My conversation with the acclaimed American writer
So, I am of working class background, but have spent much of my life around people who aspire to be artists. For me, art is a form of communication, but these "artists" communicated nothing to me of any value. They always had ideals with respect to the working class, but seemed to view actual working class people as some form of "exotic animal" who they did not in any way understand, nor did their art in any way speak to what the working class felt or experienced.
The NDP & the Unions were the poster children for this. Most actual working class people, want nothing to do with Unions because they don't speak to their values. It is of no surprise that the most powerful Unions are Teachers, or work for Governments, and are representatives of the Professional class.
I spent many years talking with Homeless People, but when I tried to read Jack Layton's book on Homelessness, I found it unreadable because it had no connection to the stories and values of actual homeless people.
Bottom line, to be relevant, artists must seek truth, and only truth, which means ignoring the critics.
The podcast evoked a ghostly word from my English Lit years: 'didacticism'. Although it might be an aspect of any work of art, it is the most boring foundation for art imaginable, in my view. I don't read to be preached at by a narrator or character. The millennial (and other generations) writers who seem to have fallen prey remind me of nothing so much as the judgy-pants church ladies when I was growing up.
Towards the end of this great conversation, Tara asks, "How will we know when it's over." A conversation I had at work might inform how I think I know that we're in it.
As a teacher, there are always tensions regarding the everyday dealings with students, administrators and parents occasionally, and the background preparation and work required daily. In the last few years, demands on teacher empathy increased regarding student stress and identity issues. This year, a remarkable number of colleagues mention that there is an extra layer of exhaustion related to teaching. I tried to unpack this and came to the conclusion that there is an additional process going on in the background constantly monitoring language. This process checks to see if you are about to say something that was completely acceptable 5 minutes ago. This process causes me to look around the room when talking about objectively true things that might be misinterpreted in the current cultural moment, checking if students are showing signs of offense or maybe even recording covertly.
Public facing workers are the canaries. I suspect that when this additional pressure to self-monitor decreases or flatly goes away, we're finally moving in the right direction. This will likely have other types of evidence in other professions, which Tara and George allude to.
The last third of the interview went beyond the bounds of an interview, straying into the environs of conversation. It was delightful. It was also illuminating. The two participants certainly have a solid mental image of what both the “New Left" and the “Old Left" look like. The point of it all was a congratulatory pat on their own back for pursuing the proper issues. I tend to lean Right (unfortunately, I suppose) and have listened to the Left boast about that for many decades. We don’t even have to set the madness of the "New Left” to make this statement… The entire spectrum of political thought is finding solutions for the same problems. What I am saying is the Left and the Right are both in agreement as to what we must fix. Their solutions come from a different source, with the Left wanting state-driven changes to be made and the Right preferring to see the solutions come from minimally regulated efforts from the populous. Both have good and bad in them. The progressives, of course, are the only ones who are so sure of their solutions that they are prepared to use whatever tyrannical methods are available to force their ideas. They really must be something in their own minds...