nick cave and mercy

Nick Cave’s The Red Hand Files is a site online where Cave responds to a huge range of questions from his fans. His responses are at various times whimsical, absurd, serious and beautiful. He seems to be able to show tremendous respect and even grace to the people who ask questions. Often he responds to two different questions with one response — as if the two questions have required that he think through how the questions might be in relationship, or that they’ve provoked his thinking in a particular way.

In Issue #109 he responds to two questions:

  • What is mercy for you?
  • What do you think of cancel culture?

I won’t quote the post at length (though it’s tempting to), so instead here’s the paragraph where he starts to link the two questions:

Mercy allows us the ability to engage openly in free-ranging conversation — an expansion of collective discovery toward a common good. If mercy is our guide we have a safety net of mutual consideration, and we can, to quote Oscar Wilde, play gracefully with ideas.”

The capacity and freedom to play gracefully with ideas is profoundly compelling.

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