French culture is always on top of important things. On January 23, for example, the state radio published an ambitious podcast, dedicated to a burning social topic: the development in France, in all branches of publishing, of “sensitivity readers“, i.e. the people responsible for re-reading books (great classics or recent releases) and ridding them of their “offensive” content (offensive for sacred “minorities”, no longer need to say).Candidates should identify which subjects their sensitivity is particularly acute (French culturementioned The world, evokes among other things the Iroquois culture or the vegetarian lifestyle). A certain Christophe Riou offers a French translation: “literary deminers“. Censorship sometimes turns into self-censorship, when some writers call in a rather special demining service to find out how characters with such and such characteristics can experience a phenomenon “from the inside”. which consists of making the most of it by putting oneself in the place of a character whose qualities are not possessed. Crime and punishment of an assassin.
The delirium does not stop however in a good way, in this “cultural” world told your taxes. The phenomenon of “literary demining” in the name of sensitivity was first intended for children’s literature, in accordance with the disappearance of the previous simple in the series “Le Club des Cinq” or the rewriting of “Martine” for children. a completely new public, consisting of small illiterates. This is now affecting literature for adults, as few adults in 2022 can boast of fighting the slightest adversity. Thus devitalized, more than “demined”, the role of the writer must be reconsidered.
A writer, according to history, is first of all a storyteller, a person whose word attracts attention, without gratuitous provocation, but because he has a tone, a voice with an impression heard while reading it (the too popular “little music” of a Modiano, or the cubist, jazzy, chic and fast language of a Paul Morand, a true voice of the inter-war period). Look again at Céline, for example, and compare her radio interviews with her prose: they are the same utterances, the same hesitations and repetitions, and the same exact truths. He himself said that writing is like a stick in water: for one to have the impression of continuity between speech and literature, for the stick to look straight, the writer must be upside down. All writing is before all speaking. Nietzsche, in Ten commandments of the school of style whom he addressed to Lou von Salomé, said nothing else. Writing is an imitation of speech at its best. A cheap word does not convince anyone, does not attract anyone, does not stop the conversation and does not bring a decision. What about cheap handwriting?
A writer is also one who has two things: an original vision that runs through him, and the stylistic ability to restore it to its reality. A writer puts glass bells on butterflies that others – the readers – see pass by without catching them. It evokes the feeling, through the right words and rhythmic sentences, of “That’s how it is”. A censored writer is unlikely to seize a piece of the world. He will speak cotton Newspeak like everyone else. Maybe that’s the goal. And then this will be the end of literature – a common Western genre, which must therefore, one imagines, deconstructed.
In Notre Dame of Paris, Victor Hugo established a wonderful parallel between stone and paper. He told Father Frollo that “the book [tuerait] the building“, that the printing press, by spreading knowledge, will put an end to the wonderful univocity of teaching that is given to the eyes of the faithful through the stone of the cathedrals. Gives, indirectly, an additional key to understanding in this parallel, Heinrich Heine thought, as for him, that we can no longer build cathedrals in the contemporary world, because “those who make them have beliefs. We, opinion. And you don’t build a cathedral with opinions”. In other words, without opinions, you don’t even make novels.
So, to hell with these morons. In this sad chifumi, long lived stone and paper, dead in the age of scissors. On the other hand, let’s rush to Amazon and the booksellers, before the scalpel of “sensitive readers” finishes trepanning literature to remove from it, once and for all, the bits of brain that hold it back from engaging in inclusive brotherhood.
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