Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Sympathy with the Devil

Guy Hasson argues that good storytelling requires a liberal/humanist perspective, which is why there are few examples of good or even best-selling right wing novels (but lots of right wing non-fiction - check Amazon); conversely (he argues) to the extent to which the writer objectifies any of his characters as inferior and less than human his writing suffers.

Obviously there have been brilliant writers who have a right-wing politics: Mishima for instance, or Lampedusa, even Jane Austen (to some extent). I think Neal Stephenson's first few books transcend his right wing beliefs, though they do fall into the trap of objectifying some characters into puppets. You could argue, though, that to the extent that they come into their art they transcend their frame and become 'liberal'.

Conversely The Left Behind series, which objectifies most of our species as puppets, is a huge commercial success but an artistic failure. I've posted about this before - the failure of empathy on the part of the writers permeates every page in the book.

Actually I don't think this thing they do can be precisely aligned with liberal politics. I think, like humour compassion and empathy, storytelling arises from a hard wired tendency within the human mind which fights against the dominance of powerful groups. We have both tendencies inside us - to fawn on the master and to empathise with the slave.

Blake said that Milton was of the Devil's Party, because he was an artist. I think he meant the same thing - Milton had sympathy with the devil in Paradise lost, although he was a Christian, because even more than that he was an artist. Humour, art and subversion were part of Blake's positive image of hell.

But can you suggest examples of great storytelling which embody right wing politics? I think the politics breaks down as the storytelling succeeds, like in Merchant of Venice. But happy to hear alternative views.

(got this link from torque-control)
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