by LK Hunsaker
A borrowed phrase says it all about art, politics, and life in general.
"The best thing commercially, which is the worst artistically, by and large, is the most successful."
This is a sad commentary for artists, but unfortunately, I have to agree. It explains why romance novels, which very often have an overused plot and overall fairly basic writing skills, sell better than literary fiction which tends to have much more to say and generally says it better. Check the work of Marilynne Robinson, for example.
A family member mentioned not long ago that America has a "microwave mentality" - the belief that getting something done quickly and easily is more important than taking the time to do it right. The comment was made referring to the war, but it also applies to the arts. Novelists are continually pushed to get their books done and out to the public, regardless of what it does to the authors or the novel quality. Where does that leave us as readers? With less to really think about while we're reading, creating a laziness in reading. We have too much tendency to just accept what comes because that's what we've been taught instead of challenging our artists/politicians to be more literary, to make us think. Charm overrules intelligence. Television presentation skills matter more than what is being said. "Reality" pushes out originality and creativity.
Many parents are making a stronger effort to spend more time preparing home-cooked meals after seeing the results of the microwave/fast food bandwagon. Our children are overweight and unhealthy. They expect things immediately instead of learning patience and the value of work. They want things to come easily and think everything will just be handed to them if they don't earn it themselves. How many of them are still home doing chores after school making a contribution to their families? How many are just pushed through school because it's easier than teaching them how to pass?
The microwave mentality needs to disappear along with the constant high-fat, low-nutrition diet. It's all the same.