Books Top and Bottom
posted by October 15 at 12:11 PMon
What is Harold Bloom’s problem?
…American literary critic Harold Bloom called the academy’s decision [to award Doris Lessing the literature prize] “pure political correctness.”
“Although Ms. Lessing at the beginning of her writing career had a few admirable qualities, I find her work for the past 15 years quite unreadable … fourth-rate science fiction,” Bloom told the AP.
To begin with, Lessing, a Rhodesian-born author, has never been a good writer. All of her books/short stories/essays are not above the level of fourth-rate. So the prize has nothing to do with her writing. Nor has it anything to do with “political correctness.” That kind of thinking is going the wrong way.
To see the actual meaning of Lessing’s award you must place it next to the peace prize awarded to Al Gore. First picture the two winners (one a white African; the other a white American) standing shoulder to shoulder; second, turn them away from each other; third, stop turning when they are back to back; lastly, picture the political opposite each faces: Robert Mugabe, on Lessing’s side; George Bush on Gore’s. Now we understand what the academy is really doing: slapping the worst leaders in the world. One slap is directed at a leader at the bottom of global civilization, Mugabe; the other is for a man at its top, Bush.
Bloom’s complaint about political correctness only exposes his madness: he actually thinks the prize for literature should be about writing. Bloom is like a man who runs into the market place and tells everyone that God is dead, as if this is still big news.