As I begin to breakdown some very basic numbers for the past year it has become apparent that, in the eleven months have already passed, I have, somehow, managed to read approximately 65 books,* purchased a little over 50,** and logged some 300 hours in various video games. In taking these numbers into account last night, I felt compelled to make some sort of dismissive comment about how this information probably reflects the life of a shut-in or one not out interacting a great deal with others or really experiencing much of anything. While such a correlation certainly can be argued and debated—I certainly am unsure how much I would deny such an association—I am abstaining from making such a statement as I for one know that I enjoyed most every moment spent in accumulating the above data*** and, for a change, do not feel as if I entirely squandered an entire year.
Oh certainly a great deal of time and opportunities were wasted away but at least an equally large chunk was spent devoted to books.
*this number includes some graphic novels and novellas so I suppose one could split hairs and make it smaller.
**this number is incomplete as I did not record all online transactions. Additionally, I would estimate that book purchases was split between 60% IRL and 40% via the internet.
***well, a good chunk of those estimated 300 hours were probably the result of a vicious hangover and/or apathy.
“The beat cannot be described—there is no language for such abysms of skanking and immemorial dub.”
—H. P. Dubcraft
(come on internet, make this one famous)
I made this close to three years ago and it never achieved the fame it deserved so here it goes a second time around.
Protomartyr - Wine of Ape
BuzzFeed will do book reviews, [Isaac Fitzgerald, newly appointed books editor] said, but he hasn’t figured out yet what form they’ll take. It won’t do negative reviews: “Why waste breath talking smack about something?” he said. “You see it in so many old media-type places, the scathing takedown rip.” Fitzgerald said people in the online books community “understand that about books, that it is something that people have worked incredibly hard on, and they respect that. The overwhelming online books community is a positive place.” (source)
Oh my, where to start with such a shortsighted statement?
I suppose, the most glaring issue is this notion that working “incredibly hard” on a project guarantees some sort of “quality” or, as Fitzgerald primarily seems to be implying, that hard works renders one immune from criticism. Sure, the lengths and efforts one may go to write a novel may be admirable, but that doesn’t mean anything about the end results and that is what Literature—note the ridiculous capital “L”—should be concerned with, the finished written work.
Who cares if a tremendous amount of “hard work” has been poured into a project? A finely polished turd is still just that, a pile of shit, and it is idiotic to tell people to just wallow in that shit and admire how hard someone worked on it.
Further, what benefit is there in only highlighting the good? For any sort of culture to grow one must study the good and the bad. To fixate only on the positive, is to ignore half of the conversation; bad books are bad, but it is just as important to highlight what makes a work bad as it is to discuss what makes a book good. One cannot grow as a reader or writer without encountering materials on both end of the spectrum.
Finally, fuck this stupid notion of “online community” or the guise of “community” as a reason to self-censor and ignore material that makes one unhappy or uncomfortable in discussing in anything less than glowing language. Wonderful! You and your friends all love each other and love everything you do, but what good does that serve? Gold stars for everyone on Goodreads means simply a proliferation of gold stars and no real gauge of what real quality might actually be. Granted, a “scathing takedown rip” may be superfluous at best and cruel for the sake of cruelness at worse, but it serves another fundamental point: a harsh reminder that wish-wash, sub-par, writing shouldn’t be tolerated in—again, the obnoxious capital—Literature. Maybe the reviewer is entirely off base and just scared of change, but, and here is the wildest thing, that “scathing takedown rip” now becomes the starting point for a wider discussion on the current state of Literature and what should, and shouldn’t, pass. A culture mired in positivity rarely brings forth anything challenging or any real growth because everyone is so focused on not rocking the boat and telling everyone they are doing a real wonderful job working real hard.
In conclusion, and adapting what I am sure will be BuzzFeed’s new meter of measuring books, I give this announcement 1 out of 5 gifs of a corgi in the 90s licking its own asshole.
And lo, when it seemed like there could be nothing worse than Facebook activism, Tumblr begat a new horde content to reblog social issues they felt deeply connected to without ever stopping to confirm source material or the relevance/accuracy of the photographs included.
Go forth mighty Tumblr warriors and usher in a new era with your righteous commentary of “this is so fucked” and “QFT”.
I have no clue and I must TYPE IN ALL CAPS.