Saturday, April 30, 2005
This may be a dead issue, but a few weeks ago, another blog raised questions about the backing of The Valve by the ALSC, and the latter’s backing by Bradley Foundation. In such cases, it is important to have all the facts in place before judging the compromises that such connections putatively entail. In Bradley’s case, which of the following recently accepted Bradley funding: UCLA, Berkeley, Harvard, Chicago, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Penn, Wisconsin, NYU, and UVA? Answer: all of them. And which literary organization lists members who write regularly for left-of-center periodicals such as New York Review of Books, The Nation, The New Republic, Harper’s, and Dissent? Yes, the ALSC.
Sometimes, a few isolated facts can, at the least, complicate myths that have grown up around certain writers. A few indications:
1. Why was Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass banned?
2. When W. E. B. Du Bois filed suit against Southern Railway for denying him a sleeping car berth, who paid his legal expenses?
3. A few years before being summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee and being martyred as one of the Hollywood Ten, what did Dalton Trumbo volunteer for the FBI (at his instigation)?
4. Which of the following persons signed an anti-war letter in 1939 that stated, “Our entry into the war, under the slogan of ‘Stop Hitler!’ would actually result in the immediate introduction of totalitarianism over here. Only the German people can free themselves of the fascist yoke”: V.F. Calverton, James T. Farrell, Clement Greenberg, Dwight Macdonald, Kenneth Patchen, Philip Rahv, Kenneth Rexroth, Delmore Schwartz, William Carlos Williams?
5. What prompted J-P Sartre to equate the U.S. with Nazi Germany?
6. What was Michel Foucault’s first reaction to the fundamentalist revolution in Iran?
7. What does Virgil have to do with the $1 bill?
1. The references to prostitution and venereal disease (nobody worried about the homoeroticism).
2. Booker T. Washington, on the sly.
3. The names and addresses of pacifists who had written to him asking about his novel Johnny Got His Gun.
4. All of them.
5. The execution of two Soviet spies.
7. Look beneath the pyramid.
I admire calling The New Republic a “left-of-center” magazine, almost as much as I admire Bradley Freedom Foundation Freedom Fighter Heather MacDonald, whose City Journal columns on torture have been hailed by human rights groups the world over as a pragmatic and necessary intervention into a far too politicized debate.
So, as a Valve contributor, let me offer kudos to the Bradley Foundation. And to the Anti-Chomsky Reader.
I had always thought that Julius Rosenberg was a Soviet spy, but that Ethel Rosenberg quite possibly was not…
I’m not sure I really understand the implications of the quiz. Is it that all leftists must not know about the failings of Foucault and Sartre? the virtues of Booker T. Washington? the social norms of the 1850s? Or is this just a laundry list of things that the writer knows and presumes that his readers do not. I like the random eclecticism of it, I guess. If you take out the question marks, it reads a little like a surrealist culture-wars poem. Or with a little help in the spacing, maybe high modernism:
so much depends
Hmm… Yeah, Mark, I’d like to hear just a bit more about the connection between part one and part two of your post. I dunno, sounds just a wee bit condescending…
It’s not a huge surprise to me either that some ALSC members write for left magazines (although, I’m not sure that TNR really counts anymore, and Dissent has gone kind of schizo, torn between its socialist heritage and pro-Israel just warism, something I’ve had the unpleasant experience of watching from the inside to a very limited extent… But enough about that...)
Anyway, membership in the ALSC doesn’t, certainly, require signing a loyalty oath. Never alleged that it did.
I was just pointing out who loved the idea of the Valve, who loved the idea of the ALSC, enough to give some $$$. Someone I’d be uncomfortable taking money from.
What did the Bradley Foundation give those universities funding for? Certainly interested in hearing… And maybe I’ll blog it when you tell me.
But your argument is, not so much that Bradley’s not a right wing outfit, just that lots of people’s hand have been extended for right wing money, correct? I’d never disagree with you there. Your facts don’t complicate my “myths...”
Puzzled by #7. What myth does that complicate?
By the way, i’m the blah who has been commenting regularly here. i’m not sure this is a big enough blog for two blahs.
Brad, are you trying to impugn the character of Ruth Greenglass?
Sartre said “nazi” about the rosenbergs trial, that height of the u.s. judicial history. I bet in someplace he said “dreyfus” too.
Foucault’s “first” reaction was indeed his “first” as he retracted upon seeing the results in iran.