Sep. 4th, 2011

thehefner: (Batman: Penguin LOL)
"Good art doesn’t and shouldn’t give me the answer. At its best it might bring you painfully into awareness of how unanswerable the question is."
— Jonathan Franzen, from his interview in today's Calgary Herald-Sun.

That is one of the most cynical goddamn things I’ve ever read. Thank you, Mr. Franzen, for perfectly encapsulating the mentality that makes it impossible for me to find any enjoyment in the art and literary world.

Do I think art should be a mirror for reality, even the ugliest and harshest bits? Fuck yes I do. But if your “at best” scenario is a crushing view of impotence and impossibility, then fuck you, give me superheroes and fairy tales and detective noir and anything else from the so-called “escapist” genres over your version of “art.”

Look, life is hard anyway, and I don’t need my art to just give me a clearer, more eloquent understanding of just HOW hard it is. Great art reminds me of why we keep going, even through the worst humanity and the universe have to offer. Dostoevsky and Shakespeare both understood these extremes, which is why they’re Fucking Dostoevsky and Motherfucking Shakespeare.

Art doesn’t and shouldn’t “give” you actual answers, he’s right about that. But great art can give you hope. And hope is the single greatest non-answer answer that we humans possess.



This is one of those times where I REALLY should just limit my response to a couple tight, punchy sentences, something that destroys Franzen's soundbite as effectively as the way he said it in the first place. But fuck that, I'm so fed up with that mentality that it just makes me want to spew Red Lantern rage, all the more so after I actually read that interview and discovered what his latest book was about:

In his latest novel Freedom, the cerulean warbler is a symbol of life's personal and political complexities, part of a sprawling plot about a liberal middle-class family imploding with the pressures of teenage rebellion, infidelity, regret and professional frustration.

... Fuck it, I'm macroing this shit. Mr. Cobblepot, your opinion?

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