Sunday, September 4, 2016

ORWELL matters more than STALIN.


ORWELL MATTERS MORE THAN STALIN. It may not have seemed so at the time but it was always true. 

ROWLING MATTERS MORE THAN TRUMP.

TED WILSON MATTERS MORE THAN BORIS JOHNSON.

And, dammit, ISLAMIC NOIR MATTERS MORE THAN ISIS.

Literature is an appropriate response to extremism, fascism, nationalism gone mad, and genocide.




By reading and writing fiction that celebrates intellectual freedom, empathy, and diversity, we are AT THIS MOMENT creating the possibility of coexistence in the Middle East, USA, and Europe via a powerful global conversation about literature and tolerance.



"For decades it's been known that an effective means of improving negative attitudes and prejudices between differing groups of people is through intergroup contact – particularly through contact between 'in-groups,' or a social group to which someone identifies, and 'out-groups,' or a group they don’t identify with or perceive as threatening. Even reading short stories about friendship between in- and out-group characters is enough to improve attitudes toward stigmatized groups in children. A new study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that reading the Harry Potter books in particular has similar effects, likely in part because Potter is continually in contact with stigmatized groups." -- Scientific American

"Extended contact via story reading is a powerful strategy to improve out-group attitudes." -- Journal of Applied Social Psychology

"Understanding others’ mental states is a crucial skill that enables the complex social relationships that characterize human societies. Yet little research has investigated what fosters this skill, which is known as Theory of Mind (ToM), in adults. We present five experiments showing that reading literary fiction led to better performance on tests of affective ToM (experiments 1 to 5) and cognitive ToM (experiments 4 and 5) compared with reading nonfiction (experiments 1), popular fiction (experiments 2 to 5), or nothing at all (experiments 2 and 5). Specifically, these results show that reading literary fiction temporarily enhances ToM. More broadly, they suggest that ToM may be influenced by engagement with works of art." -- Science Magazine