if you can’t say anything… don’t
Gallix wrote an article at The Guardian, and so I left a comment, as is my wont. His point being something about on-line lit being dead and buried; my point being that on-line lit is this great wonderful thing with unlimited potential. And so, who is right?
Sometimes I’ll read an on-line lit story and more often than not, it goes like this “I got drunk, got stoned, fucked her and her little sister and her little brother and her mom and her dad and her goat. Goddamned goldfish got away, slimy little bastard, was hoping he’d gimme a blowjob.”
So I wonder, is that all there is to on-line lit? I got drunk, got stoned, and fucked her… Jeez, who edits that shit? Or is it…that’s what the masses want. The half-way literate reader maybe wants story after story about I got drunk stoned and fucked her… Why? If that’s what’s so wanted or needed, why not just pick one such story and read it over and over again. Or better yet, find a porno-lit site and read the same type story over and over – she was underage and I fucked her. Man, constant literary excellence there.
Nah, that’s a buncha crap. Or is it? Television is too pathetic to watch, so I read and write books. But TV is very successful, or at least it makes a lot of money. Perhaps pulp crap is exactly what the majority of viewers want. And maybe pulp crap best-selling books are exactly what most readers want. So why shouldn’t on-line lit be allowed this same privilege? – lit sites wanna be popular, and pulp crap is what people want.
Well, lemme tell yah a story. Pauletta is just some girl on my delivery route. Never even met her, just that her name’s unusual, so it stands out. Some time ago, she moved away from the apartment building where she was living. Then recently she moved back in. And last night she and a couple of friends were shot to death. All over the news of course. So when I delivered a package to her today, I knew she wouldn’t get it. Or anything else, ever. Twenty-one years old and a life snuffed out by some old lunatic who didn’t know what he was doing.
Not that it matters. Everything in life being pointless, meaningless, and of no particular use; like television, books, stories. But it matters to me. Walking atop God’s green earth with my bad knees and no cartilage, I think it’s wrong for me to look up at the sunny blue sky and those kids who were murdered can’t. I think it’s our fault. We’re responsible for whatever values and morality and social systems exist in our little world. It’s not enough to learn right and wrong, there has to be a deep understanding of the value of life, of people, individuals; of goodness, decency, how we treat one another, and why.
People will say that video games and movies full of gratuitous sex and senseless violence are a bad influence. While I wonder…why senseless? You’d think, here you have this opportunity, video games reach millions, millions of people. Why would you make them senseless? If you have this opportunity to captivate, to influence so many many people, why not be sensible, instead of senseless? TV, movies, video games reach basically everyone on the planet, so why wouldn’t they be brimming over with intelligent significant meaningfulness. Or if you’re a writer or editor, and if just one person reads your story on the internet, shouldn’t that story be the most meaningful thing you could possibly say?
Like you’d be delivering the keynote speech at the Democratic Convention, everybody in the world watching you, and you say “I got really drunk, stoned, and fucked her…” And people are like “wow, man, what a speech. I can really get something outta that.” No, that’s fucking nonsense. Why are we so surrounded by fucking nonsense?
Like video games. I can understand a simple concept like ‘escaping from reality.’ You get absorbed in the game, locked in, momentarily lose all touch with everything else. And another simple concept ‘to be heroic.’ You can do that in a video game, or vicariously in an action/adventure movie. You become, for the moment, heroic. So why wouldn’t writers go about informing readers of concepts like that. Explain to people that your very brief mortal existence has to be more than something you desperately want to escape from. Explain to people that their lives can actually be heroic, exciting, meaningful. People can, should, maybe need to do that.
And not to waste my time, yours and everyone’s by inundating us with pointless meaningless bullshit. But that every breath, step, and stroke of the pen needs to be used to make this a better place. Because it matters. Say something, tell me something I need to hear… or shut the fuck up.