All well and good

Sonya Chung writes, at The Millions, “on Facebook, you compose your status, you present a manufactured version of yourself, your voice, your images. It occurs to me that I recoil from Facebook and Twitter partly because they feel to me like the Flanders household from The Simpsons, where everything is ‘okeley-dokeley!' — upbeat, positive, happy."

This is part of a larger argument that today's young creative set, unlike Bloomsbury or the Beats, are happy, healthy and conscientious - and boring. They marry and have children, they tend their mental and physical health. They're not battling addiction, depression, and dysfunction so much as juggling child care and yoga.

Sounds good to me, but Chung thinks that with mental health and emotional clarity come “a certain creative loss." It's true that creative achievement has often been accompanied by melancholia, but melancholy is not always the harbinger of genius. It's also true that health and happiness are not the be-all and end-all of human fulfilment. However, given how tenuous our hold on both tends to be, I don't think either should be counted cheap. Anyone who's lost them knows their value.

And which would you honestly choose? A tragic life followed by literary immortality, or a happy and sane one, followed by anonymity? Unhinged or okely-dokely? Call me boring, but I'd take the latter every day.