Returning to the fascinating Bakhtin. The idea that “genres” are not only in literature and film, that people SPEAK in genres
Various genres can reveal various layers and facets of the individual personality, and individual style can be found in various interrelations with the national language.
Do you talk in the “American genre” perchance?
I’m imagining a human being sitting on a shelf in Barnes and Noble. Instead of the Mystery section they’re sitting on the American shelf. Found out!
You can do better than that. Opening up your “book” everyone knows exactly what they’re going to find there. Some spin on the American genre. Often the Saxon-American one. I walk right by that shelf. I know how those books are going to begin and how they’re going to end, and have a pretty good idea of what will be in the middle too.
People from Canada to Romania speak distinctly in the “Saxonian” genre. I want something else, give me something else!
Agatha Christie wrote 66 mystery novels. Do you think it would’ve even been possible for her to write something like apocalyptic science-fiction after all those? In a similar way, it probably isn’t easy for people who have spoken in the American genre all their life to begin speaking in a different one. Christie was really good at writing mystery, and people are really good at speaking American. She was known as the Queen of Crime. She also wrote six romance novels under a pseudonym.
The Westmacott novels are semi-autobiographical. She didn’t write these in one period, she wrote them in between her dozens of mysteries between the 1930s and 1950s. She must have had an urge to depart from her usual style.
You never get the urge to speak like a “Norman” I’m sure. Only pure mystery novels for you all your life.
Looking at the popularity of fantasy and sci-fi, I think some “Norman” element still exists here, it just has to be let out in subtle ways. If you think of Dr. Manhattan from the Watchmen for instance, that’s almost a eugenic character. Being “blue” is a disguise. Similar with the Hulk, being green is a disguise. Those don’t really mesh directly with the “freeing the blacks” mythos. Nonetheless, those emerged in our culture because there’s a certain need to worship superhumans. Lincoln-types tend to be the only “superhuman” that’s allowed.
Feminists are (unconsciously) partaking in the Lincoln-as-hero type for women too. That’s the “national genre” they speak in. I think it’s important to distinguish between “freeing” women and creating superhumans. Almost exclusively they free them, and never aim to create “Superwoman”, “Wonderwoman”. That doesn’t jive with the genres the nation allows. Same with blacks and jews, they’re merely “freed” to be who they are. A superjew would probably be like Jesus and challenge the rest of the jews. Similarly, a superblack would aim to criticize the average black. Instead in all three cases others are blamed. There’s no rising up, there’s only demonization of white men while the three remain the self-same in being vice-prone. This is all partaking of Lincoln-as-superhero achieves. That’s the “result” of using the national genre of Saxonism. A Superwoman is a Superslut, a Superjew is a Superkike, etc. etc. Time for a new national genre. Are you ABLE to pull a Christie? Or are you only going to write exclusively mystery novels all your life? Eh I’ve tried to get Jehovah’s Witnesses to reason too…