Whereas from where I sit the authors that matter are the ones that can say something intelligent and thought provoking that a reasonably smart person can digest and enjoy. If you need a scholarly background to decode it, it might be great art but to what end? You might as well be writing in Latin.
Franzen: That's one of the perverse, not to say fetishistic responses to the obliteratively ubiquitous presence of buying in our lives: to say, "I don't buy the popular stuff, I buy the small label stuff," as if that makes you any less of a consumer. But I'm somewhat guilty of it myself, and it follows a pattern. Certainly in music, suddenly the band you like because it was not produced goes to a major label and becomes heavily produced. It's hard to think of a major label Mekons recording, for example. It's impossible because they would never do it.
But I'm with you, I don't think the same applies to fiction. The problem in this case is some of Oprah's picks. She's picked some good books, but she's picked enough schmaltzy, one dimensional ones that I cringe, myself, even though I think she's really smart and she's really fighting the good fight. And she's an easy target.
But as far as being popular, yeah, I think Dave Barry is really funny. And Silence of the Lambs is a really smart book. But of course everybody who's sold out and been co-opted, as I obviously have, says the same thing, and it makes for a pathetic spectacle."
Yep, pretty much, says I.