Conservatism as titillation

5 12 2018

 

You can talk about John Kennedy Toole’s novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, from many angles, but here I wish to focus on the main character Ignatius J. Reilly’s views on modernity and how they are manifested in the narrative. As a brief introduction, Reilly is portrayed as a nee’r-do-well living in early 1960’s New Orleans who has failed to launch at the age of 30. He seems unable to hold down a job and protects himself from the world through his eccentric dress and constant excuses for failure. With more education than common sense, Reilly’s criticisms of his time are constant: entertainment is decadent, the Church is rife with heresy, sex is an ever-present abomination, etc. Instead of withdrawing into a cloister or at least walking away from the city, Reilly continues to plop himself right into the fray of things he despises. Like the proverbial gawker at a car crash, he simply can’t look away from that which he pretends to despise. Read the rest of this entry »