The most important thing

Once, as a child, my pseudo-intellectual uncle gave me the worst piece of advice I’d ever heard:

Every time you open a book, find the author and see who he is, for that is the most important thing to tell you how you should read the book.

Essentially, he was saying authorship changes text.

I disagree. Extremely. To me, this advice is equivalent to saying that a book’s cover is the most important thing in determining whether you should read it or not.

Sadly, it might effect your choice or way of reading it, but you should only rely on this if you are short on time.

When you find a new blog, you shouldn’t click the ‘about me’ link simply to see whether you agree with the person’s views or not. Doing so is tantamount to limiting your exposure to new ideas. And we all know how terrible that is.

If the author is stupid, ignorant, arrogant, or a bad writer, you will find out soon enough.

Likewise, if something catches your eye from the text, it is a better judgement than a first name and a last name.
Perhaps knowing who wrote something is important for appreciation of their work or creative process, perhaps it is important to know who to avoid or seek out, or perhaps it is important to you for peace of mind. Whatever the case, the author should only be important after the work, not before.

Never before.

In just the same way that Picasso painted some crap, so have the Beatles put out some awful songs, Shakespeare some terrible works, and Styx some only halfawesome blog posts.

“It’s a Rembrandt” should be trivia or an afterthought not a reason for liking a painting. Any artist knows that.

One comment

  1. I was with you up until you mentioned art. As an artist, sometimes it IS appropriate to consider an artwork bad art simply due to the person who painted it. For example, Rembrandt is a great artist, sure, but that’s because of his artworks and his life. Warhol was also a great artist due to his works and life. Hence it’s impossible, at least in the case of art, to seperate the authenticity of a work from the artist itself. Especially these days.

    Good example, ya?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *