As Miku, Kat, Brandi, and Sharee have all discussed, this "What defines literature?" discussion really is just a vicious circle. This discussion reminds me of an ongoing argument that my group of friends used to always have in high school. Seriously, we had the same argument at least once a month, it was super ridiculous.
So of my group of close friends, 3 of us played "real" sports (volleyball, swimming, soccer) and one of us was in color guard. You know, the girls with the flags during the halftime show. Anyway, Brittany (the hardcore color guard girl) would maybe hear one of us other real sport girls complaining about a hard practice or something, and she was just NOT hving that. Here's how the conversation would usually go:
(I'm going to use B for Brittany and S for me or my 2 other friends)
B: "Don't even start! Color guard is waaaay harder than soccer/swimming/volleyball."
S: "Shut up Britt, color guard is a joke. Go wave a flag or something."
B: "You don't even know! Color guard takes pateience and balance and LOTS of arm strength!"
S: "Color guard isn't even a sport, stop acting crazy."
B: "Color guard is too a sport! One of the hardest sports I think!"
S: "Color guard is the furthest thing from a sport. Did you get knocked in the hed by a flag??"
B: "Well it's a competition, so that makes it a sport! I've got color guard trophys just like you have soccer trophies."
S: "So then are marching band and drill team also sports? Since they're competitions too?"
B: "Well maybe the band kids feel the same way I do about color guard! Maybe they are sports too!"
S: "You obviously don't know what a sport is, if it's in the Olympics, then it's a real sport."
B: "Football isn't in the Olympics, so what are you trying to say?"
S: "Okay, well then if they talk about it on SportsCenter, then it's a real sport."
B: "Don't they show poker tournaments on ESPN? That's definitely not a sport!"
S: "Yeah, okay, well, it makes it a real sport if they sell stuff for it at Sporting Goods stores, like Academy!"
B: "So then is hunting or fishing a real sport? They aren't in the Olympics, but they sell that stuff at Academy...."
So, basically what I'm trying to illustrate here is that this literature argument we've been having can really be had on any topic, i.e. what is a sport?, what is lying?, etc. Both sides of the argument make good points, but some opinions may contradict themselves. This shows me that there will never be a concrete, set in stone definition of what literature really is. I think there can be a general consensus that is open for interpretation. With sports, our general consensus is what they have in the Olympics. But that can be opened up for interpretation with things like color guard or badminton or table tennis.
The same can be true in our definition of literature. The general consensus can be that literature is what we are taught in traditional lit classes, the classics and such. But we can open that up for interpretation and explore things like TV shows and music, as we are about to do in this class. What someone interprets as literature may not be the same for someone else, but that's okay. Just like I will never in my life consider color guard as a sport, it's okay if my friend interprets it as such.