Fiction or non-fiction?

Jan, 29, 2018

Jane and I hsve a marital problem. She prefers fiction, like M*A*S*H or Seinfeld reruns or old TV movies, and I prefer news and sports. We usually bow to her wishes and stream some fiction shows from Netflix or Amazon after supper.  In what amounts to a fair exchange I get to watch Fox News, with her and a gin or whiskey cocktail, before supper. As for sports I can often convince Jane that the Bay Packers (she is a big fan of Aaron Rodgers), UW football or basketball, the Milwaukee Brewers, or the Bucks would provide an interesting evening.

These conflicts are common and instructive.

Aa for popular appeal the prize goes overwhelmingly goes to fiction. Booksellers as well as literary judges routinely give fiction writers best selling priority and Nobel prizes. Ayn Rand, whatever  you think of her ideas, got her fame and many readers and fans from (in my opinion) grossly inferior novels like The Foutainhead and Atlas Shrugged rather than her heavier philosophy books. Miss Otis Regrets has been sung far more times than have watched the OJ Simpson or the Jean Harris trials. A famous director of both fictional stories and documentaries said he prefers fiction, even science fiction, because it is closer to reality! I must admit he is right ninety percent of the time.

On the other hand non-fiction appeals to a little more sophisticated tastes, and more learning!  How can you enjoy or understand the evening news about new trade rules or immigration or welfare policies if you don’t know anything about Adam Smith or Karl Marx, socialidm, and capitalism, or even what continent Shenzhen, Venezuela, and Libya are on. Even worse from my point of view if you don’t understand how or why the Hunting/Gathering and Agricultural Age memes and genes relate to modern problems. Lots of liberal Clergy, especially, (OK, lots conservatives too) are in that camp, Or you don’t even know what I’m talking about here. Sad to say, many regular readers don’t.

If you fall into that last group I do have a suggestion–see the P.S. below.

If  sports and puzzles  appeal or are your specialty, I can’t help much. Good luck to you and your teams and happy times with your crosswords, Sudocus, and other puzzles.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President, Hawkhill

P.S. For the curious looking for gift for people have everything but who do care about ideas, devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian. I suggest you buy, give, and read yourself one of my recent books (cheap and, in my opinion, good reads. Sorry, I don’t have any fiction!)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some good ideas on science, religion, capitalism., and society streamed free on YouTube.

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