Skip to main content

politicaliterature

politics has been a thing with me for almost as long as writing. when i was seven, i literally dealt with conservative crap, as i helped out on a candidate's bid for office by cleaning the toilets in the campaign office. to me, politics was interesting (aside from the toilets). it was really exciting to be allowed to stay up late to watch voter returns coming in. i'm not joking. such are the dangers for a child raised in a hyper-literate family of journalists and political observers.

you'd think that given my interest in both politics and writing, that i might enjoy books that combine these two elements. unfortunately, most political writing leaves me dry.

first of all, most writers who choose politics as a subject are political junkies above all. the writing is just a way to exercise their real passion. there are a lot of novels focused on the world of political intrigue, many of them far more popular than anything i write will ever be, and the ones that i've read are almost uniformly awful. they tend to be books written for other people who get high on politics. to me, if that's what i want, i'd rather have the real thing. (in fact, the only modern-era book on politics that i can think of that i really enjoyed was the "we'll call it fiction so i don't get my ass sued off" primary colours. and even that was outclassed in most respects by the underrated movie mike nichols made of it.)

second of all, even for books that i will acknowledge have great literary merit (george orwell), it's really difficult to actually write about politics without sounding as if you're lecturing someone. novel-writing puts the author in the special position of being able to perfect a political message and deliver it without possibility of interruption or debate. if you're talking politics over the course of a three hundred page book, you are eventually going to sound like that guy at the dinner party who drank too much and who doesn't know when to shut up. ok george, we get it, you're disillusioned with socialism. can we please change the topic? how about those red sox?

at best, i find writing about politics comes out as good reportage. as passionate as people are about political beliefs and as undeniably dramatic as political contests can get, these stories seem to lose something when they're translated into a fictional setting. perhaps it's because the appeal and tension of political drama stems from the belief that it is real (although pretty heavily stage managed) and that there is no one person (we hope) who is dictating the eventual outcome. perhaps it's because the human resonance that great writing has seems more and more at odds with the way politics works.

so as much as i'd like to think that the hours i've been putting into following the increasingly dramatic canadian election campaign will somehow inspire me to write something marvelous, i have the distinct feeling that after january twenty-third, i'm just going to feel like i've fallen a lot farther behind on projects that should have had my full attention. oh well, at least i'm not cleaning the toilets any more.

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

mental health mondays :: pop quiz

those of you who are friends of mine on facebook [that might look a little weird to those of you seeing this post on facebook] may have seen my weekly "sunday quiz time", where i just ask random questions in the name of stimulating conversation. after doing that this week, i ended up taking a very wide variety of quizzes on mental floss, which made me a little smug about my knowledge of geography and a little rattled about my knowledge of the finer points of grammar. [i want to say, in my defense, that the one grammar quiz i found was really f**king hard. is that last sentence grammatically correct? i don't know. i have no confidence in my grammar anymore.]

i got so into answering questions about just about anything that i thought it might be fun to apply that format to mental health mondays. i've already done links to quizzes about various mental disorders and how to tell if you have them [i think it turned out i had all of them], but i wanted to do a special set of…

making faces :: hot stuff, comin' through

i don't even know what to say about the weather. the end of september saw temperatures at a scalding 36c/ 97f outside. this is especially annoying because we've had a moderate summer. most days it rained a little in the morning, the temperatures didn't creep into the 30s too often and there wasn't the normal stretch of a few weeks when it felt like we were living on the sun. now, we've receded into more normal fall weather, although it's still on the warm side for mid-october. that climate change thing is a bitch.

trying to think of something positive in the situation, it does put me in a perfect frame of mind to write about urban decay's naked heat palette. it's the latest in what appears to be an endless series of warm neutral and red eyeshadow palettes that have followed in the footsteps of anastasia's modern renaissance. [which i ultimately decided i didn't need after doing a thorough search of my considerable stash.] i do think that it'…