Hal Pictures Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!: Goethe was a Hack!

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Goethe was a Hack!

So, I was reading an excellent book the other evening, entitled "The Natural History of Stupidity" by Paul Tabori. In chapter VII, he showed that any number of people that we consider to be geniuses and great men, were derided and scoffed at by their contemporaries. For example, here is a critique of Goethe's "Faust" by Franz von Spaun, a contemporary of his.

"No delirious, fever-ridden man mumbles as many idiocies as Goethe's "Faust". The pen falls from my fingers. To clean up THIS Augean stable would need more than the strength of Hercules. I won't speak of the clumsiness of the verses, whatever I read showed sufficiently that the author cannot compete with even the most mediocre talents of the old school..." and so on and so forth.

There were an awful lot of people who thought that Shakespeare was the worst playwright ever, including Samuel Pepys, who thought that Romeo and Juliet was the worst play he'd ever seen, that Twelth Night was "silly" and more.

Others wrote of him:

"He is much too difficult to understand. He has neither tragic nor comic talent. His tragedies are the products of the playhouse hack. His comedy is much too vulgar and produces no laughter. He isn't original, just a copyist...He writes for the mob he delights in horrors, he has no charm, no grace, he is witless, boastful.."

I had to laugh. You just KNOW that if the internet had been invented about 500 years earlier that these guys would have been blogging. It DID tend to put things into perspective however. There has always been criticism, and I'm pretty sure that there always will be. There has ALSO always been fanboy/fangirl entitlement. I don't know if there is any fanfiction about Romeo & Juliet, but if there was, I am sure that there would be Romeo/Tybault slash, and a happy ending somehow.

So the next time that somebody starts reviling Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison or Brian Michael Bendis, I suppose we should take it all with a grain of salt.

Except for Judd Winick of course. He really IS a hack.

Hal Pictures

But THIS? This is...Literature!


At 5:41 PM, Blogger Sea_of_Green said...

Darn right Shakespeare and Geothe were hacks. And so was Cervantes! How can anyone be expected to read something as LONG and COMPLICATED and BORING as Don Quixote? ;-)

You are right about bloggers, of course -- or that type of criticism in general. It's an eternal curse suffered by all artists in all artforms. Problem is, "critics" who are in reality merely chronic complainers have an easier time of attracting immediate attention, if only from an outraged public that feels compelled to either agree with the complainers or defend their likes and dislikes. (That is, complainers are good at IMMEDIATE attention. Usually, once the furor has died down, the complainer is immediately forgotten, and the thing they were complaining about often retains whatever popularity it already possessed prior to all the complaints.)

Early-20th-century critic Alexander Woollcott used to complain about artist Maxfield Parrish, whose work he hated. I can guarantee more people have SEEN a Maxifield Parrish painting than will ever hear of Alexander Woolcott.

At 5:51 PM, Blogger Sea_of_Green said...

Oops, almost forgot:

SALLY, here's the URL for that Gleason sketch of Ollie serving chili:


At 6:19 PM, Blogger Duskdog said...

Dear Hal,
Sorry to hear about your rod going off too soon. Don't worry, that'll stop happening when you get a little more experience under your belt.

(And also, I had this whole reply typed up about how it's even more interesting with comics because the writers are usually playing with characters that they didn't actually create themselves and who have already-established personalities to work with, but I opted to go for low-brow humor instead. I am SOPHISTICATED.)

At 7:19 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

Hah! Oh Duskdog, that was priceless, and I thank you.

Sea, that is an AMAZING picture!

It's true, the critics leap to critique, but fortunately are forgotten by history. I have to say however, that Melville had to be the Brian Michael Bendis of his day. The plot of Moby Dick is fabulous...but it takes 90 frikken' chapters before the whale even shows up!

At 7:40 AM, Blogger Sea_of_Green said...

True. Then you have Victor Hugo, who goes on and on and on for pages and pages about the sewers of Paris, though they apparently have NOTHING to do with the plot.

At 8:28 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

That's why I like Dickens. Since a lot of his books were serialized, (just like comics!) there wasn't quite as much padding.

At 6:49 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

What the heck? I could have sworn that there were comments here yesturday! Did I inadvertently blow something up?

Well pooh.

At 6:51 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

Something strange is going on here, there were a bunch of comments, and then they disappeared, and then one came back.

Curse you, Internet Blogger!

At 6:51 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

What the hell?

At 6:51 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

Each time that I post something, the missing commments come back.


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