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“I am specifically concerned with fiction because that is what I write. There is a certain embarrassment about being a storyteller in these times when stories are considered not quite as satisfying as statements and statements not quite as satisfying as statistics; but in the long run, a people is known, not by its statements or its statistics, but by the stories it tells.”* — Flannery O’Connor, 1957
As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, I’m quoting Flannery O’Connor this month because an effort has begun to “cancel” her, which is not surprising as she was a Catholic in good standing who supported what is good in Western Culture and the Christian faith. (Along with being one of the great writers of the 20th century.)
I found the above quote interesting because I don’t believe it is any longer true, the first part of it anyway. In the mid-20th century, the leaders of opinion wanted to believe they were driven by just “the facts” and reason. Stories didn’t matter.
As much as the left talks about “science” these days, it has become very clear that they, perhaps all of us, are led by narratives, by stories. But while the left believes in the daydreams they made up in their heads the day before yesterday, born of jealousy, sloth, and spite, the right is trying to hold on to the stories of old; of Moses and St. Paul and Shakespeare and Adam Smith and Washington and Lincoln and Martin Luther King. We will see soon whose Story of America is remembered.
* From “In the Protestant South,” an essay in Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose, a collection of various writings of Flannery O’Connor.Published in