Doris Lessing: en dissident har lämnat oss


Jag hörde just att Doris Lessing har gått bort. För ganska länge sedan läste jag flera romaner av henne: Shikasta, Giftermålen mellan zonerna tre, fyra och fem,  Planeten Sirius’ experiment mm. Jag minns att jag gillade dem. Om jag inte hade gillat dem skulle jag förstås inte ha läst flera olika böcker av henne. Senare visade det sig att även nobelkommittén uppskattade hennes författarskap. Fast jag har ingen tydlig bild av det, så jag har inte så mycket att säga. Men det finns en annan sida av henne som jag inte tror är så känd. Hon var nämligen en kritiker av politisk korrekthet och den pågående fördumningen av västvärlden. Jag har inte gjort en systematisk studie, men här följer ett par exempel. Så här skrev hon i the Partisan Review 1998:

"I want to talk about something else, which I’ve no doubt is of great concern to all of you, it’s what we call ”dumbing down.” I hear about nothing else here and in England, so while I don’t think anything I’m going to say is going to be startlingly novel, perhaps just putting it together might be a help. What is happening in Britain reveals the various symptoms of this rather terrible situation."

"There is a phenomenon which I call the Educated Barbarian. This is someone who could have been in school or university for many years, could have won prizes by the score, and at the end has read nothing, knows no history, and above all is totally incurious. Quite a large number of my young friends are like this."

Hon kopplar det här fenomenet till politisk korrekthet:

"Political correctness, to my mind, stems straight from the old Communist Party. The mere words ”correct,” ”incorrect,” the ”correct approach,” the ”incorrect approach,” and so on. It is Party language, and it is bullying. But what has happened is that yet again we have enormous numbers of people all over the world sharing a readiness to accept a particular dogma, as if they have no critical faculties. I’m well aware that I’m skating over some dangerous ground, but this is how I see it. I think it’s probably the most astonishing phenomenon of our time, that from one end of the world to the other you will hear people murmuring, ”It’s politically correct” or ”It’s not politically correct.” Who ordered them to do this? And why? Why does everyone fall on their backs and wave their little paws in the air? Why do we do it? Why don’t we say to these bullies, ”Go back and torment your friends with this nonsense and leave us in peace.”?  The whole world is now mouthing these little cliches ." (1)

Så här skrev hon 1994, en kortare version av artikeln publicerades tidigare i New York Times 1992:

"While we have seen the apparent death of Communism, ways of thinking that were born under Communism or strengthened by Communism still govern our lives. The very first place this is evident is in our language. It is not a new thought that Communism debased language and with language, thought. There is a Communist jargon recognizable after a single sentence … the heritage of dead and empty language these days is still to be found in some areas of academia and particularly in some areas of sociology, psychology, and some literary criticism … Yes, I do know the obfuscations of academia did not begin with Communism, as Swift, for one, tells us, but the pedantries and verbosity of Communism had their rots in German academia. And now it has become a kind of mildew blighting the whole world." (2)