Pleasure and pain

« But now realise that TV and popular film and most kinds of ‘low’ art – which just means art whose primary aim is to make money – is lucrative precisely because it recognises that audiences prefer 100 per cent pleasure to the reality that tends to be 49 per cent pleasure and 51 per cent pain. Whereas ‘serious’ art, which is not primarily about getting money out of you, is more apt to make you uncomfortable, or to force you to work hard to access its pleasures, the same way that in real life true pleasure is usually a by-product of hard work and discomfort. So it’s hard for an art audience, especially a young one that’s been raised to expect art to be 100 per cent pleasurable and to make that pleasure effortless, to read and appreciate serious fiction. That’s not good. The problem isn’t that today’s readership is ‘dumb’, I don’t think. Just that TV and the commercial-art culture’s trained it to be sort of lazy and childish in its expectations. »
– David Foster Wallace, in a 1993 interview.

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