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Quotes / Rudyard Kipling

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"Kipling was always a bit of an asshole, and he got much worse as he aged. A fair chunk of this, of course, was simply that he was an upper middle class late Victorian Englishman. But that didn't compel him to (for instance) give large sums of money to the Ulster Unionists, a bunch of bigots and religious fanatics who were actively engaged in treason against the United Kingdom. And if you're going to be a bard of Empire, it really behooves you to try to think clearly about what Empire is, and does, and who really bears the brunt of it. If you're reading his stuff while sitting in a hotel room in Lubumbashi, looking out over the utter ruin of imperialism, then it's going to have a fairly hollow ring.
And yet. Kipling managed to take half a step out of himself. He couldn't ever quite see natives, negroes, Irish or Jews as real, fully rounded human beings. But he could see them as sympathetic, clever, honest and honorable, hard-working and worthy. That's a long step further than most of his generation ever got."
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