Friday, April 16, 2010

Reading Kids

I’ll keep this short.

I am not sure of the future, but I know what I’m seeing now: Graphic novels, video games, You Tubes and comic books; Bands that make all their money from the selling of songs to TV commercials; Stupid is rapidly becoming the new black.

But it’s good to know that in whatever form, the Old Testament still thrives in words and pictures. All good writing comes from it -- it's what has linked  humanity (white) through the ages.

(But, dear god, the action verbs in the new stuff are amazing. You can smell the sulphur vaporizing from the brimstone in every short vignette.)

From the Graphic novel, “Watchman”:

“Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout ‘Save us!"... and I'll whisper "no.’”

Compared with,

From “Moby Dick”:

“…Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord out of the Fish’s belly. But observe his prayer, and learn a weighty lesson. For as sinful as he is, Jonah does not weep and wail for direct deliverance. He feels that his dreadful punishment is just. He leaves all his deliverance to God, contenting himself with this, that spite of all his pains and pangs, he will still look towards His holy temple. And here, shipmates, is true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for punishment.”

I know which one I prefer of the two -- but I like them both. I also know that they are both types of good fiction writing -- and that are talking about the same thing with the same passion.

(Stop reading now if you don’t know what the thing is – just stop and look at something shiny -- keep moving, get the feelings out of your head while you still can and get on with your life. It’s not important.)

Graphic novels are more than fancy comic books and are capable of moving me in a great way, usually with an uncomfortable pushing. These kinds of fiction: are ideas that have been seized from mimes, made into a vivid paste of all things known but unsaid, and then smeared onto plates of air thickly – all of this a valid way of providing the appropriate poking necessary for any improper artistic communication.

That may be crap, but I like the addition of a visual prop to writing. It’s sort of like music in a way. I think that we have been using writing for the ages because we didn’t have computers when we started – it was the best we could do with the technology we had available at the time. I think Guttenberg would have included videos of god when he printed his first bible if he could have, and been happy to do it, (for people would have paid extra for it.).

It’s easier to dismiss the other popular forms of popular anti-writing. Comic books are baubles made for collecting, and video games are just an expression of the obsessive compulsiveness of youth and, really, other form of crack to keep them busy and out of their parents business.

And bands make music for pet food commercials because they need the money – it's not a crime, and sometimes the jingles are catchy.

I don’t know what the fuck You tube is yet, or Twitter for that matter. Some things are best left to the young. We will be leaving them a mess, so it's best if we give them some stuff they can call their own to play with.

The stupid thing will play itself out through genetics and natural selection.

My kids don’t read much, they never have – and if I were born when they were, I probably wouldn’t either – I would spend my time playing video games and watching free porn. But, like the eating of crappy junk food, there are seasons for everything. I hope that with age they will see the power of words, maybe not the in the way I do, but in a real way that they can then make better and all their own.

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