that is celebrity gossip. However, I counterbalance this with reading actual works of literature or non-fiction books on relevant issues and people.   

I read Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, in its original French version. There were four volumes, and it took me four years to complete it. It is, to this day, the best book I have ever read. These are the types of books where you feel Divinity is palpable, the writing is so good. Real literature allows you to soar to new heights, plumbs the depths of what it means to be human, and what binds us together in this adventure we call life. And you learn fancy, new words that make you look really smart.

I fear true literature is slowly disappearing. We are no longer capable of investing ourselves in a complex novel. We no longer have the attention span to read something that challenges us with its sublime weaving of  language. If it's not a 30-second sound bite, we're not interested.

These Hollywood types are a far cry from what I would describe as "authors". It's easy to spit out what would otherwise be the contents of a personal journal. This does not require any skill. Publishing houses are just as guilty of proliferating this garbage as those who claim to be "writers". Sadly, the only reason they do get published is because they make money. People buy this crap.

Some will say that Jodie's story might help a drug addict or Mackenzie's a survivor of incest. Bullshit. Do you honestly think there's a shortage of books out there on addiction and incest? Please. We are a society reveling in our victimhood. Poor me. Poor f*cking me. I'm reminded here of a quote from The Secret regarding our "rough" pasts and how they might affect us now and in the future: "It's called: So what?" Love it. We need to get over ourselves. Go to therapy, do what you need to do to deal with your shit and move on. And for God's sake, spare us the details.

1 comment:

Lizzy Ferland said...

I LOVE Les Misérables! One of my favorite stories ever!


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