There's been a minor controversy over at HTMLGIANT. My long time friend Rauan Klassnik, with good reason, didn't like my sarcastic posts in the comments section eulogizing Heaney. He challenged me to put together something on why I think writing that doesn't engage questions of conscience becomes merely decorative. This is how he posted it: Troll Post by Rauan.
To reiterate some stuff I posted over there.
1. In science the test of an idea is how well it stands up to fair and thorough evaluation relative to other
ideas. I don't think Rauan attempted that here.
2. Words can carry ethical meaning in a way music (sans lyrics) does not. I wanted to explore this question: if you reject that aspect of writing, are you a primarily a decorative writer? I think that's worth discussing. There's an aspect of emotional effects vs. ideas that is interesting too. Maybe my hastily assembled piece for Rauan didn't bring that out. I'll try to address it more directly elsewhere.
3. I found it striking and ironic that Rauan chose to eulogize Heaney, a large part of whose program Rauan disdains, or doesn't try to live up to, or both.