The Hundred Brothers: A Novel by Donald Antrim:
Battle lines were forming anyway. Fielding in his rage had done Jeremy the valuable service of converting him from playful culprit to injured victim, two qualities practically everybody can empathize with.
Fielding had, in the process, gone too far in two directions. His anger was alarming, his reflexive petition for charity, sentimental. Here was the pathos of a man struggling to identify himself through artistic creation understood as a service, a gift to others—admittedly a beautiful and romantic formulation, though also abstruse and quixotic and, however sincerely expressed (our brother’s earnestness in this matter was not, I think, at issue), difficult to sympathize with in any really tangible way; and Fielding’s violence had without a doubt already made him a distinctly uncompelling object for sympathy or pity; and who among us wants love thrown in his face anyway? Jeremy’s crying was growing louder and louder (he did seem badly hurt, Jeremy, rolling around on bare floor, as a man will when in spectacular pain), so that, in the end, after what seemed a long while, but was, actually, probably less than half a minute’s worth of our standing there self-consciously wondering whom to blame for what and how to feel okay about it—in the end, our brother Fielding, who on any other night might have found twenty or thirty eager to champion his supposedly heartfelt artistic martyrdom—brother Fielding was, this night, pretty much without a prayer.