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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Critical Thinking

(with Bruce Bethke sitting in for Kersley Fitzgerald, who's off this week)

A person who'd probably prefer not to be named writes:
"I was looking for your comments on this one, but didn't see any. Do you agree with Vox? If so, is Scribd or something like it where people who want to write should go? If Vox is right, what should be done?"
To be honest, my wife's cancer surgery was yesterday and things did not go as well as hoped, so I've had more important things on my mind than whatever it is that has Vox's boxers in a twist this week. Let me go check it out...

Oh. That. Eh.

Honestly, I think Vox doth protest too much. I do feel the big dinosaur publishing corporations would perform a great service to humanity by going extinct, the sooner the better, and agree that the editor quoted in the piece is an utter moron. Nor am I surprised by someone in Hollywood's eager interest in acquiring the rights to this so-called "intellectual property." Having lived and tried to work in Sodom by the Sea, with the exception of a few Lot family members that I'd prefer to warn, I would not shed a tear if it was wiped off the face of the Earth tomorrow by a torrential downpour of flaming brimstone.

But what Vox is doing here essentially is complaining that promiscuous cheerleaders are more popular than brainy econ majors. Big whoop.

Look, an even modestly attractive young woman who is willing to take off her clothes and either literally or vicariously share her genitals with the world will always get more attention than -- well, just about anyone else, really. It's our basic monkey nature. I'm convinced that fully 90-percent of humans are really just hairless apes, who would be perfectly content to spend the rest of their lives in cages, being fed regularly by the zookeeper and defecating whenever and wherever they felt like it, if only it meant they could also spend all their waking hours playing with their own genitals and those of their fellow cage-mates.

Ergo, when a society decides, collectively, that there no such thing as "morality" -- that there is no sexual activity too depraved to be depicted or described in explicit detail, and no p0r n ography too vile to be published and sold in the agora -- then why should we be surprised when things like The F*** List result? There is a lot of money to be made in catering to the lusts of apes! Eventually, absent any external restraints, all mass-market for-profit publishing is bound to become p0 rno grfy, of either the literal, metaphorical, or political variety.

As an aspiring writer, though, the question you need to be asking yourself is: "How does this affect me and what I want to write?" Are you truly that jealous of those who are currently leading in the race to get to the bottom of the cesspool?

I thought not.

As for what "should be done" about it: nothing. It's their company. Let them run it however they think it should be run. Someday -- (Soon, Lord, please!) -- they will find the bottom of the cesspool, and then drown in their own excrement.

A new writer-friend recently introduced me to an interesting term: "authorpreneur." The more I learn about it, the more I like it. I have become a big fan lately of scribd, smashwords, and of taking your writing straight to Kindle, and thence to the world.

This is the course of action I would recommend to anyone who is seriously interested in writing. If you truly want to reach people with your ideas, then I believe the future of thoughtful writing, intelligent discourse, and moral sensibility belongs to the authorprenuers.

On the other hand, if all you really want to do is get lots of attention from millions of hairless apes, then feel free to take your pants off and smear excrement everywhere. As tens of thousands of toddlers prove every day all around the world, doing so never fails to get you all the attention you can handle.

And then some.
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