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Mar. 16th, 2004

I was so involved in the latest issue of Ms. magazine this morning, I got on the wrong train and had to turn around. Yes, this issue is that good. Go out and get it and read it now.

From booyeah, something frightening: Everquest just turned 5. Consider the following: "Total play time for all current players in the game equals more than 184,000 years."

peril_book_club met last night. It was cozy and once again I was a negative nelly. Our hosts were most gracious! More on the results and next book will be posted in the community. Alas, my suggestion was not picked. In the discussion I brought up the word "responsibility". Is there repsonsibility in fiction? Am I wrong to think that there is? Am I just drawing the line in the wrong place here? I said something like "I think if you're going to make your narrator a hermaphrodite you have a resposibility to blahblahblah." and I can't tell if that in itself is an unreasonable statement to make, if I'm just being reactionary, or if what I really wanted to say is "I'd rather read a book about X, and this was a book about Y." Attendees who are curious about the review I quoted from, here it is.

Argh! Two of my friends have been posting interesting thoughtful posts on the same topic and both have posted them friends only. So I can't show them the synergy! Dear TWH and EH, you have alot in common (geekery)!

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
cheetahmaster
Mar. 16th, 2004 10:00 am (UTC)
In the discussion I brought up the word "responsibility". Is there repsonsibility in fiction? Am I wrong to think that there is? Am I just drawing the line in the wrong place here?

I think it mostly comes down to author's intent, really. I don't think there are certain issues that the author should, out of a sense of responsibility, handle in only a certain fashion. Someone wants to write a comedy set during the Holocaust, go for it. It may not be popular, but that's not the author's job.

I said something like "I think if you're going to make your narrator a hermaphrodite you have a resposibility to blahblahblah." and I can't tell if that in itself is an unreasonable statement to make, if I'm just being reactionary, or if what I really wanted to say is "I'd rather read a book about X, and this was a book about Y."

See, the latter I am fine with. If it wasn't your cup of tea, or if you would have liked to have seen it gone somewhere else, that's kosher.
castironskillet
Mar. 16th, 2004 10:11 am (UTC)
A great novel touching on responsibility in fiction is A Widow For One Year, by John Irving.
examorata
Mar. 16th, 2004 12:36 pm (UTC)
...which I have had sitting on my shelf for ages and haven't read yet, dangit.
dj_ango
Mar. 16th, 2004 02:18 pm (UTC)
Re: An artist's responsibility
I believe that the responsibility of an artist ends when there vision is complete. Basically, they are not to make a moral of their work, but the reader (dear gentle reader!) is where the duty lies. One can read the bible and conclude that slavery is the only basis of a God-fearing civilization. A different person may feel hermetic after the same read. Look what happened to Don Quixote. We can't blame the romances he read (Well, ... Hmm).
Now if a writer is compelled to write and present something, and they do, that's it. They are done. They shouldn't be responsible for anything else. An artist is to execute, we witness it and therefore we are responsible from there. If we read a book that changes our lives, we ought to change our life. An artist's responsibility is to render a sentiment and that is all. Edward Abbey said "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." I concur.
Moreover, if an artist develops an ill sentiment, it is still our job to see through it and not promote it. I'll never burn a book, but I will never suggest some.
It's a great question. Ideas are pinballing in my head.
snidegrrl
Mar. 19th, 2004 08:55 am (UTC)
Re: An artist's responsibility
Maybe this is why I will never be a good artist... or why I don't "get" most art. Dear god I'm turning into my father.
dj_ango
Mar. 16th, 2004 02:39 pm (UTC)
Re: An artist's responsibility
I believe that the responsibility of an artist ends when there vision is complete. Basically, they are not to make a moral of their work, but the reader (dear gentle reader!) is where the duty lies. One can read the bible and conclude that slavery is the only basis of a God-fearing civilization. A different person may feel hermetic after the same read. Look what happened to Don Quixote. We can't blame the romances he read (Well, ... Hmm).
Now if a writer is compelled to write and present something, and they do, that's it. They are done. They shouldn't be responsible for anything else. An artist is to execute, we witness it and therefore we are responsible from there. If we read a book that changes our lives, we ought to change our life. An artist's responsibility is to render a sentiment and that is all. Edward Abbey said "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." I concur.
Moreover, if an artist develops an ill sentiment, it is still our job to see through it and not promote it. I'll never burn a book, but I will never suggest some.
It's a great question. Ideas are pinballing in my head.
professorbooty
Mar. 18th, 2004 06:49 am (UTC)
...
There is responsibility in everything we undertake, but not everyone will interpret that in the same way. Where some may see their first responsibility to be the work, others may see it as the audience of that work, and still others may see it as the effect their work will have on the world. Some may eschew any external responsibility, holding "to thine own self be true" as the foremost principle of their creative work.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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