Friday, October 07, 2005

I need to go link hunting

(which sadly is not like snark hunting...though damn if you type "bandersnatch" into Google and don't have the safe search on, and then put a space after "bander" you get some fucked up stuff).

But to elaborate on the post below, I need to find more stuff about Franzen. Could the modest success he enjoyed with the Corrections have gone to his head? The glimpses of gesalt I see hint that he has taken a Thoreauian "simplify" view of writing, but he also seems to crave the sort of celebrity that no writer (not even the Stephen Kings, J.K. Rowlings etc. of the world) has achieved in the past 30 years.

So this discussion is now two-fold.
1. Could Franzen be the literary world's answer to the oh-so-common-but-so-easy-for-a-music-journalist-to-write "___insert band name___ breaks from the 'indie' world, did they 'sell out'?" story? And just for fun, is J-Franz more Death Cab or Black Eyed Peas (who were, many years ago and prior to the addition of backup singer/eyecandy/apparent hunchback Fergie a group of wanna-be Tribe Called Quest type rappers)?

2. Does anyone see any chance of a writer or poet achieving the reknown or fame that say Hemingway or Fitzgerald had? My short answer: no fucking way...at least for the foreseeable future. J.K. Rowling has sold something like 300 million books...if anyone is a candidate for the "writer as well-known public figure" it's her. But there are millions who probably don't even know she's a she (that's what going by your initials in a place where if folks read it's rarely nothing more mentally taxing than US Weekly). Hell, she could probably walk down the street here in Athens and not be recognized.

And I think part of the blame is for whatever reason (because I know some of the things I'm going to name will use the overly capitalist defense: "they didn't sell") literature has less of a way to land in the laps of the masses (and it must be sought out...and because we're lazy, isn't saught out enough). Did you know Vanity Fair used to run fiction? Would a Zadie Smith excerpt or a Murakami short story increase ad sales? Maybe, maybe not...but when they come sooo close (running a medium length feature on Cormac McCarthy) why not give some fiction a shot? Maybe the New York Times Sunday edition could have more than book reviews...

Just some thoughts after an 11-hour workday

1 comment:

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