Dumbing down American readers


Harold Bloom's Column says the decision to give the National Book Foundation's annual award for "distinguished contribution" to Stephen King is extraordinary, another low in the shocking process of dumbing down our cultural life.

"Today there are four living American novelists I know of who are still at work and who deserve our praise. Thomas Pynchon is still writing. My friend Philip Roth, who will now share this "distinguished contribution" award with Stephen King, is a great comedian and would no doubt find something funny to say about it. There's Cormac McCarthy, whose novel "Blood Meridian" is worthy of Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick," and Don DeLillo, whose "Underworld" is a great book."


While I will agree that Stephen King is utter crap, this guy seems to have a huge problem with the simple act of enjoying reading outside of his precious canon, a horrible affliction affecting too many academics.

Harold Bloom is a goddamned idiot. Too insufferably narrow-minded to understand the evolution of writing styles from generation to generation never mind century to century, and so egotistical as to imagine that his knee-jerk reactionism to what he hasn't got the capacity to understand constitutes some kind of standard by which the literary community must live and write. It's a pity fools like this just cannot see how it is that when they don't like a book or a writing style, that doesn't mean the book or the style is no good, it only means the critic does not prefer that kind of book or style. Rowling does have serious flaws with her writing, and the argument that it gets children to read smacks too much of desperation, but for Bloom to forbid King and Rowling to be taken seriously just because he doesn't get it is the height of stupidity.

I've been casting about for words to express myself on this Stephen King/National Book Award thing, and coming up short. Today I ran across this, by Jeremy Dauber at the Christian Science Monitor. I think he sums it up pretty well.

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