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    • CommentAuthorcjstevens
    • CommentTimeApr 13th 2012 edited
    Hey everyone,

    Apologies, this gets very ranty...

    I admit since Ellis abandoned this hovel I am not as frequent a visitor, but I just need some perspective or closure or second opinion and the people who post and read on here are probably the most qualified to help out.

    Cut a long story short I picked up a book today and started reading the prologue. I don't mean any disrespect neither do I wish to bad-mouth or negatively criticise others but from my point of view this was bad. Not just bad it was really bad, like awful, like the sort of thing I would have written as a child, or for a child. I wondered if this was a children's or Young Adult book..I checked, it does not appear to be. Then I did some more research and my jaw began to drop.

    I'll be honest, I only read the prologue to these books. It is in no way possible to judge or critique any work based on reading the first 5 or so pages but seriously, am I the only person that is witnessing what can only be described as the dawn of the dumb?? I mean based on current trends surely these books are next in line for some billion dollar movie franchise right? All I am surrounded by is remakes, franchises, re-hased ideas, glossed up and pumped out to brainless masses, and then I hear how the movie industry is suffering due to piracy and blah blah blah. NO. NO. NO NO. Hollywood clearly has more money than sense. I mean you know they are remaking Robocop right..You know the greatest action/sci-fi film ever made, they are remaking it... And you know that YouTube clip about Epic Beard man AKA AC Transit Bus fight meme.. You realise it has been made into a big budget film starring....Danny Trejo as Epic Beard Man...(Even Ron Pearlman who seems to be in everything at the moment is in it..) Its called Badass...
    Ok I know I am going off topic and I think it is highly possible I need psychological help but am I alone here? Is anyone else concerned about how we as a society produce, consume or rate popular culture.
    It must be me because I cannot even find a negative review of the authors work...
    • CommentTimeApr 13th 2012
    ...did you seriously just come to this board to bash an author?
    • CommentTimeApr 13th 2012
    Wow, it would have been so obvious you're a student and in your twenties even if you hadn't mentioned it...
  1.  (10613.4)
    "they are remaking Robocop right..You know the greatest action/sci-fi film ever made"

  2.  (10613.5)
    You should never get annoyed at other people's writing. Good writing inspires you. Bad writing means you know you can do better than them.

    Waste of energy you could be using to write something of your own.

    And popular culture has always had its fair share of dumb. Considering most of those are romance awards I'd steer clear of Mills and Boon, you'll implode in outrage.
  3.  (10613.6)
    @Steve Toase: I disagree. As someone who can barely write a forum reply without losing track of where I was going, I'm nevertheless able to spot someone who's still making a terrible mess of things. That's not to say that there aren't people light-years ahead of me that I just can't even comprehend, let alone judge, but as people come down towards my level I'm more likely to recognise them.
  4.  (10613.7)
    I think it is highly possible I need psychological help

    • CommentAuthorcjstevens
    • CommentTimeApr 14th 2012 edited
    I just wanted to say, in all honesty and despite appearances I am not hating on
    I wish her all the best, really I do. If she is happy and successful and her readership are enjoying the books, that's great. I was just hoping maybe there was a chance someone on here had read her stuff and could explain why she is so popular and has garnered such critical acclaim. (Eg. how actually the plots are really exciting as you get into the story or something). Alternatively if anyone had read her stuff and agreed with me, this would have made me feel like my opinion was justified and I would go quietly back to reading The Many Deaths of the Black Company, or Promethea or whatever I else I am currently enjoying and stop threading ranty posts on this awesome board.

    @glukkake: No, you did not read the words that I typed.

    @nigredo: Your blog is really informative, entertaining and well constructed. RSS added.

    @William Joseph Dunn: I think so. I know Aliens, The Thing, T2, Mad Max, E.S.B, Matrix are all great but if it was like my desert-island Blu-Ray, it would have to be Robocop...Or Total Recall...Or Starship Troopers...I just have a thing for Verhoeven.

    @Steve Toase: I'm totally with you. The counter-balance to my initial reaction is I have been inspired, as theoretically based on what I read I may actually have a chance of getting something published one day, and maybe, just maybe making a few quid in the process. Win/Win.

    @government spy: LOL...and I never ever write that. I am looking into professional help, but I also believe there is a fine line between insanity and GENIUS.
    • CommentTimeApr 14th 2012 edited
    I am looking into professional help, but I also believe there is a fine line between insanity and GENIUS.

    It's less of a line, and more of 20 kilometers of swamplands.
  5.  (10613.10)
    @cjstevens - from reading your post, I read that you might be interested in a discussion of the early 21st Century's taste and less hating on a bad author, no?

    I haven't read any of the books but I'll glad offer further avenues for discussion.

    Has anyone here seen Phantom of The Opera?
    Yup, the stage musical.
    I happen to think it's appaling - it's terribly written and the music [though with about 6 obviously good hooks] has some AWFUL, LOUD ELECTRO bits in it that just make me crease up laughing. I thought I'd give it a second chance when it was shown on UK tv and I spent the entire first half laughing at how bad it was and the entire second half feeling quite dirty for continuing to watch. Yet it's critically lauded by some as a 'modern masterpiece'.
    Bad as it is, it made something very clear to me: some audiences don't want to leave the theatre thinking; they want to know exactly what they're getting at all times and at all times during the performance and they want bright colours and they want loud noises and they want obvious 'thrills' and they want broad, sweeping, obvious archetypes.

    I could be very wrong but I think we can all agree that what I've said there does apply to some audiences.
    [Stay with me, this is getting to a bigger question.]
    In popular culture, as Steve said, there's always been a good deal of trash but I think some trash - like pulp comics or penny dreadfuls - relish in their trashiness and make a fine, fun art form with it.

    However, what I think cjstevens is getting at here is that due to the overwhelming amount of work out there in the 21st century, those some audiences I mentioned are being catered to more and more: Pop Idol and its ilk - there's even a similar thing for books - have created a massive blur between what is critically good and what is appreciated en masse.

    There are those that immediately reject anything liked my the mass horde of the population but I'm not one of them. I do, however, take the position that I dislike the writing in both the Harry Potter and the Twilight series. Apologies to all those Whitechapellians who like those books [but not Phantom - it's just tooooo awful] but I think that they're really badly written.

    So the logical question from cjstevens' original point then becomes does something have to be well written for it to sell well and be rated well?
    And here's my addition: or does selling well often give weight to then being rated well?

    Further thoughts: I've dipped my toe into reading Amanda Hocking and, though I don't think she's as terrible as some writers I've read, I don't think she's very good. In fact, I think she's quite an obvious writer. And yet! Her books sell incredibly well, she knows her YA market and pitches her language, her structure, her character's emotional reactions directly at that market - what she does is an odd talent in itself. Her talent at market targeting is something I can't quite comprehend but maybe Whitechapel has the answer?

    What say you Whitechapel, is she a witch? [I'd weigh her but I've not got any scales big enough]
    • CommentTimeApr 14th 2012
    "Their stuff is shit, but your shit is stuff" - George Carlin
  6.  (10613.12)
    So the logical question from cjstevens' original point then becomes does something have to be well written for it to sell well and be rated well?
    And here's my addition: or does selling well often give weight to then being rated well?

    No, but I don't think it ever has. I wonder if there is a real increase in trash or an increasing in rapidity that trash from round the world gets to new locations.

    I started writing a couple of years ago and performing at spoken word, and suddenly had a new respect for 'anyone' who has the tenacity and bollocks to get up and perform, put their work out there. Doesn't mean I have to like it, but I think cjstevens is about 2000 years too late declaring the end of civilisation/dumbing down because of populist culture.

    Every society think that the upcoming entertainment is the lowest point of the achievement of the human race. That's why religious heads keep been able to declare apocalypse.
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2012
    I personally think that the swath of terrible literature and such that we have today is probably not that much bigger than we had in previous decades, it's just that we don't care to remember terrible and bland things if we don't have to. It's much easier to ignore trash written 40 or 50 years ago than trash we find being marketed and bought right now.
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2012
    Hmmm, all too complicated for me. I mean take Philip K Dick, the man couldn't write for toffee, yet at the same time he was a literary genius.
  7.  (10613.15)
    @Morac. You've said in one paragraph what I took three posts to mangle
  8.  (10613.16)
    I have read excessively since the age of three, I am now 28. When it comes to books, films, music, comics, art, basically any form of popular or alternative culture I believe I am highly knowledgeable and have excellent taste (obviously).

    You lost me man.
  9.  (10613.17)
    I have read excessively since the age of three, I am now 28. When it comes to books, films, music, comics, art, basically any form of popular or alternative culture I believe I am highly knowledgeable and have excellent taste (obviously).

    You lost me man.

    No no, it makes sense. He "Obviously" believes he is highly knowledgable and has excellent taste.
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2012
    "One person's vat of sick is another's bucket of vomit" - Me

    I've got terrible taste.
  10.  (10613.19)
    re: Amanda Hocking

    Mark Millar said a couple of years ago that the X-MEN films changed the game for action blockbusters. That the audience wasn't going to be satisfied with John McClane once they got a taste of a guy with knives coming out of his hands. You look at the success of AVENGERS and his prophecy has borne out.

    HARRY POTTER gave the same thing for young kids. The audience for children's adventure never went away; POTTER simply coupled it with mythic weirdness young kids had never seen before, in a format that aged with them.

    Similarly, TWILIGHT. You have to understand most of the detractors of the franchise were never part of the YA romance audience to begin with. Hocking was. She loves those kinds of books, so she's writing for herself. Now that the YA romance fans have gotten a taste of the weird, they're not going back.
    • CommentAuthorcjstevens
    • CommentTimeApr 16th 2012 edited
    Here are some of the issues I originally wanted to address.

    @Sonny it was pseudo-sarcasm, as 'obviously' I believe I have excellent taste, most people think that what they think is right is right..right?

    @Steve Toase + Morac I strongly disagree. I believe that there is a steady rise of terrible art-not just literature but music, film, probably poetry and contemporary dance whatever the medium or form, more than ten or twenty years ago. I guess it rises exponentially with each passing day. I mean 2000 years ago only the wealthy educated elite could get there hands on some papyrus to scrawl some theory or art let alone get it distributed to the public. I guess if you wrote/drew or performed something you thought was brilliant and your King/Queen/Pharoah did not like it, you and your family would be viciously murdered. The porn frescoes at Pompeii would now rightly be classified as 'valuable'. Moreover, the opportunity and modern technology means that, in theory, anyone, however talented or not can create something and get publicised/marketed to the world within a very short time-frame. Obviously this is a fantastic thing as it offers each individual the chance to express themselves and earn a living from their work. However, clearly this is the gift/curse of the 21st century and collectively our ability to critically judge 'quality' seems to be diminishing with each breath Simon Cowell takes.

    This is where I bring Lil B into the theory. For those not familiar with Lil B he is a mediocre American Rapper who has proved that you can basically be very rich and successful from repeating the phrase 'I fucked your bitch' and 'Swag' over and over again. In reality he is actually more talented than this, but he created something like 100 Myspace accounts to just pump out his tunes, saturating the net with so much music that eventually people were like 'Yeah Lil B' and now he is HUGE. Lil B knows this, I have actually a lot of respect for the guy as he explains that as long as you are positive and keep working hard you can eventually 'stack your bread up'.
    Great news right?
    Well, yes, but there is a flip-side. Firstly, I need to point out that I myself am a Free-Market Capitalist. I have no time for unrealistic left-wing Socialist/Communist theory as I believe it is elitism is disguise. We all go by the Cher Lloyd's advice:

    Count that money, get your game on
    Get your game on, get your game on

    However I see a problem with this philosophy as it seems to support the 'no such thing as society' ethos.

    Philip Green, Alan Sugar, Rupert Murdoch, Richard Branson. Now arguably (people may disagree) but I don't think these people are especially smart. Or nice. I definitely would not want to have a pint with them -I guess as I would still have to buy the round, but if you wake up extra early every day and spend each second trying your hardest to make a pound note the law of probability dictates that sooner or later you will become rich. Great. But I suspect that these people would sell asbestos cigarettes to kids to make a profit. So on one hand just concentrate on your own bank account, pump out as much product as you can, sell sell regardless of quality. But we live on Planet Earth, a celestial body with a finite level of resources and while Mr.BP is clearly big pimping at the moment, is this best for the planet/society as a whole? Now, you may not think this relates to the huge level of 'trashy literature' pumped out by writers, but I think it does. I think it is all relative and I think we will all suffer. I only write this because I actually give a shit, and I think it is a fascinating subject.