Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Color Me Green with ...

  • a feeling of grudging admiration and desire to have something that is possessed by another
  • feel envious towards; admire enviously
  • spite and resentment at seeing the success of another (personified as one of the deadly sins)
  • be envious of; set one's heart on

Envy is universal. The Germans say "Envy eats nothing but its own heart," and the English offer "Envy shoots at others and wounds itself."

And where you find success, you find envy -- yin and yang, white and black.
"If you want to get rich from writing, Don Marquis once suggested, write the sort of thing that’s read by persons who move their lips when they’re reading to themselves. Marquis had rock-steady sights and, once, this remark would have thudded home clean and true. But no longer. If we have learned anything from JK Rowling, Britain’s most celebrated typist, it is that if you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that ends up as a plastic action-figure buried deep inside a Happy Meal."
The complete attack, one carried out by a writer named Tom Eaton, can be found on-line, apparently in a newspaper originating in South Africa.

I was amused, primarily because it illustrates the consequences of disobeying one of the admonitions offered during my childhood. "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything." I envisaged the fellow being drowned in irate emails from Potterites. Being off-shore, I assume, he need not worry, though, about that peculiar American propensity to nose-punch when the chip is knocked from a shoulder. See the "Nerd who burned the trailer" story.

I sent the link to the story to two writer friends I greatly respect, suggesting it might provide fodder for an article or a blog post.

One replied, "The only thing palatable anyone could possibly write about this twaddle would have to be funny. It's too stupid to be taken seriously ... "

Hmm, that's so. I believe it's extraordinarily ignorant to take on a publishing elephant (millions of copies in circulation) with a fly-swatter (a column). Eaton accomplishes nothing other than to reveal some of his lesser qualities.

Given the Warholian concept of "15 Minutes of Fame," I suppose attacking JK Rowling and Harry Potter is a simple, straight-forward way to become noticed, although slightly more boorish or peu sophistiqué than simply showing up on a red carpet in a short skirt and a pout.

"Even those who write against fame wish for the fame of having written well ... " Pascal.

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