First and foremost, I wanted to form (and have certainly achieved) a cadre of great writers. It’s my opinion that any reviewer (of any form of art) should be as good in her or his craft as those being reviewed. Who wants to read a poor writer when reading about works of beauty, goodness, and truth? The disconnect is too great. Frankly, I think we Progarchists have accomplished this; we’ve been successful, and we’re not even quite a year old. And, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I think the writers of Progarchy can match any writers anywhere on the internet in terms of depth, craft, wisdom, and empathy.
Not a single writer of Progarchy wants to put a thing of nastiness next to a work of greatness. It’s not in the nature of any one of us. Not to be Nietzschean, but we want excellence to match excellence. Really, why do a thing without excellence–whether it’s cleaning the kitchen floor or writing a novel? Why waste the time. Mediocrity hovers like a cancer over much of history and the world (I blame big governments and big corporations for this, but I’m merely express an opinion). But, if we look at the culture and civilization that gave us progressive rock, we see a society of amazing persons, whether we agree with every aspect of those persons or not: Socrates, Cicero, Hillel, St. John, or King Alfred. Not a single one of these persons is mediocre.
Second, we want to connect reviewer to artist and reviewer and artist to listener. If we (and by we, I mean me–Brad) err, it’s probably on the side of being Fanboyish/Fangirlish at times. But, again, I think as reviewers we should be fine with this. While I greatly admire, for example, biographers who can explain the evil of a Josef Stalin or an Adolf Hitler, in my own work, I want to look at J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, persons I admire and consider heroes. I’m not interested in hiding their flaws, but I am intensely interested in finding their greatnesses. Even in this world of egalitarianism, I want heroes. Nothing excellent is based in equality. It can’t be. If it were average, it wouldn’t be excellent. All excellences are particular and individual.
Additionally, I don’t want to spend my time analyzing someone through the lens of hatred, no matter how necessary it is for us as a civilization and as–simply–humanity to deconstruct and analyze such horrors in our society. So, while I’m glad there are folks dedicating their lives to studying the writings and actions of a Hitler, I want to think deeply about people I love and admire.
Give me, for example, a Greg Spawton or David Longdon over a Justin Bieber (in full disclosure, I’ve never heard a song by Bieber). Give me a Matt Stevens, not a Madonna (yes, I’ve heard Madonna songs). Give me a Matt Cohen, not a Lady Gaga (ok, don’t know her either). Give me a Giancarlo Erra and Nosound, not a corporatized boy band. Give me a Jerry Ewing, not an (don’t even know the name) editor of People! Give me a Neil Peart or a Mark Hollis, not a Nicholas Sparks. Give me a Brian Watson not a Thomas Kinkade. Well, you get the point.
In the spirit of this editorial, let me state that I’m very, very happy to inaugurate a new irregular feature at Progarchy–a discussion with the artists themselves about what is happening right now in their lives. How they’re responding to their older works; what they think about art and beauty; and what they want for their futures. Our first such feature comes from a beloved artist at Progarchy, Cailyn Lloyd. And, so it begins. . . .