Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Dumbifying of America

Many consider the Jonathan Franzen appearance, on the front cover of this weeks Time Magazine, a portent to the new trend in literature and a departure from specialization. Will cultural enterprise acknowledge the movement, or will they simply dismiss the anticipation of Freedom as insignificant hype in order to continue pandering to the trite formulas of mediocrity? One must be optimistic in believing the time has come today for the industry to begin catering to what is necessary for the intellectual strength of our society, and not continue to fuel what they believe drives the purchasing demands of the American consumer.

It appears through my observations that the people are longing for enlightenment, and are starved for substantive entertainment. They've grown tired of sitting at home, clicking through channels, and finding nothing of interest to view. They've become pessimistic in the industry's ability to produce entertainment beyond projects surrounding twenty something males obsessing with potty humor- "Dude! You just said balls!"

Even when a phenom like Twilight unnaturally occurs, the industry plagiarizes the concept like hip hop samplers and claim the creations as there own. I'm sure Bram Stoker is turning in his grave with the tedious adoptions of the plots involving girl meets vampire, girl and vampire fall in love, vampire becomes chivalrous of girl.

Also- this just in- the people distinguish political pungent spin, mad ad hype, and corporate executive perjury as untruths fabricated to endorse self served agendas, and see no reason why they can't do the same. Is this the type of leadership that truly serves America? The obtainment of avarice at any price is considered offensive to the values of the common man. Most Americans acknowledge this and have been screaming for truth, sensibility, and quality in literature for way too long. Trust me- if you publish quality, they will read!

We must put an end to the Dumbifying of America. The trend suggests our cultural providers are out of touch with their markets. With all of the mediums available for the common man's leisurely entertainment, why are the efforts of so many talented new writers subjected to restriction and denial. I was told to keep faith with the industry, and be confident it will seek appealing craftsmanship. However, the redundant task of submission to deaf ears inevitably leads me to uncertainty. It is why so many have conceded and are attempting to market their projects on their own.

I feel, unfortunately, that their success will eventually topple the current structure of the industry. This is also a condition that plagues the record industry. Some say that the downfall is an inevitable condition of the Internet. I can only suggest that modern history has taught us that the rewards of progress are reaped by those that adapt. Think outside the box; the times they are a changin'!

Good literature evokes the reader with demonstrable theme development. Publishers should be excited to find the core elements of this in every project and want to contribute to the enhancement. I long for a Maxwell Perkins to help edit my works and provide a collaboration that will carry the reader on a fantastic journey. The protagonist does not have to be a skilled sleuth, cagey spy, or boy wizard. The common man does not need to always live vicariously in these characters; they need to be reminded that they are the true champions in America. Their voice is found in the stories of their lives.

This is the goal I had in mind when I wrote Benson's House. Soon the story will be revealed.

Next week I will profile one of the influences in my book, who is also one of the most influential architects to the music that became Rock 'n' Roll- The Wizard of Menlo Park!

The line it is drawn- the curse it is cast
The slow one now will later be fast
As the present now will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin'
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a changin'

Bob Dylan

1 comment:

  1. Just found your blog from Galley Cat. Interesting post, I like your take on the dumbifying of taste.
    Personally, I think it goes beyond books and television and music all the way to people's attitudes about their time: they've forgotten how to enjoy something that isn't prepackaged and instant. They choose the least difficult option in their own lives, and that pervades to their reality tv shows and mass market paperbacks. I think it goes to a results-based educational system that takes away the joy of learning in favor of a letter grade and a proper 'fill in the blank'.
    I can't believe at my age that I still get flack about 'reading too much' by friends who think an episode of American Idol is fine art. So maybe it needs to go back to schools to encourage reading again (revising current curriculum standards to explore newer lit) and then somehow exposing the world to better books!
    Right now I'm reading Grossman's Everything Flows about Siberian labor camps and think it should be required reading. Let's give Anne Frank a semester off and go somewhere that lets people see more.