Saturday 20 October 2018

Brendan O'Connor: They were as pious as us back in the 'dark chapters'

Revelations, that are not even new, around adoption make Zappone look good, says Brendan O'Connor, but let's hope it works for everyone else

SIGNAL: Minister for Children Katherine Zappone. Photo: Gareth Chaney
SIGNAL: Minister for Children Katherine Zappone. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

When Philip Roth was living in London, the playwright David Hare used to meet him for lunch, latterly in fast food baked potato joint Spudulike. "He kept trying to persuade me to go to the Middle East," Hare wrote recently. "He thought the fanatical Jewish settlers were hilarious. When I protested that religious zealotry was his subject matter, not mine, he replied: 'I promise you, David, these people are so crazy there's room enough for all of us.'"

Hare relates this on the way to making the point that Roth's true theme was hypocrisy, and that Roth had come to hate the hypocrisy of what we now call virtue signalling.

Hare says Roth told him that, "In life, I could pretend to be nice if I wanted, that was my business, but it was a useless position from which to write. Men and women were good and evil, devious and kind, fine and flawed. You could only write well if you stopped pretending to be virtuous."

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