Required Reading

A few weeks ago a friend of mine who teaches college courses for gifted children at a local high school asked me to send her a “clean” version of a particular blog to use as a study in the deployment of literary techniques. Thoroughly impressed that my commodity for dribbling belletristic drivel across a page could be used as a tool to mold the malleable minds of America’s foremost academic youth, I airily adjusted the linguistic seasoning before hosing it down, scraping off the hairy bits, and sending it her way with a grandiloquent flourish as if dispensing a decree to the masses.

Last week, she returned to me a selection of her students’ papers to peruse, which obviously I decided to use as an apparatus to fondle my own ego. In their analyses they identified the various rhetorical devices I’d applied, highlighted in dazzlingly colorful felt-tip, alongside notes describing their nature and discussing their usage. People were actually pondering my flights of fancy (intelligent people that is; not you fuckers). Well, it was quite illuminating, I must confess. I’m apparently a lot brighter than I credit myself, and that’s saying something, as I typically endeavor to limbo under any available accolades given the merest of opportunities. Allegedly I employ layers, folks. Strata. And deeper layers beyond, curving off into infinity like two facing mirrors set slightly askew.

Of course that’s how deep my rabbit hole goes, people. Subtext doesn’t conjure itself out of thin air, y'know. I deftly fold my parallel narratives, meticulously meshing meanings like a wizened Japanese artisan skillfully crafting a katana blade.

This is the kind of utter bullshit my editors love to hear. The reality is I have no fucking idea what I’m doing.

It got me thinking, though. If a significant portion of what we perceive in art is unintended by the artist, is the artist really any good? Or even if the artist doesn’t perceive it, is it a mark of competent artistry that such ambiguous themes unwittingly bubble to the surface? Maybe the artistry is in the eye of the beholder?

This, at the very least, explains rap music.


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