My job, fundamentally, is all about people and it’s the individual stories that give me a sense of the issues I need to use my position to influence or change. That’s why I see reading fiction as an indispensable part of the job. I think all leaders in all positions of responsibility should be made to read fiction, because it uses personal stories to bring issues to life, and gives you a window that all of the academic reading or government civil service papers in the world doesn’t allow you.
(Nicola Sturgeon, quoted by Libby Brooks, “Rachel Kushner meets Nicola Sturgeon: ‘I’m so glad I’m a novelist and not a politician’,” The Guardian, 12-8-18)
OMG, not again! “the issues I need to use my position to influence or change.” NO! The role of art is not subservient to a political agenda. That’s called propaganda. Art has its own purpose above and beyond advocating for this or that paradigm. Do we look at the art of the past because of its political agenda? Well, I guess nowadays we do. Sorry, Nicola, I don’t accept your throwing out art for applied politics. Boring and stupid.
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