Writers on Politics
Writer/filmmaker John Pilger writes about what he sees as “the silence of writers.”
That the menace of great and violent power in our own times is apparently accepted by celebrated writers, and by many of those who guard the gates of literary criticism, is uncontroversial. Not for them the impossibility of writing and promoting literature bereft of politics. Not for them the responsibility to speak out – a responsibility felt by even the unpolitical Ernest Hemingway. (…)
What would George Orwell make of [a new world order desired by Downing Street]? There is a series of Orwell events planned to mark the centenary of his birth. Most of those participating are politically safe or accredited liberal warriors. What if Orwell had turned Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four into parables about thought control in relatively free societies, in which he identified the disciplined minds of the corporate state and the invisible boundaries of liberal control and the latest fashions in emperor’s clothes? Would they still celebrate him?
I don’t know that there is as much silence as Pilger thinks. Plenty of writers speak their minds about politics: Norman Mailer, Jonathan Franzen, Tony Kushner, Toni Morrison, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie all have given their two cents on the very topics that Pilger brings up. Whether people care what writers say in another matter. And who will turn out to be Orwell among these is for the future to decide.
Pilger link from Kitabkhana.