Tuesday, 3 May 2016

I have an Irish imagination which makes the unknown and the untried more terrible than they are

I know that on the internet, there's a rush to be the first to crap all over something - the modern equivalent of being the first to discover a band or writer, I would imagine - but I think I can be reasonably certain I am quite late to the party when it comes to having concerns about the general attitude towards non-whites in Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, though if you are by some miracle even later to arrive at this one than myself, let me just say it starts with a "gigantic negro" (1) whose name is Zambo, and it tends to go downhill from there.  Possibly it all redeems itself somehow by the end of the book, but I'm at the bit with the genocide now and so far not so much.
I don't think it's crazy old timey racism, though, so much as "different times" having different sensitivities, as there's some stuff in the rest of the book - which is in the public domain and available to download for free - that hints at a broader respect of human dignity one might not assume to be universal at the time of writing.
I probably should wait until I actually finish these things before offering my opinion on them, really - but hey, I have actually started it before formulating an opinion, so I'm already way ahead of everyone who's seen that new Ghostbusters trailer.

(1) No-one can tell me there isn't a Garth Ennis story somewhere which uses this term as a racial slur.

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