Those who love life do not read
From “The Myth Maker” (Guardian, June 4, 2005), an edited extract of the English translation of Michel Houellebecq’s H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life (which, I can attest, is an astonishingly powerful and moving book):
Those who love life do not read. Nor do they go to the movies, actually. No matter what might be said, access to the artistic universe is more or less entirely the preserve of those who are a little fed up with the world.
Ponder that for awhile. Is the enjoyment — let alone the making — of art truly the preserve of those who are terminally dissatisfied with the world as it presents itself in existential immediacy? I have often suspected so. This is a matter fit for much prolonged reflection.
At the very least, it imparts an entirely subversive context to all of the saccharine good intentions of the television public service announcements and teacherly admonitions that many of us grew up with. And what of poor Easy Reader from The Electric Company? Was he really just a disguised Camus peddling his existential dread to unsuspecting children?