So it’s not that women are the problem. It’s the lack of men that’s the problem. [/quote]
I’d say it’s both. Women are great at handling their own sex, but terrible at handling males.
My daughter is reading The Hunger Games. I asked her where she got it from and she said her teacher gave it to her to read. I know of a teacher that assigned Twilight to her kids. WTF? What happened to Mark Twain? Homer? So what happens is at home I have to force my kid to read stuff that isn’t crap. [/quote]
That’s pretty crazy. The books I was assigned in high school English classes were Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, the Hobbit, Black Robe (Canadian book).
Speaking from the perspective of someone who was an English major and who has read the Hunger Games because his daughter insisted it was good…its really not that bad. Its certainly written as well as the Hobbit and I’d argue the Lord of the Flies. She’s in AP English and its more rigorous than what you claim in that at her tested level she has to read “serious” works of fiction or nonfiction to get any reading credit. She reads less and sticks to the nonfiction as she finds many of the “Great Books” tedious and while I find value in works like Ulysses many great books are often a chore and reading needn’t be a chore. Sometimes its about telling a story and doing it well and there’s really not that many plots. If Suzanne Collins can get millions of kids reading anything there’s nothing wrong with that.
And often really great modern writers tend to get ignored to some idea that older fiction is better. And dangerous fiction often can’t be taught because it gets someone’s panties in bunch.
That’s the problem: things need to be fun and interesting at the moment. That isn’t life. Some things you need to know. Some tasks need to get done no matter how tedious you find them. Sometimes the payoff comes later. Homer is essential to understanding Western Lit. It’s just the way it is. No one can claim a fundamental understanding of Western Lit if he hasn’t read Homer just as no one can claim an understanding of American Lit without Melville and Twain. There is also a difference between contemporary writers and modern writers. It could easily be argued that Cervantes and Shakespeare were modern writers. It could even be argued that modern writing started with pre-Renaissance humanism.
The funny thing is that all of this old and outdated and boring hard to read literature is still used as source material for contemporary writers and film makers. Troy came out not that long ago. There was an Odyssey miniseries in the 90s. A horrible retelling of Beowulf. Shakespeare’s plays are adapted to modern settings or performed as is. The Coen brothers based a film on The Odyssey. This stuff isn’t going anywhere so kids better learn to appreciate, or at least tolerate it, because some things are just the way it is and it’s always been like that. But we are talking about a generation that has been brought up to believe they are special and unique individuals whose every thought, desire and word needs to be expressed and then validated and for whom parents, and by logical extension all adults, are supposed to be their best friends and peers. We are the generation that blinked. [/quote]
Old writing is used as a source because there’s nothing new under the sun plotwise. Just as easy to say that its not derivative so much as it rose organically.
You are sort of all over the place on your points. Several of your authors were popular writers at the time. So to dismiss popularity as equivalent as not significant is a stretch.
I would disagree you need to read Homer to appreciate modern authors. I think a lot of dismissing modern authors is done with the same sort of mindset as dismissing modern pop music is done its sort of an argument by appealing to tradition instead of judging something on its own merit.
Take someone like prime Ellison. He would stack up comparably if not favorably with any author you mentioned.
I have read most of the works of every author you listed. Reading is perhaps my favorite method of time passing…if not wasting and I still can enjoy King work’s as much or sometimes more than Twain who I like or certainly than Melville…Homer or Joyce…meh I would prefer not to.
Dismissing works as too simple or derivative is I think shortsighted. Time passes tastes change the artist as a young man isn’t the same as he is when he gets older nor is the person.
Genre fiction is also strange to rate quality wise. Take something that was early like Tolkien which was early and significant…but frankly written poorly. Someone like Rothfuss or Martin is a better slicker writer and in my opinion a better read. It doesn’t mean Tolkien isn’t worth reading but if given the choice why not read the more polished writer?
How often do most of you that are claiming significant value in reading in the canon do it I wonder? Is it worth reading Bartleby only one time? Is it too much to reread The Great Gatsby…I’d argue it a waste of time to read once but that to each their own.
What particular value other than historical do you see in Huck Finn versus The Hunger Games? With no appeal to tradition or the canon why is the historical journey of a boys coming of age superior to a perhaps predictive dystopian coming of age story of a young girl. I mean if I were a young girl a female protagonist could very well appeal to me more.
The one point I align with you on is that paranormal romance is a terrible genre and I can’t believe anyone likes it, but then again I like bad kung fu movies so who am I to judge Twilight.