Free market enthusiasts like to tout the idea of “creative destruction,” the broad means by which, it is theorized, companies and ideas that are old or weak will fall to the wayside and new and better ideas will take their place.* In practice this idea falls down all the time, but at the moment I’m more interested in its positive phoenix-like connotations: from the ashes will arise something new. Something better.
This is not the Megan Cox Gurdon entry you think it is. She’s a symptom, that’s all.
I confess. I haven’t read her stupid article before today. I’m not saying it’s stupid because of her perspective, which I suspect no one has any real problem with – i.e. we want to be good parents raising good and (mentally) healthy kids. Nope, it’s stupid for statements such as this:
Yet it is also possible—indeed, likely—that books focusing on pathologies help normalize them and, in the case of self-harm, may even spread their plausibility and likelihood to young people who might otherwise never have imagined such extreme measures.
Look, I’m all for scaring kids with YA lit (joke! I joke!) but scaring parents with what sounds like good ol’ common sense and a set of blinders two feet tall? I draw the line. I guess what I’m saying is that I’d like to see some citations here. Sure – it does sound likely. What’s that thing about correlation and causality? (more…)
Stay away from monoculture.
First up, OpenLibrary.org, for your reading pleasure. I presume, given the fact that you’re reading this, that you have access to the Internet.
Then again, not everyone has access to a library, and actual structures are useful – not just for connecting and keeping people cool during grossly hot and wet Chicago summers. Thus, Philip Pullman.
Then again, Philip Pullman would say that. So would Neil Gaiman. They’re authors. They’ve got a vested interest in having their books read.
I’m going to fess up before the rhetorical angle feels too overwrought – it’s not just about Art per se. The problem is that A R T is a very big word that encompasses a lot of meanings, and you and I might both be using the word without saying the same thing (for politically-laden giggles, venture over to Scalzi to see a similar conversation, this one hinging on the meaning of “nihilist”). I’m not going to get into what the various definitions of Art might be, the thing that I’m focusing on, the concept that’s buried in the concept of Art, is standards. (more…)