Labor day and Swiftian sature Sep. 7, 2020
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QUOTED from \”Rust Belt Literature\” Project at ResearchGate. My script for All the Old Familiar Places can be had by writing to:
I studied Jonathan Swift and the Augustan writer (Alexander Pope, James Boswell, Samuel Johnson) at Indiana Univ. NW Campus Gary, Indiana. My Swiftian satire, All the Old, Familiar Paces, compares Gary, Indiana, a song in Meredith Wilson\’s the Music Man with Gary, Indiana, the ex-steel capital, now voted the \”poorest most miserable town\” in the US (_Business Insider_, 2019) with its US Steel one company mainly robotized and downsized. Gary, Indiana, is about 89% African American. Gary has \”Chernobylized,\” dear colleagues. I have visted libraries in and around Gary to collect fiction stories over a number of years. If any of you would like to read the script, email me at my university email: gmcmilla!email.arizona.edu.
Swift always stuck with me because he alone made a try at reaching those who would not hear. A member of the Anglo-Irish ruling class in Dublin, Swift wrote sermons trying to get his parishioners at Trinity college where he was the dean (and rector) to see. See what? Their starving Irish tenant farmers. They said, \”They\’re not people like us, just beasts of burden\” and tuned Swift out.
So Jonathan Swift made a major leap in communication, he invented the Swiftian satire. One was Gulliver\’s Travels. Another was \”A Modest Proposal.\” Now we have a genre called Swiftian satire. There are topics of poverty that are as bad as when Swift tried to move his fellow landed gentry in 18th C. Dublin. Swift grew angry quite often. You can imagine him pulling at his hair when writing.
\”Can\’t even see the starving Irish babies, eh? Well, why don\’t you just eat them?\” (\”A Modest Proposal.\”)
He thought his writing made no difference bc the landed gentry continued to rationalize what was wrong with the poor (they\’re all just violent criminals and low poaching thieves). Who cares about such \”Yahoos?\” (Term invented for a group in Gulliver\’s Travels.) NOTE:
the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent horses who are cleaner and more rational, communal, and benevolent (they have, most tellingly, no words for deception or evil) than the brutish, filthy, greedy, and degenerate humanoid race called Yahoos.
The horse-loving gentry become horses in Gulliver. They are nice bc they exclude and use others and then rationalize. But they are very nice. The Time Machine\’s Eloy and Morlocks come from this source. H. G. Wells.
People don\’t usually like Swiftian satire in the writer\’s own day. It becomes valued later, as the current event is no longer current.