Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Politics and Art: Not Always the Best Partners

Ron Charles, Senior Editor over at Washington Post's Book World, wrote an interesting review for the new David Maine novel, Fallen. Not interesting because he makes the book appear good (which he sounds fun) but because he includes two quick little political jabs that seem very out of place in the review.

Fallen is a retelling of the Cain and Abel story from the Old Testament of the Bible. When briefly explaining the mythic conflict between the two brothers and how it was at least in part instigated by God, Charles writes:

Why spark such deadly conflict between these brothers six thousand years ago (according to the Kansas School Board)?

Charles continues with:

But how to generate any dramatic tension with material that's so well known? Except possibly for George W. Bush and Michael Brown, everybody has a pretty good idea of what's going to happen...

I guess I just don't get it. I'm not sympathetic to the whole intelligent design movement, but the quick poke at those who are along with the jab at Bush and Brown seem not just unnecessary, they seem wildly inapropriate. I haven't read Maine's novel, so I can't verify 100% that there's little or no political content, but the review by Charles does not indicate anything of the kind. I'm sure he wrote it thinking it a cute comment that might bring a chuckle out of the average reader. And the average reader of the Post being at least a little left of center, I'm sure many did emit at least a minimal guffaw. I just wish Charles had used the ink on the page to write a review of what looks to be a solid book instead of working in his personal political agenda. That's what the editorial pages are for, not the book reviews.

If you want, you can read the full review here. If you don't already have a userid and password and don't want to sign up for one, try Bug Me Not.


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