On one of our treks through Atlanta this past summer, we stayed a couple of nights with an old friend of the family. Our friend is a professor of Sociology at one of the liberal arts colleges in the the area and, like my son, is also a big Sci-Fi fan. She was in the middle of complimenting my boy on a couple of books he'd brought along, when my son's lack of zeal for the popular boy wizard's world suddenly reared its big head in the conversation.
I listened while my well-intentioned friend took it upon herself to convince my son of the merits of the Hogwarts crew and watched as my son sat and politely nodded. In keeping with his home-training, the boy never said anything flip or sarcastic (he only does that with me & his his Dad), but I could tell by the look on his face he was thinking the equivalent of, "Yeah lady and after you get through singing Harry's praises, I still won't be reaching for Potter anytime soon."
The look on my boy's face, I'm sure, was nearly identical to the one that surfaces on my own when people try to twist my arm into liking some piece of literature that has been deemed by them and others in the know as the best thing since . . . heck, the Ten Commandments or the Emancipation Proclamation.
For the record, I'm not in the habit of publicly bashing or bad-mouthing contemporary authors. Of course, if you are a regular reader of this blog, it goes without saying that I don't extend the same type of hands off treatment to actors, musicians, preachers, politicians and other such folks who make it their business to be all up in the limelight. Sorry, I simply don't consider any of the aforementioned my peers or colleagues and thus entitled to the same type of professional courtesy and/or respect.
Yes, I do think a lot of work out there, particularly some of the literature currently being produced by mainstream African American authors, stinks like ten day old, boiled cabbage. But personally, I see little to gain by pointing a finger at those folks. I'm all too happy to leave that sort of thing to the critics, book reviewers and academic types who get paid and make names for themselves doing so.
Besides, authors who appear to delight in ripping and trashing the work of other authors, writers and everyday hacks, typically come off, to me, as looking mean-spirited, petty or outright jealous. Hey, one person's ten day old, boiled cabbage, is another person's manna from heaven. I'm saying, if it's good to you and it doesn't make you wanna upchuck, have at it.
On the other hand, there are several authors, who, though long dead, are still being heralded and praised for their literary genius, but whose work I don't mind admitting, I'll gladly take a pass on, like for instance . . .
Well, if you REALLY want to know, you'll have to check back later for PART III (smile). In the meantime, feel free to add your comment and/or opinion to "The Mix". . .