Caveat Lector (let the reader beware)
2005 March 20 21:07 CET

In a way this applies to this site, because it applies to anything you read. It may actually be pretty obvious but I thought I'd write something about it anyway: writers have agendas, especially writers of non-fiction. Fiction writers probably have them just as much, but fiction doesn't lend itself to expressing them the way non-fiction does. (Consequently all "Harry Potter converts kids to witchcraft" theories are still paranoid conspiracy theories.)

Back to non-fiction, now that we've established what we're talking about. I recently ran up against the agenda problem in a book about Tarot cards. The writer had a pretty clear 'occultist' agenda (granted when reading about Tarot you're asking for one of those). Now I'm not complaining about the agenda as such, I'm not sure I agree with it on all points, but I don't mind reading those views. What did strike me was that, at least to my mind, he never quite came out and said what his agenda was, but there was an undercurrent pulling in that direction.

This is just one example of course, but I think it does illustrate a wider phenomenon. To translate and paraphrase what my legal philosophy teacher told us: "The best way to understand a philosopher is to figure out who or what he disagrees with." More generally with any non-fiction you read, especially, but not just, in areas like Tarot, always keep an eye on what the author wants to convince you of.

About this site
Contact me