If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Wednesday 25 July 2012
Read gnomica 1-50 here!
“I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries.”
Stephen King (21 Sep 1947 – )
Now that one (unlike Gnomicon 76) is pretty funny!
In connection with our author, an article (“Should You Feel Bad About Reading Stephen King?” in the Huffington Post [17 July 2012] suggests that “many literary critics equate cultural ubiquity with lower standards. And in a general sense, they’re right.” Well, I don’t know about that at all: Homer was in his own day and still is today pretty ubiquitous culturally and hardly an example of ‘lower standards’. Ditto for Greek Tragedy, a hugely and ubiquitously popular literature not only in its own age of fifth century BCE Athens, but throughout the ancient world (as witnessed to by ancient amphitheaters from Spain to Syria and beyond), and I’d hardly call that ‘lower standards’. How about Shakespeare?
What I like about King’s comment is that he has no illusions about what he is writing and is not apologetic about it. Why should he be? Like Liberace in another era and a different context of high-brown down-sniffing, I’m sure King is crying all the way to the bank.
And I’m sure one could derive much psychic satisfaction from being published in the more recondite literary journals, invited to the more rarified university symposia, declared winner of this and that more esoteric prize. And read by just that sensitive handful of usual suspects disguising themselves as true cognoscenti. I’ve heard some of these geniuses at various meetings and seminars, talked to some of them at academic gatherings, stepped gingerly through the mined prose in which they communicate.
Now, conceivably they really are geniuses addressing an exquisite literary comprehension far beyond my pedestrian pay grade. Or I have to conclude that theirs is a language so narcissistically private that the reason I haven’t the foggiest notion regarding what they are all about is, quite simply, that there just is nothing there to understand but a jejune logorrhea consisting of words ornamentally strung together and unmoored from meaning.
Frankly, by now I’m in the mood for those fries with that literary Big Mac – and hold the sesquipedalian lexicon!