A strange endorsement
British Nobel literature laureate Doris Lessing finds a novel and unthought of reason why Obama should not be elected president:
"Obama...would certainly not last long, a black man in the position of president. They would murder him,"
He needs to be protected from his own aspirations, and who better to do that than Hillary, "a very sharp lady. It might be calmer if she were to win, and not Obama".
As if I needed one more proof that writers really should stick to their fiction-making. When they try to import their imaginative faculties into politics, they tend to reveal their own intellectual limitations, which is always such a disappointment to a devout reader. I have to admit, though, that I've never read any of Ms. Lessing's books, so I'm not really equipped to compare her political savvy with her literary merit. I do know, however, that if I were an American who has just voted for Obama, as many millions other Americans have, I would feel very insulted by this imputation or by this ploy.
Jogo, a guest poster on Bob From Brockley, expostulates (copied from comment):
Too bad Rowan is married. He and Doris Lessing would make a fine pair. An eccentric follie à deux, so wonderfully English. (DL might as well be English, WTF's the difference?)
"They" will kill him. Who is "they?" "They" is Dorris Lessing's nightmare/projection of America. How dare DL say something like this -- implicitly standing on her Nobel Prize authority to speak as an oracle? Especially to a European newspaper whose readers, like most Europeans, are the equivalent of spectators at a rural Sicilian Punch & Judy show when it comes to America. Doris Lessing ... phooey. Her anti-apartheid CV won't save her. Every decent person of her time was against apartheid, but they don't get a chance to parade it like she does. Neither her CV nor her Prize are insulation against being thought stupid and wicked. As if a Nobel Prize winner can't possibly be stupid and wicked.
And yes, one is wicked to make such a prophecy.
Remember Margret Drabble and the Acid Reflux? What is it with these communist women? You [i.e. Bob] seem to have a soft spot for communists. Well, I do not. The only excuse for being a communist is youthful folly. After that, one is treated as an adult. An adult who believes in fairy tales, and is willing to see millions of people die for his fantasies.
(And about the Archbish:)
So, Rowan spoke to the wrong audience at the wrong time in a wrong manner. Well, doesn't that alone disqualify him as a leader? Leaders aren't supposed to do that. Rowan might as well have said "bring it on." In fact, he did say that. And he got it. Full in the face.
Rowan's vision of England is a kind of Alexandria. Well, that might have been fun in 300 BC. But you know what happened in 641 AD.
So, CC's readers may wonder, what happened in Alexendria in 641 AD?
Here is a short history, culled from Wiki:
Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BC
… Alexandria had become the largest city in the world and for some centuries more, was second only to Rome. It became the main Greek city of Egypt, with an extraordinary mix of Greeks from many cities and backgrounds.
Alexandria was not only a center of Hellenism but was also home to the largest Jewish community in the world. The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, was produced there. …. In 115 AD Alexandria was destroyed during the Jewish-Greek civil wars which gave Hadrian and his architect, Decriannus, an opportunity to rebuild it. In 215 AD the emperor Caracalla visited the city and, because of some insulting satires that the inhabitants had directed at him, abruptly commanded his troops to put to death all youths capable of bearing arms.
In the late 4th century, persecution of pagans by newly Christian Romans had reached new levels of intensity…
In 616, Alexandria was taken by… Persia. Although the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius recovered it a few years later, in 641 the Arabs, under the general Amr ibn al-As during the Muslim conquest of Egypt, captured it decisively after a siege that lasted fourteen months.
As you see, nothing has changed much in the civilized centres of the Western world: political satires evince menacing offensivity and dreadful violence, the Arab Muslims are still jousting for power, and the Jews are still fighting for their right to exist...
And they may also wonder about the Drabble reference. Well, here it is:
My anti-Americanism has become almost uncontrollable. It has possessed me, like a disease. It rises up in my throat like acid reflux, that fashionable American sickness. I now loathe the United States and what it has done to Iraq and the rest of the helpless world.
Which proves, yet again, how right Harold Bloom was when he observed in his book "The Western Canon" that novels were always wiser than their writers. If a novelist is wiser than his/her fiction, he/she should be doing something else, not write novels. As we see in the two examples here, if Lessing and Drabble really confined themselves to writing fiction, we would never find out how morally illiterate they actually are.
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Sunday, February 10, 2008
A strange endorsement