Comment of the Day: on G.K. Chesterton: " I have enjoyed Chesterton's Father Brown series a good deal...
...but I get a whiff from it now and then that makes the simple man of faith and his universe seem like a bit of a stacked deck, and this makes me sad.
Of course, all freethinkers are idiots or knaves in his world (though he does have barbs for those who take too much on authority, it seems).
Then there's N.
Ned, the black boxer who figures highly in 'The God of the Gongs.' Ned is his first name, N. stands for his descriptor, the n- word. Chesterton goes full jacket racist on Ned (I sometimes excuse stereotyping in older sources as xenophobia, rather than racism; a slightly lesser sin, but here, I can't even offer that straw.), larding his descriptions with animal comparisons, and having Ned roll his eyes whilst wearing a silk hat. The frosting on the cake comes when Father Brown himself, the humblest, most pious soul in the universe which he inhabits, tells his associate:
That negro who has just swaggered out is one of the most dangerous men on earth, for he has the brains of a European, with the instincts of a cannibal. He has turned what was clean, common-sense butchery among his fellow-barbarians into a very modern and scientific secret society of assassins…
I can still enjoy the series as an alternate universe, but I generally have to steel myself to it a little. Like reading Rand, I temporarily buy into the 'givens' of the universe if I don't want to spend the whole time yelling at the author. After reading, I shrug and return to reality and wonder why someone would create something so warped for idealistic reasons.