Anonymous said: Hello! I feel a bit silly for asking but I am really interested to know what Anti-Genius is / all about. Somehow I feel like I should just know, but I don't. Love your horoscopes, by the by.
Oh anon I’m glad you asked!! I worry that “anti genius” is really easily interpreted to mean something totally different than what I’m trying to do, and I am grateful for the opportunity to keep being a broken record about it!
First, to be clear, Anti-Genius is not anti art! Not anti-good art, not anti-difficult art, not anti-complicated art. Not, as all these litbros insist on believing, about reducing great literature to a sad flat landscape of “good” and “bad” people. It’s not about being “offended” by “characters i don’t like,” it’s not about wanting to only read “viewpoints that I agree with.” (I trust that you know this, anon, but I think probably it’s an important thing to get out of the way. Ok!!).
The tag has started to sprawl a little bit, but the original and most basic point of Anti-Genius is that producing great art does not excuse a person from the responsibilities of being human. The most basic point of Anti-Genius is that good literature is the most important thing in the world to me BUT STILL people are more important.
I went to a liberal arts college full of brainy social justice-obsessed weirdos and even then, in one of the first lit classes I took, we spent the entire semester discussing whether or not The Artist is of a fundamentally different breed than the regular person. Liiiiiike, truly, I cannot believe that is even a question. The artist is a human just like the rest of us. The poet is a human just like the rest of us. Same as the movie actor, same as the Wall Street banker, same as the pro football player, I don’t care. This is not to say that “we’re all human let’s get along!” but rather that we all live in a difficult world, and we all need to do the best we can to live kind and just and moral lives, and having a cool job does not excuse you from this. This is like so basic, it’s so uncool to say. My internalized poststructuralist theorist is cackling and groaning at me right now, my internalized Cool Brooklyn self is cringing so hard, I don’t care, here we are.
Not saying that nobody should consume art by anyone who is a “bad person,” etc etc etc. We all have our own complicated moral arithmetic to do, to determine what we’ll ignore, what we’ll let go, what we’ll forgive. I will not watch a movie by Woody Allen but I still love David Foster Wallace. It’s not easy and I’m not pure but like, but like
I once went to a comedy show at UCB where Donald Glover did a joke about Michael Jackson, about how liiiiike wellllll maybe a kid or two got abused but Thriller was worth it. Anti-Genius means fuckkkkkk that. Anti-Genius means that the wives matter, the girlfriends matter, the kids matter, what is even the point, otherwise. Anti-Genius means that art is the most important thing there is but it is never that important.