I’d like to propose two amendments to the U.S. constitution.
First: Henceforth, it shall be illegal to apply running, drippy paint on the surface of a painting.
These days, you can’t spit without hitting a painting, abstract or representational, which doesn’t have this contrivance, this insipid mannerism. Paintings lacking any real merit or intelligence are imbued with all sorts of surface embellishments, but runny paint is the clear winner, the most ubiquitous. I often read artist’s statements expounding on their process and materials. According to them, their painting is all about those two things, specifically those two things. Why not just say, “My work is shallow, all style and no substance.” After all, it would be more honest, certainly more honest than the painting. Don’t misunderstand, I have always enjoyed painterly painting, prefer it actually; but there is a difference between painterly and self-indulgent.
Second: Henceforth it shall be illegal to have the word, Girl, in the title of any literary work. All in favor, say, “Aye.”
One would think at this point that even the female segment of the population would be tired of being pandered to by the publishing industry. I must admit to only managing a few pages of Gone Girl while wandering through a Barnes and Noble some time ago. The writing didn’t impress me; though to be fair, most popular writing doesn’t, it having a soporific effect on me. After seeing the movie, a friend told me the plot was pretty much the same as the book. If so, the plot has more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese; and yet, it’s still a best seller. More recently, I forced myself to read a few pages of both, The Girls and The Unluckiest Girl Alive. In both, the descriptions and similes were so contrived as to draw attention only to their self-conscious origin. Saddest of all is that these writers probably congratulate themselves on the cleverness of their writing. So, once again, all in favor say, “Aye.”
A postscript: Am reading short stories by John Fante–if you haven’t, give them a try!
Till next time.