Thursday, 25 October 2012

Plays, novels, movies and TV stories are essentially bad art forms


Essentially bad, in the sense that most examples are bad - although with some shining exceptions; and bad in the transcendental sense of destructive of truth, beauty and virtue; subversive in their nature.

So, the invention of the novel was net (on the whole) a bad thing, ditto movies, ditto TV narratives.

(Plays were too rare to do much harm - but if you doubt their net harmfulness consider a random selection of actors - i.e. people who live by theatre, perform a wide range of plays across the canon, and imbibe the dramatic ethos most deeply.).

And these are very powerful things - so we ought to treat them with care; rather as we would take care in attending an evening session of carefully-crafted political propaganda which is most likely to be Communist, Nazi or nihilistic. 

This explains why I need a very good reason to read any particular novel (watch a movie, watch a TV series or soap) because the overwhelming likelihood is that it will be bad for me; at least potentially.


NOTE: This insight stems from about 25 years ago when, as part of a literature course at college, I was required to read Margaret Atwood, Muriel Spark and William Golding. I felt very strongly that, to the extent I engaged with these authors' novels, they were harming me.