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1000 Black Lines

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Struggling playwright worries he might offend someone

The sacred and the profane poses the question: where is the line of too far in a comedy? Stuggling playwright worries about pissing off Christians with a few course lines in a comedy.

Here's the bottom line: People, whether Christian or not, will find something to get pissed about. "To thine ownself be true" (Act I, scene iii, Hamlet) is the advice I bring. Don't let the audience or the reader write your work for you. Write what you write, but just write!

  1. Blogger jel | 1:29 PM, October 19, 2006 |  

    Hey Matt, Agapé you brother, but: "To thine own self be true" means, "be honest with yourself" not "continue to do whatever you want". While I agree with your basic premise; "someone will be angry no matter what you do", the quote from the Bard doesn't jibe with my reading thereof.

  2. Blogger 1000 black lines | 2:40 PM, October 19, 2006 |  

    Point well taken. I should have expounded a bit. In Hamlet, Lord Polonius, chief advisor to Hamlet's uncle the current king of Denmark, presents a blessing, traveling advice if you will, to Laertes (his son).

    In context, Polonius speaks: "And these few precepts in thy memory/See thou character." yada yada yada "Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar." yada yada yada "Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;/Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment." yada yada yada "Neither a borrower nor a lender be;/For loan oft loses both itself and friend,/And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry./This above all: to thine ownself be true,/And it must follow, as the night the day,/Thou canst not then be false to any man./Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!"

    "Be honest with yourself" is well said. The writer in question, Harrison Scott Key (the one who posted The sacred and the profane) wrote: "I struggle with the line between comedy and vulgarity." I get the overall sense that he is pretty frustrated with the gullible Christian audience/readers that considers the Left Behind novels high literature and couldn't possibly wrap their brains C.S Lewis's Until They Have Faces or Leo Tolstoy's What Men Live By. I think what Harrison is trying to say, but won't because of where he posted, is that, in general, the Christian audience/readers are fickle and gullible and wouldn't know good literature if it came up and bit them in the ass. There I said, because he wouldn't.

    To his post I left this comment: "Write what you write. Men make plans. God directs our steps. If you offend anyone, it is not going to surprise God and He is the only audience that realy matters. So write something that makes God laugh, I think He has a great sense of humor."

    Further, I added another comment in his follow-up post, The sacred and the profane, Act II: "As far as proof-texts on aesthetic philosophy... Francis A. Schaeffer's Art and the Bible is a decent overview, but not what I would consider definative. Makoto Fujimura has written some challenging essays on aesthetic from a Christian worldview."

    Maybe the Bard isn't the best source to quote from in this case. But I think if Harrison was honest with himself, he wants Christians to validate his art by their support of his work. Ultimately, there is only one audience to be patronize.

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