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Do you think poor literature is a global problem? It is even attributing to terrorism?


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Showing 1-25 of 49 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Apr 2013 11:34:46 BDT
Kriss says:
It is even attributing to terrorism?

Posted on 20 Apr 2013 13:21:07 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Apr 2013 13:35:25 BDT
gille liath says:
'Attributable' (writers can't think straight for fear)? Or 'contributing' (people are so angry about bad books they're going out to commit atrocities)?

In answer to your question, I don't really know. It's very difficult properly to assess literature from outside your own culture, and impossible if it's outside your own language(s). I think it's certainly possible that some other literary cultures are not as completely played out as ours. But I suspect they'll get there, because I do think it's an deeply embedded problem about modernity.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2013 15:30:28 BDT
Anita says:
I love the (kind of) double entendre... :)

But it's really difficult to react to a quetion like that seriously (honestly, I'm doing my best to *not* say something I feel like saying). Poor literature? I think there have always been good books, there are and will be, just rare and far between. Perhaps the number of them remains more or less constant. So considering the number of books in general nowadays, when anyone who is not illiterate, or sometimes even when is, writes and *publishes* 'books', it really looks tragic. Doesn't mean there are no good books at all

Posted on 20 Apr 2013 16:40:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Apr 2013 16:41:33 BDT
Michael says:
It is a global problem and it is directly linked to terrorism! Bad fiction is terrifying!

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2013 19:08:03 BDT
gille liath says:
Always look on the bright side of life...[whistles]

Posted on 20 Apr 2013 19:39:32 BDT
schwartz says:
Ok. For the options suggested to make sense of the OP, I do not believe that fear of terrorism can ever be used as justification for poor writing. If they are too afraid, writers should just hide under their blankets rather than writing badly. The potential reprecussions are too serious to risk.

From personal experiance, I can say that I have read some pretty bad books and refrained from terrorism. I would hope that any rational person would see the bigger picture and show the same restraint. Books can be returned or deleted without any loss of life!

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2013 20:18:13 BDT
Anita says:
As a huge fan of Le Guin I just had to say something to counterbalance your gloomy post...

Posted on 20 Apr 2013 20:38:18 BDT
gringo says:
Bad literature = war.

Posted on 20 Apr 2013 20:49:57 BDT
monica says:
Go easy, lads--I don't think English is OP's first language and I'll just bet that I'm the only other one here besides Kriss who can dash off a fetching post in Nepali.

Kriss, if you're still here, did you mean that some sorts of writing (not necessarily literary books) are so extreme that they might seem to encourage terrorism? If you didn't I guess I'll have to go along with the others here and say something clever, except that in my first sentence I came to the end of my week's allttment of the ever so slightly amusing . . .

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2013 20:51:52 BDT
schwartz says:
But how do we tell? Can we all agree on what is bad? If bad literature is written in a language I dont understand can I risk it? Is it a case of war against all foreign writers until a decent translator comes along? It would be a bit embarassing to pick a fight with the rest of the world, and then find out that they had written really good books but I just couldn't read them!

When did reading a book become such a moral dilemma, with such global consequences? If I have bad taste am I contributing to terrorism?

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2013 20:55:53 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Apr 2013 20:58:13 BDT
gille liath says:
How dare you accuse us (however sarcastically) of saying something clever?

Personally, I was actually trying (albeit in my ever so slightly amusing way) to find out what he meant.

Btw is there such a language as Nepali?

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2013 20:56:51 BDT
gille liath says:
Oh, I'm sure she'll be in Wordsworth Editions one day...

Posted on 20 Apr 2013 21:14:33 BDT
monica says:
schwartz thank you; I like this sort of nonsense very much. (Come to think of it, is nonsense bad? if what doesn't make sense is bad, then certainly we should go to war to wipe out peoples speaking languages we can't understand. To begin with.)

gille liath, actually I'd though 'Nepali' was an adjective but a terribly quick google suggests it's not only that . . .

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2013 21:17:59 BDT
gille liath says:
Yeah, I wasn't sure what if anything was its relation to Gurkhali...apparently they're different names for the same tongue.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 05:47:22 BDT
Kriss says:
I mean the terrorism, even if partially, could be attributed to poor literature.
Poor literature is something we have now, when it has become identical to occult, pulp or porn. Something which people will forget the next season, to read a work created a century back.

Posted on 28 Apr 2013 09:53:06 BDT
I Readalot says:
There has always been poor literature just as there has always been great literature, for every Dickens and Austen there are hundreds of authors who have been forgotten. I really can't see how 50 Shades, for example could prompt someone someone to commit an act of terrorism. It is far more likely that a great and powerful work of literature would do that. Basically though it is like trying to blame all the bad behaviour and violent acts of youngsters on music or video games. Besides, who is to say what constitutes poor literature, there have been critically acclaimed books that I have thought were complete twaddle. Literature has changed and progressed over the years as tastes change.

Posted on 28 Apr 2013 10:11:39 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Apr 2013 10:20:01 BDT
A lot of people regard Catcher in the Rye as a classic. One of them was called Mark Chapman. I don't see much point in wagging the finger at 'low' fiction, in this respect.

For what it's worth, I don't think art can turn someone into a terrorist. It's no accident the kind of people that do something screwed up after seeing a film or reading a book are usually severely disturbed in the first place.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 10:19:52 BDT
>>I really can't see how 50 Shades, for example could prompt someone someone to commit an act of terrorism.<<

Although reading a particularly poor book can make me *want* to commit acts of outrage and violence ... just not on any ideological or philosophical grounds.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 10:22:16 BDT
>>I don't think art can turn someone into a terrorist. It's no accident the kind of people that do something screwed up after seeing a film or reading a book are usually severely disturbed in the first place.<<

I'm not sure I agree, at least not entirely. Maybe the art itself can't, but once it gets taken up and twisted and *used* by others who have an agenda. Think of all those religious books and tracts that have led to acts of terror and oppression over the centuries ...

Posted on 28 Apr 2013 10:31:01 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Apr 2013 10:39:50 BDT
Your last sentence undermines your point. It isn't the book's fault that some can only take from it what they brought to it; that their agenda leads them to see only what they want and leave out the rest. As with the fatwah against Salman Rushdie, US fundamentalism and its culture of book-banning, and so on.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 10:44:21 BDT
I don't think I am contradicting myself, but perhaps I didn't express myself clearly enough.

No, it's not always the book's fault, but books *can* contain 'stuff' that can lead the credulous to act. Often this is because of external agencies interpreting the book, or using it for propaganda. Think of all the atrocities that have been committed for the sake of what's in the Bible. 'Mein Kampf'?

Posted on 28 Apr 2013 10:59:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Apr 2013 11:04:36 BDT
I think you're haven't fully absorbed the the fact that some only take from a book what they bring to it. That is unfortunate, since it is what underlies all attempts to use inoffensive work for offensive purposes. Nor can you blame a book's content, unless, of course, you can prove that it's going to affect every person who reads it in exactly the same way.

The fault lies with disturbed people, not with books. There's no two ways about it.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2013 11:37:03 BDT
No, I have fully absorbed the fact that some only take from a book what they bring to it. That isn't my point.

I do, by and large, agree that one cannot blame a book's content, but that rather depends on the book and its content. Even then I agree that, if a book's content is objectionable, not all who read it are going to be affected by it in the same way; and even then not everyone would necessarily *act* on 'it' (whatever 'it' is).

I am in no way asserting that books (or any other kind of art) 'cause' terror, oppression, villainy, or whatever. But I do assert that books and other art can influence, or be used to influence, those things. Of course they don't cause these things - they are inanimate objects. But books and other art therefore become tools. They are also created, and one has to look at the intentions of those who create them, not just those of the people who read/interpret them.

I don't actually think we are fundamentally disagreeing; but while one cannot, with any logic, 'blame' the books, one should not ignore the fact that books can influence, whether or not the intention in their creation is to cause wrong-doing.

Posted on 28 Apr 2013 11:51:20 BDT
monica says:
Have to agree with Ryan. One person might be influenced by a book, another by a loss to Man United, another by a piece of music, and yet another by a casual remark about the weather. If there's going to be a fixation, what it's on & its meaning/power depends upon one's mental make-up. People can be moved by a pair of knickers to steal from clotheslines; is underwear a potential tool of terror?

Posted on 28 Apr 2013 11:53:24 BDT
Ethereal says:
Perhaps it depends what the author's motive was in writing the book.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  16
Total posts:  49
Initial post:  20 Apr 2013
Latest post:  27 Jun 2013

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