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They just don't write 'em like that any more.

 
 
Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 02:25 pm
The other day I made the comment to a friend that I had to stop by the bookstore as I had preordered a book and the release date had arrived.

They commented that they couldn't believe that I would anticipate a new book when there were so many "great, classic" books that I have yet to read (and frankly, have little interest in reading when there are so many great new books being written).

Not long before that Mr. B had to use my car for the day and he couldn't belive that I was listening to that "crap" I had left in the CD player (American Idiot, which I like very much).

I've seen similar ideas on A2K before too - that the "old" in books and music are always preferable to the new.

I would really like to hear from people on both sides of the debate between the superiority of the old v. new.

Where do you fall?

Why?

Thanks!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,551 • Replies: 29
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Letty
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 02:29 pm
Bookmarking, boomer. <smile>
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Setanta
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 03:03 pm
The classics are the classics because they have stood the test of time. Several years back, i heard a song from the sixties which i had forgotten entirely for thirty years or more. I distinctly recall at the time that the song came out i had thought i would never forget such great music, that it would be with me through the ages. I hadn't recalled it for as long as a decade, and had forgotten it for three decades.

When Haydn and Mozart wrote music, so did thousands of others in Europe. Haydn and Mozart are musical giants, and their music is still played to day because it is the supreme expression of their musical era. Those thousands of others were quickly forgotten, as i had forgotten a pop song best consigned to oblivion.

The same thing applies to literature. Few people in the English language have ever been able to create and sustain a metaphor within the larger context of a novel as Charles Dickens was able to do--although he is not much to the taste of high school students forced to read his work, his books continue to sell more than a century after his death because of the quality of the writing. The thousands of others writers who wrote in his era are largely forgotten, and deservedly so.

I like books and music both new and old. I quickly tire of new authors who show no particular genius, or who simply recycle the same literary tricks. I quickly tire of musicians who play the same themes over and over. Those whose works will become classic are those who can offer what no one else offers, those who can make new and interesting each offering they produce. The rest are momentary interests which quickly fade, as well they ought.
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 03:14 pm
Interesting subject - I will return...
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Joe Nation
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 03:19 pm
(J)
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boomerang
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 03:26 pm
Funny, Setanta, I was just looking through a list of bestsellers from 1900 through the 1990s and there were more unfamiliar books than classics. Then I read your post and thought "Ah ha!"

I think thats exactly what we'll see from the current crop. Some will survive and other's will not.

I really do find it interesting that so many people seem dismissive of "modern" writing and music. In a way it seems to me that people don't trust their own judgement - without some previous stamp of approval it's just to risky to like something.

I'm certainly not opposed to the classics and I have read my fair share. I have also read my fair share of disposable books from a variety of eras.

As to music, I know people who were once very passionate about music who for some reason just quit listening. Now it seems that their idea of good music starts where their listening ended. It's almost like they're stuck.
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Setanta
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 03:29 pm
"Classic Rock" radio stations appall me. They play music by so many "one hit wonders"--if i hear "Alright now" by Free one more time, i may run screaming. Then they play the same damn songs by groups who produced literally hundreds of tunes, many of which deserve to be considered classics. Yet these stations remain popular. Kinda like knowing a macaroni dinner won't uspset your stomach, so you eat one every day.

I like the old and the new, and try to have no illusions about the value of the new over time.
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Letty
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 03:34 pm
Amen, brother Set.

Boomer, I haven't read a book in five long years. When we first moved to Florida, I bought several, but the last one by Clive Cussler, Atlantis Found, was the same old--same old, and I never finished it. I think that may be the reason that I have no desire to read anything current now.

As for the music, it depends on the reasons for listening. Funny, I was just doing a bit of research on Enrico Caruso because I loved his arias. My brother-in-law sent me a re-mastered tape, and it really doesn't matter if the orchestra is a little odd, he is still the best tenor EVER. I enjoy listening to MC Hammer do his bit on that commercial.

I think we go through phases of what we like, be they old or new, but when something lasts--it's got to be good.
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Dartagnan
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 03:35 pm
Agreed re "Classic Rock" radio stations. Talk about not taking any chances.

As for the classics vs. new stuff: I like to read some of both. It worries me at times that nearly all my favorite living writers are as old as I am or older, so I try to pick up on new writers from time to time. When I do find one I like, it's a kick!
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 03:42 pm
Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra was required reading in college, and I didn't realize until now that I like it. That's rather strange, don't you think?
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patiodog
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 03:45 pm
Had the same thought about "classic" rock the other day -- listening in the surgery suite at the shelter while passing anesthesia, almost anesthetized myself just from knowing every single song that came on back to front. How freaking dull. Nobody else seemed to share my chagrin. At home I listen to my old station from Seattle via the web, haven't listened in almost two years and 90% of what comes on is completely new to me. Bliss (even if half of it I don't really like).

As to literature... can't speak to it. Haven't read a novel proper in years, it seems. Both old and new have turned me off for some reason. Prolly cause they're about people...
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patiodog
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 03:46 pm
Letty wrote:
Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra was required reading in college, and I didn't realize until now that I like it. That's rather strange, don't you think?


Are you the same person you were in college?
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Letty
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 04:03 pm
Hardly, patio, but I haven't read it since then, and when I looked it up on the net, I realized that that crazy Irishman was pretty good.
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farmerman
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 04:11 pm
Some of us take longer to realize when a writer is becoming derivative of themselves. I think Ive read all of Clancy or Stephen Kings books and was always amazed at how they copied their previous books . Yet when I read Steinbeck, Im always confident that , save but for a few stinkeroos, his body of work will remain resonant for many more years
I love Dickens phrases and Twains nonsense (like his Editing an agricultural newsletter, or Journalism in Tennessee).
I admit that I read John Mcphee just to catch the errors . I find him more pompous than adept . I also have to admit that, given the choice, I would not include any Shakespeare in my gotta have "desert Island " booklist.

In music , there is only good and bad, so My run away screaming song is "Thats the way(uh huh uh huh) I like it " arghh! , but I can listen all night to Ry Cooder and VJ Bhatt "meeting at the river".
I cant much stand The Eagles, even though Joe Walsh has put up some decent solo stuff.
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farmerman
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 04:11 pm
HEY YOU< READ THE ABOVE POST!!
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 04:16 pm
One of the troubles with modern fiction is that it relies too much on technology. I picked up a thriller at a used bookstore during a beach trip and was "thrilled" by the antique technology that made the hero so super cool.

Of course, those books aren't intended to last.

I think that some books you grow into and some books you grow out of, Letty.

Classic rock has been replaced here by "Shuffle Rock" that is a bit more eclectic but still pretty pedestrian. The "new rock" station has been taken over by hip-hop. I've pretty much given up on radio and instead rely on friends to point me in a good direction.

And there's always Swimpy. She seems to know whats cool beofre anyone else. She should write a music blog for grown up women who still like rock.
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patiodog
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 04:17 pm
Letty wrote:
Hardly, patio, but I haven't read it since then, and when I looked it up on the net, I realized that that crazy Irishman was pretty good.


I reread Long Day's Journey Into Night every two or three years (which only makes it about half a dozen readings now). Fantastic rhythm, feel, atmosphere. One of the very few plays I enjoy reading...
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boomerang
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 04:28 pm
Speaking of derivative, farmerman....

Or was that double post just to drive your point home!?

I completely agree that many popular writers seem to just stop trying after a bit.

I have a book called "The Malcontents: the best bitter, cynical and satirical writing in the world" that includes a lot of Mark Twain. Wonderful stuff. A story-teller beyond compare. I can't think of one thing he wrote that I don't like.

My run away screaming song is "Tom Sawyer" by Rush!
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LionTamerX
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 04:39 pm
I try and keep three or four books going at any one time. I grew up in a family of readers (and musicians) so I need constant stimulation in those areas.
I managed a couple of great used book stores in my twenties and used to just stand in awe at how much there still was to read. How can you possibly read all of the classics, and still keep current with the good new stuff ? I'm a little ashamed to admit that I go by reviews in the independent press for my current reads, and some classics will always be a bit too dry for my liking.
As for music, I just listen to college radio. I have no desire to ever hear "Stairway to Heaven" again.
WFMU in New Jersey is probably the greatest free form radio station in the country, and I listen over the web whenever I can.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 05:04 pm
I used to be able to multi-book. Then Mo came along and my concentration was shot to hell.

I'm with you on the dryness of some classics and I too rely on reviews - I know very few people who read as much as I do and I would wait forever for recommendations.

Portland has often been described as the readingest city with the most bookstores per capita and the most spent on books per capita and blah blah blah and I know hardly anyone who reads. Additionally, our newspaper's weekly book section is just beyond pathetic.

Where do you get your reviews, Lion Tamer?
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