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David James Duncan

“The Austrian writer Robert Musil summed up the Fanatic's great rhetorical advantage in just ten words:

There is no truth which stupidity can't make use of.

Another Austrian, novelist Heimito von Doderer, put this way:

Even the most impossible persons who do the most unforgivable things possess substantial reality; from their points of view they are always right – for let them only doubt that and they are no longer such impossible persons. And we must pay close heed to those who play such ungrateful roles, for these roles are indispensable. It is no small thing to be a monster or a spiteful idiot, and in the first case to think oneself beautiful, in the second a highly intelligent person. Such characters must be represented. Some one has to do it.”


David James Duncan
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