Summer Solstice 2020
This ship has sailed!
The Book Reports section of my website is now officially closed, and joyfully so. I am much more a writer than a reviewer of books, even though book reviews do have their place — just not on the Internet!
The wave upon wave upon wave of bookshelf reprisals is not ebbing anytime soon. Which is great — for Great Books! The high tide of Great Books is beginning to surge upon the shores of our not-too-vast human knowledge. My essay, Censorship, in Tales From My Times, pretty much says it all about the purging of intellect through intolerance. I wonder, at times, if this book-banning is a slick marketing strategy of the cynical hucksters.
I hold hope, abundant hope, for the future of fine fiction, and even non-fiction. The market system is currently creating a demand for Literary Genius that shall be historic! Even history, accurate and profound, is, at long last, beginning to make a comeback, after decades of moldy mumbo-jumbo pretending to be even moderately coherent.
Books are meant to inform and entertain, hopefully and happily both at the same time, all through a marvelous sense of words coming to life. After the past 30 years of a ridiculous retrograde to the dark ages of written expression (which, I know, gives the Dark Ages a very bad image), there is currently afoot the ping to that pong. The real funeral pyre is for all of those dreadful duds of didactic fiction, the message-is-the-meaning lore that’s a bore!
Real revolt is taking place, quietly but inexorably, against the moron-mass-media created mania for that New-Age-Allegory, the manufactured craze-to-connect-with-each-other, that profit-bilking fleecing of the Sheeple — that foisted upon us, one and all, the demise of a free-market Bookstore, or even a free-market Book!
The New Puritanism of the Politically Correct dragged out that beloved literary subtlety of the whack-on-the-head symbolism of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Yes sirree, and yes ma’am, the New Puritans were out to annihilate any sign of culture they did not create. And since those dullards do not create anything, except claptrap and phoney-tripe morality, the dawn of a new era of the written word is breaking, like the sun of sanity, upon us.
Writing has been infested by frauds since the Gutenberg Bible first got ripped off by the guy who financed it. I even wrote an essay, Behind the Mask, on this one! In all honesty, I have to say that the “printed” written word — once more powerful than the sword — has been dulled to the non-point where it resembles a meat cleaver.
Perhaps the over- “education” of the youths of America led to this farcical flop among the process once known as Thought. The road of analytical thinking has been larded up with PhD people who cannot think in clear, logical, direct opinions. Firstly, they lack opinions. Maybe, at one time, at birth, this child did form original ideas, but, a bizarre thing happened on its way to adulthood. A perfectly natural thought flow became:
The hedge-and-dodge-and-qualify-and-water-down-and-befuddle-and-obfuscate-and-digress-and-equivocate-and-avoid-a-judgement-but-make-sure-you-say-the-accepted-words-or-you-will-be-judged-and-then-you-simply-will-no-longer-exist. But you must exist! Did you not just type-and-post-it-and-everyone-will-agree-with-me-because-we-are-all-in-this-together. AREN’T WE??!!!!!
No. We are not.
The actual verbal stating of an honest opinion, no matter what it is — has been strangled by the advanced University Degrees of meaningless diatribe. To read the Wrong Book, much less like it! — takes on the punitive moral weight of the slaughter of the innocent.
The reading of literature, the study of literature, the teaching of literature —have been abysmally butchered out there in the Public Square. The private domain, however, the Inner Sanctum, is still safe, at least it was the last time I entered one. Why, I am sitting in one right now, thinking, writing, typing, drinking lemonade, and making sense out of chaos!
Avast! Ahoy! All those lost at sea!
Enjoy your books and your bookshelves!
I’ve just had newer and larger ones built for myself! My more recently purchased books, along with some vintage treasures, are all boxed up. They’re waiting to sail into the port of my precious new home! There, they shall live in freedom and in safety!
The latest ritualist purging of bookshelves is nothing compared to what Priggish Professors of the New Puritanism have been doing for decades to the immortal writers of Western Civilization. I remember when — in the long ago — Shakespeare and his merry men had bollocks!
Maybe someone can write a Self-Help book and donate it, for a tax-write-off, to the deep and meaningful and mind-numbing “nuanced” Professors of Lit who are so out of it, they no longer comprehend the glory of Shakespeare, the sardonic selfishness of Shaw, the hilarity of Nabokov or the non-womb-y but gutsy emotions of John Steinbeck.
I try to look at writing as an exercise in thought, but I engage a whole lot more in passion and in the precision of sensual flights on gossamer wings. My own thoughts are not provoking until they get a rise out of me! How else could they possibly do the same for anyone else?
This ship long ago sailed on cerebral composition!
I know the ropes of good writing and I’ve taught the ropes of literature and writing.
The cut of my jib is prose and passion and fact in fine literature. I vow to deliver a broadside to whoever tries to deny me space for freedom of the pen!
And — I give a wide berth to phonies and frauds — because from stem to stern, the art of writing is the groundswell of the here and now!