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traffic in disenfranchisement

It's not that writers in this country don't have their work
judged on literary merit; it's that we are not judged exclusively on
these grounds. The writer's biography is also examined, his or her
stats plugged into an authenticity equation to determine, once and for
all, how real the work is. There are many reasons why this is
self-defeating, and many reasons why we should not play along. When we
should be judged on the basis of our ability to imagine worlds and
empathize with our characters, we are instead reduced to merely
representing that which we must surely know firsthand. When we allow
ourselves to be praised for "being authentic," when we traffic in
biography, we are complicit in our own disenfranchisement: Suddenly we
are dismissed as serious artists. It's no longer art; it's reportage
and facsimile. It's real.
-- Peruvian guy

[via Salon, aka Daniel Alarcón]

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