Wicked used to be the highest compliment a young person could pay to anything or any person. We fiction-readers, of all ages, are also attracted to evil, aren’t we?
One of the most popular films of all time, The Godfather, concerns one of the most violent and evil organisations of all time, the Mafia. (Don’t ask me for statistics – too late, and I’ve just arrived back, this evening, from a short break in Romania.) Saddam Hussein watched The Godfather repeatedly.
Yesterday, we were shown around the Parliament Building in Bucharest. The original destiny of this massive edifice, the second-largest administrative building in the world, constructed almost solely of marble, was to be a palace for the Communist dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu. Begun in 1978, he planned every minute detail, even the echo of the deputies’ applause for the room in which he intended to sign documents. He included two grand staircases from which he and his wife, Elena, could descend when greeting dignitaries. Meanwhile, the Romanian people queued for their miserable food rations.
We tourists hung on to our guide’s every word, begging him for more detail lapping up the wickedness, savouring the story of Ceausescu’s come-uppance in 1989, which involved helicopters and betrayal by his pilot, a two-hour show-trial and shooting, and his and his wife’s bodies being displayed on television.
You can’t write fiction about liberal democracy, can you? Too boring.
By the way, I’m hoping to write more about Romania on my travel blog, Travel On, in the next few days.