Sunday, June 12, 2011

Salman Rushdie Doing Television

This past decade has seen an interesting shift in the question of can books survive in a culture increasingly dominated by visual media. The story has become more complex than high brow literature for elites versus the crass popular entertainment of movies and television, particularly as we have seen shows such as Lost, Battlestar Galactica and Mad Men, which have used the open ended screen time of multiple seasons provided by the medium to create complex stories and characters with a literary quality that is hard to deny. Those who would see this new breed of television show as the new literature of our century may have just received some hard evidence of this. Salman Rushdie is doing a television show, noting that "he was drawn to television by the comparatively high status of the writer in the process. 'In the movies the writer is just the servant, the employee. In television, the 60-minute series, The Wire and Mad Men and so on, the writer is the primary creative artist.'"

I do not assume that this is the end of the novel, but I think this does mark a major shift in how we think about television. Will it be so obvious to our next generation of writers that novels are the respectable medium and movies and television are the popular entertainment, done for money and not respect.

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