By Heather A.
**The opinions expressed here and other places around the internet are mine and do not reflect those of my employer, family, friends, inanimate objects that may become sentient, or plants.**
In case you missed it, The Guardian posted an article from writer/ artist Jonathan Jones, berating Terry Pratchett’s works as mediocre and not worth anyone’s time. I think it was meant to be aggravating. I can’t even begin to describe how frustrating it was to read. To showcase how different my opinion is from Jones, I don’t think Gabriel García Márquez is the best writer, and I’ve actually read Márquez. An author I haven’t read is Terry Pratchett, but his work seems pretty cool. I have a few of his books on my TBR shelf, including the Tiffany Aching series, and a few random Discworld novels I found at work. When Pratchett died, I was saddened because I recognized we lost a cultural icon. Many Pratchett fans who have read his work were upset for other reasons, having known and read Pratchett for many years.
Reading this article made me angry. The author chose to be ignorant of the topic which he’s writing, but further, sought to demean it as some sort of pseudo-literature. (His definition of literature is out of whack, by the way). Literature is not some high-brow, intellectual-only, class system. It’s for everyone. Including all genres, authors, and readers. If you don’t want to read Terry Pratchett because you don’t like that particular genre or whatever, then don’t read it, but don’t try to degrade the people who do.
For example, I don’t read erotica. It’s not something I’m interested in reading. That doesn’t mean I should tell Tqwana (she reads a lot of erotica), the co-founder of this blog: HEY EROTICA IS NOT FOR ME AND IT SHOULDN’T BE FOR YOU EITHER. We have posts and discussions about erotica because we (I) acknowledge that there are readers who enjoy it. I’m not going to tell people what to like. This is what Jones is doing. Let people read what they want to read and get off whatever soapbox you think you have.
In terms of “mediocrity is equal to genius” train of thought that Jones is against: Is commercial fiction so bad that an author has to be a starving artist to earn any respect? Isn’t being mediocre worth praise when an author finds an audience and the audience buys his/her work? Does making a career out of “mediocrity” mean the author worked any less for the content they created? Considering that I haven’t read his books, I would like to humbly suggest that success is measured in a variety of ways. Just because an author is popular doesn’t make their work any less meaningful to those who read it. Because what Jones is suggesting is not only is Pratchett mediocre, but so are all his readers. It’s important for people to have some autonomy and decide what is mediocre or not, a pretentious lit-hur-ah-tour enthusiast shouldn’t make that decision.
In conclusion, Terry Pratchett is way more awesome than you will ever be. Bye!