Novelist T.C. Boyle on Humankind's Arrogant Attitude Towards Nature
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M-M: That said, you do make it clear that tampering with the natural environment is a dangerous game.
TCB: I think it’s pretty apparent to everyone … that we are suffering from catastrophic storms because of global warming. It’s just going to get worse. You’ll have more refugees and more gangs and more fights for resources. We’re a very clever species, but we’re animals, and we’re subject to all of the laws that all other animals are subject to, and our day of reckoning is coming. I don’t want to be a doomsayer, but what else can I do?
I don’t want to be too depressing here. I take great joy in writing, in creating art, in being alive, in my friends and family and everything else. But when you look a little deeper, we’re on a shaky foundation.
M-M: Is writing these books…
TCB: Cathartic? Yes. It’s also a way to explore these issues and to try to neutralize the numbing depression and nihilism you would get if you didn’t have an outlet.
M-M: Do you hope to have that effect on readers?
TCB: I don’t hope for anything in readers except they know how to read.
M-M: So, you’re not trying to get people to change their lifestyles or otherwise take action.
TCB: That’s not my job, as I see it. I’m not an activist in any way. With certain exceptions, I don’t think politics and art mix very well.
My aim is to explore something for myself and create a work of art to open that up to other people. I’m trying to make good art, which is entertaining and compelling and written in a way that is beautiful.
Tom Jacobs is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years experience at daily newspapers. He has served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Santa Barbara News-Press. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Ventura County Star.