Commodification happens if you begin to see the value of your creative work only in the context of the marketplace. The marketplace has its reasons that have nothing to do with you or your book.
Part of the writing life is understanding the difference between the value of what your work means to you and its value in the marketplace – don’t mistake the two. Preoccupation with exchange value and market value blind us to inherent value.
“This is probably backwards thinking on my part but what really upsets me is when an ex’s current girlfriend/fling is less attractive than I am. If she’s more attractive then I can think, “Eh, whatever” but if she’s ugly then I think, “Holy shit, then what was I? I thought I was reasonably good looking but look at what you’re dating now. Girl looks like Dudley Moore with boobs.”—Apocalypstick, “Why Are You So Ugly?”
I wish instead of starting a war Donald Rumsfeld had given relationship advice. This is what he would have said: In love there are things you know, and things you don’t know, and things you don’t know you don’t know. You can’t share your feelings with your lover when you don’t know what those feelings are. Arguments of convenience lack integrity and inevitably trip you up. Don’t treat your lover in a way you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the Washington Post. Don’t speak ill of your girlfriend’s ex-boyfriends. Enjoy your time together, it may well be one of the most interesting and challenging times of your life. First rule of love: you can’t win unless you’re on the ballot. I don’t do quagmires. If you screw up, talk it out, delays only compound mistakes. In our system relationships require consent, not command. Every day every relationship is filled with numerous opportunities for serious error, enjoy it.
It is easier to get into something than to get out of it. It isn’t making mistakes that’s critical; it’s correcting them. Leave your lover’s family business to them; you’ll have plenty to do without trying to manage the First Family. Let your friends know you’re still the same person. Look for what’s missing, no-one can help you see what isn’t there. Love is human beings; it’s addition rather than subtraction. Preserve your lover’s options, she might need them. The price of being close to another human being is delivering bad news, you fail them when you don’t tell the truth. The way to do well is to do well. If possible, visit the ex, they know the ropes and can help you see around corners. When raising an issue with your lover try to come away with a decision; pose issues so as to evoke guidance. You will launch many projects but have time to finish only a few. Your new girlfriend is not your old girlfriend. Your performance in a relationship depends on your significant other; select the best. Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.
That last quote probably wouldn’t be that helpful.
Art is expression, art is laziness. Art is a rejection of capitalism. Lay on the couch, reflect on your experience, your feelings about the world, wait for a flicker of emotion, a ripple along the surface. Reproduce your inner life on a canvas, in a poem, a looping narrative. Redirect your angst into a play. It fails when you don’t go deep enough, when you think what you’re saying is inherently interesting, when you think your audience is your mom. But it’s still art.
Art is intent. Art is narcissistic, you have to believe you have something to say, though we’re all so similar. I remember a story of two boys determined to drink a beer with Bukowski, staring through the window to his crappy apartment as he tossed and turned for days without writing a line. Art is the opposite of going to work, have to embrace your demons, learn their names. If you’re absurdly lucky you can make a living off it, which is like winning the lottery, which is like being paid for being alive.
There was a time when you had to earn the right to draft a memoir, by accomplishing something noteworthy or having an extremely unusual experience or being such a brilliant writer that you could turn relatively ordinary occurrences into a snapshot of a broader historical moment. Anyone who didn’t fit one of those categories was obliged to keep quiet. Unremarkable lives went unremarked upon, the way God intended.
But then came our current age of oversharing, and all heck broke loose.
“Writing historical fiction is the easiest way to escape the Now; to avoid dealing with the internet, you only have to step back a decade or two. If you’d prefer to write about characters entirely innocent of TV, you’d need to retreat as far as the 1940s; then you get the second world war and the Holocaust, subjects that, despite their historical specificity, are understood by everyone to be unimpeachably Timeless.”—How novels came to terms with the internet
“That’s why it is very difficult to be a true snob before the age of 9 or 10. The infant or toddler is by nature a solipsist, concerned only with satisfying certain immediate wants. The young child of, say, 3 or 4 years old begins to look up to older children, and to desire their acceptance, and the slightly older boy or girl, newly able to think ahead and coming to possess some social intelligence (and cunning), may begin to recognize that a given skirt, or a facility with soccer, will ease one’s way—but this is a very utilitarian plotting, along the lines of, “If I wear that skirt, she will like me.”—The Unholy Pleasure: My life-long recovery from snobbery
But on a Sunday morning when I want to grab an omelette over girl talk, I’m at a loss. My Chicago friends are the let’s-get-dinner-on-the-books-a-month-in-advance type. I’m looking for someone to invite over to watch The Biggest Loser or to text “pedicure in half an hour?” on a Saturday morning. To me, that’s what BFFs are. Not just people who know your innermost secrets, but the ones up for grabbing a bite on a whim because they love being with you just that much, and getting together feels easy and natural rather than a chore you need to pencil in.
“In order for me, and millions of people both in treatment and out, to live the lives that most take for granted, it takes a combination of pills, therapy, trigger avoidance, diet changes, lifestyle changes. You name it, I’ve probably had to change it in the last six years in order to live a “normal life.” And for me and many like me, “normal” means the ability to get out of bed every morning. The ability to sit in traffic and not be seized by crippling anxiety. The ability to have a conversation without checking to make sure my speech isn’t too pressured or I’m not laughing too loudly or too inappropriately. These are things that many take for granted every day.”—Bassey Ikpi, “A Chance to Change the Way We Look at Mental Illness”
“Do students write stories because they really want to or because the workshop model all but demands that they do? If workshops are bad for big things, why do we continue to use them? I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to think outside the workshop.”—The Story Problem: 10 Thoughts on Academia’s Novel Crisis
“Superpowers are abilities uncommon to the average human. There are different types of powers, either physical, mental, technological, or mystical. Some are inherent from parents, bestowed by radiation, cosmic or passed to them by others such as vampires.”—Comic Vine wiki on types of super powers
Irony, put simply, is a gap between words and their meaning, a space across which speaker and listener exchange a knowing wink. For this knowingness to be mutual, a web of common experiences and beliefs must exist, within which language adopts deeper echoes and associations. In China, however, the Communist Party has made quite clear that there is no commonality but that of the party and its people, and certainly no shared language beyond that handed down by national leaders. The Chinese government has spent decades ensuring that public discourse has remained “public” only in the sense of “government owned.”
As early as 1942, seven years before the founding of the People’s Republic, Chairman Mao was explaining to government leaders and intellectuals that the purpose of art and culture was to serve political ends. But the real damage to the Chinese language was done during the Cultural Revolution, when all music and theater were outlawed except for eight politically correct "Model Operas" and public discourse was reduced to what could be shouted through a PA system.
We are living in the middle of a revolution in consciousness. Over the past few decades, geneticists, neuroscientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists, and others have made great strides in understanding the inner working of the human mind. Far from being dryly materialistic, their work illuminates the rich underwater world where character is formed and wisdom grows.
They are giving us a better grasp of emotions, intuitions, biases, longings, predispositions, character traits, and social bonding, precisely those things about which our culture has least to say. Brain science helps fill the hole left by the atrophy of theology and philosophy.
It was a phrase that they taught you to keep you safe, and it was predicated on the facts of the double standard: men were always after you for sex; you had to be on your guard against them; and at the very least, you had to make sure you kept your wits about you whenever you were in mixed company. It was built on the premise that the dubious pleasures of what is today called the drunken hookup were not for you to sample.
A man who had done what the accused admits to having done—made a beeline to a really drunk girl and then led her somewhere private for sex—probably wouldn’t have faced legal consequences, but would at the very least have been considered a cad. Such a thing was known not to be the right, or the proper, or the gentlemanly thing to do.
”—The Hazards of Duke: A now infamous Powerpoint presentation exposes a lot about men, women, sex, and alcohol — and how universities are letting their female students down.
The elitism charge mostly exempts those who’ve been to expensive colleges so long as they’ve only learned how to make money there. This absolves not only CEOs but doctors and lawyers, provided they don’t engage in humanitarian work. The term even spares Ivy-garlanded culture producers who earn a lot of money making movies and TV programs that people without a lot of money or education enjoy watching.
Who, then, is guilty of elitism, if not the elitely educated in general?
“To secure permission to use the 373 samples on “All Day” would cost, Gillis estimates, millions of dollars. Some labels would refuse, others would draw him into endless negotiation. But he has never been sued. No one has ever asked him to stop doing what he’s doing”—Girl Talk: The 373-Hit Wonder(via RNA)