Writers Expanding the Spectrum of Acceptable Images

From one of the most insightful essays I’ve read recently.

While it remains a human truth that people live in terms of images, it is also true that where there are no good images there will always be bad ones.  And the images that, day after day, condition all of us are mostly drawn from the extreme, unmetaphorical range of the visual spectrum, evoking no recognition of moral complexity or depth.  We have come to accept the mundane image, and its lack of human vitality, as only what should be expected, and are sometimes even bothered by the passionate, the perfected, the aspiration toward the ideal.  The general culture has forged a kind of unconscious consensus with respect to the proper precincts in which beauty, and therefore truth and goodness, may be located.  Given this reality, it seems to me that there should arise a challenge to this status quo from within those communities of writers whose job it is to expand the spectrum of acceptable images steeped in moral and metaphysical meanings.  Opportunities for such expansions can come from the most unexpected of places.

From James A. McPherson’s “Workshopping Lucius Mummis,” (p. 306-307) in A Region Not Home