A few months ago I watched an Artsnight documentary on the BBC presented by David Baddiel about how there are now so many writers and critics that there are no writers who are considered the greats of their generation, as New York’s fictional writers like Bellow, Mailer and Roth were considered at the end of the last century.
I think most of the people above are Jewish, but that didn’t motivate my interest. The writers are described as great, but with very flawed personalities, so it’s pretty balanced, greenYgrey style.
Baddiel interviewed Martin Amis, who has written twelve novels, so he is greater than me really, as many writers are. I think the last two books of my trilogy are comparable with his books, after the first was a fun freewheeler; kind of like a punk demo as I’ve written before. If he’s a premier great of our time, maybe I’m a third-rate great with about a third of his literary output; like I’m about the joint-third best philosopher of all time.
I hope the fact that I don’t really think I’m great in a legendary career way is as good for my message as my celibacy. However, as Amis says of his father, Kingsley, I do still care about it all, as every worker cares something about their trade, and how it is considered. Even those who bring their trade into disrepute, such as dodgy builders or fraudulent accountants, probably like to think they are good at their jobs really; or could be if they tried.
Continues below this D.I.Y. punk, leftist counter-culture, Glastonbury welly-seller advert:
Available to buy or borrow on Amazon and all great big bookshops.
Amis said that what made the great men of literature was that they didn’t care – I’m just listening to the programme again, on YouTube, and heard that, having already written the second half of the blog’s title – proof of my unconscious at work, as I didn’t consciously remember it in the programme, which I last watched weeks or months ago?
Here’s a drawing I did soon after finishing my PhD in 2005, around the same time I volunteered to take part in a biobank medical study for the good of humanity, with just basic expenses such as food and travel. It’s a self-portrait of my mind, after I’d recently learnt about ADHD, and thought it explained why I could do well academically, while often seeming dull or slow in public. It is still relevant a decade of creative writing later!
Amis also said that today, the quick way to the kind of fame that takes a lifetime of writing is terrorism, citing the Paris attacks. They also say that the great men of literature had in common the fact that they were terrible fathers and partners, too engrossed in their writing and egos to care about those close to them. That is also true of the greats in other countries, such as Rousseau and Dylan Thomas.
Revolution versus greenYgreyvolution
I wonder if that was/is what Russell Brand was/is aiming at: to be an old-fashioned literary great man; we are both children of Kerouac, who similarly tried to create a better world while not behaving well personally. However, Brand seems to be just copying the greats, like he copied Chomsky for his philosophy.
My writing and lifestyle is much more revolutionary, in a new kind of way, as is my new kind of great literary man: one who doesn’t use his work to treat women shabbily. However, there have been those who’ve retreated from humanity, from Diogenes ‘the dog’ in ancient Greece to Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd.
I have not retreated so much though, looking for the Goldilocks zone of being just right in the middle, like the greenYgrey Y.
While Brand is just speaking to the converted, caring too much about not upsetting his followers, I am more like the literary greats of old in that I don’t care, I have no left or right biases, I just write what I think, without barriers, or concerns about political correctness.
That’s why you should trade in Brand’s Revolution, if you’ve still got it, and buy my much more original and really revolutionary in an evolutionary way books. I also deserve it if modern Britain is a meritocracy, having spent ten years in further education and gaining a PhD, reading and analysing Chomsky about fifteen years before Brand, and with the balance that years of research provides, rather than reading it alone and unbalanced, as Brand seemed to do!
I was warning my left-wing friends years ago that the majority of British people wanted a revolution more like the Brexit vote than more and more immigration, multiculturalism and loss of of British identity. The left-wing ‘traditional Britain haters’ tend to support everybody’s independence from Britain, but not Britain’s independence from everybody else!! I hope we can have a Glastonbury-type existence, but believe we can only do that with restrictions and regulations; as the festival is much safer and more peaceful since they built the big fence around it.
When the Yazidis were getting ethnically cleansed by I.S. I thought of an example after a helicopter trying to take too many Yazidis off a mountain crashed killing them all. I thought that was an example of how Britain could end up, trying to rescue too many people, and crashing itself, killing everybody. The Glastonbury crowd lefties are like that pilot, trying to be ‘too nice’ for their own good.
I hate the fact that climate change might be affecting people already, either from desertification or flooding, but don’t believe that we should just move the problem to our countries, which are already suffering some of the consequences; mostly flooding. Sweden has one of the best environmental records, but is now building hundreds of thousands of new homes for refugees. Can they absorb such numbers? Hopefully, but how many more?
I was inspired to write this blog now, after it’s been planned for a while, after watching a Bettany Hughes Genius of the Modern World documentary this week about Nietzsche, who has risen to prominence in the greenYgrey world since XaW Files; as I realised how his work had inspired mine unconsciously much more than my conscious had realised. XaW Files also includes the great mother and daughter writer philosophers, Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley. More about that soon.