Sunday

The Nature of Authorship... and Snake Worshipping.

I just finished a book a few days ago. And I just found out the author worships a snake god named Glycon.

The book was really a graphic novel (my first ever), and is called Watchmen. The author is Alan Moore. He's critically acclaimed and is regarded by some as the greatest writer of the graphic medium. He worships snakes.

Now, the book was great. In fact, TIME magazine named it "one of the 100 greatest novels since 1923" and Lost Co-Producer Damon Lindelof has public stated that Watchmen is "The Greatest Piece of Popular Fiction Ever Produced". It's full of philosophy, action, beautiful storytelling and artistry.

But the author worships snakes.

Now here's the question: Should this change the way I view the book?

This could be applied to any artistry: but let's keep it to novels for the sake of simplicity. Glycon (the perviously stated Snake-God) is a talking snake, that was referenced by the satirist Lucican, and has Macedonian roots (so basically its pretty old). According to Wikipedia (the greatest source of knowledge since the Library of Alexandria), Lucian says that the Greek Prophet Alexander of Abonutichus created Glycon. People worshipped the snake for fertility and later for protection from the plague. Lucian went on to describe the entire thing as a hoax, where Glycon was to be a glove puppet.

So, the author of a book that I generally liked, worships a snake god that was said to be a hoax in the second century AD. Should this change how I view the book? It shouldn't. But, inevitably, it does.

I am the first to say that someone should judge art by their own standards. But I would be lying to say that the thought that I may have just read some subliminal message telling me to worship snakes hasn't crossed my mind.

All artists put their names on their works for a reason; to get credit for it. But, more importantly, it helps to define the art itself. Beethoven's last symphony is more meaningful to me because I know that he wrote it, and when he did he was deaf. Does that not make it more impressive? It does.

So in this case, it may be opposite. Alan Moore wrote a great book, but I can't help to take the message of the book in a different way since I have learned of his snake-worshipping-practices. The philosophical message of the book has since changed for me, where once it was a great story involving many philosophical ideas that accompanied a great storyline, and now I view it as a book written only to satirize these ideas.

This is all from the knowledge that Alan Moore worships snakes.

It shouldn't matter, but it does.

It just started hailing where in Philadelphia, where I was belted in the head by rather large pieces of ice. 

Has Alan Moore just cursed me?

1 comment:

super-saul said...

While it's true that Alan Moore worships said snake god, based on the other works of his that I've read, and his standing as almost a total social outcast (I don't know how often he leaves his house), I have a few thoughts on the matter.

Primarily, I'm guessing it's because he doesn't agree with any currently popular religious beliefs. He criticizes a great deal of practices in his work, and not just religious. His keen eye for what goes on in Governments and public society is what keeps him on the veritable altar most comic nuts place him on.

While he does worship the snake god, I'm guessing it's out of spite. He obviously knows it was debunked centuries ago, and it's probably meant as his Flying Spaghetti Monster. Also, it aids in the myth of Alan Moore... who he is, what he believes in... it's all very hotly disputed in comic circles. When I first heard about the snake god thing, I admit, I was confused. But when I read some more of his stuff and learned more about him, I quickly grew to realize that it's most likely an ironic thing he does to keep the myth going.

"Oh yeah, Moore's great. You know he worships a snake god?"
"I heard he's a total shut-in."
"I heard he eats children."
"I heard he's an alien."

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Or, you know, it could be for real, in which case, it still doesn't matter to me. But to each his own.