[lit-ideas] one of Exit Ghost's political points

  • From: Eric Yost <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 04:33:28 -0400

Now midway through Roth's 2007 novel, a dispatch seems timely. It was odd to find my experience of giving up TV during an election year mirrored in Roth's novel.

Zuckerman, now 71, returns to NYC after eleven years of limited social contact, no Internet, and no TV. He visits NYC during the Bush-Kerry election, and with two, thirty-something, wealthy Manhattan liberals, he watches TV coverage of Kerry losing to Bush.

Following Kerry's defeat, all the trustfunded, literary thirty-somethings are moping or raging, and there are plenty of impassioned speeches about the sky falling. A female character jokes that, even though she is not pregnant, she may have an abortion while she still can.

Zuckerman experiences that odd sort of disconnect I've mentioned in previous posts. The sense of not being engaged in an orchestrated charade that allows people to feel, fleeting though it is, the emotional bond that comes of an orchestrated charade.

Then Roth adds a wonderful statement about politics, and what it provokes in people:

"the emotions of a child and the pain of an adult"

I'd recommend the novel just for this remark, but it is superb in the round.


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