THE HEMINGWAY FATWA.
By Paul Comrie | February 1st, 2018
Hemingway said the most dangerous thing a writer can ever do is talk about their work before it’s completed. So before Fight Club even, there was Hemingway and the rest of his macho cronies all saying the same thing.
Don’t talk about Fight Club.
Like all good and sound absolutes, it comes from on high. It makes sense and worse yet, it’s almost impossible to circumvent. Once you accept it as true – somehow true, say, like a religion is true – it is very hard to overturn its influence on your mind.
That Hemingway line, the concept itself, silence, has been like a fucking fatwa on me. All these years, cautioning me to silence. Shush, it tells me…or else. So strong has been its allure and power over me that I liken it to that incredible Shakespearean image – the ‘dogs of war’. Hemingway’s imposition of silence over me, over us all, has been stopping me and many other obscure artists from trying to breakout, break-in or find freedom. Be careful the Hemingway Fatwa tells me, be careful or else I’ll ‘let slip the dogs of war’ on you – see image below:
“And so what do you do with the impregnable logic of your father or even forefathers when trying to become an artist? You blow it up, I think. Precisely because I don’t know how to get around it.”
The more I think about it, the more I rail against it. And yet the more I think about it, the more I agree with Papa. The more Fight Club makes sense. That’s what makes it so difficult. And so what do you do with the impregnable logic of your father or even forefathers when trying to become an artist? You blow it up, I think. Precisely because I don’t know how to get around it.
I mean, when exactly did we start cautioning exuberance and ambition in the untested, the untried, the unknown? And who the hell are you to tell me I can’t talk about it anyway? Why can’t I talk about it? When was it codified that you can’t talk about work in progress aloud? When did it start? Who said it first and on whose authority? Was it Abraham? Moses? The Ming Dynasty? God, maybe? Did God tell us this?
Worse yet with this kind of advice is that like any significant school of thought, you’ll find no shortage of mindless lemmings parodying its ideas for no reason other than they have some ‘anecdotal’ evidence about its efficacy. Look no further:
Given the context of the material, it can be no accident that Hemingway is cited as Tyler Durden’s preferred celebrity Fight Club matchup in that first clip listed in post 1. I wonder, what has happened to the novel between its pre-screen debut, it’s zenith during the early twentieth century and its demise in late twentieth century culture? Can we approach prose narrative without sequencing it as a novel? Can it be simply something other than the format of the novel itself? Or do we keep on with the novel?
I have an idea about how to begin. I take its hint from my title above, i.e., I take my hint from Islam and the current scholarship surrounding its founding.
More on that later, until next time, adieu.