Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Miss English...

I just finished reading someone else's blog belittling writers who "post when they want to" and felt slightly ashamed. Side note: if you're sick of know-it-alls who don't know anything, but are a know-it-all in a world of infinite knowledge, how do you stand yourself? But I digress. I'm very much that type of writer. I fancy myself a bit of an artist, but the real word sounds much closer to lazy. There was also some mention about long rambling posts with no real sections of scannable material and what not. To that I say poppycock.

 Poppycock I say, and I add, rubbish! I'm from a different school of writing, and from a different school of reading. I'm not saying I don't believe in paragraphs, and coherent formation of ideas, or organization, I'm saying that lately, the trend towards making language easier is a bit disturbing to me. Wait, let me back track and catch you up. Google Play Books has become one of my favorite apps on my Samsung Galaxy SII. (Yes I just name dropped my phone) One reason I've grown to love it is the public domain laws. After a copyright runs out, (yes they do that) and the author is no longer alive to care, nor has descendants who care, their works become free for all. This results in many old works being available free of charge to some publisher. Google, in its infinite giving stuff away for free knowledge, has made many of these public domain works available electronically. FOR FREE. I've been delving into many old texts and it has been a veritable delight. It has also resulted in two things.

 First, I say things now like veritable delight. I've rediscovered English words that are slowly but surely going the way of dinosaur. Such as truculent. But the second thing that I've realized is that I've had it with modern books. At least, most of the one's I've read recently. Why? Today's literature feels that scandalous or salacious content is enough to make a piece of literature art. I wholeheartedly disagree. One of my favorite books is Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. It's not without it's scandalous content (there's a vivid account of accident incest) but it doesn't rely on content alone. What pushes Ellison's book into the realm of literary art is the prose contained within his book. It's rich with symbolism, with cleverly chosen words, with vivid descriptions, in short, his book IS art.

 That dedication to writing in it's higher form seems to be lost on many popular books today, at least in my eyes. But what do I know? I'm just a guy who doesn't update his blog regularly.


Monty said...

Even though I don't read much, I does seem as though the quality of literature is on a decline. Good work on those SAT words you dropped in this post.

Jim said...

Quality literature isn't necessarily on the decline. In literature, like in all art, it's only quality art that survives the test of time. There was a lot of trash coming out around the same time as Ellison, but why would we know about it?