There is a very big difference between supporting morality and defining
what that is. The differences between conservative and liberal in the
US are NOT between those who care about morality and those who do not:
thery are differences between two groups who care about morality and
deeply disagree about how to be moral.
Is it moral to discriminate against gay people? In Maine we will have a
referendum this fall on whether to repeal a gay rights law.
Conservatives want to repeal. Liberals want to retain the gay rights
law. Does this mean one group cares about morality and the other does
This reiteration of assumptions about the "moral" obscures any serious
Eliot has been both condemned and defended on this list for his words
and images about Jews. That is a moral issue that continues to distress
many because, as Julius argued, Eliot was engaged in a form of
representation that defined. Julius's argument was nothing so simple
and silly as that Eliot personally hated or said mean things to
Jews--and whether he did or not is not what anyone is really arguing
about. So too with gay rights--it is not about whether one affirms or
condemns homosexuality; it is about civil rights. No one claims that
domestic abusers should lose their civil rights, though that would at
least make more sense. Many things are bad or wrong that are not
assumed to disqualify you from rights--not even being persistently
revolting and crude in language.
>>> [log in to unmask] 09/23/05 2:53 AM >>>
I remember a time from the late 50's up to about the mid-70s when Eliot
was considered the high priest of poetry and poetics. His effect on
interested in mysticism was also very strong, but morality? Maybe in the
Church of England, I really couldn't say. I know he was extremely
in all the discussions going on, one way and another, and maybe his
aura rubbed off on his admirers engaging in the debate. He certainly had
lot to say on the subject, and illustrated much of his thinking through
but neither his prose, nor his drama had hit status on the basis of
In fact only THE COCKTAIL PARTY had anything like hit status at all,
the only play ever to be popular on Broadway and Shaftesbury Ave at the
time, and that because of its entertainment value. If he was promoting
as the high priest of morality, he certainly didn't achieve the status.
I suppose the critical negativity is inevitable. As the great Mexican
between left and right in the US shows that, in some quarters, raising
of morality in public at all, is considered more revolting than letting
go a good
Ken Armstrong wrote:
> At 07:06 PM 9/21/2005, you wrote:
>> At least one can say in Bowra's favor that--together with John
>> Sparrow, F.R. Leavis, and recently departed David Daiches--he refused
>> to be taken in, and genuflect in front of, Eliot's PR machine,
> What baloney, Jacek. Now, I admit I still haven't pushed myself
> through all of the Eliot bio's, but I don't remember one single
> recounting of the "genuflection era." Taken in? Maybe they just
> weren't bright enough to understand what was in front of them.
> Ken A.
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