“The romance of the artist as…”
Kind of a busy day for me, but there’s lots to talk about. So, I figured I’d let other people do the heavy lifting and try to get by with a boring old link round-up. So here goes.
The Canadian Periodical Fund looks like it’s going ahead as planned. Or at least, the changes to the plan are non-literary in nature. I might have more to say about this, but need to self-educate a bit first. As it stands though, I wonder if the actual role of the journal community is reflected in that ideal “cultural farm team” metaphor I keep hearing. I also wonder if any of this would have happened if the journals embraced the internet to the degree young know-it-alls like myself have been suggesting they should. But who knows. I want to learn more about this, before I publicly say something stupid. Speaking of being stupid in public, is there any quicker way to grow dismayed by this country than by reading the comments section that follows any G&M story about arts funding? Copy, paste, copy, paste, copy, paste. Being a neo-con must be hard work.
There may be no group of people I love more this month than the atheists of my ancestral home nation of Ireland, who are turning the nauseating rejection of their free-speech rights into a sort of Blasphemy Carnival. Someone has posted 25 great moments in the history of defamation on this atheist organization’s website. There’s more examples out there, but you can find those yourself.
Speaking of atheists, once the football is over on Sunday, you should all print off some scorecards and tune in for the return of CBC’s IQ Test/Game Show “Test the Nation“. There’s some interesting rivalries a-brewing, including Nerds v. Athletes and Religious Leaders v. Atheists Two Vox Pop associates are participating in this round of the game. Mr. Paul Vermeersch is representing the atheists, while Jan “DownrightDirty” Dawson is rocking it for the Athletes, as part of the delegation from Toronto Roller Derby. The CBC has not responded to my demands that, if the atheists beat the believers by at least 20 points, Peter Mansbridge be brought into the studio to publicly declare that God does not exist.
The Janufeb edition of The Quill & Quire is out. It’s worth picking up for a couple reasons, chiefly the recommendation of one blogging cousin’s book (Stephen “Below the Spruce” Rowe) by another (Zach “Career-Limiting Moves” Wells). There’s a roundup of the last decade in Canadian publishing and an article by Zoe Whittall on writers of various notoriety-levels and the day jobs they must suffer through. I’m quoted therein, and I come off like a slightly sketchier character than I’m usually comfortable with, but it’s my own words that paint that picture, so all’s fair.
This next one’s going to rot your teeth, so go easy on it… I’m something of an amateur movie-awards buff, so I sat through the endless parade of cliched descriptions of the film art that was the Golden Globe Awards last weekend. My favourite film blog has a critique of the notably populist swing in the statues this year. For the record, the drama that made the most money last year (Avatar) was named “the best”, likewise the most successful comedy (The Hangover) and the most successful animated film (Up) won their respective categories. I liked all three movies, but it’s the kind of evening that calls to mind a wonderfully combative Lapham quote which I’m still trying to dig up on the interwebs. I’ll let you know.
Update: I’ve found the quote, and it’s actually pretty apt for both this story, and the first one listed in this roundup. Oh, Lewis, you can really pack’em in. For this, I’ll shall grant you naming rights to this post.
“The romance of the artist as an impoverished seer no longer commands belief. Under the new cultural dispensation, poverty is merely poverty, and behavior once attributed to the vagary of genius has come to be seen as being both boorish and subversive. The phrase ‘a poor artist’ stands revealed as a contradiction in terms. If the artist were any good (i.e., ‘a real artist’ and not a charlatan) he would meet that editor’s criterion of being rich. If he isn’t rich he has failed the examination of the market and deserves no sympathy. The bias explains why the literary press so seldom prints unpleasant reviews of well-publicized books. An angry review constitutes an attack not only upon a writer or a work of art but also upon money itself, which, of course is blasphemy.”- Lewis Lapham
And lastly, Paul Quarrington died today. I didn’t know Mr. Quarrington personally, so I’ll just say this: To die with any amount of class, or even dignity, is a rare and incredible thing. Watching him pull that off in these past few months has been inspiring. Julie Wilson has a more substantial tribute than that on her blog.