Two more readers weigh in on Mark Steyn's recent pre-emptive attack. Mark Steyn hasn't read my book - and he hasn't read Faust either:
Steyn has totally misunderstood the quote from Faust. Ironically, he couldn’t have picked a better quote to make your point: Faust is madly driven by his desires - for knowledge, wisdom, power. To this torn man, the ability to let go, to be at peace and enjoy the moment, is nothing but foolishness, laziness and weakness.
What makes this anti-hero so fascinating is his constant thirst for more and his refusal to ever be satisfied. But this is also his big mistake, and his downfall. Only at the end of his journey will Faust finally find his peace - his one moment that he wants to "linger awhile". However, it is not his defeat, but his salvation. Steyn got it totally wrong: To Goethe, "living for the moment" is not "Western weakness" - but rather it is true happiness.
Faust Schmaust. Steyn had some copy to file and a poofter to discredit. Another reader adds:
It apparently escaped Steyn's notice that Goethe's Faust, unlike Marlowe's, is saved by God at the last minute precisely because his motive in making a deal with the devil was noble. (Although misguidedly romantic, not "conservative".) In fact, God, in Goethe's work, is so little concerned with following inviolable laws and moral regulations that He's willing to overlook making a deal with the devil in the case of someone who tries to do the right thing when it matters.
Should we be surprised that Steyn attacks you by plucking a quote out of context from a work that he doesn't actually know anything about? Should we be surprised that his thinking is so sloppy that he completely misunderstands what the quote itself plainly means?
Count me unsurprised.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.