RARA-AVIS: Re: Average readers

From: Racerick75@aol.com
Date: 15 Nov 2007

Kevin wrote:

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 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.

In a lot of my presentations at conferences, I talk about the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000. When it debuted in the late '80s, it was new, strange, and sometimes a little?dense. Joel Hodgson, who produced and starred in it, was asked by one reporter whether people would 'get' the esoteric and sometimes arcane references made by the stranded astronaut and his robot buddies who were forced to watch cheesy movies.?

Hodgson replied, "The *right* people will get it...".

What he meant was that they had decided going in who their audience was, and that they would naturally gravitate to the show. What was really interesting was that, by the second season, it was one of the highest rated shows on cable.

Barnum stated (in paraphrase here) that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

It may also be true that you can succeed by overestimating it. Sometimes people are just starving for something more than the same ol' same ol'...

Gotta go. Things to write- R

Richard Helms http://richardhelms.net THE BACK ALLEY WEBZINE New issue coming on Monday, November 19! www.backalleywebzine.com

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