It’s getting clearer.
Every talk I go to, every seminar I sit through – it’s getting clearer that no-one can give me a straight edge answer about anything, and if they can it’s not an answer anyone wants to hear (without being insulted or sitting on a radical part of the ideological fence). Today I listened to a panel of veteran minds from the commonwealth writers, including Sarfraz Manzoor. They discussed the likely future of the book and the writer in a world where technology evolves every day.
I found this talk to be pessimistic at times, falling for the sensationalist rhetoric that I expected the panel to subvert. Through all the various ideas and conflicting assumptions I realised that they thought traditional books were doomed to plummet into a novelty existence, whilst the proliferation of digital literature would increase. Well, I thought that’s what they were assuming until they began disagreeing with one another.
Finally they reached a point in the conversation where both ‘books are endangered’ and ‘technology is a fad’, meaning there is no place for future literature (or classic for that matter). Confused by their implausible conclusion, I decided to ask them what exactly was the fate of writing and writers if everything was supposedly doomed to fail. They mockingly insinuated that I had not been paying attention.
I’m sorry, but I have paid enough attention across the week to realise that not a single talker has provided the audience any form of closure, and they quite often drag the audience through a myriad of digressions (almost like an animal trying to shake a predator off its tracks).
Just like the talk with Brendan Burchell and Julia Hobsbawm, whenever someone tries to get an actual defined answer they are deflected as if it were an attack. Why so defensive? If you don’t know the answer then why act like you do? Being academic and keeping ‘in the now’ makes fools of us all, it’s how we learn. Surely it is better to leave your ego at the door when it comes to such a precariously complicated subject as current culture?
No. Apparently, if you are of a certain age the rules and regulations of humility no longer apply to you.
Excuse my lack of civility, it’s been a long week.