This was originally going to be titled “The Chef Makes Shit Theory”, but I decided not to use foul language in the headline.
Let’s say you have a chef. He is a brilliant chef, an absolute genius. He can whip up just about any meal you can think of and turn it into a masterpiece.
And let’s say the chef says, “You know what? I want to make a cake that tastes EXACTLY like the watery shit excreted from people who have diarrhea.”
He works and slaves hour upon hour to create the perfect recipe. He does research. He experiments.
And he does! It took him weeks, but ultimately he made what he intended: A cake that tastes EXACTLY like diarrhea shit, down to the last detail. It is an extraordinary feat of craftmanship.
Now: Should we be praising the chef for this?
If your answer is, “No, because why would anybody want to EAT a cake made of shit?”, here’s a question for you:
Thornton Wilder creates “Our Town”, a play that attempts to recreate the little details and minutiae of small town life. He succeeds perfectly, but as it turns out small town life is boring.
James Joyce decides he is going to recreate the internal monologue of a woman thinking back on her day. He succeeds, but as it turns out it’s virtually unreadable.
Bertholt Brecht decides that he is going to write plays specifically meant to alienate the audience and make them uncomfortable. He succeeds, but as a result audiences are uncomfortable or bored during his plays.
So: If James Joyce, Bertholt Brecht, and Thornton Wilder attempt to create things that are not actually very interesting to read or watch and succeed, what is the difference between them and the chef who makes shit?