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08 May 2017

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Warning: Incoming Rant

I have seen that Wired article on George R R Martin everywhere, and every time I see it linked I get a little angrier.

Believe me, I *understand* "Death of the Author" criticism (better, I daresay, than a lot of those who glibly toss the phrase around). I *get* the idea that the author only is permitted to affect the work before it is published, and cannot determine the reader's interpretation or appreciation of it.

But...

I am so so so SICK of this bizarre pseudo-Platonic understanding of a "story" as this independent entity that is just floating around in the ether somewhere, and the author grabs a bit of it, and a television show another bit, and the "real" story is that which is "created" in the minds of those who "consume" it (dear God in Heaven, I cannot speak as to how much I HATE the view of a reader/listener/viewer of art as a "consumer").

No. A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones "belongs" to MARTIN. He created it. The television show is an interpretation of MARTIN's story. The story that exists in the heads of readers of the books, viewers of the show, are interpretations (or interpretations of interpretations) of MARTIN's story.

That doesn't mean they aren't good, or valid, or whatever. That doesn't mean that the writers of the TV show don't have the "right" to diverge from the books. That doesn't mean that fans don't have the "right" to create their own endings or side stories or fan-porn of Daenerys having dragon-sex or whatever. And that doesn't mean that Martin doesn't have the "right" to take his own sweet time, or never finish the books at all, or sell off the legal "rights" to his creation.

But stop acting like "Westeros" and the people (and beings) thereof is a real entity, independent of George Martin's imagination, talent, and industry. It isn't. It's HIS.

And no amount of entitled sophistic fan-geekery will make it YOURS, Emily Dreyfuss. So stop pretending.

Here endeth the rant.

Oh, and I didn't particularly care for DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY EITHER. Or David Effing Brooks.

Harumph.

Hapax, dear Hapax,
Well, here's the time for a bit of fessing up. I didn't actually read that whole George R. R. Martin article. He's just one of those authors about whom I always include news, because he's one of those authors a lot of people seem to care a lot about. (I read the first book in the series and thought, someday, if I had a LOT of extra time, I'd read more...so far I'm still waiting to have extra time; and I'm not at all interested in the TV series.) I just kind of generally scanned it and thought, yup, the show has outpaced the book, there's TV spinoffs now, that's sufficiently newsy. But give it a close read I did not.

I find your take on the reader/listener/viewer as consumer stuff fascinating, since I spend a lot of time beating myself up for being what I consider to be a HUGE consumer, of books and nonfiction and certainly of TV. I totally don't think I'm doing any creating by reading or watching it. I've even written whole reference books ABOUT other books and even that made me well aware that I am only a creative parasite. But I'm trying to be a creative parasite who helps other readers most productively use their consumption time. At least that's what I tell myself to get to sleep at night.

All of that said, I think most fans of either the books or the show or both would really prefer that Martin himself a. be involved with the creation of new TV material, and b. finish the books in a timely manner. That indicates to me that the story is most clearly his. What shall I call that? The "accept no substitute" clause?

Also, your phrase "entitled sophistic fan-geekery"? I'm totally going to rip that off and use it somewhere. You do see a lot of articles like this on all sorts of subjects and authors, after all, so that will be very handy. Thank you.

Yeah, "Devil in the White City." To me it careened between really disturbing graphic violent bits, and totally boring architectural bits. At least that's the way I remember it. Every time yet another article popped up about how it was such a crowd-pleaser and that everyone loved it, I thought, who loves this book and why? I never got it, I'll admit that too.

Lots of fessing up going on here tonight! While I'm at it let me go on record as saying Steven Levitt's and Stephen Dubner's book "Freakonomics" was total lazy hackwork and not worth 10% of the interest it garnered.

Ah. I feel better. I think that's it. Except, oh yeah, David Effing Brooks. Thomas Sodding Friedman. Don't get me started.

I didn't care for Devil in the White City but I would go see a movie based on it.

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