Contributor Interview: Nathaniel Lee

What’s your favorite anti-capitalist book or film?

I don’t go in much for explicitly branded ideological fiction; like in my childhood trying to find enjoyable fiction in the Christian bookstores, setting out with a message tends to lead to weaker writing at best.  But really, any fiction that takes a serious look at the implications and realities of unregulated capitalism cannot help but come down on the other side of the argument.  China Mieville is the most known-ideological-firebrand that I read, and he’s usually pretty good at putting the narrative foremost, but my favorite would have to be Terry Pratchett, whose gentle but firm humanist ideals come through strongly in all of his writing.  You can’t really call him anti-capitalist, but he’s pro-human and pro-kindness, and that comes out to the same thing in the end.

What radicalized you? How did you first become critical of capitalism?

I mean, have you looked out a window?  More seriously, I came at it primarily through environmentalism.  If you care about environmental concerns, you quickly become aware that there is no way to stop corporations from taking the route that leads to the most short-term profits regardless of long-term damage without regulations in place to restrict them.  From there it is a relatively short journey to understanding that this applies to most things related to the health and happiness of humans and other animals on this planet; the drive for profits must be restrained for life to flourish, and regulation is the most effective path to that.  At that point, you require at minimum a European democratic-socialist model of limited capitalism, if not outright collectivism.

Everyone has a ridiculous work story. What’s yours?

I honestly can’t tell most of them because of legal limitations pertaining to confidential information, but suffice it to say the well of human stupidity is boundless and ever-flowing.  I’ve talked to anti-vax nurses working in ICUs, paranoiacs convinced that the NAACP was using sonic weapons to force them to poop, and a drunk Scottish person trying to order fried chicken from possibly the most wrong number he could.

What inspired your story for ProleSCARYet? (Spoiler free).

The hotline job where I did all of that was an overnight shift.  I frequently visited a nearby gas station for snacks and drinks on my lunch breaks, as it was one of three places that was open at two in the morning.  I never encountered anything quite so weird as in my story, but I wouldn’t necessarily have been surprised to.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: