Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Does Fiction Matter?

There's a war between the pragmatic and the artistic, and it blinds people to each quality.

The beauty of good computer code isn't diminished OR enhanced by the fact that people will pay for it, and that it results in useful things.

The beauty of good fiction has nothing to do with its practicality or its popularity. Neither being a bestseller or an underground cult favorite means anything. They may indicate its quality, or they may not.

The pathos of sacrifice: I don't know about this one. There is a beauty and maybe an admirability to sacrifice, but it doesn't give a person a free pass on the quality of what they would have created had they not sacrificed.

Does any of it matter? I don't know. I do know this:

If it helps get you through the day to believe that engineers or programmers are heroic and what they do matters and improves the world, you should believe it.

If it helps your sense of loss to believe that the pathos, dignity or morality of your sacrifice trumps what you would have done, and that that matters, then believe it.

If it helps to think that fiction writers are engaged in a heroic struggle, and that the beauty of story and language matters and that art improves the world, then believe it.

10. Don't expect much sympathy. After all, you did just get naked and hurl yourself into a brick wall. No one will feel bad for your broken bones, your bleeding head, or your separated spine. Doctors will actually be mad at you.

11. Also, if you are poor, no one will feel bad that you are poor. Instead of working, you spent your entire day hurling yourself naked at a brick wall and then recovering from this. What is wrong with you?

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