Geoff Chandler wrote: ↑
Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:59 am
I do not think I have made any secret of the fact although I slip in a wee joke or two, I like Ray.
I'd place him higher than a hack, he as over 100 books to his credit
Because one sign of a hack is definitely not churning out lots of books.
Paul Cooksey wrote: ↑
Thu Jun 10, 2021 8:05 am
O.G. Urcan wrote: ↑
Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:18 am
My interest is in serious scrutiny of Keene's writing and conduct.
We all need a hobby! But is Keene's writing really worthy of serious scrutiny?
I ask because I am reluctant to treat him as a major figure and criticise him. He seems to gain much more from being treated as a major figure than he loses from the criticism. I'd rather just dismiss him as a hack.
I have some sympathy for your view Paul since of course, judged on a purely literary basis, he's just a hack, if a particularly bad and shameless one, somebody you'd treat as a figure of fun in so far as you paid them any attention at all. However, there's also reasons for taking him seriously, for instance (in roughly ascending order, and other people may demur):
1. Although he's a hack, he wasn't always a hack and his descent into that status is worth a little bit of scrutiny, even if we only treat it as a cautionary tale. (But we wouldn't, because the gap between hid decline and the point where it cost him any further serious career was, what, more than three decades?)
2. As Geoff observes, Ray is widely read, and this means that the garbage he writes has been widely read, and this in turn means that he needs to be paid more attention than he'd merit if he were just a nobody.
3. The fact that despite being a shameless hack, not to mention many other serious failings, shall we say, of ethics and practice, he has always retained his followers and friends and supporters within English chess, means that Ray is about rather more than Ray, he's about the world that has chosen as far as possible to overlook what he did and does. I've said this a few times already on this thread and I don't particularly want to become a bore on the subject, but unfortunately he does - I think - tell us rather more about our own society than do many other, more short-lived hacks and villains (of which we have no shortage) and so as a subject of study he's quite revealing. And English chess could do with quite a lot more revealing than it is normally happy with.