Re: RARA-AVIS: Nag, Nag, Nag Noir

From: jacquesdebierue (
Date: 22 Jul 2009

  • Next message: Jeff Vorzimmer: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Nag, Nag, Nag Noir"

    --- In, Mark Sullivan <DJ-Anonyme@...> wrote: There's the difference, not what is written, but what is no longer filtered. There are now so many cheap and alternative distribution systems in place that much that never would have seen the light of day is now out there in one form or another. Of course, the old system wasn't perfect and good things were sometimes filtered -- we all know the story of a Gold Medal editor telling Willeford to stop submitting his work because he would never be published (except unknowingly). And the new system isn't all bad -- didn't Dave get his start by self-publishing the novel that became Fast Lane?
    > Still, I'm guessing the DIY process has also led to the appearance of a lot of material that should have been kept in the dark. I've had mostly good luck with small presses, probably due to most of my selections being largely based on recommendations from here. But if the easy internet distribution of music (I'm not implying that making available is anywhere near the same as finding an audience for what is available) is any indication, there's a lot of crap along with the gems.

    The old question of quantity vs. quality. But has it ever not been so? Go to a Salvation Army store, one of those where they have boxes and boxes of old books, and look through them... most of the stuff that sold in the forties, fifties and sixties (those boxes are full of the stuff) is mostly rubbish. Rubbish that got published in hardcover by well-known publishers, not obscure self-published stuff.

    >As for why I'm so pissed, although I'd claim it's more boredom from reading the same sweeping generalizations over and over.<

    Most people speak in clichés. That's fine. But when you write in clichés, somehow it's worse, much worse. Something about the words on paper. And yes, lack of analysis and originality. Also lack of imagination and lack of impudence. A desire to be cool on the page without the need to have cool thoughts...

    Has it ever been otherwise, though? Statistically, how many great writers (relative to population) appear per generation? I bet it's pretty stable, no matter how much trash gets published or how many weak efforts are touted by commerce. In the US, this generation is led by Cormac McCarthy, Chuck Palahnyuk and a few others. Not that many. Because few people are original. The same is true in music and the other arts. The same is true in the field of inventions? Something on the order of the internal combustion engine gets invented every _several_ (or many) generations.

    What I don't like about Kevin's rhetoric is that it would lead to throwing out talented practitioners who have not invented a genre or a subgenre but till and cultivate their own parcel and do so exceedingly well. When do we decide that a genre is exhausted, and who decides it? The PI novel, for example. As long as some guy somewhere can write an excellent PI novel, the genre will be alive.

    I realize I got somewhat off-track. To be continued.


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