Does this blog predict the future?

14 Jun


As though high-fived by fortune and sponge-bathed with irony, my gripe about the literary elite has just played out spectacularly in Australia. Unless Hemingway or Hunter S. Thompson is involved, writers’ fights aren’t usually particularly zealous, but this got pretty close to thrilling; for me, anyway.

Peter Carey, who I actually wrote my honours essay on, used his closing speech at the Sydney Writers Festival to lament the decline in reading of serious, literary novels in favour of popular fiction. “We are getting dumber every day. We are really literally forgetting how to read” he complained. Popular literature, it seems, will lead to the downfall of society. I thought TV/internet/computer games were supposed to do that?

Bryce Courtenay, unsurprisingly offended by this dig at popular lit, retorted “there’s the assumption that just because you’re a literary writer therefore you are writing something of importance, of interest or entertainment or education or ability. It’s absolute crap.” I know Bryce has lived in Australia for decades, but this quote has more zing if read in a South African accent. He also called Carey’s thoughts “boring” and “bullshit”. Awesome.

So, with a small pat on my own back, I say: point proven.


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