Fascism

Hunger for Fascism

Al Pacino withdraws from a play, and from the dark side of the Avant-Garde.

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GabboT

Al Pacino has withdrawn from a Danish stage version of Knut Hamsun's novel, Hunger, after learning that the Norwegian Nobel prize-winning author had been an ardent supporter of Nazi Germany. The move dismayed some of Hamsun's defenders, but it's also a reminder of the appalling state of intellectual life during the rise of fascism. So many writers and thinkers embraced fascism in those years that they constituted what came to be called a "fascist foreign legion."

Hunger (1890) is considered a classic of psychological literature, and Hamsun himself is regarded by many critics and writers as one of the fathers of literary Modernism, and an important influence on such writers as Franz Kafka, Herman Hesse, Thomas Mann, and many others. In a 1987 introduction to Hunger, Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote that "The whole modern school of fiction in the twentieth century stems from Hamsun."

The head of Norway's Hamsun Society, Hege Faust, lamented Pacino's failure to distinguish Hamsun's writerly achievements from the politics he embraced as an old man. "If one looks at the impact Hunger made on Hemingway, Kafka, Hesse, Lindgren, Singer, and other prominent authors at the time, it is somewhat strange to see to what extent this differs from today's judgement" by Pacino, she told Britain's Telegraph.

Hamsun's fascism was hardly a byproduct of hardening of the arteries. He lived for a time in the 1880s in the U.S., and came to dislike the country for its egalitarian principles, and because it had a large black population (even though that population wasn't benefitting much from the egalitarianism). His 1918 novel, Growth of the Soil, is a pretty good example of "blood and soil" lit. John Carey, a British critic, cites a passage from Hamsun's Kareno trilogy of dramas, written in the 1890s, as indicative of his outlook:

"I believe in the born leader, the natural despot, the master, not the man who is chosen but the man who elects himself to be ruler over the masses. I believe in and hope for one thing, and that is the return of the great terrorist, the living essence of human power, the Caesar."

Hamsun, who gave his Nobel to Hitler as a mark of his esteem, remained faithful to the fascist cause to the bitter end. Hamsun's most-often quoted words come from the brief eulogy for Hitler that he published in a collaborationist newspaper in May 1945, a week after the Fuehrer died.

"Hitler was a warrior," wrote Hamsun, "a warrior for humankind and a preacher of the gospel of justice for all nations." Many of his fellow Norwegians reportedly chose to mark the end of the Nazi occupation by burning Hamsun's books. Hamsun was eventually fined, though a doctor asserted that his guilt should be understood in terms of the writer's "permanently impaired mental abilities." The supposedly impaired Hamsun was later to publish a book defending his collaboration.

Something similar happened with Ezra Pound, the U.S. poet and champion of the avant-garde who delivered propaganda radio broadcasts on behalf of Mussolini ("the Boss," as Pound calls him in the Cantos). Instead of standing trial for treason, Pound presented a plea of insanity and ended up receiving Hemingway and other visitors in his book-lined room at St. Elizabeths asylum in Washington, with the connivance of the hospital staff.

Neither Hamsun nor Pound were outliers; the list of admired (or once-admired) writers who in turn admired fascism is quite long; some later paid a price in terms of their reputations, others—in common with the large cadre of writers who embraced the Soviet Union—have had their embarrassing politics reduced to footnotes.

"Who is the true friend of the people?" asked Louis-Ferdinand Celine. "Fascism is," he answered. "Who has done the most for the working man? The USSR or Hitler? Hitler has." That's the same Louis-Ferdinand Celine who revolutionized French writing with such novels as Journey to the End of the Night (1932), a work that has influenced even Anglophone artists from Charles Bukowski to Jim Morrison; Catch-22 is in some ways a tribute to it. Celine also wrote material so intensely anti-Semitic that even the Nazi occupation authorities in France thought it "counter-productive." (They preferred to encourage an illusion of normality, at least for a while.)

Like Hamsun, playwright Luigi Pirandello gave his Nobel to fascism, contributing it to a metal drive in support of Mussolini's imperial ambitions in Africa. The incident is shrugged off. On the other hand, Massimo Bontempelli, a writer who was also a fascist cultural authority, has become a nobody, even though literary "magical realism" begins with him. (Strangely, Bontempelli is referenced in the notorious 1928 porn novel, Le Con d'Irene [Irene's Cunt], now attributed to the French poet Louis Aragon. For his part, Aragon became a staunch communist, even writing an ode to Stalin's secret police.) Italian Fascism was heavily indebted to the Decadent novelist, poet, and "adventurer," Gabriele D'Annunzio—Mussolini adapted much of his leadership "style" from him—and to the Futurist writer and theorist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.

The French executed author and journalist Robert Brasillach, and came to ignore the work of Pierre Drieu La Rochelle (who killed himself in 1945), though director Louis Malle revived interest in him for a time with a 1963 film adaptation of Le Feu Follet. The list of opportunistic (though not necessarily fascist) cultural collaborators in France during the occupation, from Cocteau to Colette, is depressingly lengthy.

George Orwell wrote in 1946 that, "The relationship between fascism and the literary intelligentsia badly needs investigating, and [William Butler] Yeats might well be the starting point." Such investigations have since been written, of course, and they include the expected chapters on Yeats as well as others on D.H. Lawrence (The Plumed Serpent may be the clearest example of Lawrence's fascism), T.S. Eliot, and Wyndham Lewis (who at this point is probably as well known for his fascism as for anything else he did).

What was the appeal of fascism to such people? It wasn't just that many of them were racists and/or anti-Semites (though that didn't hurt); plenty of authors have been racists without embracing totalitarian systems. The underlying issue for many of these figures, according to investigations by John R. Harrison and by John Carey, was an antipathy to democracy.

"Many twentieth-century writers," wrote John R. Harrison in The Reactionaries: A study of the anti-democratic intelligentsia (1966), "have decided that culture has been sacrificed to democracy; the spread of culture has meant that the level of the masses is raised, but that the level of the elite is lowered." As for writers like Pound, Yeats, and others, "they realized there was no hope of a return to an earlier form of civilization, so they hoped for a stability provided by totalitarian regimes."

In other words, democracy and the spread of literacy under democratic capitalism were empowering hordes of "ordinary" people, politically and culturally, whom these authors found mediocre and unworthy. It was imperiling art by overwhelming it with what they regarded as trashy popular forms. It was marginalizing deserving people of taste—themselves—and subsuming civilization's elite.

Some writers responded to these cultural upheavals by turning Left, seeing communism as the scourge of the piggish middle classes while closing their eyes to the inconvenient mass murder, tyranny, and the near-total destruction of cultural freedom. Others embraced the eugenics movement in the hope that it would limit cultural decline by limiting the numbers of the horrid masses; in some cases intellectuals became positively genocidal (H.G. Wells believed that one way or another, the "inferior" black and brown races had to go). In all too many cases, from Hamsun on, they embraced fascism.

Jon Stephensen, the manager of the Copenhagen theater producing the dramatic version of Hunger, sounded very understanding, in a Nordic sort of way, of Al Pacino's withdrawal. "He jumped at the last minute because he couldn't come to terms with Knut Hamsun's support for the German occupation and Nazism," he told a Danish paper. "We must respect that."

In fact, one of Pacino's early stage successes was a satire on the rise of Hitler, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, ostensibly about a Chicago gangster and his ruthless control of the cauliflower market. The play was written by Bertolt Brecht, winner of the Stalin Peace Prize, and, in public at least, a supporter of the military suppression of the 1953 uprising against the East German regime, including the use of Soviet troops. "History will pay its respects to the revolutionary impatience of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany," he wrote in a letter to East German strongman Walter Ulbricht. (In fact, Brecht had very different thoughts about the suppression, but they didn't appear until Brecht was dead.)

Anyway, Stephensen sounded wistful, in a box-office sort of way, at the missed opportunity on his Copenhagen stage. "It would have been really been great if it had succeeded," he said of the play. "I have several times in the process thought that I was dreaming. It would have been massive if [Pacino] had come to Copenhagen."

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221 responses to “Hunger for Fascism

  1. If you like an artist, the best thing you can do is to avoid at all cost learning about his/her politics. I knew this before, but I really learned it recently when I stumbled on Mark Ruffalo’s Tumblr.

    1. I’ve had talks about enjoying artists who have explicitly made clear where their politics lie with buddies. While we can separate the two, it’s not always respectful to have it thrown in your face after you’ve laid down money to watch them live. I come for the music; not hear your politics.

      It seems like progressive/liberal musicians don’t give a shit conservatives and libertarians are in the crowd too.

      1. I like someone who handles it like Joss Whedon. Even though he is an ardent Democrat, his art keeps coming out with a decidedly libertarian twist. He is aware of this trend, which he suggests is a result of following the story where it leads, instead of having a political agenda drive the story.

        That part is the bit that makes it OK. If your personal politics become the art, then you become a distraction and not that interesting. Like when a musician interjects a rambling political screed between two songs about teen angst. It doesn’t complement the art, nor does it flow from the art. It is simply another loudmouth with a microphone spouting off in ignorance. That is what the internet is for. If you want to share your ignorance with the world, come to the comments section of the internet and bloviate with us. Save the stage for entertaining your audience, please.

      2. You probably don’t know Bruce Cockburn, a Canadian musician. He is a good musician, good music, great band, really tight, but I had to stop going to his concerts because he would go off on these political environmental tirades every so often. At one concert he ranted about evil corporations destroying the environment and then proudly proclaimed later in the concert he had flown over 100,000 miles that year on his concert tour. This was 20 years ago. Now he’d fly the 100,000 miles, but not mention it.

        1. He wonders too much about where the lions are.

          I would figure that much from Cockburn. His whole ethos is environmentalism.

          I agree his music is good though.

        2. Back In The Day?, (early 70s ’til early 80s) Cockburn’s big thing was his evangelical Christianity, for which he was loudly and routinely denounced by various Tall Foreheads in the critic scene both in Canada and internationally. He started going much harder Left and began dropping his emphasis on faith both in his concerts and his lyrics during the early 80s. I guess he got tired of the constant slamming, plus his audience size multiplied quite a bit when he started being an echo chamber for the Left in Canada.

          A shame — I was never much of an evangelical sympathizer, but his stuff became more mainstream and less interesting to me after that. Though a friend of mine did nail the difference between Cockburn and another Canadian great, Gordon Lightfoot, by saying that Lightfoot was a great musician and a mediocre poet whereas Cockburn was a great musician and a great poet.

    2. See: Yorke, Thom

    3. More and more this is becoming impossible. More and more they are proudly displaying their political ignorance in their ‘art’. This will end when 50% of the population stops going to George Clooney’s pics, or Sean Penn’s movies. For example, I can’t watch Matt Damon anymore, and he is a pretty good actor.

      To enjoy the flick you have to be able to suspend your disbelief long enough to get into it. Which is why very sexy young women actors can only do a couple of rom-coms. You can’t see their innocence and love being displayed every six months with a different guy and still fall for it. How could anyone watch Matt Damon now and suspend your disbelief long enough to think ‘yeah, this guy might be an independent thinker who goes against the system?’

      1. I’m getting to that point as well. If you’re gonna spew your personal political crap without any regard or respect for your fan base who may disagree, then I may not want to watch or listen to as well.

        1. George Bush was a racist because he didn’t *do enough* about Darfur….

          7 years later, you have the WSJ as the only media-organization asking, “Hey, that’s weird = why did the Left shut up all of a sudden?”

          It was apparently a Big Deal for Clooney before it wasn’t

          its not really that celebrities have politics I disagree with (though i often do)…

          …its that they “have politics” purely for fashion-reasons.

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  2. You know who else support fascism…..

    1. Progressives, since there’s no way for an individual to have done so in the past, thanks to the way your phrasing. /pedantry

      1. Strike “the way” from that sentence. I’m watching tennis.

        1. POE’z LaW

        2. I’m watching tennis.

          There is a “match” going on?

          1. Yes there “is”.

            1. Ha, it all depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.

    2. TEH RIGHT-WING, GUINEAS, TEA PARTY TEABEAGGERS KOCH, HARPER, BUSH, JEWS, LIBERTARIANS, SOMALIANS, THE GUY AT THE END OF MY STREET WHO SHOUTS AT PEOPLE AND MR. BURNS,

      Did I miss anyone?

      1. Hitler?

        1. I swear. A bunch of smart-alecs we have here.

      2. You just raised a good point. As Libertarians we should be advocating for greater immigration from Somalia because they’re all basically libertarians!

      3. Yo mama!

    3. The Republican Party, of course. I mean, there are like ominous parallels, man.

      /modern prog

  3. I’ve never understood why Al Pacino is regarded as this incredible actor. He is good, but he can get hammy with the best of them.

    1. I think it’s his role as Micheal Corleone that made him. He was incredible in that role. In the scene where he’s to kill McLuskey and Salozzo you can see Michael’s adrenalin slowly building right up to the moment he shoots them. It was a really great scene.

      1. Great minds…..(or, at least, mediocre mind)

      2. I agree. Also he was great as Lefty Ruggiero in Donnie Bracso. No overacting and “WHO HAAA” in that one.

      3. Because he plays the same character every movie now. For most, it is comforting knowing exactly what you are going to get.

      4. He was awesome in Scarface too.

        He sucks when he plays likable guys. Author, author was awful, awful.

    2. The Godfather parts I & II.

      1. Scent of a Woman

      2. And there is this.

    3. Ebert said that Pacino has been accused of overacting, but never been accused to bad acting.

    4. One cannot glom Pacino movies, else one learns Al Pacino plays one part: Al Pacino.

      1. That’s Jack Nicholson’s domain as well

        1. True of most big time actors. Something to do with personality that audiences come to like. Hell, I love Robert Duvall but he just plays Duvall. The only major actor that comes to mind is Day-Lewis. That guy is a chamelion. I was well into Gangs of New York before I realized he was “The Butcher.” Maybe Russell Crowe? Luckily, I know nothing of either’s politics. My own list of can’t watch because of their politics has grown so that my movie choices have become very limited.

    5. Young Al Pacino mumbled his lines and was nasally and had a New York accent. Old Al Pacino yells all of his lines and has a Southern accent.

      Acting!!

    6. Well, he wasn’t incredible, but was pretty good in Glengarry Glen Ross

    7. “I’ve never understood why Al Pacino is regarded as this incredible actor. He is good, but he can get hammy with the best of them.”

      His seventies work is consistently stupendous. In addition to the Godfather movies, his performance in Dog Day Afternoon is absolutely brilliant. Although John Cazale actually had all the best lines.

      1. I was thinking of that earlier in the thread and Serpico. He was good in Donnie Brasco too.

      2. Dog Day Afternoon is awesome. Not enough people know about that movie.

      3. Crusing. Sea of Love.”

        1. cruising. damn.

      4. Yes! Dog Day Afternoon was awesome.

        Ditto
        1. Serpico
        2. Donnie Brasco
        3. Others I am not thinking of at the moment.

  4. How are the people in the back rows gonna hear the lines if Pacino isn’t there to scream them?

    1. * HOOWAH!

  5. The sheer number of left-wing intellectuals and writers who supported Nazism and Fascism had been touched upon but it hasn’t really sunk into their thick skulls.

    1. As a consequence, modern intellectuals have had a swing or reactionary reaction. They embrace equality (of race, gender, class) at all costs – betraying liberalism in the process.

      1. Liberalism, I think, went into a coma during the romantic period and died after WW1. Or thereabouts.

        1. Libertarianism is the last hold-out of enlightenment liberalism. Which we know is only supported by white male cis-lords and a handful of gorgeous but rare females.

          1. I agree with that.

            Although I’ve never met a female libertarian in person.

            Which may be a good thing because the impulse to make out with her would be too great.

            1. If you ever do meet one in person better not make out. Much like the black widow spider, we mate once then kill.

              1. Meh. If it was good it my be worth it. We all gotta go sometime.

                1. may.

            2. My sister is a flaming libertarian. And a pretty ex-gymnast who still teaches dance and aerobics for fun. Also a mildly outspoken atheist. Unfortunately for the great unwashed masses of libertarian maleness, she married very well. Sorry.

              1. she married very well. Sorry.

                Nothing to be sorry about: it sounds like she lived up to her libertarian potential.

                Is she kind to the orphans when she visits her family’s monocle-shining factory?

          2. Which is why we all secretly love you, Lady B.

    2. The problem with this discussion is always the false separation between Fascism and Communism. At base, they are both systems under which The Artists imagine that they will be favored by The Right People. Some self-styled intellectuals hate races more than classes, but all realy, REALLY want to see All Those Awful People put down.

      The difference between a jew-hating Hitler fan and a Bourgeoisie-hating Stalin fan is not visible to the naked eye.

      1. All cut from the same low-quality cloth.

        1. It is very troubling that mankind seems so susceptible to this type of thought.

          We watched Communism die a much deserved death in the ’90’s. Now only 20 years later it (and its tactics) is all the rage with modern progressives. Communism is a God Damned Zombie. How the hell do we stab it in the head and take it out for good?

          Of course zombies are all the rage nowadays too, coincidence?

          1. It isn’t Communism, per se. It’s the impulse to tell others what they are doing wrong. It has always been there. And the idiots who are motivated by it always have some swell sounding justification for being the tellers and not the told. And that justification never stands up to scrutiny worth a fat damn.

            1. I too am astounded by the progressive crush on communism and socialism. I lived through the cold war and witnessed the USSR implode… finally.

              It never occurred to me then that in twenty years I would be listening to know-it-all thirty year olds swooning over socialism.

          2. This is indeed the central problem for libertarians (and also conservatives).

            1. conservatives dont like to tell others what to do? didnt they have at least a tiny influence on freedom-loving legislation like the Patriot Act and the institutionalization, legalization and normalization of the use of torture for law enforcement, political and military purposes?
              the enemy of our enemy is not our friend.

              1. Yes they do (they certainly love law enforcement and the military) but I like to think not to the same degree as liberals/progressives. And in the conservative ranks there tends to be more push back in terms of debate and more talk of classical liberalism.

              2. That’s why I say it isn’t Communism, per se. In time, I’m sure, the parasites will gat around to latching onto Libertarianism, and twisting it into a justification for everybody else doing as they say.

                But right now, the biggest bunch of totalitarian swine running loose in our society are the so called Liberals.

              3. Conservatives are more free-market than leftists, and haven’t been the ones leading censorship battles for decades.

              4. Also, Jay Dubya: by and large, conservatives aren’t out to remake society. They may well be authoritarian at times, but it’s often in the service of tradition. I believe that is much less inimical to libertarianism than the starry-eyed utopianism of the left. (Especially because the American tradition includes a big streak of libertarianism.) E.g. a conservative may want to suppress porn or gambling or abortion, but the leftist wants to control the whole economy and suppress anything deemed racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/you-name-it.

      2. The new ‘ism’ is Bureaucratism. The belief a group of the ‘best and brightest’ can sit somewhere and determine the best course of action for everybody. Obama is really one of these. He believes he and Valerie Jarrett and Holder and a couple of token whities have the ability to come up with a plan we all should follow and everything will be all right from that point forward.

        It is our inability to grasp their brilliance that is the problem that holds us all back.

        1. How about our inability to grasp them firmly by the throat?

    3. And look how many support Mao, Che, Stalin etc. still.

  6. “Instead of standing trial for treason, Pound presented a plea of insanity”

    Strictly, I believe insanity is a defense you offer *at trial.* Pound avoided a trial altogether because the court found he was too mentally ill to assist in his own defense.

    1. thats not neccesarily true. Im not all that familiar with European courts of thay period but in the US we often say that a case dismissed, or negotiated to a conclusion, has not “gone to trial”. Pleas are not only offered at trial – again here in the US they are offered at arraignment well before any trial takes place. Would it be at all surprising for someone of Pounds prestige to have worked out his special arrangement with the state through negotiation as opposed to being formally sentenced by a jury? And if that were the case wouldnt it be fair to say that Pound had avoided a trial through his plea (as opposed to say a plea of factual innocence which would havs surely resulted in a public trial)?

      1. Ezra Pound was deemed unfit to stand trial by a US court, not a European one.

        [H]e was arrested by American forces in Italy in 1945 on charges of treason. He spent months in detention in a U.S. military camp in Pisa, including three weeks in a six-by-six-foot outdoor steel cage that he said triggered a mental breakdown, “when the raft broke and the waters went over me”. Deemed unfit to stand trial, he was incarcerated in St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C., for over 12 years.

  7. I made mistake of flipping over to MSNBC yesterday during the State Funeral of Biden’s kid. I like to keep track of what America’s thought leaders want me to think. How has it come to be that a government functionary, son of a government functionary, receives Beatification at the hands of the Press?
    Going to work for the government just means you can’t cut it at a real job.

    1. Kim Jong-un?

    2. Yeah, I heard a few minutes of that as well. I know everyone wants to be kind to Ol’ Joe with this terrible loss, but why does that extend to constructing an heroic artiface? Can’t the man simply have been a decent human with a family who had people who cared about him?

      If you had not known anything else other than what you learned listening to the talking heads, you’d have sworn we were burying one of the great leaders of the last 100 years.

      1. And the cynic in me says that many were thinking: “Why couldn’t it have been Hunter?” (the black sheep son).

  8. If we’re lucky enough to survive the current progressive movement, a day will come when people will question how so many otherwise decent and intelligent people could have supported it.

    1. John Galt|6.7.15 @ 10:53AM|#
      “If we’re lucky enough to survive the current progressive movement, a day will come when people will question how so many otherwise decent and intelligent people could have supported it.”

      Not sure. We survived communism, but there is no lack of assholes claiming it is still the goal.

      1. That’s true. Arghh!

        1. I’m afraid the promise of free shit and security over-rides all sorts of logical circuits in the brain.

          1. People in this world who value free trinkets far outnumber those who value liberty. And the gap between the two grows larger everyday.

            Well, I moved out here as far into the bush as was possible without leaving the contiguous USA. Have to remember to enjoy what’s left of what I came here for, because the world I left to get away from is catching up fast.

      2. “We survived Communism”; faugh! nonsense. They rebranded. In fact they’ve rebranded so often I can’t keep track. They are eternally the same; self-important minor intellects, convinced that if the world were only running priorly they would be in charge. It doesn’t matter what you call them. Aristocrats, Plantation Owners, Social Darwinists, Temperance Unionists, Anarchists, Socialists, Fabians, Progressives, Communists, Ecologists; they are all the same. Bunch of small minded, arrogant busybodies.

        We really need to revive the custom of horsewhipping.

        1. Call them what you want, just don’t call them “The Aristocrats.”

    2. They support it because they aren’t actually intelligent, and most of them aren’t very decent either. My unthinking prog friends are simply stupid and might be okay in some situations. My hard core prog acquaintances are stupid beyond belief and have very poor characters. They never do a thing for anyone, ever.

  9. Is there a correlation between elitism and fascism? If so, it seems an important part of this article that was left out.

    1. Personally, I see good sense in drawing the lines between the various political philosophies not so much on abstractions such as right versus left, but on factors such as centralized rule by elites versus self rule. Fascism, socialism, communism, elitism; all the same.

      1. Thinking back to the Paglia interview a couple weeks ago, I’m reminded of her claim that the progressive movement has become overly decadent. I think that social decadence has caused us to create a new form of government that might fall under rule by elites: the Imaginary-Constitutional Bureaucracy, which fits nicely with a Fake-Market Crony economic basis, as would centralized economy fit with communism.

        1. It’s both hilarious and disturbing watching Cronies embrace social causes as a means of triangulating the proggies – the essence of fascism.

      2. So Coriolanus was really just a socialist. This makes absolutely no sense. And facisism wasnt elitist. It was animated the myth of greatness, both national and individual, but it was formulated like all 20th century ideologies as a means to mobilize the masses.

        Elitism, the driving impetus behind modern leftism not to mention Supreme Court worship, has developed precisely because the age of mass ideologies is over. Discredited by the horrors of fascism and Communism.

        1. Fascism may not have been elitist in rhetoric, but it was elitist in effect, everywhere it took hold.

    2. From my understanding, Italian fascism did advocate for a corporatist state which would be managed by a cadre of the technocratic elite. German fascism, on the other hand, had more of a populist streak, where the resources that belonged to the “people” had to be taken back from the “capitalist elite”. A commonality of both is that the nation/ethnic group was defined as the primary unit of society and the individual was to serve its interests at all times.

      1. they really had great uniforms though

          1. And yes, I get that you can go sockless with loafers…but not when wearing a business suit. First guy is kinda fashion forward, but Asian guy needs to put some damn socks on.

            1. Yanno, after this, socklessness isn’t the worst sartorial sin ever. (NSFW)

                1. …do you wear socks with a robe and wizard hat?

                  1. You don’t wear socks with stilettos, silly. That’s what stockings and frilly garters are for.

              1. No, but his gay models are.

          2. “Hugo Boss needs to inform their models that they are expected to wear socks.”

            I recall once making an extended joke around the fact that “high fashion” generally involves taking boring conventional dress, and modifying a single dimension of them in a manner that no one would ever actually want (e.g. sockless wear of dress shoes) so as to make the final result seem “daring”

            basically = look! no bra!

            If you ever met anyone dressed like a fashion model in real life, the urge to punch them in the face and watch them shatter into 1000 pieces would overwhelm even the most pacifist of characters.

            though the actual “model-friends” i’ve had over the years were very nice people (if driven partly insane by the people around them). None of them cared about clothes at all and thought the people who invested so much in them were ridiculous.

            1. ” modifying a single dimension of them in a manner that no one would ever actually want ‘

              Like letting your dick hang out.

              1. I recall once making an extended joke around the fact that “high fashion” generally involves taking boring conventional dress, and modifying a single dimension of them in a manner that no one would ever actually want (e.g. sockless wear of dress shoes) so as to make the final result seem “daring”

                You can say the same thing about haute cuisine or pretty much anything labeled “high” mutatis mutandis.

                1. I guess.

                  at least you can eat the food.

                  most of the time.

                  there is a point at which restaurants get too pretentious to even eat, and its more about giving the patrons the opportunity to feel like they are superior beings for pretending to understand the subtlety and nuance of the barely-edible and artistically-arranged items on their plate.

                  I can’t remember the name of the place…but it was one of the most absurdly expensive, overdone restaurants in NY… and i was served what on examination was cold pea-soup with shaved parmasean on top, and teeny-tiny little grape tomatoes sprinkled on it.

                  it was really cool to *look at* (trippy!). and i confess = the tomatoes were @(#*$ incredible. but it was really just pea soup dressed up for a fancy party. it didn’t even seem like it involved any effort.

                  i prefer the chowder @ The Oyster Bar. or the bouillabaisse (swoon)

                  1. oh, that’s just awesome

                2. +1 bottle of white truffle oil

              2. Or the short suit. I have seen the short/blazer combinations in the wild. Naturally hipsters are to blame, but really when aren’t they?

                1. If by “hipsters” you mean British preparatory school pupils, then sure.

                2. Angus Young is a hipster?

      2. Precisely as I learned it.

        In addition, Mussolini (although I wonder to what degree he believed it) wanted to revive the glory of Rome and Hitler incorporated Roman symbols in his military parades.

      3. Italian facisism inevitably was influenced by Pareto, but Pareto isn’t really advocating elite rule he simply claimed that elite rule was inevitable in every system. Italian facisism was dirregist-elitism in service to the state and people not elitism like progressivism in which the state exists to enable the schemes of the elites.

  10. I thought it did here:

    “…In other words, democracy and the spread of literacy under democratic capitalism were empowering hordes of “ordinary” people, politically and culturally, whom these authors found mediocre and unworthy. It was imperiling art by overwhelming it with what they regarded as trashy popular forms. It was marginalizing deserving people of taste?themselves?and subsuming civilization’s elite.

    Some writers responded to these cultural upheavals by turning Left, seeing communism as the scourge of the piggish middle classes while closing their eyes to the inconvenient mass murder, tyranny, and the near-total destruction of cultural freedom. Others embraced the eugenics movement in the hope that it would limit cultural decline by limiting the numbers of the horrid masses; in some cases intellectuals became positively genocidal (H.G. Wells believed that one way or another, the “inferior” black and brown races had to go). In all too many cases, from Hamsun on, they embraced fascism.”

  11. JFK was once a great admirer of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Of course, like with everything else vile in the world they participate in or support, Democrats will always be given a free pass.

        1. That piece doesn’t say that JFK was an admirer of the NSDAP.

          1. It does however say that JFK, like Lindbergh and other Americans, was an admirer of Germany and by extension, Hitler.

            As I note below what turned people like them away from Hitler and Nazism was the barbaric solution to the “Jewish Problem.”

            They still admired he disciplined way that the German people fell into lockstep with the Nazi party’s program otherwise.

            1. what turned people like them away from Hitler and Nazism was the barbaric solution to the “Jewish Problem.”

              The Wannsee Conference, which was the (internal) formal launching of the Endl?sung, was on 20 January 1942 — by that time all of the Allied powers were in a state of war with the Third Reich: on December 11, 1941, Germany declared war upon the United States. And the earlier legal discriminations enacted against German Jews was, well, legal … and (large-scale) extralegal violence (a pogrom) came only with Kristallnacht on 9-10 November 1938.

              I’m not denying that JFK was fascinated by the Third Reich in 1937. Up to this day, many people admire the Hitler regime for practically ending the Depression in the Third Reich: that unemployment disappeared &c. Of course they don’t know (or choose to accept) that in the Third Reich, workers were bound to their employers by dint of being hired by a firm only if their previous employer endorsed them leaving their job. And according to some, the German worker’s real income dropped approx. 30% between 1930 and 1939.

              JFK was 20 years old in 1937; I think it is unfair to expect such foresight from him at that age which we have in hindsight … it could have been expected of his father, though, who had access to much more information (and experience), yet chose to take Hitler’s side.

    1. Well, see, Democrats are broad-minded tolerant people who have the great strength of character to have an authentic change of heart after a period of soul-searching and mature reflection.

      Republicans are cannibalistic black-hearted Captains of Industry concerned only with adding another quarter-point to their portfolios and another summer house in Colorado. Whenever they make a few half-hearted noises about ending government surveillance or sentencing reform, you can be sure that they’re only doing it to win enough votes to resume oppression of women, gays, and ethnic minorities. Any seniors they can starve and schoolkids they can poison are just bonus points.

      1. Really? There’s not a single Republican who isn’t that way? And not a single Democrat who remains a bigot their entire life?

        So, Robert Byrd actually DID vote for a black justice at some point? Because I was sure he didn’t.

        Fred Phelps didn’t campaign as a Dem for KS governor, with Al Gore’s support?

        FDR didn’t refuse to shake Jesse Owens’ hand, and put 110,000 Asians into concentration camps?

        And Goldwater never stated that sexual orientation was not a relevant factor to a person’s worth or politics?

        Well, I’m glad to be corrected about how clear-cut it is.

        And to think that 140 million people have stock portfolios and want children to die. Including a lot of women.

        That’s quite a revelation.

        1. If I may be so bold, ImanAzol, I think you need to calibrate your sarcasm detector.

          The dear Comrade is good people.

          1. Why thank you, HM. Right back atcha. I hoped my comment was unmistakably sarcastic, but there are far too many people about who say such things in earnest. ImanAzol probably thought I was just the latest of them.

            1. To be fair, tho, 90% of those people are prolly just personifestations of Tulpa…

        2. Hitler didn’t refuse to shake J.C. Owen’s hand either. A myth has been built up that he did, but Owen himself has explained its falsity.

          Hitler wasn’t a sports fan. He was more or less dragged to the Olympics by Goebbels. Hitler was in the stadium that day, greeting the medal winners with handshakes. Then it started raining a little, & Hitler took the opp’ty to duck out as soon as it did. He was gone not only for the event Owen was showcased in, but the preceding one or two.

  12. http://twitchy.com/2015/06/07/…..rchandise/

    WE WANT WIDOW!

    Supply and demand? What’s that?

    1. Crusty Juggler would.

      1. How dare you!?

        1. Also, I would.

          1. Le Con de Scarlett

    2. Look at the dude at the far left of the photo: Command & Conquer 5: Confirmed

      1. Those people are in a dire need of a life.

        Maybe I can open a ‘Get a Life’ store.

        1. I read through the comments on your link. The ongoing conversation between stereotypical “sports guy” and stereotypical “comic book guy” is hilarious.

  13. Strangely, Bontempelli is referenced in the notorious 1928 porn novel, Le Con d’Irene [Irene’s Cunt], now attributed to the French poet Louis Aragon.

    I stopped reading right there. This passage was disrespectful to women, and as someone who respects women I demand, nay I strenuously demand, an apology.

    1. Are you on a campus? File a Title IX complaint.

  14. Very nice essay, but praising Brecht for secretly opposing, while publicly endorsing, communist oppression in East Germany, is faint praise indeed.

  15. Hamsun’s fascism was hardly a byproduct of hardening of the arteries. He lived for a time in? the 1880s in the U.S., and came to dislike the country for its egalitarian principles, and because it had a large Black population

    Ah, the “libertarian Golden Age”.

    1. The Koch’s carry on the tradition of the Robber Barrons.

  16. This was why Wilder*, Rand, and Paterson were important. The reading public needed some relief from the relentless attempt at fascist indoctrination, some reason to believe they weren’t alone in their thinking. That said, their work was their schtick, so you pretty much knew what you were getting going in.

    I very much want that wall there between me and the artist. I like Wagner, but in the back of my mind is that “nazi” thing. I don’t care for either Woody Allen or Roman Polanski, so their work is easy for me to avoid. I can’t stop listening to Streisand because I like it too much. Mark Ruffalo is so in-your-face he finally forced me into the no-watch zone.

    I’m torn about Pacino’s backing out. If it’s an important work and the work itself doesn’t offend one’s sensibilities, it should be produced, but that’s his decision and I can respect that, too.

    *I am a huge fan of her mother; wrote an homage to her. But Rose got her politics from a dip in the sewer of socialism she loved so much from afar. It always makes me wonder how many of the fascist artistic elite back in the day never saw the sewer (my guess is none). Hemingway flourished under Franco because of whom he hung out with while he was there.

    1. I very much want that wall there between me and the artist.

      No! No! Everything is political. That’s why before I deign to drink a glass of milk, I drive to the dairy to interrogate the farmer about his views on Ag subsidies.

      1. …and pizza, circumcision, artisanal mayonnaise, and….homebrewing.

      2. And dodge the revenuers on your frantic, raw-milk-bootlegging way home.

          1. Lactose intolerant, eh? That’s too bad. I went to a wedding reception last night and ate a pound of cheese.

            1. Even when I could consume dairy, I never liked cheese. Melted mozz on pizza was about it. The only thing I really miss is ice cream.

    2. I’m not familiar with Mark Ruffalo’s politics. I’m guessing he’s some sort of Tea Party/pro-life/Second Amendment type, right?

      1. He lives in Sullivan County, one of those economically depressed areas in New York. There is nothing there. A casino is going to be built there soon, but of course that will not change much.

        However, Sullivan County, and the surrounding areas, rests on top of the marcellus formation, but fracking is not allowed in New York state.

        Ruffalo actively campaigns against it because he does not want to ruin his idyllic lifestyle.

        1. You mean he’s one of those assholes? You know, the kind of asshole who moves into a country home and then throws a hissy fit when his neighbors have chickens in the backyard?

          1. I believe he has a non-profit of some sort to assist local farmers.

            The last time I looked (and this was some time ago, before fracking was outlawed in New York) the gas and oil companies were offering something to lease $5000 per acre.

            The area is very poor. There are artist enclaves and the like, but there is a lot of land that is unused, a lot of people who need work, small towns that are fucking terrifying, and we have Mark Ruffalo holding up glasses of water to keep the world safe.

            1. small towns that are fucking terrifying

              I know what you mean. I have an uncle who lives in a small village in Ulster county. Geographically it’s in New York; demographically and sociologically, it’s closer to rural Mississippi.

              1. Exactly. I cover Sullivan and Ulster for my job and drive through them routinely.

              2. I have an uncle who lives in a small village in Ulster county.

                Which one? I presume something up Phoenicia way?

                1. I was thinking Ellenville.

    3. “I can’t stop listening to Streisand because I like it too much.”

      You shouldn’t tell people that.

      1. I am unrepentant about my addiction to schlock. In need of massive amounts of therapy and/or a 12-step group and/or a colonic or all three, without doubt, but unrepentant.

  17. There is a difference between Fascism and National Socialism. Mussolini was a Fascist. Hitler was a Nazi.

    1. Where does Stalin fit into all this?

    2. Albacore is a type of tuna.

  18. It’s a little bizarre that people are either unwilling or unable to separate artists from their art. Maybe libertarians are better at it than Normals because so many of the artists we like have appalling politics. In any case, I love Ezra Pound.

    The tree has entered my hands,
    The sap has ascended my arms,
    The tree has grown in my breast–
    Downward,
    The branches grow out of me, like arms.

    Tree you are,
    Moss you are,
    You are violets with wind above them.
    A child — so high — you are,
    And all this is folly to the world.

    1. Because so many popular artists have politics that are appalling to libertarians. You know what I meant.

    2. picasso was a commie

      miles davis was a serial wife-beater and general asshole

      celine was a nazi scumbag

      still 3 of my favorite stylists

    3. Fag!

    4. “It’s a little bizarre that people are either unwilling or unable to separate artists from their art.”

      Yes, this. I frankly never understood the outraged reaction when Cat Stevens went through his religious conversion to Islam. Did the songs he had already recorded suddenly change somehow because of his conversion?

      1. It is disappointing when the Man who wrote “Peace Train” later goes on to call for the murder of Salman Rushdie.

  19. This piece reminds me of something I’ve often asked myself, ” Would you rather be the only sane
    person in an insane world, or an insane person in a sane world ? ” . If you mitigate around the circumstances the answer would be crystal clear. Me thinks.

  20. I won’t apologize for fascist artists, but I think we do have to consider the bifurcated nature of European political thought at the time. When Orwell wrote that “The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians”, he was writing about the brutal treatment that Stalinist communists were dishing out to the anarchists–both of whom were fighting together against the fascists.

    Before the U.S. entered the war, when all of intellectual Europe was dividing itself between fascists on one side and Stalinists on the other, who was untouched by their associations? Anybody else ever read, For Whom the Bell Tolls? Between the Fascists, the communists, and the anarchists, the good guys were “none of the above”.

    Good work comes from where you find it, and if the work itself (rather than the author) isn’t fascist or racist, then you shouldn’t be accused of fascism or racism for performing it. I don’t see anything especially fascist about Celine’s Death on the Installment Plan although I’m certainly open to other interpretations. I always found it odd that the literary set was so taken aback by the revelation that Gunter Grass was drafted into the Waffen-SS. The contents of The Tin Drum didn’t change when people found it he had fought for the SS! The book’s contents were always either fascist or not.

  21. Meanwhile, Al Pacino made a film of Merchant of Venice, which is a deeply antisemitic play that transforms a stereotypical money-lending Jew into “The Wandering Jew” by way of what amounts to blood libel. And Pacino played Shylock for Christ’s sake!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtYGzr8Nx-8

    Like I said, to me it isn’t about whether the author was a bigot, a sexist, a homophobe, or a fascist. The question is whether the work itself is bigoted, sexist, homophobic, or fascist (or communist). It’s like the difference between looking at someone’s argument and an ad hominem fallacy. We shouldn’t reject fascist thinking because of its association with a label. We should reject it because the thinking itself is evil and wrong. Using the government to force individuals to sacrifice their individual rights for the greater good–as seen by the executive–is evil and wrong regardless of whether it’s called fascism, communism, religion, progressive, or something else. And dismissing someone’s thinking because it’s associated with a disgraced label completely misses the point of why fascism is wrong.

    1. That’s easy for you to write; what with your logic, reason, and thoughtfulness.

      1. His cisgendered patriarchical privilege.

    2. We’d better not let anyone perform Taming of the Shrew either, what with its highly suspect ideas about gender.

      1. Both The Merchant of Venice and The Taming of the Shrew have been subjected to revisions by the politically correct.

        It is widely agreed that those performances have been robbed of all meaning and interest.

        1. “Both The Merchant of Venice and The Taming of the Shrew have been subjected to revisions by the politically correct.”

          Stripped of its antisemitism, I don’t understand what meaning anyone would attach to Merchant. That’s what it’s about.

          1. Stripped of its antisemitism, I don’t understand what meaning anyone would attach to Merchant.

            I’m not a Shakespeare scholar, but my take on The Merchant of Venice is that The Bard based that play on an age-old social conundrum: making a set of people into an outgroup makes some of the most ambitious and accomplished members of that outgroup bitter and vengeful.

            Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs,
            dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with
            the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
            to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
            warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer
            as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
            If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us,
            do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
            If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.
            If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility?
            Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his
            sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge.
            The villainy you teach me, I will execute,
            and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.

  22. So he was basically the Vidkun Quisling of Danish literature?

    Fuck that guy.

    -jcr

    1. Actually no, Knut Hamsun was Norwegian, not Danish.

      So actually, he was supporter of Vidkun Quisling and was therefore one of an embarrassingly large number of his compatriots.

      One of Scandinavia’s dirty little secrets is the level of pro-German sympathy that existed. In all fairness, though, once they got wind of the level and nature of Hitler’s “Jewish Program”, they winced (except for actual pro-Nazis like Hamsun and Quisling, Scandinavian anti-Semitism, however widespread, never rose to extermination).

  23. Speaking of heckler’s vetoes?

    Software engineer Curtis Yarvin was scheduled to give a talk on a new system software stack at Strangeloop ? but his talk has now been cancelled after the conference received complaints on social media by critics of his political views. These complaints occured despite the fact that Yarvin’s talk, the abstract of which is copied below, concerned a purely technical topic.

    1. I got lost trying to follow that topic, but ended up finding this guy, which i think is a good result

      1. Love that, and the comments.

  24. There seems to be some mild apologizing here for people who subscribed to evil philosophies.

    Either you believe in self-ownership or you don’t. There is no excuse for endorsing slavery and there never has been.

    1. I think the distinction warty was pointing out was that appreciating someone’s artistic work is not the same as “endorsing their evil philosophies”

      particularly when said work in no way reflects/espouses those things.

      e.g. Miles Davis’ music contains no misogyny (as far as I can tell). Picasso’s paintings have no communism in them. Celine… ok, there’s some fucked up shit in there….. but the point remains.

      1. Yeah, anyone who was surprised that Celine turned out to be an anti-Semitic Nazi collaborator wasn’t really paying attention to Celine’s work.

        1. “, anyone who was surprised that Celine turned out to be an anti-Semitic Nazi collaborator wasn’t really paying attention to Celine’s work.”

          He is riddled with hatred and contempt for humanity, and specifically says he’d be thrilled if people were exterminated en masse like flies

          you can let it slide as ‘philosophical angst’ in Journey to the End of the Night’… or ‘Death on the Installment Plan’ (to a lesser degree)… but if you bother to read more and more, yeah, it becomes unavoidable

          He’s the example i always bring up when talking about “separating the artist from their work”… because he *really* was such an awful cunt. i fucking despise the guy.

          That said, i still think Journey is probably one of the best novels of the 20th century, on a number of levels. Partly *because* he was such a misanthrope. Nothing better captures the strain of nihilism in post-WWI European ‘intellectualism’.

      2. further =

        I don’t have to defend Miles Davis… or even pretend he *wasn’t* a douchebag …

        (I tell everyone he was! its fun when it upsets them)

        …in order to have a major appreciation of his music, to study it, to enjoy it, etc…. to argue that it is ‘artistically significant’ above and beyond that of others… *regardless* of what a shit the guy may have been or not. His personal views, behaviors, etc are entirely irrelevant to the work.

        1. I can handle artists who are assholes and general all round horrible people.

          What I don’t appreciate is when they die people heap loads and pounds of kind words elevating them to some sort of god-like status the world couldn’t do without. Seems to me the least we can do is keep it in mind when we remember folks like the ones Gilmore mentioned (and your John Lennons and Bing Crosbys of the world) that way we don’t go overboard licking their asses.

      3. Oh, I agree.

        I wasn’t responding to Warty.

        I just caught a whiff of ‘you have to understand the times/circumstances they lived in’ in a few comments. No one said it explicitly or made outright excuses. Like I said, just a whiff.

      4. I think the distinction warty was pointing out was that appreciating someone’s artistic work is not the same as “endorsing their evil philosophies”

        Correct. My other point was that it’s surprising how many smart people can’t distinguish the two things. People shouldn’t be afraid to point out that Birth of a Nation was a monumentally important movie, for example.

        1. RACIST

  25. This article is fine as far as it goes, but there’s an important aspect that it misses: the Russia Revolution. From 1917 on, that was a huge factor in world politics. The toll of death and oppression in the USSR freaked out people all over the world. Fascism and Nazism were ideological cousins of communism (as most of us here know), but were also, to a great degree, responses to it. Many were drawn to fascism as an alternative (partly modern and partly rooted in tradition) to democracy and free enterprise, which were seen as flawed, obsolete, and unable to resist communism.

  26. “What was the appeal of fascism to such people? ”

    Before asking this, I think one should address the widespread appeal of authoritarian, even totalitarian, statism among literary elites.

    I think it has a lot to do with the fact that statist-oriented intellectuals envision that, in their vision of a utopian state, they would enjoy the prestige and privilege that they know they to deserve. Whether a particular statist-oriented intellectual prefers national socialism, fascism, or international communism is merely an accident of taste.

    1. “What was the appeal of fascism to such people?”

      Yeah, the appeal of authoritarianism was pervasive. Certainly, in the aftermath of the Great Depression. Even here in the U.S., at the time, we had an enormous expansion of government as the solution to just about everything. If there had been an American fascist at the time, he would have looked a lot like FDR.

      There was also an appeal to fascism for those who saw it as the alternative to communism. If you wanted to fight the spread of communism, whether in foreign countries or on the streets of your own cities, there was a group of people explicitly devoted to doing that, and they called themselves “fascists”.

      Going back further than the beginning of fascism, Bismark brought in social security, the welfare state, etc., etc., as a way to head off communism. Fascism can be seen as an extension of that effort–as a way to both head off and co-opt communism. And for people who hated communism, that would have been part of its appeal.

    2. What was the appeal of fascism to such people?

      Probably the same appeal that every other popular ideology has. Nobody says it doesn’t suck, just that their competitors suck even worse. Considering they were competing against commies, anarchists and the current dysfunctional government, I can well understand people holding their noses and voting for fascists.

      Also, you have to consider that prior to 1938, Germany did pretty well under Hitler. Keep in mind that under Hitler Germany went from an economic basket case to the premier industrial, economic and military power in Europe.

      I’ve often thought that the reason the US sided with Stalin rather than Hitler had little to do with ideology, and a lot to do with the fact that Germany was in a position to seriously rival the US, the Soviet Union not so much.

    3. Artists are top-down creators. Of anyone who participates in politics, the artist is the most susceptible to creationist fallacies re society or government, if not religion (presently out of vogue in artist circles, excepting the occasional weak-sauce nod to zen or something similarly trendy and obscure).

      No wonder statist movements proposing to restructure society as though it were a bunch of tinker toys are so appealing to artists, and why so reject the utopian promises of top-down planners–the economic way of thinking is at odds with the creative process of the individual, and the artist is always operating within that process.

      You see the same thing with technocrats and Perot-style businessmen-cum-politicians who think managing society is just like managing a business, but artists are generally much more eloquent and interesting people than your standard Bloomberg or Forbes. They used to be, anyway.

  27. So Pacino withdrew from a play based on a work by one of the best writers of the 19th/20th centuries because the guy’s politics were horrible even though Knut Hamsun has been dead for 60 years and therefore isn’t exactly around to be offended by Pacino’s opinion of him.

    This is a pretty stupid gesture. There’s nothing in Hunger that can be construed as pro-Nazi, and if you’re doing a play the actual text of the play is what matters, not the politics of the person who created it.

    1. It’s an especially stupid gesture on Pacino’s part, because most people have *no idea* who Knut Hamsun is.

    2. Al’s old, he doesn’t need the money or the headache, and he found a reasonable-sounding excuse to get out of a project he was likely lukewarm on in the first place. Very few people are going to denounce him for backing out of a play written by a Nazi sympathizer.

      Now if he’d done this with a Shaw play, we’d hear plenty of murmuring in the MoJo crowd who like to excuse/ignore eugenics and slaughter when it’s the center-left doing it rather than the center-right.

  28. So, it is OK in Hollywood not to work with someone (or their artistic legacy) if they were fascists but horrible to do so if they were communists? Because you still hear about the blacklisted communist writers and actors are martyrs.

    Disclainer: Pacino should do what he wants for whatever reasons that satisfy his conscience.

    1. Difference being that the commies were persecuted by the state apparatus, though I doubt many progs are sophisticated enough to understand why that’s a different ballgame from private denunciations and boycotts.

  29. This seems like a really obscure topic for Reason to cover. A Danish stage play of something written by a Norwegian author? I’m surprised that Al Pacino even considered doing it, much less that he backed out because of Knut Hamsun’s political beliefs.

    But what the hey, it’s the weekend.

  30. This reminds me of something our favorite MEP wrote. The Merchant of Venice may be a greater incitement to anti-Semitism than the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

    Unenhanced, the text is harder, meaner. Shylock is driven by a cruelty that is in his nature and needs no motive. He is not just malevolent, but malevolent in the way that anti-Semites, in their most lurid fantasies, imagine Jews to be: greedy, clever, legalistic, pitiless. The court scene is harrowing to read, because it is not just an old moneylender who is being tried, but an entire religion. Shylock, obsessed with the letter of the law, is trapped in what Shakespeare presents as a retributive Old Testament. Repeatedly offered the chance to show clemency, he refuses, and thus condemns himself. So, according to medieval theologians, had Jews condemned themselves by choosing to turn away from Christ’s mercy.
    Most Christians find the scene uncomfortable; most Jews find it excruciating. Some years ago, the lawyer Anthony Julius argued that the archetype created by Shylock was the basis of an English anti-Semitism that, while not as destructive as the European versions, was the worse for being rooted in high culture.

    1. Not only that, the plots depends on the very worst aspects of antisemitism. It’s not just that Shylock is greedy, etc. His suit is foiled because the judge won’t let him have any blood. It’s the old blood libel, etc., etc. He’s turned into the Wandering Jew, which is an old antisemitic legend–projected onto all Jews and historically used to explain why Jews will never have a homeland, why they’re to be reviled everywhere they go, why they can never be assimilated, etc. (Because they betrayed Christ)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wandering_Jew

      Shakespeare never saw a Jew in his life. They’d all been thrown out of England on penalty of death decades before Shakespeare was born.

      And Shylock’s plea for his humanity, “Hath not a Jew eyes” seems more like an indictment to me–because ignoring his plea is integral to the plot. If Shakespeare makes a character plea for his own humanity, and then laughs at that plea as he’s stripped of everything–as a means to a joyous happy ending–then that isn’t an honest plea for a Jew’s humanity. He had Shylock please for his humanity just to knock that argument down flat.

      1. But who thinks none of Shakespeare’s plays should be performed because Shakespeare was guilty of antisemitism? If I were an actor, no, I don’t think I’d want to participate in making Merchant of Venice for a general audience. But don’t tell me Hamlet, King Lear,Richard III, or Henry V is out of bounds because they were written by that antisemite, Shakespeare. Merchant of Venice has little if any message divorced from its antisemitism. Those other plays aren’t like that. They don’t reference Jews at all.

        P.S. Wagner!

        1. Saying that Merchant of Venice is an anti-semitic play is like saying Nabakov was endorsing pedophilia in Lolita and Dostoyevsky was endorsing murder in Crime and Punishment. It is an intellectually vapid position that completely ignores the text of the play, the dialogue between the other Jewish characters in the play and Shylock, the amorality of the Christian characters in the play, and it assumes that a dramatist or any other writer of fiction cannot create a Jewish character who behaves badly without the work becoming a polemic for hating Jews. By your definition, every work by Philip Roth and Saul Bellow is anti-semitic.

          Is MacBeth a anti-Celtic play? Is Hamlet anti-Danish play?

    2. Shylock, obsessed with the letter of the law, is trapped in what Shakespeare presents as a retributive Old Testament.

      Eh.

      That’s actually one of those things that is tricky. Can you criticize a Jew because of his religion without criticizing his ethnicity? The God of the Old Testament is a murderous psychopath. His followers committed all sorts of atrocities in his name.

      It’s really no different than Islam. Indeed, the Koran is basically the OT re-written by a schizophrenic.

      Most of the evil Christians have done has been because they followed the OT, not the NT.

      OTOH, Jews really don’t seem to be all that into religion anymore. I think they realized a long time ago that their God was a dick. Being Jewish now is mostly about heritage and culture, not religion, and frankly, if not for their culture, the modern world wouldn’t exist. We’d probably still be back in the early 1900s, technology wise

  31. Why should Progressives be given a free ride just because they changed their name from Fascist?

    1. Progressives were around before Fascists. See Teddy Roosevelt.

      1. I should have said modern progressives.

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  33. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.netcash5.com

  34. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.netcash5.com

  35. Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8596 a month. I’ve started this job and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…
    http://www.worktoday7.com

  36. I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,

    ————- http://www.jobnet10.com

  37. Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8596 a month. I’ve started this job and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…
    http://www.worktoday7.com

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