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Author Topic: Susan Hill's rant  (Read 14696 times)

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Offline elay2433

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Re: Susan Hill's rant
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2010, 12:22:55 AM »
Quote
And no, she didn't say anyone without an English degree is shite... Holy crap, do you have thin skin. All she said is that she got an English degree back in the days when it was required to read a lot of difficult writers to get one. I assume that means that these days one is able to get an English degree with a lot less effort and/or by reading authors whose work is far less challenging.

I read the rant, but I didn't really understand what she was complaining about. It seemed that whatever offended her to the point of posting her rant was omitted. I've seen how everyone's interpreted things, but who are these asylum seekers? And who fucking cares. Really?  :grin:

The quote above, where she talks about earning her degree and 'difficult' writers, sounds condescending, whatever the context. Like: 'I had to do it the hard way and now they just pass the fucking things out', kind of. Or a bit like Grampa's lament about how kids today have it so much easier with school buses and such, where, when he was growing up he had to walk five miles through the snow to get to school, and then five miles back. Uphill. Both ways.

Now that I've written this, I'm asking myself why the hell I bothered. I'm a bit buzzed though. So that's my excuse.  :smiley: (where's the tipsy emoticon when you need one?)
Jerry Enni lives in a small house in the center of the San Joaquin Valley with his beautiful family. By day he makes signs and by night he writes stories. To learn more about him, check out Clear Perspective, Blurry Lens

Offline Ed

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Re: Susan Hill's rant
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2010, 02:49:44 AM »
I'll say the same as I did elsewhere. I kind of agree with what she says, in that 'affirmative action' in all its guises is at best misguided and at worst discriminatory, and at the same time arbitrary in nature. In another way, I disagree, because the appreciation of the written word is so very subjective. What she classes as a top notch story would likely bore the pants off me, whereas a story I love would likely be her idea of hell on paper.

You've only got to compare the best sellers list against the works of exemplary literary merit list to see that one is not synonymous with the other. And there again, I agree there are basic standards that really should not be ignored. I think this is the brunt of her argument - she sees a widespread lowering of standards, and identifies the bleeding heart liberals (the same ones that choke us with health and safety legislation) as the people who are responsible for it.
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Online delboy

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Re: Susan Hill's rant
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2010, 03:32:44 AM »
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I think it's worth noting that she didn't use the word "professional" anywhere in her rant. Ed used that word. She only used the word "amateur," which has two meanings. One is the person who engages in a pursuit or activity (such as writing) on an unpaid basis. The second is a person considered inept at a particular activity.

It's a good point, but I read the piece in the context that although she didn't mention the word 'professional' she clearly alluded to it in her title "No, amateurs are not 'Just as good as...'"

Now, I might never have been on Have I Got News For You and participated in the missing word round, but I'm betting that the missing word here is 'professionals'. I might be wrong. Maybe I should have spent more time considering the title. But I don't think the word is "Llamas" or "Gas-Fitters". I reckon it's "Professionals."

That's why I think there was a bit of a "design" behind the article, a troll, if you like, to generate discussions just like this one and get her name about.

Takings Pharo's two definitions of amateur, we see that Susan Hill's article has to be about people who go about something on an unpaid basis. To consider the article being about the second meaning of amateurs - ineptitude - would mean the author has written an entire piece to prove the premis "Inept writers aren't as good as, uh, good ones." Hmmm.

So it's about money. It's about for the love or writers not being as good as for the money writers. Or so the title would us believe. And I think that's a whole different ballgame to what she actually wrote about (which is why I think it's a troll). I don't think anyone here would argue that standards aren't important. God knows we all wasted enough hours on poor books, rubbish TV shows, awful movies, pop music, etc etc. Standards need to be maintained. No argument for me on that. But hand on heart, I've read stuff from you guys that is far better than stuff I've picked up from the best seller shelves. It might not happen often but it happens, and I'll argue until my dying breath that you amateurs have every right to strive long and hard to become a professional, and should have access to the markets, mediums, and public to help make this happen.

Derek

« Last Edit: January 22, 2010, 04:02:51 AM by delboy »
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Offline Rev. Austin

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Re: Susan Hill's rant
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2010, 07:10:35 AM »
I agree with her, in that if you have a talent, you have talent; no amount of reading the right books or joining the right team or whatever will make you as good as a genuinely talented person (whatever the profession).  For instance, I have friends who studied English at uni and/or gained a Masters Degree, and though they know all the rules etc their actual writing is rather generic and clichéd (which, come to think of it, might also apply to Ms Hill ;) but I can't say as I have never heard of her before or read anything by her, or those authors she keeps namechecking).

However.  This is also depressingly true:

"The internet is actually as great a leveller as the publisher or the newspaper editor, because you can write what you like and post it up there but just as you cannot get a column in a newspaper just when you fancy one, so you cannot get a single reader if no reader chooses you"

It's her tone I don't like.  Sure, it's a rant, but she sounds awfully snooty  :grin:

And what's 'troll' mean?  Is it something designed to garner opinion/debate?  If so, I can see why her piece could be viewed as such a thing.  Zero half measures indeed! :D
« Last Edit: January 22, 2010, 07:13:22 AM by Rev. Austin »
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Online delboy

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Re: Susan Hill's rant
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2010, 07:31:00 AM »
Quote
And what's 'troll' mean?  Is it something designed to garner opinion/debate?  If so, I can see why her piece could be viewed as such a thing.

Yes, more or less. An inflamatory comment designed to garner opion and debate, but usually done in a subtle but directed way to get people's backs up or to wind them up. I have no issue with her argument that poor writers aren't as good as better writers. I could write a piece that proves that lower paid firemen don't earn as much as their higher paid colleagues. That's why I think it's designed to make people like us write threads like this. If she'd called it "I'd rather not have my professional standard work featured in certain forums, but that's just me, and here's why" then no-one would have bothered with it all.

Derek
"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
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Offline desertwomble

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Re: Susan Hill's rant
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2010, 07:45:59 AM »
Elay, for 'assylum seekers', you can read 'anyone not ethnically English'. It's a sort of a far-right shorthand.

DW :cheesy:
« Last Edit: January 22, 2010, 07:47:11 AM by desertwomble »

Offline Frank Menser

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Re: Susan Hill's rant
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2010, 06:46:29 PM »
If Susan's name was attached to the work for all to see-or money was involved, I might have some sympathy to her plight, as there might be issues involving credit and reputation-though I doubt it . The cloak of anonymity shields any abasement to her prestige that might otherwise occur. Since there was little if any danger of her work even being discovered in the mix - no harm no foul.

This sounds like a hen squawking that her eggs are too good to be placed with the others in the market.

So for that reason, I think I would write off her comments as a rant and elitist crap - not worth the reading. Good work will stand out from the crowd; and - like a seed in planted in manure - it will sprout and stand alone in the sun. As to those who might read it, I think they could care less (again, since no names are attached) about anything except reading a good tale. I hardly think there is a danger of contamination by close proximity to a lesser work. 

Ultimately this has nothing to do with quality or standards and more to do with a cry for attention. 

Offline Caz

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Re: Susan Hill's rant
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2010, 07:29:50 AM »
  I have to say I agree with her general point that standards are slipping. It used to be that the best man for the job got the job. Not anymore, not in any government paid jobs in England, which accounts for millions of workers. If someone can claim a disadvantage (pc crap) then they get a head start on those who show a genuine talent. If this kind of attitude is allowed to prevail then many terrible scenarios may come to pass. I may become eligible to run in the next Olympics, complete with beer hat and 60 meter head start on the rest of the 100 meter sprinters. Scary I know, not least for me as I’ll probably still lose. :fugly:
 
  Her point about all the hard work she put in to become a writer is also valid. Things are much easier now, thanks to word processors, than they were fifty years ago. Many people, myself included, can now write to a standard that would have been beyond them without the aid of a computer. But to say that only journalists and English degree holders make good writers is wrong. They may be proficient in the use of grammar, punctuation  and sentence structure but many of them lack the imagination to become story tellers. Having the talent to tell stories is what counts more than anything else. The rest of it is just fine tuning.

Anyways, as has been said by many previous posters, her rant is probably no more than a spot of self publicity. 
 
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Offline digitaldeath

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Re: Susan Hill's rant
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2010, 07:31:35 AM »
As it has rained so much my boat, which is on  a hill is float I came into town on my quad down a river and forgot my glasses so everything is blurred, I have most replies but my eyes are too tired to read the rant.
As a professional photographer the market pllace is flooded with amateurs. THis is annoying as they undercharge but the point I want to make is the quality of work does not relate to a title. A professional is just someone who believes they can earn a living in that arena, some pro photogaphers are rubbish and even here a name helps. I know amateurs who are fantastic only they prefer to have a stable income in a diferent field.
I have been writing 40 yrs but not had a novel published, mainly because I don't push hard enough, three rejection slips are enough, maybe one sometimes.
However it does irk me that people are published for producing rubbish.
My autobiography by C.C. aged 17.
An unschooled youth from Tyne and wear had a book published because critic considered it remarkable that he had enough brain cells to us a pen. I was shown it by a friend in publishing. There was so much swearing it, no structure or story i was a laugh. As though he just wrote what he had said over a couple of days, needless to say I didn't ge far.
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Offline Cory Cramer

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Re: Susan Hill's rant
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2010, 07:00:24 PM »
I'll say the same as I did elsewhere. I kind of agree with what she says, in that 'affirmative action' in all its guises is at best misguided and at worst discriminatory, and at the same time arbitrary in nature. In another way, I disagree, because the appreciation of the written word is so very subjective. What she classes as a top notch story would likely bore the pants off me, whereas a story I love would likely be her idea of hell on paper.

You've only got to compare the best sellers list against the works of exemplary literary merit list to see that one is not synonymous with the other. And there again, I agree there are basic standards that really should not be ignored. I think this is the brunt of her argument - she sees a widespread lowering of standards, and identifies the bleeding heart liberals (the same ones that choke us with health and safety legislation) as the people who are responsible for it.

That was exactly my feeling, but I can see how the political tone could tick people off.


Offline fnord33

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Re: Susan Hill's rant
« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2010, 06:04:51 PM »
I prefer Lance Carbuncle to John Grisham any day of the week. It's all just a matter of taste. It would be nice if every writer was a literary genius, but sometimes writing can be good despite it's execution. I think that there's a lot of good stuff out there in the punkish D.I.Y. arena. I like more of that than the more professional stuff that's coming out these days.   
Life is an entanglement of lies to hide it's basic mechanisms. - William Burroughs

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