Upbeat Cynicism

what do you mean i lost my mind?

Quote of the day

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For as long as I’ve been involved in it, Western fiction has been under siege. In 1983, the historian laureate of New Mexico, Marc Simmons, addressed a convention of western novelists who were wrestling with literary rejection and deepening isolation from the social mainstream.

Dr. Simmons, one of this nation’s finest historians, described certain ideas that were ramifying through society, and how they were afflicting western fiction. I believe that ideas have consequences, even among people who have never heard them expressed, and Simmons’ analysis holds true today. I quote from the Dallas Morning News, which recognized the importance of the address, and covered it at remarkable length:

“The reigning fashion in literature today…is that known as naturalism. Its chief aim is to picture the man in the street as he is, giving emphasis to the seamy side of life and to the trivial and petty part of human nature.

“There is little or nothing to uplift the spirit in naturalistic writing, for in the professed interest of clinically recording human behavior, authors of thus school accept as an article of faith that we are all hollow men– ineffectual, uncertain, insecure, anciety-ridden, confused.

“More than that, these authors believe that human affairs are inexorably governed by outside forces over which we have no control. In other words, each man and woman is like a cork tossing down a mountain stream, pushed this way and that by capricious current.”

— Richard Wheeler, Quoting Dr. Marc Simmons, sounding an awful lot like Ayn Rand. Read the rest of the post.

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Written by [IMH]

20 January 2006 at 11:59 pm

Posted in General

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  1. That may be part of the reason some editors dislike genre fiction. Genre fiction can be junk, just like anything else. But if it’s good, it’s good, and the genre aspect is secondary. Is “Rosemary’s Baby” a horror movie? Maybe, but I like it, even though I tend to avoid horror movies. We might say the woman is trapped by fate, but she fights it; it sure doesn’t look like naturalism. The husband is also making choices, but doesn’t seem to ever struggle about whether to make the ones he does.

    David M. Brown

    21 January 2006 at 9:12 am

  2. Well, as it was based on a book by Ira Levin, whose nearly every book is superior in some way or another, they would have had to try like hell to ruin the movie. I, personally, don’t like it, but I almost never like Polanski’s work, excepting Death and the Maiden, which I like but don’t love.

    Ian

    21 January 2006 at 11:47 am


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Quote of the day

with 2 comments

For as long as I’ve been involved in it, Western fiction has been under siege. In 1983, the historian laureate of New Mexico, Marc Simmons, addressed a convention of western novelists who were wrestling with literary rejection and deepening isolation from the social mainstream.

Dr. Simmons, one of this nation’s finest historians, described certain ideas that were ramifying through society, and how they were afflicting western fiction. I believe that ideas have consequences, even among people who have never heard them expressed, and Simmons’ analysis holds true today. I quote from the Dallas Morning News, which recognized the importance of the address, and covered it at remarkable length:

“The reigning fashion in literature today…is that known as naturalism. Its chief aim is to picture the man in the street as he is, giving emphasis to the seamy side of life and to the trivial and petty part of human nature.

“There is little or nothing to uplift the spirit in naturalistic writing, for in the professed interest of clinically recording human behavior, authors of thus school accept as an article of faith that we are all hollow men– ineffectual, uncertain, insecure, anciety-ridden, confused.

“More than that, these authors believe that human affairs are inexorably governed by outside forces over which we have no control. In other words, each man and woman is like a cork tossing down a mountain stream, pushed this way and that by capricious current.”

— Richard Wheeler, Quoting Dr. Marc Simmons, sounding an awful lot like Ayn Rand. Read the rest of the post.

Written by [IMH]

20 January 2006 at 11:59 pm

Posted in General

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. That may be part of the reason some editors dislike genre fiction. Genre fiction can be junk, just like anything else. But if it’s good, it’s good, and the genre aspect is secondary. Is “Rosemary’s Baby” a horror movie? Maybe, but I like it, even though I tend to avoid horror movies. We might say the woman is trapped by fate, but she fights it; it sure doesn’t look like naturalism. The husband is also making choices, but doesn’t seem to ever struggle about whether to make the ones he does.

    David M. Brown

    21 January 2006 at 9:12 am

  2. Well, as it was based on a book by Ira Levin, whose nearly every book is superior in some way or another, they would have had to try like hell to ruin the movie. I, personally, don’t like it, but I almost never like Polanski’s work, excepting Death and the Maiden, which I like but don’t love.

    Ian

    21 January 2006 at 11:47 am


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