Good bad art

I remember reading a biographical sketch of the light verse poet Ogden Nash (“The one-L Lama, he’s a priest / The two-L llama, he’s a beast / And I would bet a silk pyjama / There isn’t any three-L lllama”), in which he commented how early in his writing life he realized he had enough talent to be either a bad good poet or a good bad poet; he chose the latter, and I’d say was (as are we) the better for it.

a NYTimes.com Ideas Blog post, 5 January 2009

Literature | Why Orwell liked “good bad” art, according to a review of his collected essays: Such works “had the advantage of propagandizing for humble and obvious ideas rather than dangerous, overambitious ones. Good bad books are written by ‘natural novelists … who seem to attain sincerity partly because they are not inhibited by good taste.’ ” [Pop Matters]

Originally published at culture-making.com.

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