It occured to me after I put up the last post that there are actually (at least) two very distinct understandings of the term “ghetto” when used in conjunction with the term “fiction”.
One is the way I chose to use “ghetto”, as in an area or region into which we have sequestered ourselves.
The other is a much more interesting, largely more argumentative use: the idea of “ghetto” as the run down shantytown into which crap gets shoved (which is, owing to the places in which ghettos actually exist, actually quite racist as well as all manner of other delightfully disgusting ‘ism‘s).
This latter (much more prevalent) use of the term “ghetto” is applied by people who seek to denigrate genre fiction as a whole. This is generally done by those seeking to elevate Lit Fic over its “baser” Genre counterparts. Which, of course, necessitates forgetting entirely that Lit Fic is itself a genre.
Which brings us to Chuck Wendig’s blog post “Get Genre Out of the Ghetto (Or, ‘Who the Fuck is Edward Docx?’)”. You absolutely must read it if you haven’t already (and the fairly long Comments section as well). Wendig’s post relates/responds to an article printed in The Guardian entitled (wait for it) “Are Stieg Larsson and Dan Brown a match for literary fiction?”. Yes, I know, I just wanted to throw up too.
Wendig’s response is fueled by the kind of righteous anger that we all should feel at the truly idiotic assertions made by “writer” Edward Docx. And I do entirely agree, who the fuck is Edward Docx? You have to be fairly non compos mentis to assert (seriously) that Dan Brown and Stieg Larsson can be held up as any kind of bar. I mean Dan Brown?
I think what offends me most about Docx’s article is that within the first three paragraphs he proves himself to be a thoroughly pretentious git. I will listen to your argument if you can summon some mental faculties with which to perform your intellectual fencing. But if all you have to work with is snide commentary and alluding to allegories and similes involving meat (yes, I’m being literal here), then you are clearly not fit for the debates to which you have impelled yourself.
I would like to say that there is some redeeming value in Docx’s article, but I can’t find any. Save for the fact that it shows that the right to Free Speech (no matter how much of an ass you make yourself look while utilizing it) is alive and well. In that respect – and solely that respect – can we thank The Guardian for choosing to lend Mr. Docx their megaphone.
Well, that and the fact that it let Chuck Wendig have a go at him. That too was well worth the price of admission.