[I wrote the following in my journal on 23 September 2009, the same day I wrote Scat.  Though I am inclined to revise it at least slightly, I present it here in its raw form to see what, if any, response in engenders.  Perhaps I will at some point expand it into a proper essay/article.  I couldn’t for the life of me recall the originator of the quotation to which I refer, so I finally looked it up.  ‘Twas Elbert Hubbard.]

Somebody somewhat famous said something like “Never explain.  Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe you anyway.”  Excrement!  A little explanation can avoid a huge amount of misunderstanding.  I agree we (especially as artists) shouldn’t feel we have to explain everything all the time.  Sometimes explanations are antithetical to art.  And most things defy explanation, at least on some level.  I won’t say “Never say never,” lest I contradict myself, but I will say “Never explain” is a quasi-mindless roadblock to clarity and an illegitimate excuse to perpetuate confusion.  Ambiguity often enhances art — but it also often weakens art and enhances misunderstanding.  And if the person who first said “Never explain” really meant or believed it, he wouldn’t have found it necessary to add “Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe you anyway.”  His statement not only contradicts its own certainty by explaining itself, it also falsely assumes that everyone is either a friend or an enemy, falsely assumes there is always a clear delineation of the two, and falsely assumes that no person has been or can be swayed at any time by a rational, impassioned and/or intelligent explanation.  Never explain?  Excrement!

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