Monday, August 4

There's an idea about literature: That it forms a kind of substance which is in some way unified and liquid, like milk or cash money. I suppose this is really an idea about all of art in a way. That there is this stuff, all more or less of a kind although it might vary in its superficial characteristics or its branding, something like the way that solutions of corn syrup in carbonated water might be construed as Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Or maybe literature is Coke v. Pepsi and television is Cocoa Puffs v. Corn Flakes, but whatever. There's still the notion of commodity, of, as Bill Hicks put it, "how would you like your flour and cheese arranged?"

I don't really know where this idea came from. Possibly it's just in the early 21st Century air, full of commodity everything, supply-chain management, the tyranny of choice, and all this fantastically debased talk about "content". Maybe it's just a natural reaction to the magnitude of available art. There was probably more text produced on the planet last month than in the entire history of the written word up to about 1900 (I'm completely making that up, but you know that something like it is probably true).

Anyway, although I feel this way about half of the time, I don't really believe in it.