Some years ago I ran into this guy, he was older and wiser and more mellow, but in his youth he was very active in the whole Spanish civil war / Franco / politics, he did a lot of political writing, and although only the other older guys remembered much of it, back in the day he was a leading light.
I was reminded of him some years later when I first came across the Vonnegut quote (https://wimminz.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/messages-in-messages/) about people projecting their own views onto the canvas, because we had been discussing Marx, and apparently this old guy had first hand knowledge of this, he said what Marx actually wanted to say, and how it came out in his writings, and how those writing were seen by others, were three completely different things..
The old guy explained it to me as though he was trying to write a travel guide to Argentina, and while it didn’t come out as a travel guide to China, because he was a good writer, it did come out as a travel guide to Brazil, and people who read it thought it was a great travel guide to Mexico.
And this is the bit that was triggered when I first saw the Vonnegut quote.
He said, because of this, communication of what you actually MEAN is very very difficult, he said, people don’t actually WANT to communicate or exchange information, what they want is something where they can extract the data that they are looking for.
If you are a “good” writer, you give them this, and as few thorns as possible, to make their extracting of the meme they want from your writing as easy as possible.
If you are a “great” writer, you give this to a very wide audience, all seeing the same words, all pulling what they want out of it.
He was a “great” and influential political writer of the time, and that, he said, is why he quit, he got so frustrated, because the more popular his words were, the further away the meaning taken by the readership was from what he actually wanted to say…
… if he had said, or, as he said, even been clever and experienced enough to be able to, to have said in his words what he actually wanted to say, he would have been an unheard of writer.
He saw huge parallels between Twain and Marx, not because of who they were or what they wrote about, but as characters, they had that cynical WTF is the point any-more attitude later in life, when they became famous for their writings, as though they were also pissed off with the dichotomy between being popular for giving people what they wanted to read, or being unpopular for writing what they considered to be far more intelligent and valuable work.
(Actually if you have never done it, and I never had before this old guy suggested it, it is interesting to compare Twain and Marx)
I’ll leave the final word to Joe Tex…. yes, it is related…lol