Print

Print


Put downs are easy. Is that all you have to offer?

You probably wouldn't believe that the Beatles were,
contrary to beliefs about Ronald Reagan or the Pope,
responsible for bringing down the Soviet Union.

Peter
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Nancy Gish 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Sunday, November 21, 2010 6:57 AM
  Subject: Re: George Orwell's take on the subject


  Well clearly you don't see the point.


  >>> Peter Montgomery 11/21/10 5:08 AM >>>

  I see the point, but I don't see the relevance of reading the past.
  If people wish to use Eliot's supposed antisemitism against him,
  well fine. Let them do it. It is irrelevant. If G.O. poopoos it, that is
  the take-away effect, whether he is right or wrong. What you
  or I happen to think about it is irrelevant to that effect.

  George Orwell is still read in the present, as applying to the present.
  cf Michael Moore's use of the following quote from 1984,
  at the end of Farhenheit 9/11: It is supposedly from the book Winston
  reads with his girlfriend in their little flat above the store. There is some
  debate about the correctbess of its attribution, but it is the use of Orwell's
  name by Moore, that has the influence, rightly or worngly:

  "It is not a matter of whethether the war is not real or if it is.
  Victory is not possible. The war is not meant to be won,
  it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible
  on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past
  and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort
  is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation.
  The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects
  and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia,
  but to keep the very structure of society intact."

  P.
    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: Nancy Gish 
    To: [log in to unmask] 
    Sent: Friday, November 19, 2010 5:45 PM
    Subject: Re: George Orwell's take on the subject


    Do reread to see the point.
    Nancy


    >>> Peter Montgomery 11/19/10 8:07 PM >>>

    It's been a long time since I've seen T&TIT used to justify a point of view.
    Seems to me it is usually put down for its age, irrelevance, &c.
    Orwell does provide, sui generis, an example of the thinking of his time.
    Its relevance for judging the general attitude (assuming there was such an
    attitude and it was at all verifiable).of the time is not the point. His influence IS the point.
    Big brother lives, with a whole lot of Orwell's baggage attached.

    P.
      ----- Original Message ----- 
      From: Nancy Gish 
      To: [log in to unmask] 
      Sent: Friday, November 19, 2010 6:36 AM
      Subject: Re: George Orwell's take on the subject


      I think it a very unsound example of a writer whose statement could be read that way because Orwell had no access to, for example, any of the poems in IMH or to the TWL facsimile.  One may agree or disagree (and it depends on what one means by "anti-Semitism"), but as Eliot said, we know so much more than writers in the past and they are what we know.  Moreover, there was not a single set of values "then."  Many writers "then" deplored racist and anti-Semitic and misogynist language, just as many do now.  That it was more common for such things to be said then is a different point.  So there is, unfortunately, not a logical relation between Orwell's statement and any general way of reading the past.
      Nancy


      >>> David Boyd 11/19/10 5:04 AM >>>

      Sound reminder  I think of the futility of trying to judge the past  against the standards of today..

      Society, and its values, moves on / evolves.

      In similar vein, in the UK there's an ever popular book, first published over 150 years ago and AFAIK always immensely popular since called 'Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management' - as the name suggests, a guide and handbook for middle-class wives on how to run their households; deal with the servants; plan their meals etc etc

      Much of it comprises contemporary recipes and overviews of their various ingedients.

      I was extremely startled, in the chapter discussing 'Pork' some (to me) outrageously offensive passing comments about the refusal of Jews to eat pork, and how beneath contempt they all were as a race, what with all their grasping avarice etc etc - in an exceedingly genteel cookbook, one just doesn't expect such nastiness and prejudice and unpleasantness, but the very fact that Mrs Beeton must have thought it perfectly OK to print such a diatribe I think further illustrates the dichotomy between values then and values now.

       regards

      David


      On 19 November 2010 08:28, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

        It is nonsense ... about Eliot being antisemitic. Of course you can find
        what would now [1948] be called antisemitic remarks in his early work,
        but who didn't say such things at that time? ... [D]isliking Jews isn't
        intrinsically worse than disliking Negroes or Americans or any other
        block of people. In the early twenties, Eliot's antisemitic remarks were
        about on a par with the automatic sneer one casts at Anglo-Indian colonels
        in boarding houses .... Some people go around smelling after antisemitism
        all the time. 

        (George Orwell, Collected Essays, Kirk, 176)