“This city deserves a better class of criminal. And I’m going to give it to them.”
The word criminal carries some negative connotations doesn’t it? We associate the word with crooks, delinquents and thieves living in the shadows as they commit devious acts. And why shouldn’t we? The word criminal is a label bestowed upon someone who commits an action or activity considered to be evil, shameful, or wrong. From an early age we are taught that crime is vile, and therefore a criminal must be equally as abhorrent to our society.
But we live in unprecedented times where the very definition of the word has become tainted. Politicians mislead and misinform, men of faith commit shameful acts, and laws are broken in the name of freedom while outlaws fight for their civil rights. The lines of right and wrong are so convoluted that it’s becoming increasingly impossible to distinguish a felon from a hero, and good intentions from underhanded persuasion.
So let’s loosen the reigns on the whole criminal angle just a touch so that we can flesh this out a little more. Let’s steer away from crime and talk about social disorder, antisocial behavior, art and literature.
Not unlike crime, social disorder is typically defined as an action or activity that is incongruous to the best interests or equilibrium of the larger community. Whereas crime is repugnant, social disorder merely upsets. We are repulsed at crimes; yet tolerate minor misdemeanors like graffiti, despite the fact that delinquents and criminals commit both acts and they have equally negative impacts upon society.
Are you keeping up so far? Good. Let’s get to the art and literature and start blurring the lines between right and wrong. Are you ready to taste the bitter tang of social disorder?
I’ve spent my whole life feeling like a fucking criminal trapped inside a cell. I was born into an age of intellectual neglect where cheap gimmicks and slick marketing have trumped my work ethic and talent leaving me subdued and alone. Society has allowed the creative arts to die and ridiculed me for trying to save it. I’ve been labeled an outcast and immoral by the very people that I have aimed to inspire.
My crime? I care. I care so goddamn much that it hurts my heart to see brilliant and audacious artists beaten down and cast aside in favour of bullshit. I spend every single day searching for beautiful pieces of literature, art and music that will never be seen by more than a few while millions devour mass produced shit spoon fed to them by snake oil peddlers and slick salesmen.
You want to know what my crime was? I made a deal with the devil and begged to be different. I wrapped my hands around the equilibrium threaded through our society and tried to break it apart.
But it was an act of passion; an act of love that was misconstrued and seen as evil. All I ever wanted was to create a little social disorder and save the industry I love. Is that really as monstrous as I’ve been led to believe?
Creativity is dying. Shot through the heart by advertising campaigns and pseudo-celebrities who thought that fame was more important than the vision that lead them to celebrity in the first place. Now here I am on my knees with using my hands to plug the bloody holes left by their bullets. I’m covered in claret, but I refuse to let what I love become carrion discarded by a world who no longer values intellectual diversity and beauty…
…Alright, maybe it’s not quite that bad. There’s plenty of blood on my hands but the industry will struggle on, wounded by society’s insatiable lust for instantaneous entertainment. The newfound equilibrium in the creative arts places less and less emphasis on literature, meaning that book sales are on a downward spiral. Even though more authors are being published then ever before, just over one percent of them are finding their ways into bookstores, profits are razor thin, and younger generations are turning their backs on the written word.
It’s an extremely worrying trend, but the saddest thing about the industry’s current predicament is that rather than having publishers and agents look towards new and exciting authors to recapture the audiences they’ve lost and the minds of younger generations, they’re trying to replicate successes of days gone past. Imitate rather than innovate. But it’s not working. Not like it used to.
I’ve been really struggling to find my rhythm with blogging lately. While there are a few personal issues involved in my creative slump, it is largely due to growing frustrations at the manner in which society views and values entertainment. I tell myself every single day that I’m the best writer of my time and that I’m only getting better. But sometimes I feel a twinge of self doubt when I see literature devalued in comparison to emerging (and senseless) mediums. The creative equilibrium of the modern world is skewed and it’s time to set it right; even if it takes a little literary crime and social disorder to do so.
This world needs a new breed of author who isn’t afraid to engage in social misconduct, create a little havoc and breathe new life into the aching lungs of the industry choking for air. Fans of prose and fiction deserve a better class of author. And I’m going to give it to them.
I could give you some bullshit speech here about how I’ll push myself to new creative limits and try to further the industry, but you and I both know that it won’t work. We’ve been there before. I’ve spent years trying valiantly to be the man who redefines the written word and all it got me was a prison sentence when I was caught plugging up the holes of a bleeding industry with my fists. What I will say is this: it’s time for emerging writers to find rise and start smashing in the windows of ignorance, marching against the fall of literature and setting the world ablaze.
Traditionalists will call us criminals. They’ll distance themselves and say that we don’t represent the craft they love. We will be viewed as literary outlaws and delinquents who stand for something foreign. But that’s OK. The greatest accomplishment a writer can ever realize is to stir emotion within their readership, even if that emotion is discontent.
This social disorder can extend beyond the boundaries of my industry too. We can start a revolution, one man or woman at a time. I’m calling out to the wolves, world eaters and literary criminals across the globe and asking them to stand proudly beside their prose and fiction. I’m asking artists, musicians, athletes, and fucking everyone else who has ever had a passion and a dream to rise up and stake their claim.
This world deserves a better class of writer, painter, singer, musician, lawyer, doctor, mother, father, and everything else. And we’re going to give it to them. You and I. All it takes to change the world is a little social disorder.