Wright’s Writing Corner: Guest Blogger Bernie Mojzes

In a variation on last week’s theme, Mr. Mojzes writes of moral ambiguity in storytelling.


My comment: I don’t know whether moral ambiguity is good or bad. To me, it is sort of a gray area. Who am I to judge? How are we to know? Or, to get to the point, who are we to judge the issue of how we are to know whether or not moral ambiguity (if it exists) should be judged or not? These are deep and troubling questions that have given such thinkers as Ellsworth Toohey many idle minutes of entertainment and a prolific career.

I know what you are saying — "Isn’t Ellsworth Toohey one of those cardboard-stock characters Ayn Rand made up for her outrageously polemic book ATLAS SHRUGGED?" The answer is a resounding "no!" followed by a lilting laugh and a girlish toss of my locks. Ellsworth Toohey is a stock-cardboard character from Ayn Rand’s outrageously polemical THE FOUNTAINHEAD. It is a completely different book! I would laugh with a condescending sneer at Ayn Rand’s completely unrealistic and artificial and preposterous characterization of Ellsworth Toohey, except (1) laughing while sneering causes hiccoughs and (2) I know people (a lot of people) who talk and think and act just like Ellsworth Tooehy in real life, and which I think is totally unfair, on the grounds that such pure darkness offends the cherished idea that life is full of gray areas of moral ambiguity!

As always, please send any mash notes, favorable comments, gifts of flowers, or blank checks to my wife, who fights crime under the codename "Lamplighter", and who needs the money, and send your hate mail to Mr. John Scalzi, who does not need more greif, and has no time to fight crime. And while you are at it, why not ask Mr. Scalzi for some favors in your burgeoning writing career? And no, I am not cleared to know his codename.