Monday, September 04, 2017

Shut up, nerds!

This is as fair an encapsulation of my experience with the Hugos and Dragon Awards the last couple of years as anything I've seen.

What you like, and what is important are not the same things. What feels modern and what is progressive are not the same things. Groundbreaking art does not give us comfort; it feels uncomfortable until we get comfortable enough with it to adjust our mental schema–our worldview– to accommodate it. Good novels don't conform to us, they change us and change with us, and when they do, they should win awards.

Good books make you suffer.

That above is the opinion of somebody that was on the Shadow Clarke Jury, a selection of little gadflies that were jogging the elbows of the Clarke Award judges via the internet. That appears to be the philosophy of the mutants who vote all the Important Awards these days.

I have a contrary opinion. Good books make you happy. That's the opinion of most people, AFAIK. That's what the Dragons were meant to be about, us proles voting for the stuff we liked.

Most of the books getting awards these days are designed to be objectionable, and they do it in a very formulaic way. They simply have hateful characters beat their way through a hateful landscape and then die uselessly, accomplishing nothing, while insulting every institution of Western Civilization. Motherhood, childhood, fatherhood, marriage, God, death, life, freedom, loyalty, the more things they can shit on the better everybody says it is. These works are Challenging, you see. They make you suffer, so that you can change and grow, and not be the useless bigot that you are now.

If you want to be a -really- transgressive artist these days, just write a work that is joyous and uplifting.

The Phantom

Update: Welcome Quillette readers!


amyvanhym said...

I've been suspecting this sort of attitude explains why Stranger Things 2 was so terrible compared to the first season. Said the Duffers about making ST2: "Some of the stuff that fans had been asking for, we wanted the same stuff [...] But the point is not to give everyone what they think they want. Because I don’t think they really know what they want.”

The Phantom said...

A guy gets a hit TV show, and suddenly everybody wants to be his friend. Even people who wouldn't give him the time of day before.

Might give a feller a swelled head...