…is bullshit. There’s a related quote I run into frequently that bugs me when I see it. It’s from Cyril Connolly, who was apparently an ‘intellectual’ (does that mean snob?), a literary critic, and a writer. Aside from that I don’t know anything about him, except for the quote I run into regularly…
“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
The idea of not sacrificing yourself, not losing sight of who you are, is something I’m kind of on board with. But that’s a given, isn’t it? Fact is, I’d rather have a public to lose myself in than die a nobody. Bring on the meaningless attention, the shallow recognition. Lay it on me.
Every writer, from the shittiest hack to the most eloquent master of language, sells his soul a piece at a time. A post at a time. A short story at a time. Each words comes from the heart, metaphorical blood on the page. So is it better to write for yourself with nothing to show for it?
I don’t think so.
I think it’s better to sell out. To gain exposure.
Selling out is rarely what it appears to be.
You think if I did that I wouldn’t be writing what I want to write? You think Marilyn Manson didn’t believe any of the vitriol that made him so famous in the 90’s? You really think the albums that followed Antichrist Superstar completely lacked sincerity? Maybe, but I kind of doubt it.
Sell outs usually aren’t whoring themselves out to the whims of their “adoring” public. They’re bringing their dreams to life. They figured out a way to do what they want in a way that expands their reach, their audience, exponentially. Most who have a problem with that are just jealous.
You know the difference between Marilyn Manson and G.G. Allin? Manson made a huge impact, reached out to a lot of people, and made a lot of money. Allin is just some obscure fucking wreck of a human being. The only thing that makes him interesting is how outrageous he was.
Outrageous nonsense, by itself… just doesn’t cut it.