July 26th, 2004

ew bitch - crazyperfume

On Elitism, and its merits.

Let me begin this post by saying: I will try and make an effort to respond to comments here? But I make no promises, because I know what I'm like about comments -- I get busy, and it takes me forever to finally respond to them. *gestures downward toward unanswered comments* It's a failing of mine, but I think it's a forgivable one. I'm going to leave the comments feature on, because I know people will want to discuss -- and I'm all for providing a forum.

That having been said, first let me link you to the argument to which I'm responding: Flogging Elitism in the Fanfiction World

I refuse to apologize for having talent, and for being proud of it. I refuse to apologize for *recognizing* and *enjoying* talent. And I think that should be true of anyone with any kind of talent -- art, writing, music, cooking, anything. It's just stupid and insulting for people to say "Because you're good at this, you're required to pretend that you're not, and to exhalt people who aren't good at it. Feel guilty for trying, feel guilty for liking it when other people try as well."

I don't make a big deal out of what I read and don't read. I don't humiliate people for not liking the same things I do. I disagree, and I find it kind of surprising that people do read/like the things they do on occasion, but whatever if you chose to be satisfied with something that's less than readable, in my opinion, then *fine*.

The world's your oyster. Who cares? And people who *aren't* the best writers, who don't polish everything they write -- fine. That's their choice. But do *not* expect me to applaud that choice, because there is *no one* in the world who wouldn't benefit from improvement, and to say that you're too good to spend time on improving yourself -- in ANY WAY -- is sheer arrogance.

Which makes the argument *against* elitism utter hypocrisy.

If you write because you love it, good for you. If you write to learn more about your style, if you use fanfic as an exercise, then that's also great. But if you do that? The only thing that can really help you is criticism.

You can't dismiss it, you can't say "Oh, well, s/he is just elitist and therefore s/he is not worth listening to." Criticism is something that even writers like Salmon Rushdie contend with -- and guess what? It's not always worded nicely. It's a hard truth. It's maybe not the prettiest face of humanity (and I refuse to call this a fandom problem, because it's an epidemic in all arenas), but it's life. Get used to it.

Now, I'm not going to flame someone for writing something I don't like. I have the power to close out the document, and I'll do that. And if I'm asked my opinion? I'll tell you honestly, and as diplomatically as I can, what I think of what you've written. I don't *owe* anyone feedback just because they've written. That's just not the case, and to say that it is is more arrogance -- a kind of anti-elitist elitism that just smacks of self righteousness.

Fanfiction? Is a writing exercise. Fandom at large? A really big workshop. Not a free pass to adulation.

And furthermore, what I find most insulting about the entirety of that argument is the assumption that people should accept presenting *anything* that is less than their best to the rest of the world. No one should ever be conditioned to shoot for the lowest possible denominator, and that's what's happening here. People who try to raise the bar, people who wish to elevate the particular fandoms in which they are interested are being penalized, and I think that's a crock.

I, personally? Will never be satisfied with less than my best effort, and I'm proud of that. I expect it from the people around me, and I think that they should expect it from themselves.

Does this make me an elitist? I suppose so. And I have no problems with that.
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