Upbeat Cynicism

what do you mean i lost my mind?

Oh buh-RUH-ther!

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John Updike’s brain must have shorted out in The Sixties, Man:

BOSTON (Reuters) – Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Updike’s next project is bound to stir controversy — not just in literary circles.

Titled Terrorist, his next novel confronts the emotional issue of changes in America after the September 11, 2001, attacks with a culturally charged twist: Updike’s terrorist is a U.S. teenager given a sympathetic treatment.

The threat is not anonymous, foreign born or groomed overseas by Osama bin Laden. He is an 18-year-old American-born son of an Irish mother and Egyptian father who finds Islam at a small urban American high school.

“It’s my attempt, in a way, to cope with today’s world,” Updike told Reuters in an interview, referring to the novel which he expects to be published in June.

“Terrorism is one of our themes that has changed the texture of American life in a noticeable way. And of course it makes you fearful because you think ‘well I’m not a terrorist but somebody could be’.”

The only US teenager I’m aware of who became a terrorist is John Walker Lindh, whose parents are raging Berkleyite hippies. (Okay, you may include Rachel Corrie if you like, which gives the raging Berkleyite hippie parents a batting average of 1000 in the “I raised a perfect little terrorist” sweepstakes.)

So what Updike is doing is, in fact, an attempt, in a way, to redefine today’s world so that it’s okay to sympathize with the people who want to kill us and to hate ourselves at the same time. Like that’s new, daring, or controversial.


Written by [IMH]

15 December 2005 at 9:31 am

Posted in Literature

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