Friday, April 20, 2018

Ministry of Loneliness

Britain has a Minister of Loneliness. "What Britain’s‘Minister of Loneliness’ Says About Brexit and Jo Cox," ran the headline of a story by The New Yorker's Rebecca Mead, who is incidentally the author of a book on Middlemarch. What would George Eliot’s famed intellectual, Casaubon, have said about all this? Mead weaves a tale full of sound and fury, but signifying something since Cox, the Labor Party member stabbed by Alexander Mair, a neo-Nazi who, like a lot of extremist Dostoevskyian characters, might have been suffering from social isolation, ultimately resulted in the appointment of Tracey Crouch. Crouch held the title Minister of Sport and Civil Society, before being offered the loneliness mandate ("The Minister for Loneliness Will Need All the Friends She Can Get,"The Guardian, 1/23/18). One of Mead’s other points is that a Minister of Loneliness is an anomaly in a culture famous for "the stiff upper lip.” Nevertheless despite Theresa May and Britain’s submergence in the same kind of populist backlash that elected Trump, a Minister of Loneliness stands out as one of the great creations of the modern nation state, a mixture of Kafka and Emily Bronte. Would such a minister’s headquarters be in a fortress or castle occupied by a  character like the once orphaned Heathcliff who lords his suffering over others. It’s unlikely that Tracey Crouch a Conservative M.P. fits that profile, but the fact is, it’s just a matter of time. Only a truly lonely person can really understand solitude. Lawrence Olivier played the sufferer in the l939 film of Wuthering Heights but who will star in the film that will ultimately be made about the occupant of this new seat of power?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.