I have a confession to make: I find Arundhati Roy incredibly annoying.
Now, I’ll admit freely that I’ve never read any of her books (not even The God of Small Things). And I haven’t seen any of her speeches, or really read any of her articles. But then again, why should I?
When Robert Fisk writes something, I have good reason to pay attention. The man has been places I’ve never been and probably wouldn’t have the courage to go to. Right now, he’s driving up and down Iraqi highways at his own considerable peril and reporting valuable nuggets of information and perspectives that are relatively unattainable elsewhere.
When Vandana Shiva writes something, I have good reason to pay attention. She’s got intelligent things to say about particular subjects in which she has been doing steady, grassroots activism for years.
Who the fuck is Arundhati Roy? And who the fuck is Starhawk?
They’re archetypes of a disgusting tendency to mythologize the Left, to turn it into some sort of noble Movement of the People, struggling against injustice and all that is wrong and corrupt in the world. Oh, look at the inspiring way in which they move, as narrated by these, our cheerleaders.
Don’t people get sick of hearing this? After so many years of marching in place, marching backwards, marching in circles, why don’t people say, “Arundhati Roy, take your stupid triumphalism and shove it. Take your myopic moral clarity and choke on it. Take your commentary and go, just go! They’re empty words, they don’t lead anywhere!”
It’s the same thing we get out of watching Michael Moore, or reading Greg Palast. They are security blankets, covering us with comforting, familiar phrases and homilies that we can rock our heads to agreeably. Yes, the world is as you believe it is. Yes, you are right.
Meanwhile the world goes to shit and the Movement of the People is wholly unable to stop it. Ah, I wish for the cynical rock star who tells me where I’m wrong.