Sunday, March 8, 2009

"und?" [Cassiel to Damiel, in Der Himmel Über Berlin]

Looking at a couple of tote bags filled with books and catalogues from past professional society meetings, I find myself wishing that the visual art and creative writing and literary professional associations could be compelled to hold one enormous joint meeting, just once, in which all the seminar presenters and plenary session speakers and publishers would have to meet and mingle and listen or at least productively ignore one another.

As it is, they exist in ignorance and/or contempt of one another, certain that they and they only constitute the only world worth knowing. (The same goes for any subgenre of the aforementioned worlds of art and literature where people of like mind get together.)

And while these rather elaborate worlds glide on in mutual ignorance, supported by the budgets and the esteem of their educational institutions and/or their peers and colleagues (and this is the operating procedure of plausibility-structure reinforcement from CAA and AAR and AWP all the way to Dragon*Con), most folks just want to read things and look at stuff.

And the procedures whereby these latter folks might be educated out of the worst examples of their preferences and into the better or best examples, or into other preferences altogether—those procedures remain unknown to most of those who engage in mutual self-congratulation that they belong to this supercool world and not to those dorky other ones. Yeah, right, you keep on saying that, guys. Meantime life outside goes on all around you. (Guitar chords, and a throaty voice singing, "And though the rules of the road have been lodged, it's people's games you got to dodge....")

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