The Grand Ennui

Posted by a friend of mine on Facebook:

I'm probably more immersed in the world of books and authors than many and I belong to a good few groups and pages on FB that promote books. Or rather they allow people to promote books (usually their own but...). I've begun to feel a sense of significant ennui when it comes to reading blurbs and looking at covers; they almost all use the same format, the same language, the same *hooks* and the same key elements to attract the eye. And for me, none of it is working. It was the same sort of thing in mainstream chain bookshops like Waterstones: a place packed to the gunnels with books and almost never a book I wanted to buy. It feels as if there is nothing new, original, fresh and appealing left under the sun.

I feel a little like the Vampire Lestat (as created by the marvelous Anne Rice) wanting to go to sleep for a century or two till either my ennui wanes or the world changes and something different emerges. I'll be in my crypt if anyone wants me.

To which I added the comment:

It's a ubiquitous problem. TV, cinema, music, theatre and art are exactly the same. All politicians are the same. The news is always the same (only the names of the dead bodies are different). The posts on my blog are now all repeats of posts from the past. I have nothing new to say because there's nothing new to say anything about. I think I shall go back to sleep, something I appear to be doing a lot of recently. I'm sure it's to escape the tedium.


The Grand Ennui — 3 Comments

  1. The Grand Ennui seems to be a function of a relentless drive for “standardization” in most aspects of societies, across most types of activities. It is a result of the monetization of everything, that nothing can exist simply because it is good on its own merits – now someone has to be able to make money from it. And since activity at the margins is a lot riskier than appealing to the broad center of society, gradually the truly creative and different is marginalized and ignored in the drive to make more money from more stuff, but it is largely (mostly) mediocre. Then too the insatiable appetite for content from the 24/7 entertainment industry demands constant filling, but no one has the unique talents to fill the maw with high-quality original material. The complete works of Shakespeare would be consumed in a week of constantly-on TV or cable/internet channels. And so those of us who appreciate original artistic material of any type are doomed to be disappointed as we see a sea of dreck….. There are of course some exceptions, and some good things are available, but the overall ouvre tends to coarsen and dumb down the body social and politic. Time to weep for the republic…..

  2. I could put up with the Grand Ennui if I had a Ferrari (as long as it had a manual transmission).

  3. I agree. Perhaps another element is the relentless pressure for signs of success. So everything is short-term, designed to please immediately. Also, how to get the message across has eclipsed the question of whether you’ve got a message worth mentioning anyway. In the Church of England a classic example is Chris Russell’s article in last Friday’s Church Times – all about how churches ought to evangelise the Christian message, no hint of what the message is. Elsewhere, the endless generation of new communication technologies distracts attention from whether you’ve got anything worth saying. I too am a grumpy old man.