Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A thought

INTERVIEWER: What would be "immoral" literature?

JOHN GARDNER: Mainly, fiction goes immoral when it stops being fair, when it stops trusting the laboratory experiment...I would agree with people who get nervous around the world morality, because usually the people who shout "immoral" are those who want to censor things, or think that all bathroom scenes or bedroom scenes or whatever are wicked. That kind of morality is life-denying, evil. But I do think morality is a real thing that's worth talking about...It means what it means, and the fact that it's out of style doesn't matter very much. It's like patriotism, which as got a very bad name because devils keep yelling for it. Ultimately patriotism ought not to mean that you hate all other countries. It ought to mean that you love certain things about your country; you don't want them to change. Unfortunately, when you say "patriotism," everybody goes "aargh." Same thing with morality.

-- The Paris Review Interview, 1979.

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