Wednesday, January 09, 2013

From the sublime to the ridiculous

I watched a couple of interesting documentaries on the plane while travelling from Australia to Africa. The first on Patrick White, Australia's only writer to win a Nobel Prize for Literature. He isn't much read these days because of the dense complexity of his style but I suspect if he were writing today he would not get a look-in and would be rejected by publishers and agents alike.

It reminds me of a story a few years ago where someone sent submissions of half a dozen of Australia's greatest writers - incognito of course - and to a wo/man they were rejected as not suitable for publishing.
How times change and not necessarily for the best. Then again success and talent have never been synonymous and great writing does not necessarily get published and in this day and age, would probably not be recognised for what it was, given the poor standards in grammar over the past 20 years and the 'sound-byte' mentality of readers and writers.

From the sublime to the ridiculous I also watched something called Doom-preppers, about people in the US who believe everything is going to go to hell in a basket, for various reasons - sunspots wiping out the power grid; economic meltdown; earthquake destroying the power grid - forget the other reasons - but basically a total breakdown of society.

And their answer is to stock food and guns (of course), although one of the six interviewed chose not to have guns but was advised they should have by the assessment body????

It was all just so sad. What a way to live. Here they are in a First World Country convinced that they are in terrible danger - although I suppose with 300millions guns for 350million people they are in more danger than anyone else - and that they have to teach their children how to survive through stockpiling food, fuel, learning to shoot and kill the marauding gangs who will attack them - I mean, what a terribly sad, tragic, unnecessary way to live.

They must enjoy it and I guess it keeps them busy but what a nihilistic, fear-filled, trauma-driven way to live a life - more to the point, to force your kids to live.

I think most people would just shake their heads and pour another glass of wine. which is just what I did.


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