May 26, 2017
That very good American novelist, Lionel Shriver, recently wrote about the case of a Canadian magazine editor who wrote that “Anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities” and wittily proposed an Appropriation Prize for the best book by an author “who writes about people who aren”t even remotely like her or him.” Naturally, the poor guy lost his job, even though in an attempt to placate the CA mob he had prudently”cravenly?”put “her” before “him.”
As Shriver robustly and truthfully says, “this cockamamie””splendid word””concept threatens “our right to write fiction at all.”” Which, sadly, is, I suspect, just what the CA zealots would like to forbid.
So what’s to be done? We have a choice. Either we fight back, asserting our right to write as we please, or we put our head under the blankets and moan. The first course is better. The enemies of free expression must be challenged. So, for a start, I think Mr. Horowitz should not only write about his black boy-hero but also seek out a bright, young, aspiring black novelist and ask her”pay her”to write a novel about a 60-year-old London Jewish man. (Better still if she is a Muslim.)
Second, we should engage in mockery, and laugh the CA zealots off the stage. Laughter is always the best response to censorship. People may be impervious to argument, but not to the comic spirit.