And This, Too, Is a Romance

by Farah Mendlesohn on May 11, 2015

NB: All page references are to the UK first editions.

Ken MacLeod is an intensely *romantic* writer. His work is engaged with the intensity of feeling between people and landscape, people and people, and people and ideology. The majesty and humour of his writing is, I think, a function of this romance: love after all is both obsessive and mocking. In *Dark Light,* part two of the Engines of Light Trilogy, Matt Cairns is caught up in yet another revolutionary situation in his extended life, “What he doesn’t expect is the acute pang of nostalgia that the smallest hints of a revolutionary situation bring. (244)” Reading a MacLeod novel—even reading the names of characters, Jonathan Wilde, Myra Godwin, or of chapters, *Bright Star Cultures,* *The Queen of Heaven’s Daughters,* *The Sickle’s Sang* and *The Hammer’s Harvest*–can be a little like that for the politically attuned reader, acute pangs of nostalgia sweeping the reader into the moment.
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The interview I linked to last week, about our book Family Values provoked what, for both me and Adam, has been a somewhat bizarre, and occasionally disturbing, experience. The sequence of events seems to have been this. Some Australian journalist (Tim Blair of the Daily Telegraph) with a beef against ABC, the broadcaster of the interview, wrote an article/post lambasting ABC for broadcasting it. Then, Mr. Rush Limbaugh picked this up and, in turn, lambasted Adam for insanity and ridiculousness (quite to my irritation, he didn’t mention me at all). Then – well, I guess a mention on Mr, Limbaugh’s show is enough to get you a lot of publicity, and the right and ultra-right wing blogs took up the cause. We started getting invitations to appear on talk shows, and a slew of hate mail (almost all of it to Adam – the worst I got was one saying “your also a fucken idiot like your mate adam smith. pair of wanker fucksticks. simple. fuckoff idiot). NRO took it up, and that spread it further. As you might guess, once Mr. Limbaugh has hold of something, the white supremacists pick it up pretty quickly too, and one site (to which I will not link, because it is so repulsive) celebrated the 70th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s death by telling its readers that if the world had only listened to him, people like me and Adam would be silent.

Now, what did we say that was so insane and ridiculous? – what was it for which, according to one of Professor Althouse’s commentators, we should be shot?

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