Friday, December 9, 2016

Moral High Ground? What Moral High Ground?

American historian Fredrik Albritton Jonsson spruiks Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh's new book, The Great Derangement: Climate Change & the Unthinkable:

"The title captures his scathing diagnosis of the condition of literature and culture in the age of the Anthropocene. Why is it, he asks, that the literary world has responded to climate change with almost complete silence? How can we explain the fact that writers of fiction have overwhelmingly failed to grapple with the ongoing planetary crisis in their works? For Ghosh, this silence is part of a broader pattern of indifference and misrepresentation. Contemporary arts and literature are characterized by 'modes of concealment that [prevent] people from recognizing the realities of their plight'." (The Holocene hangover: it is time for humanity to make fundamental changes,, 8/12/16)

How true! After all, it doesn't get much more bleeding obvious than anthropocentric climate change, right? And what are all these scribblers scribbling about? Something else, damn it! Obviously, they need a bloody good whipping, and Ghosh's decided he's just the man to give it to them - hard:

Silent novelists? LASH!

Novelists who fail to grapple with the issue? LASH!

Indifferent novelists? LASH!

Reality-avoidant novelists. LASH!

But wait, what about something just as bleeding obvious? Like Israeli apartheid, for example?

Ah, but that's different.

Back in 2010, Ghosh was 'awarded' Israel's $US1m Dan David Prize, and when those who know apartheid when they see it asked him not to go there, he told them he was "disappointed" with them for running a "campaign of admonition," and declared, "We cannot let others decide for us and we cannot yield to such demands. If a reader from Israel wants to reach out to us, how can we not engage him?" (What Amitav Ghosh said at Dan David prize ceremony,, 12/5/10)

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