April 11, 2021
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Arundhati Roy: 'An Outright Reactionary'

Arundhati Roy: 'An Outright Reactionary'

Arundhati Roy was recently voted #3 worldwide out of '30 Utterly Inspiring Role Models' for women in the world. In the New Republic, Isaac Chotiner reviews her Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers to argue that "Roy’s status as a famous woman of the far left has obscured the fact that she is an outright reactionary":

...Roy’s anger has had a coarsening effect upon her thinking and her writing. She has chosen to trade in the wildest forms of anti-Americanism and the crudest critiques of capitalism. Her activism has led her into a kind of mental atrophy...

...It is impossible to understand Roy’s feelings about India without understanding her feelings about the United States... If Roy’s disgust with America helps to explain her opinion of India, then her opinion of democracy helps to explain her disgust with America...

...The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is indeed despicable, but it is not “no less dangerous” than the Taliban. Moreover, Roy cannot seem to write about anti-Muslim bigotry and discrimination without mentioning Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush. They seem to organize the entirety of her view of the world...

...When Roy writes about Muslim Kashmiri extremists, she tries to summon our sympathy and our understanding, and explain how people could be driven to commit despicable crimes. When she writes about Hindu terrorism, she merely takes quick swipes at American capitalism...

...Roy’s aversion to complex thinking shows up again in her discussions of Kashmir... her attack on other Indian journalists for ignoring the issue is shameful.

...If Roy believes that her activism is more important than her fiction, there is a certain honor in her decision to abandon the novel form. But these essays show a woman whose reading and experience and engagement with the world have served to narrow her thinking rather than enlarge it. Instead of allowing her reporting to shape her story, she has allowed her preconceived notions to shape every last drop of her analysis...

Read the full piece at the New Republic  

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