Saturday, October 24, 2009

Modernist Television?

I was thinking about Williams' writing, and how the modernists were trying to break out from the literary mold, and I began to think about our society today. More specifically, I thought about our mainstream television. Most of our television falls into just a few genres. There's the criminology shows, the reality shows, the sitcoms, science fiction, documentaries, etc. (I suppose this reveals a bit about what I watch on television, or at least, what's not here reveals information about what I don't watch) I guess there are quite a few, but all of television programming that requires writers generally fall into one of the major categories. What I wonder is, is this the kind of rut that Williams wanted the modernist writers to escape from? Perhaps it is a product of me just watching too much television, but all the new shows I see on television seem like old news. Williams' book didn't really seem to fit into any literary genre I could think about. Hell, it walked the line between poetry and prose on purpose. (probably) Maybe television today is like the slightly spoiled milk left in your fridge that you drink anyway because you can't get new milk. Okay maybe that simile was a bit unrelated... But anyway, maybe we are just waiting for a completely new form of television to come around. Something that seems radical and new, but will eventually become the norm. (Or at least, something not surprising) Maybe we need modern modernist screenwriters.

1 comment:

  1. I think using modernist styles in books is not the same as using it in television. Television for the most part is to make money by appealing to the greatest number of people. If we were to have modernist shows (which I view as insane -- it's like watching distortions of the mind) then I would think many people would either be bored or scared away from it. However, it is still entirely possible to have these modernist shows, provided that its objective is to simply show the audience what modernist thinking really is about (maybe put them on cable channels?). Otherwise, I'd still like to see mindless wonton explosions when I turn on my TV.

    By the way, did Williams's books sell well? I remember reading that not even his patients knew he was a writer. Perhaps from seeing the old example of a failed revenue generator, the TV studios are already shying away from modernist art on TV.

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