[lit-ideas] Re: In Search of Generous Reading

  • From: John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 23:38:20 +0900

Eric writes,

> It may be an ingrained battle of personality
> types. In the microcosm of publishing, I've seen
> the same types constantly wage a battle of the
> books---namely Creative Content Producers and
> Editors versus Production Editors and Managing
> Editors.

As a social anthropologist, I have, I must admit, a professional
aversion to personality types as explanations for social phenomena.

I observe that relatively few among us are either creative content
producers or professionally meticulous, cost-conscious editors. But
the habit of jumping on what seems wrong instead of reserving judgment
to read or listen generously seems nearly all-pervasive.

I observe, too, that—present company politely excluded—those who leap
in to criticize tend on the whole to be hasty and sloppy in their
thinking, a far cry from bean counters obsessing about their budgets
or Steel Magnolia grammarians. On the other side of the argument,  the
purely conventional forms that most quick criticism takes excludes
creativity as a serious alternative.

It is better, perhaps, to blame schools that dwell too much on such
cheap tricks as, "How do you define that?", the proliferation of
lawyers more concerned to destroy each others' cases than to achieve a
just decision, politicians who rely on negative campaigning, or
24-hour news channels that regard extremes talking past each other as
balanced coverage of current events. Lot's of possibilities besides
personality types out there.

Underlying it all may be a sad consensus that while as consumers we
enjoy a sovereign right to choose among the products offered to us, as
workers we must be junkyard dogs to seize enough scarce resources to
excercise that right.

Now, where did that come from?

John Mc

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