Last week, in an open letter published on Radio France, Houellebecq weighed in on the COVID-19 pandemic. He dismissed the voices of the French left who have predicted that the pandemic might lead to a meaningful reevaluation of existing power structures. Rather, Houellebecq thought it more likely to merely exacerbate the same technological trends—everything from video on demand to contactless payment—against which he has railed for years as dehumanizing and corrosive of Western civilization. “We will not wake up after the lockdown in a new world. It will be the same, just a bit worse,” he wrote. Characteristically candid, he concluded that the pandemic has ”succeeded in the feat of being both frightening and boring.”I find it much more boring than frightening. As for this piece, the writer might understand Houellebecq better if he’d make some attempt to free himself from his own confining categories. Labels are a poor substitute for thought, though they sure seem to satisfy a lot of people.
Monday, May 18, 2020
…The Prophet of the Far Right | Boston Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)