Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Thrillers are more like real life than real life

The Khashoggi case illustrates the truth of Graham Greene's aphorism: thrillers are more like real life than real life.

Or perhaps it does the opposite. it is one of the rare cases where real life closely resembles a thriller. though that isn't true either. Real life resembles a thriller more and more: September 11th; Assange; the senior Catholic priests involved in cocaine fuelled and sado-masochistic orgies with young boys.

We are not the first to have thought this, though. The protagonist of Graham Greene's The

Ministry of Fear says during the blitz, 'the world has been remade by William the Queux. Perhaps the world has been moving consistently in the direction of thrillers since the days of Mrs. Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho, and perhaps this is why people read them. Thrillers are of course an innately conservative art form which seeks to make sense of the irrational and the evil and to portray the triumph or order over disorder.

One aphorism of Greene's that the Khashoggi case certainly illustrates is that humanity is divided into two classes: the torturable and the untorturable. The death of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul illustrates another aphorism of Graham Greene, that humanity is divided into two classes: the torturable and the untorturable. All British people fall into the second class, as Greene observed, which is why when Pinochet's police tortured Dr. Sheila Cassidy it caused such outrage. Khashoggi also fell into the untorturable class by whit of writing for the Washington Post.

There is something very nasty about watching people on social media tell untruths about Khashoggi (he was pleased by the September 11th attacks or blamed them on the Jews) in order to downplay the seriousness of this incident. It is also cynical of Erdogan, Trump and the American Left to seek to use the killing for political ends but this is not nasty exactly, but how politics works.

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