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Hogarth judge

December 2017

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Bad literature

A prologue to any future reading of Watchmen


Watchmen. To me, it's like making a new cover of the Coasters' "Along Came Jones". Only, in the cover version, Salty Sam realizes that his elaborate deathtraps for Sweet Sue with sawmills and trains just allow the hero to rescue her in the nick of time. So this time, he just shoots the bitch. 

Might work once, as a Nick Cave cover or something. But it isn't a profound philosophical insight into anything important, not as far as I can see. Fans of the actual song and its genre could rightly condemn the changed cover as a deliberate perversion of the original, intentionally trying to taint their enjoyment of it.

Now imagine hearing thirty years of fulsome praise for this cover. Imagine being told endlessly that this deep, deep work ought to totally change the way you approach serial melodrama. Imagine several generations of writers taking all of this to heart, and periodically repeating this deep insight in a variety of related genres. That's why Watchmen, while an interesting story accepted on its own merits, is something I've learned to despise.

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Bless you.