Today I was reading Borges’s A Universal History of Iniquity, and had the same sensation I usually have when reading Borges; lots of great ideas for how a story might be told…used to tell stories that aren’t memorable. Despite all the acclaim, to me he is more of a fiction theoretician than an author you might quote on your tombstone (unless your tombstone is part of some truly final dissertation).
Were it not for the liberal arts racket that has sprawled across college campuses like so many pretentious vines, I wonder whether Borges would have attained the stature he attained. Would the reading public have found as much worth in his experiments?
And now that the modern college structure seems to be sinking, what will become of artists whose output resonates more in the classroom than outside it? Without the Bow-Tie Mafia at your local Student Loan Depot assigning these works, will art theoreticians lose some of their stature? Will artists who were driven to create stories rather than curiosities experience a resurgence?
And without the art theoreticians being assigned year after year to today’s budding writers, might we see an improvement in popular culture? Will we see an end to atonal poetry? Might we pick up a fiction magazine and find a tale that does more than just congratulate itself for being a story within a story within a story within a story? If so, I’m sure someone will find a way to give the credit to Steve Jobs.