Wednesday, June 19, 2013
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
"Any caprice is taken as a dereliction of the novelist's mission of grinding downfield with the stolid, earnest, edifying-redemptive football of "the novel," a mission deemed crucial in a values-flattened, superficial, ironized culture. Of course, this takes for granted that we're a values-flattened, superficial, ironized culture, one starved for stolid, earnest, edifying stuff. I don't. My guess is that the not-too-secret secret of our times is that, behind a few self-congratulatory tokens of decadence and irony, an elephantine utilitarianism and conformism grinds at the center of our culture and its response to art and artists." -- Jonathan Lethem, "White Elephant and Termite Postures in the Life of the Twenty-first Century Novelist"