RARA-AVIS: The "Average" Reader, and What Should Be Done to Them

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 14 Nov 2007

Mark wrote:

> I think entertainment per se is over-rated; being entertained is a
> pretty
> passive activity. I think more highly of engagement.

Hmmm.... speaking of which, David "The Wire" Simon has been spouting off a rather memorable one-liner about that very subject in various places, regarding writing fiction.

"Fuck the average reader."

I might think he was just being arrogant, except THE WIRE is just so damn good. Yeah, it demands a little intelligence and patience from its viewers, but the effort is definitely worth it. I think I like the idea that art (whatever THAT is) asks us to reach a little. That's probably preferable to being pandered to. And ultimately more rewarding.

I should also point out Simon's not defending some sort of elitist, three people on the planet can understand it point-of-view. Quite the opposite, actually -- rather he seems to be saying not to write down to people, and that maybe "average readers" are smarter than they're given credit for.

But that's my interpretation.

The ghost of Mickey Spillane, who proudly boasted he couldn't spell
"cognac" and called his readers "customers" might differ.

Kevin Burton Smith Thrilling Detective Web Site Fall 2007 Issue New fiction from Helms, Blackmoore, Alexander, Harwood and SPILLANE!

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