The Prophet of Dystopia At Rest- An Answer to a Question of Integrity
Yvon Grenier- Associate Professor of Political Science at St
Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, former editor of Canadian Journal of
Latin American and Caribbean Studies
The Prophet of Dystopia at Rest: Margaret Atwood in
Atwood allowed herself to become a compliant
guest in a country that checks almost all the boxes of totalitarianism, minus
extensive terror: a single-party state, no rule of law, arbitrary arrests
(2,000 of them during the first eight months of last year), stultifying media
(even Raúl Castro says so), and a regime of censorship that allows no freedom
of speech, association, and only limited freedom of movement; a country with
half-empty bookstores selling the same few official writers and hagiographies
of the dear leaders.
I’m going out on a limb here but I am going to
assume Yvon writes under the auspices of the Catholic Church, either as a
Catholic community member or as an affiliate of the Catholic University he
So if you think my “going out on a limb’
discredits me then please don’t torture yourself any longer by continuing to
listen or read. That’s probably what I should have done when I read this
article in the Quillette, not being familiar with Canadian conservative
intellectual propaganda. This type of “intellectual” arguments are reminiscent
of William F. Buckley, who of course, was very intelligent and literate and
arrogant, as if speaking from a well- known position of cultural elite
superiority and always above the fray emotionally.
The gist of this article is really not about
Margaret Atwood’s literary career but more about the jealousy of people who
think that a writer who is successful writing, in this case, dystopian novels,
should understand like her critic understands, you cannot rest and enjoy Cuba
without knowing the horrible conditions underlying there, as represented by
said critics noble expertise of Cuba’s totalitarianism.
First of all, let me say that all the
apologists for America’s treatment of Cuba, the sanctions, the fostering of
plain ol ignorance of Cuba’s past prior to those mean, nasty Castro brothers
all relies on those few remaining wealthy, dying refugees from the revolution,
much like the English supporters in America before it was America, the ones who
didn’t support the American revolution and in the end returned to England destitute and without rank or power.
In other words, critics of all these changes
that take place in former or current American colonies and ghettos must
maintain the purity of the American state they live in, or Canadian-American
exceptionalism, as in the case of Yvon Grenier.
It is truly ironic that with the uncovering of
thousands of Native born children from their unmarked graves recently because
of the Catholic Church’s high and mighty supremacy over God’s little children,
forced education and pedophilia, not to mention an historical record of
sanctioned hysteria throughout it’s genocidal, war inducing, and power seeking
in the name of Jesus. What false is buried here in a Canadian conservative
criticizing a novelist about visiting a country which even if you count the
ones the US and Canada say you can visit ranks no where near the top of the
list of failed and failing democracies, if that can be said at all. Does the
writer (Yvon Grenier) not want Atwood to write about dictatorships until she
understands things the way the writer wants her to? Does he think she’s
breaking Canadian law or just want Canada to punish her. Or someone else to
punish her for being intellectual dishonest.
It really seems the writer wants us to believe
that even her choice of good literature isn’t up to his standards.
My God, can I say that as an atheist, she
writes Fiction, doesn’t she? I guess if she were Hannah Arendt, she could argue
with Mr Grenier on equal terms, political dystopia in America vs dystopia of
the Catholic Church. If there ever was an institution whose dire outlook on the
world has brought the world to near moral extinction it is the Catholic Church.
And being the atheist/anarchist I am I can say I don’t care that Yvon or the
Catholic Church he probably represents exist, I just don’t think people should
pay them the regard they believe themselves to deserve.