Thursday, February 13, 2014

Yall Just Jealous

Via io9

io9 quotes from a longer Salon article about reading, elitism, and intellectual insecurity.

Intellectual insecurity is, alas, a pervasive problem in the literary world. You can find it among fans of easy-to-read commercial fiction who insist (on very little evidence) that the higher-brow stuff is uniformly fraudulent and dull, and you can find it among those mandarin bibliophiles who dismiss whole genres (on equally thin evidence) out of hand. One of the favorite gambits of people secretly uncertain about their own taste is identifying some popular book of incontestably lower quality than their own favorites and then running all over the Internet posting extravagant takedowns of it and taunting its fans. Yeah, I'm not crazy about "Fifty Shades of Grey," either, but I'm not going to invest that much energy in proclaiming this sentiment to the world. To do so suggests you're less interested in championing good writing than you are in grabbing any chance to feel superior to somebody else.

[This happens because] a teacher, a parent, a romantic partner, a friend, a roommate, even a co-worker has made them feel ashamed over a book or genre of books they enjoy or admire. They were told to put away the comics or teased for de-stressing with a romance novel on coffee break. Or, conversely, they might dream of being included in some tony, brainy (and possibly entirely imaginary) community of letters while at the same time worrying that they won't make the grade. There are those whose fantasies of leading a "literary" life largely involve having their own superior discrimination and erudition admired by other superior minds. The result of all this baggage is a preposterous, resentful pecking order in which readers get way too much pleasure out of pissing on other readers' preferences and/or jumping, on the slightest pretext, to the conclusion that their own are being ridiculed.

Basically I call it the "Comfortable with your own Manhood" argument of reading. Now, excuse me while I go turn on Lip Gloss my Lil Mama and eat some milk chocolate.

2 comments:

whkattk said...

As kids, my siblings and I were not permitted to have comic books of any kind. Today, I'm the only one who reads anything.

JamTheCat said...

To me, a book is literature, no matter what genre, shape or form it takes -- comic, SF, romance, mystery, erotica, you name it. I love Tolstoy, Asimov, James M Cain, Clifford Simak...they write, I read, all else is superfluous bullshit put out by twits who want to control their worlds by controlling yours.