A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a piece about Ridley Scott’s Prometheus that allowed me to voice some ideas about the role of escapist media in contemporary spiritual life. Evidently this post struck a chord with a good deal of people as I have been receiving a lot of traffic from people kind enough to link to me. While I cannot address all of the points raised by people, I can address a few of the comments that caught my eye. Thank you all for your attention and I am delighted that you enjoyed the read!
I once attended an academic conference where a member of the audience repeated a criticism made by the author of a rather successful book. In response to this criticism, the paper-giver smiled and began his response by saying “While I think that professor X should be praised for producing such an accessible work on the subject…” before going on to explain at great length why it was that he thought that professor X was both wrong and a grotesquely ugly freak. Though I cannot remember the subject of the paper, or the criticism made of its position, or the response given to said criticism, I can still remember the audible intake of breath and the appreciative tittering from the audience when the speaker applied the word ‘accessible’ to the work of another academic. The dynamics of this withering intellectual put-down are easy enough to unpack: if a work is accessible then it means that it is written with a non-specialist audience in mind and if a work is intended to be consumed by people who are new to the subject then it cannot hope to break new-ground. However, if the aesthetics of accessibility are ‘wrong’ then what are the right aesthetics?