“..a talented hick who was destroyed by success: what else is new?” (Martin Amis. Source: The War on Cliche. Published 2002)
Okay. Martin Amis is a thin man with heavy burdens. He’s sort of the Hank Williams, Jr. of the literary world. Clear case of “genius father, son-not-without-talent-if-only-the-general-meatiness-of-his-head-didn’t-keep-getting-in-the-way syndrome.”
It can’t be easy.
Still, perusing this, I inevitably find myself communing with the spirit of the Continental Op: counting how many lies could be found in nine words of advertising and reaching four “with promise of more” before he’s interrupted.
Ignoring the general hilarity of discovering this little gem reprinted in a volume called The War On Cliche, (I find stupidity that has convinced itself of its own striking originality to be sort of touching actually) let’s just stick to posing some of the more obvious questions:
To prove a “hick” was ever “destroyed by success” wouldn’t you have to prove self-same hick–not some other hick, but that very one–would not have been destroyed by the absence of success?
And if you’ve posited something as proven when it can’t be, is it quite kosher to follow on by asking “what else is new?”
On the other hand, if you have access to alternative dimensions where parallel fates can be studied for comparison and contrast–and thus, the aforementioned “proof”–should you be wasting valuable time on the fate of hicks, actual or theoretical, successful or otherwise?
I mean, shouldn’t you be concerned with more important things like….I don’t know….the existence of God maybe, or the possible ends of human suffering?
(I’ll stop now, But here’s a link to Amis’ entire essay–actually a book review–in case you think I’m being unduly harsh or quoting him out of context or anything.)