Sunday, October 01, 2006

Legislating virtue?

Lionel Shriver (at the Australian) takes down the notion that art should be censored. It's a great piece, go and read it for yourself; these are the last two paragraphs (she's got a good tone, doesn't she?):

Until some new self-righteous law stops me, I will continue to write characters who don't follow the rules. My characters are not necessarily representative of the communities in which they live, and I will not hesitate to make them Armenian or Catholic or Pakistani, even if they're not portrayed as perfectly emblematic of Armenians, Catholics or Pakistanis as a whole.

My characters are full of prejudices. My characters may not like Chinese people. My characters may believe that homosexuality is unnatural. My characters may slander Islam, or belief in crystals, or my father's Presbyterianism. My characters murder schoolchildren, plot to massacre two billion people overnight and hit their husbands over the head. My characters are obnoxious, spiteful, seething, difficult, resentful and inconsistent; and no, my characters will not always take their six-year-old kids to therapists to get help. My characters think abominations. In other words, my characters are the closest approximations I can contrive of real people.

(Thanks to Critical Mass for the link.)

Bonus: here's my post on Shriver's excellent novel Double Fault, which I have found myself thinking about very often since I read it; in fact, I see that Shriver has become part of the constellation of writers I refer to constantly here on the blog. I must see if I can get someone to let me do a real review of The Post-Birthday World when it comes out next year.


  1. Hear, hear to Lionel Shriver's sentiments. And how nice that they should come from someone who deliberately moved to Ireland to espouse the cause of the stunningly unlovely Unionists.

  2. I too have to second her views. Good article, thanks for the link. I love a courageous voice.

  3. I suspect that anonymous is being sarcastic about Lionel Shriver. Can this be so?