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The Book Shop For the Rest of Us - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
The Book Shop For the Rest of Us
While idling away a few minutes at the huge and largely horrid -- but twenty-four hour -- supercenter at the Foothills Mall tonight, I perused the book section. The Left Behind series had far less shelf space than the last time I went. All of the Spanish-language literature, from Cervantes to Marquez, had been replaced by Spanish-language romance novels with Fabio-like figures on the cover. And I discovered that there is a burgeoning subgenre of women-centered fiction that focuses on -- wait for it -- Amish and Mennonite people in crisis. To be sure, none of the ones I paged through read like Last Exit To Brooklyn. But there seemed to be a goodly dose of dilemmas in each one.

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From: babyiwasshot Date: July 14th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
"And I discovered that there is a burgeoning subgenre of women-centered fiction that focuses on -- wait for it -- Amish and Mennonite people in crisis."

How/why do people turn the most esoteric scenarios into entire genres? I think the same thing regarding the whole "heroin user" genre of literature, too. (Hence your reference to Last Exit to Brooklyn, I take it, given its dealing with myriad "fringe" topics such as drug use, homosexuality, transvestitism, domestic violence, etc.)

I think that postmodernism has moved the central preoccupation of all literature away from the universal and toward the hyper-specific. Didn't you write a Bad Subjects piece on this phenomenon? You could turn that article into an entire book/study.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: July 16th, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Sorry for the long delay in replying. I drafted a comment, but it got lost when our internet, which has been working very poorly or not at all, crapped out.

I like the idea of viewing this Amish/Mennonite phenomenon as the flip side of "extreme" culture, as your rightly intuit. It seems that niche marketing has now penetrated far enough into the foundation of the Religious Right and its affiliates that they are becoming as fragmented as the Center and Left. I can't say I'm a big fan of the totalizing logic of Capital, but this is one instance where I'll avert my eyes and grin.

Oh, and thanks for drawing my attention to that piece. I hadn't read it in a long time. Bruce Sterling of cyberpunk fame actually wrote me a brief fan mail in response to that one, believe it or not.
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