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#203669 - 12/05/11 09:12 AM Essay question
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
From today's Word:
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
It is my belief that the writer, the free-lance author, should be and must be a critic of the society in which he lives. It is easy enough, and always profitable, to rail away at national enemies beyond the sea, at foreign powers beyond our borders who question the prevailing order. But the moral duty of the free writer is to begin his work at home; to be a critic of his own community, his own country, his own culture. If the writer is unwilling to fill this part, then the writer should abandon pretense and find another line of work: become a shoe repairman, a brain surgeon, a janitor, a cowboy, a nuclear physicist, a bus driver. -Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)


Do you-all agree or disagree? Why or why not?

Me, I don't agree. I think such an author, while perhaps being true to his heart, should not do this if he needs to live on the proceeds from his writing. I also think there is some value in pure entertainment.

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#203674 - 12/05/11 11:30 AM Re: Essay question [Re: Jackie]
LukeJavan8 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 6485
Loc: Land of the Flat Water
I personally don't care, but I do think we have far
too much criticism. The media thrive on it, especially
the CNN, HLN, FOX, MSNBC variety. Try and find a station
that gives just the news with out all the 'we want to
hear what you think, just text us at.......", "Next
hour we will have a panel of critics.....".
_________________________
----please, draw me a sheep----

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#203676 - 12/05/11 03:09 PM Re: Essay question [Re: LukeJavan8]
Rhubarb Commando Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/13/11
Posts: 1074
Loc: Lancaster, UK
We tend, these days, to use the term, "critic" as meaning someone who is censorious. However, its true meaning is, "someone who passes judgement." That judgement may well be favourable, rather than adverse.
That being so (assuming that you will allow me this point?) then I agree with Jackie.
I guess most writing for a general audience (in other words, leaving out writing that is for a limited, specialist audience), be it for entertainment or for information, is going to be based on an observation of society. Indeed, comedy doesn't work unless it is based on a wry look at society. This is, in a very real sense, a criticism of society. And that criticism may just as well be favourable as adverse.
That said, I really don't see that authors needs to be bound by any "rule", or even an exectation, that their work should deal first with their own society before they may deal with societies further afield. I cannot see any particular merit in such behaviour.
_________________________
I'm immortal until proven otherwise

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#203677 - 12/05/11 03:17 PM Re: Essay question [Re: Jackie]
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
It looks like this writer had a limited view/belief of what a writer 'should' be. Maybe he only refers to journalism?

If not, who is he to tell a free writer what and how he/she should write? Personally I do care. Yes. Many great writers have written in their time and place beyond time and place.
This quote surprised me too.

What does Mr. Abbey mean by 'writer'?

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#203680 - 12/05/11 03:51 PM Re: Essay question [Re: BranShea]
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10522
Loc: this too shall pass
Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 March 14, 1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views. link

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#203687 - 12/05/11 11:26 PM Re: Essay question [Re: Jackie]
olly Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 956
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
To an extent I agree with his philosophy. We all need to look within to ascertain the world we live in as it is mostly our local environs that we have to relate to. Our experiences dictate a lot of our thinking when critiqueing world events but how do they affect us? Mostly they don't. I know it sounds a bit of a reversal but I think a good writer has an empathy for their readers, drawn from experience.

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#203693 - 12/06/11 05:48 AM Re: Essay question [Re: tsuwm]
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
Originally Posted By: tsuwm
Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 March 14, 1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views. link

Thank you
Abbey and Thoreau are names I hear of for the first time in my life. Activists are fine with me. But I don't like Abbey's all too binding prescription.
There are writers who critisize and those who give hope. Those who help us escape every day reality for while and those who make us laugh. They all count.
Amen smirk

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#203712 - 12/07/11 10:40 PM Re: Essay question [Re: BranShea]
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Those who help us escape every day reality for while and those who make us laugh. They all count.
Amen indeed.

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