Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Jesus was the first ???

Richard Flanagan is a prize-winning Australian novelist. His latest work, The Unknown Terrorist, is about a pole dancer, the Doll, who chooses to spend a night of sex and drug-taking with a Middle-Easterner, and is then targeted as a terror suspect by a hostile media and police force.

Flanagan is a lefty who thinks that John Howard has created a "spiritual malaise" in Australia which he finds "sickening".

Now, you might think it odd that a novelist would try to counter a spiritual malaise by writing a story about a drug-taking pole dancer. But it gets much worse.

In the preface to the novel (in his own author's voice) Flanagan writes the following:

In his understanding that love was not enough, in his acceptance of the necessity of the sacrifice of his own life to enable the future of those around him, Jesus is history's first, but not last, example of a suicide bomber.

I haven't read the whole preface. Maybe it sounds a little better in context. Even so, I'll venture the following opinion: the arty left in Australia is showing signs of going off the rails.

One symptom: an insistence on identifying with "the Other" so completely, that even the worst aspects of "the Other" must be made good in comparison with the odious "us".

Another symptom: an almost paranoid, apocalyptic mood in which a centre-right Government like Howard's is thought to be the harbinger of a mass persecution.

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