Just as often as you will find me with my nose stuck in a book you are likely to come across me scrolling through Twitter. I love the fast paced interaction, hearing what people have to say, somebody I have never met making me laugh with exemplary use of their 140 characters. I do appreciate Twitter can become something of a bubble, as you are generally choosing to follow people on there who hold similar opinions to your own and create a little online world in which you would like to live. Every now and then you can click that follow button on somebody less than savoury without quite realising what you have done. Now I think it is great to branch out and hear new voices (maybe the results of the general election and the Brexit vote might not have come as such a painful shock to me if I had done so) but also there are some who are just so tiresome in their beliefs you really don’t need their toxic views filtering into your day. I’ve never done the inexcusable and followed Katie Hopkins, you are just asking for the headache then, but there have been others who I thought were harmless enough before being pulled up short one day realising their negativity and plain mean spiritedness to others is working its way into my daily consciousness and I am the one who can choose to stop this with the quick click of an unfollow button.
For some time now a columnist for The Times has been sending out tweets that leave me feeling angered and frustrated, but I still didn’t press that button, I don’t really know the reason why, is there a part within us that enjoys having a foe? In this last week two of her tweets have caused my mind to tick over in such annoyance I felt like I had to respond, I am a terrible one for letting anger boil away within and getting my feelings out on paper is often enough to take the heat out of that.
The tweets by Camilla Long were in response to the announcement that Kazuo Ishiguro has won the Nobel Prize for Literature this year. Before I go any further I will confess I am a huge fan of the work of Ishiguro and am delighted at him receiving the award which I believe to be more than well deserved. Despite my stance on this you could switch in any author to the comments made by Long about the win and my response would still be the same. Here follows her tweets:
“Sorry but Kazuo Ishiguro is just lame as a Nobel choice. His books are made into films FGS!”
I read this and just thought ‘oh heavens, here she goes again’ but did give her some benefit of the doubt thinking it could be a really poor joke. Other readers clearly thought along the same lines and questioned her on this, her answer:
“It’s not a joke. Film adaptations are a lazy form of art and not one Nobel prize winners should entertain”
I wonder if she made that opinion known when she got the job as The Times FILM CRITIC – yes, really. Apart from this being more than a little ‘one does not become a Nobel Prize Winner but is born one’, what utter, total bullshit! I won’t take up your precious time listing all the winners of this award who have had their work adapted into a film, take my word for it, there is A LOT.
The real thing that gets up my nose? The snobbishness of it all. I live and breathe books, to, some would say, an unhealthy point. When I am not reading I like to be talking about reading, or book jacket covers, or genre, or…well you get it, the written word is my love. BUT. I do not believe that literature is some godly like art form that all must kneel before. I know some who think TV, film, music or videogames cannot compare with the hallowed book. I disagree entirely. That may be where my passion is and the talent that goes into producing a great work of fiction is a thing to admire, but not one of these forms can be held above the other. Their success lies in what they are to the person who is engaging with them at that time.
We have always been a story telling animal and we will always tell our stories across many different mediums. I think it is important we just cherish that the story is told and that we gain pleasure from it, not imposing some worthy rating system as to who engages in these tales in the most ‘pure’ way. Musicians have been inspired by authors who have inspired movies which have inspired plays which have inspired poems, if you follow the theory of there only being seven stories in the world, with different ways of them being told, do we all not absorb these and then bring them back into the world in an altered form coloured by our own experience? It gives me nothing but pleasure to think that somebody who is not a fan of reading could get to enjoy a story that has absorbed me in a different form, why miss out? One of my most favourite authors and general Wise and Respected Person, Philip Pullman has said…
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the things we need most in the world”
I hope, as humble as my opinion is, he would agree with me, get lost in the story in which ever way you want to.
So, the annoyance has now cooled off, I am heading to my sofa to read some more. Later I am going to watch a film, I expect both experiences to be pretty damn good. You know what will be even better though? Before I do either of these things, there is a narrative I don’t want to be involved in any more, and all I have to do is hit that unfollow button.