Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Not So Delicate Literary Culture

A few days back, I don't remember where, I saw someone refer to "protecting the delicate literary culture."

Let that sink in. Literary culture is delicate. Can you believe that?

No, my friends, literary culture is most definitely not delicate, nor has it ever been. Some awkward ignoramus is not going to stumble into it, knock it down, and cause irreparable damage. Quite the opposite, some ignoramus is going to want his want his monitor to be two inches higher, and so literary culture will lift our modern computer culture. That shows that literary culture is rather solid and highly resilient. What other art can double as a riser?

In seriousness, I still don't understand how literary culture is delicate and must be protected. Most literary writers do not succeed in publishing as they can't get contracts. That means that the system is not protecting them, yet they still produce good literary works. Otherwise, where would the publishers find new writers?

The people who make a space for literary culture are not the publishers but the readers. They are the one who show up to book signings, reading, and other literary events. Without the reader, there is no literary culture. Without the reader, the whole system implodes. The publishing houses go under. One is only left with writers who write and make no money with no hope of publication, which is astonishingly like today's system, only more so.

And honestly, do you think that you'll get readers by calling their pastime "delicate." "Oh, our literary form is on it's deathbed. Come, join our fun. You'll get cancer, too." That's no good way to sell books.

I'm going to be on the one who stands up for honesty here. Literary culture is not delicate. Quite the opposite, literary culture is robust, optimistic, resilient, ingenious, and filled with humor, horror, sexiness, lust, and all those fantastic things that make us human. Literary culture is humanity. It's all the best and worst parts of life smashed down into an affordable package that you can take home with you. Do you want a good deal? THAT's a good deal.

Literary culture is as delicate as the basic human condition, which is to say, literary culture is not delicate at all.