11.14.2005

more and more impractical

All of the arts, with the exception of architecture, are practical jokes, making people respond emotionally and at no risk to themselves, because things aren’t really happening. A good example would be "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci.

What I do, which is becoming more and more impractical I think, is make people respond to idiosyncratic arrangements of 26 phonetic symbols and ten Arabic numbers in horizontal lines on a page. And there was a time when this was a form of home entertainment, and so it was worthwhile for people to learn how to read. But reading it is actually quite difficult--I mean it is as hard as learning to read music, and it’s a remarkable skill. And if you take ink on paper and make people respond to it, they themselves are going to have to be performers. It’s like arriving at a concert hall and being handed a violin, and you’re expected to play. That’s what we expect readers to do, perform themselves, because they’re half of the performance.

But ink on paper is no way to tell a story anymore. Film and movies are the best way to tell a story today. That works, so you don’t have to be a performer yourself anymore. Because of our terrible high schools, we have a huge illiterate population, but they can sure as hell watch a movie.

I would guess that people who are literate somehow get their minds improved, or they get more personally involved in a story when they read it because their own brains are involved. Watching TV or a movie, your brain need not be involved, and you can just kill time.

- Kurt Vonnegut, Excerpted from an interview with Lacey Rose on Oct. 17, 2005.

1 Comments:

Blogger Josh said...

I linked this one with a passage by Norman Mailer that I posted. It's more of the classic brawl between the novelist vs. the boob tube.

7:53 PM  

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