ursula k. le guin accepted the medal for distinguished contribution to american letters at the national book awards / i wonder what jeff bezos thinks of her remarks \ i find the seeming conflict between literature|publishing & capitalism ironic / i think that the new & wonderfully disruptive technologies has unsettled the publishing industry & an equilibrium has not yet been reached / if traditional booksellers & the publishers up their game & digital titans like microsoft <& maybe even google> engage in the currently amazon-dominated book world, the sooner that a business model that makes everyone happy could happen \ why must profit motives & the aims of art be in conflict? / why can’t the reward for writers be both profit & freedom?
“I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies, to other ways of being. And even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings. … Power can be resisted and changed by human beings; resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words. I’ve had a long career and a good one, in good company, and here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. … The name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.”
the full speech: