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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Guy Goodman St.White "Reviews" Utopia

[Writing About Writing's senior editor and writer, Chris Brecheen, here.  When I noticed Guy White--that's my little nickname for him--was running late on today's segment, went down to the Masterpiece Theater-esque set to see what was taking him so long, and I found this letter, which I will now post in lieu of his regular content.  Apologies for the inconvenience.]

Dear Chris (and the rest of the staff at W.A.W.),

My sincerest apologies for my unannounced absence.  I simply couldn't gird my intestinal fortitude to both sound terribly British and do today's review of Thomas More's Utopia.  It was bad enough when you downsized me to one guest blogging segment a month, and when you decided to hire one of those genocidal cephalopods as our office assistant (I don't care how good it is at filing), but to suggest that I review Utopia?  That was the last straw!

Seriously?  I mean...SERIOUSLY??  I know More had predecessors, notably Plato, who liked to discuss political issues by the use of hypothetical Utopias, and so utopian fiction has a long and illustrious tradition in the Western tradition, but you can't get much more blatantly unrealistic and speculative than a magical happy island that never really existed where everyone lives in twenty person communes and has two slaves each.  (I'm guessing it's not exactly a utopia to THEM, by the way.)  Utopian fiction is one of the halmarks of science fiction, and as such isn't, can't be, and never will be real literature due to it's lack of realism.  If More's new world had some gritty native mixed marriages (preferably of same sex couples) and a slew of "old world" parents who didn't approve, this could possibly be realistic enough to at least warrant my attention, but...I can't...

I can't even believe you thought that anything so completely speculative came anywhere close to being actually real literature.   That's just the dregs of speculative dreggery right there.  I have come absolutely unhinged at the very concept of how speculative (and thus non-literary) the entire Western "canon"--and I use that word lightly, Harold Bloom--seems to be.  I just need some time to think.  I'm going home for a few weeks.  I shall return next month.  Hopefully by that time, you will have seen reason about having a spy squid for a secretary, and about the benefit of being at least a little realistic.

It's enough to make someone thing that you might not take my guest blogging segment entirely seriously, and I need a moment to consider the implications of that.

Yours in literary pursuits,

Guy Goodman St.White

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