Cole Porter Says Mussolini is De-Lovely!


In the one of the comments to today's first post (about Nazis, Stalin, and Slavoj Zizek), reader D Anghelone did us all a great favor by linking to David Ramsay Steele's wonderful article, The Mystery of Fascism.

Ramsay Steele recovers the bizarre, hugely favorable reception accorded Mussolini by the glitterati of the day (ardent fans included not just Ezra Pound but also George Bernard Shaw and Sigmund Freud). Those of you familiar only with the ditty about Mussolini biting Hitler's weenie (and now it doesn't work) will be surprised to learn that Il Duce gets a big shout-out from Cole Porter, the subject of De-Lovely, currently flopping in theaters everywhere: "You're the top!," sang Porter in one of his signature tunes. "You're the Great Houdini! You're the top!
You are Mussolini!"

More seriously--and more on point with the conversation raised below--Ramsay Steele helps explain why, despite being branded as "right-wing," fascism is best understood as a manifestation of a left that set itself against liberalism:

Fascism began as a revision of Marxism by Marxists, a revision which developed in successive stages, so that these Marxists gradually stopped thinking of themselves as Marxists, and eventually stopped thinking of themselves as socialists. They never stopped thinking of themselves as anti-liberal revolutionaries.

Whole thing here. Well worth a read.