Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On "How We Made a Difference" by Joseph Bates (2495 words) ***

A friend of mine once dismissed Joyce's Ulysses as simply political writing. I'm not sure if writing about politics in fiction necessarily means that the work doesn't have any literary merit, but I am prone to taking a harsher eye to a text whose political propaganda is obvious on the page.

Bates's story is one that definitely puts politics front and center. I'm writing about it because it made me laugh, because it was, as Henry James describes good literature, "interesting." And is Bates's political agenda all that clear? Sure, it's easy to take swipes at conservatives in a forum such a story, but at the same time, the text is so over the top that one wonders if maybe there isn't also a certain swipe at the other side of the political spectrum as well--if the point isn't, perhaps, that we've lost our way in all the political turmoil with regard to what makes people people and what makes a nation a nation. Nah. Read the story here at Identity Theory and decide for yourself.

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