It is in some measure funny when one says that “red is the new pink” or the other way around. Or that “English is the new French” or “smart is the new sexy” as in the “The Big Bang theory” hilarious TV show. But it may not be as funny if one were to say that the writers are the new gods. Be that as it may, it is nevertheless true.
When I say writers I am referring, of course, not to everyone who knows how to write or has a blog (like me) or spends a considerable amount of time on Skype or other chat services, but to those who have obtained recognition as famous writers and have been read by millions of people or even to those who have not yet been recognized as such but are bound to be at some point in the future.
Some may object and say that we have other gods before writers, and in doing this may name movie stars, rock stars, football players and so on. While it may be true that these categories may be somehow above the mere mortals, that is, you and me, I would say that they are only semi-gods, that is, still pretty close to the human realm. A rock star may be idolatrized by many young people, but when he dies by overdose or pees on the crowd adoring him, like Jim Morrison, some may come to question his “divinity”. Football players are famous for their lack of brains, at least in some countries, and a god who isn’t smarter than his followers might have some problems legitimizing his transcendent position.
Now, taking up the issue more seriously, I argue that writers are indeed our modern gods and this for a number of reasons. First of all it has to do with their field of activity. Writers are masters of words. Today the Biblical narrative of the creation may not be so popular, but many may rember that in Genesis it is said that the world was created through the word of God. Now, a writer has to be, by definition, creative and his creativity can only be accounted for in the worlds he creates by his words. So a writer is in the very literal sense of the word a god who creates worlds by his words. Raskolnikov may not be an actual living person, but he is very real in the world created by Dostoevsky under the name of Crime and punishment, and Dostoevsky is very much a god in this particular work in all the possible meanings of the word. When the oeuvre is being read, people choose to enter that particular creation and thus they become part of what may be called the church of a particular writer.
This is the reason why the fame a writer achieves by his art is by far greater than any other artist or any other public performer, no matter the field he performs in. What is interesting is that this is a very modern situation. Writing was never as popular as today and the novel is a recent development of the modern West. It’s almost like when the old God gave up his territory, new gods, small and many but nevertheless gods, came in to fill the vacant position. A writer receives today the kind of veneration that was in general reserved for the God almighty and he is sometimes looked upon as having the ultimate answers to the ultimate questions. And since the world sees them as gods, the writers themselves soon come act and feel like gods. So it is not surprising that, contrary to what may be the popular opinion, it is not scientists who are less likely to believe there is a real God, but literary elites.
I think I’ve made my point (I’ve tried to make it as short as possible) and that it is now a little bit clearer why today’s gods are writers. And in writing this it has become a little bit clearer to me why I want to be a writer myself.