Living virtuously is hard. It takes generative intellectual work that is far more interesting than the defensiveness of “being bad.” I would rather consider the challenges that go into a consciously lived life than the inevitably hurtful products of a cruel one.
A truly radical 21st-century novelist wouldn’t ask us to see ourselves in made-up villains, and then, hopefully, revise our opinions of the real ones in our own lives. Rather, they would ask us to see the arduous and often acrobatic effort that goes into living a life of common decency. They would coerce us into believing that virtue is interesting and fun to think about and far more dazzling to encounter than malevolence.
I do think that it’s all rather easy to write about bad people doing bad things, and films and TV are full of them (which is probably why i find them so tedious); but to write about people struggling to be decent, honest and true to oneself in a world that is more and more full of indecency, dishonesty and fake personalities, now there in is the real skill.
And maybe i’ll even get around to writing some more of these