03 August 2012

Seek Bliss You Self-Important Tit; Or, Popcorn is Good, Too.



This Not Review is about a freebie I stumbled across on Amazon, a book called Clockwork Blue that if I’m being honest I wouldn’t have picked up if it hadn’t been free. It’s an alternate history fantasy romance about the intervention of pixies in the Napoleonic Wars, or more accurately in the time leading up to the Napoleonic Wars. Or not leading up to them, if the fairies win. I don't know. Didn't finish it. Sorry dearest Gloria... you're in the 99%.

Think of this post as the inversion of my Pride and Prejudice and Zombies post; that is to say, a post about how things that aren't art can still be good.

What I want to write about today, if you haven't picked up on it, perhaps because you were distracted by the brilliance of that Not Review I linked above, is this: that of shallow, mindless storytelling. 

Now, reading that, you are probably becoming whiney and outraged, if you’re the sort of reader who should really sort themselves the fuck out like seriously, complaining that it’s unfair for me to look down on a work simply because it doesn’t adhere to my standard of what a book ought to be. Perhaps you’re even attempting to draw a parallel to the ‘artificial’ standards of beauty, if that happens to be your cause (as it seems to be for an anomalous number of my readers). However, this is not the case. Or at least, not entirely.

Some of you may recall, a while ago I wrote a brief treatise on G+ about the popularity of meaningless pop music. My approach to it was deemed artistic elitism and inspired a bit of ire, and if you were the sort who had that impression of it, prepare for a sense of déjà vu.

That question with regard to music, the question of why meaningless, musically questionable pop music continues to top the charts as it has for as long as charts have been a thing, has long been, and perhaps still is, a source of no minor bafflement in many of my correspondents. It is my suspicion that the same question may arise with regard to literature, so I’m going to address it. To summarize my previous work, what one must keep in mind is that not everyone goes to music in order to be altered as a person. Often they go to it to be entertained. This is also true of literature, perhaps even more so since ‘deep’ literature tends to be a little tiny bit 

Clockwork Blue is what Yahtzee Croshaw might call a popcorn book; a little bit of fluff which serves to distract us from the mind-numbing tedium which makes up the average human lifespan (not mine, of course, because I’m an international man of mystery, but work with me here). It isn’t very substantial, and I can almost guarantee it won’t change your perspectives on a goddamn thing, but it nonetheless serves a purpose, perhaps an important purpose, in the lives of its readers, and indeed in the world of literature as a whole.

While it’s important to continue to expand our minds and seek experiences which shake the foundations of our identity, it’s also important to embrace bliss, and bliss comes in many forms, not the least of which is the simplistic, the subliterate, the quietly pleasant and unassumingly enjoyable. 

The moral of this story is that you musn't allow your pretention to override your pursuit of pleasure.