"My job [as a novelist] is not to give people a holiday from harsh things
or the truth."
Here Jacobson was speaking about the difference between comedy/satire in literature and comedy in popular entertainment. But for me, this quote does a great job of summing up the difference overall between literature and pop culture: i.e. one is about illuminating various truths about our reality and perhaps finding creative ways of interpreting or processing them; the other is about escaping various truths about our reality. Very apt.
Here's the full video of Howard Jacobson's interview with The Guardian.