Hatred (Richard Goodness)

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 8.42.34 PM.pngHatred begins as a piece about hate crimes, and about attitudes towards our current president. The story (rated R, it helpfully informs us) casts the 45th president of the United States in the role of both victim and presidential commentator in the death of Matthew Shepard, and in the Columbine Massacre. At one point it ascribes to our current president some words spoken by William Jefferson Clinton; the complexity of the sentence structure alone suffices as evidence for the misattribution.

All of this is framed as evidence in a trial of God.

Then the game gives way to a game-within-a-game, a supposed alt-right killing spree game. This is unpleasant — you go around stabbing people more or less just because they exist, enacting some kind of parody of anti-social justice mentalities, carrying out a school shooting of your very own. Even as parody, I find this world extremely hard to take, intentionally ugly and jarring. Knowing that it’s meant to be awful doesn’t make it any more enjoyable to inhabit.

Though, if you go to the library (possibly after killing the librarian for ten points) you find a long meditation on the parable of the Prodigal Son that includes this tidbit

And I’ve tried to remember that miracles are not when God does the work of the people, but when people do the work of God

…and which reflects the possibility of a different life from the rest of the story.

I won’t try to explain the remainder of the plot, which spans a couple of layers of framing narrative and game and game-in-game, so as to avoid spoilers. But the work asks, among other things, whether we have the right to hate people and things that themselves seem self-evidently evil; whether there is another response available and what that response might entail; whether it’s fair of God (assuming such a being exists) to put us in this bind. And it justly knocks the really facile answers here.

Do I recommend it? It’s about something more significant than most IF. It was also, at least for me, a pretty unpleasant play. I’m glad that I did, in the end, but your mileage may vary. For someone who doesn’t share the author’s political views, it may also read as simply petty, or perhaps weird and incomprehensible.

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