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Ross Douthat on Spotted Toad on Hogwarts as Imperial Academia
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In the New York Times, Ross Douthat takes a crack at the same Spotted Toad blog post about the roots of Harry Potter worship that I wrote up in my Taki’s column “Hogwash 101” back in April.

As you’ve no doubt noticed, it has become common to analyze current politics through the lens of the Harry Potter series. But that’s quite recent. Back in 2008, I made what I thought was an obvious reference to J.K. Rowling’s sixth novel Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in naming my reader’s guide to Barack Obama’s memoir America’s Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama’s ‘Story of Race and Inheritance,’ but nobody at the time seemed to get it.

Now, of course, Potter references in political opinionizing are omnipresent.

Blogger Spotted Toad noted:

‘Harry Potter’ is a funny fantasy for liberals to cohere around. Going off to a centuries-old boarding school where your mum and dad were Head Boy and Head Girl, where tolerance and broadmindedness consists of admitting that lower-class Muggles can occasionally have the same genetically-mediated gifts as the gentry …

Ross writes:

The Muggle Problem
Ross Douthat JUNE 28, 2017

… Because if you take the Potterverse seriously as an allegory for ours, the most noteworthy divide isn’t between the good multicultural wizards and the bad racist ones. It’s between all the wizards, good and bad, and everybody else — the Muggles.

Muggles are the boring masses of normies born without the genetic capability to do magic. In Harry Potter’s world, magical ability is a recessive genetic trait that is inherited according to rules like those that govern the inheritance of blue eyes.

Hogwarts professor Severus Snape (Alan Rickman in the movies), for example, calls himself the The Half-Blood Prince because his father was a Muggle. Fortunately, Snape didn’t inherit his father’s genetic disability.

Muggles are too stupid to notice that wizards actually rule the world, and the wizards prudently keep them in ignorance.

… The proper treatment of Muggles, meanwhile, is the great controversy within the wizarding world, where the good guys want them protected, left alone and sometimes studied, while the bad guys want to see them subjugated or enslaved (and all the Muggle-born “mudbloods” purged from the wizarding ranks).

All of this plays as an allegory for racism, up to a point … but only up to a point, because what’s notable is that nobody actually wants to see the mass of Muggles (as opposed to their occasional wizardish offspring) integrated into the wizarding society. Indeed, according to the rules of Rowling’s universe, that seems to be impossible. You’re either born with magic or you aren’t, and if you aren’t there’s really not any obvious place for you in Hogwarts or any other wizarding establishment.

So even from the perspective of the enlightened, progressive wizarding faction, then, Muggles are basically just a vast surplus population that occasionally produces the new blood that wizarding needs to avoid becoming just a society of snobbish old-money inbred Draco Malfoys. And if that were to change, if any old Muggle could suddenly be trained in magic, the whole thrill of Harry Potter’s acceptance at Hogwarts would lose its narrative frisson, its admission-to-the-inner-circle thrill.

Which makes the thrill of becoming a magical initiate in the Potterverse remarkably similar to the thrill of being chosen by the modern meritocracy, plucked from the ordinary ranks of life and ushered into gothic halls and exclusive classrooms, where you will be sorted — though not by a magic hat, admittedly — according to your talents and your just deserts.

I am stealing this magic-and-meritocracy parallel from the pseudonymous blogger Spotted Toad, who wrote a fine post discussing how much the Potter novels and movies trade upon the powerful loyalty that their readers feel, or feel that they should feel, toward their teachers and their schools. But not just any school — not some suburban John Hughes-style high school or generic Podunk U. No, it’s loyalty to a selective school, with an antique pedigree but a modern claim to excellence, an exclusive admissions process but a pleasingly multicultural student body. A school where everybody knows that they belong, because they can do the necessary magic and ordinary Muggles can’t.

Thus the Potterverse, as Toad writes, is about “the legitimacy of authority that comes from schools” — Ivy League schools, elite schools, U.S. News & World Report top 100 schools. And because “contemporary liberalism is the ideology of imperial academia, funneled through media and nonprofits and governmental agencies but responsible ultimately only to itself,” a story about a wizarding academy is the perfect fantasy story for the liberal meritocracy to tell about itself.

Something that is often forgotten about J.K. Rowling’s books/movies is that while they started out being almost equally popular among girls and boys (the authoress chose old-fashioned initials to hide her sex from little girl-hating he-men), by the time the eighth and (sort of) final movie in the series finally came out, their appeal was almost wholly to girls, just as J.R.R. Tolkien’s fans are overwhelmingly male.

Why? Mostly, I think, because J.K. is a girl and J.R.R. was a boy. In the very long run, sex will tell.

 
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  1. The ‘imperial academia’ is very fond of itself, but it is also scared. Their imperium is based on fancy words and increasingly not much else. It is a world of privilege not that different from their Victorian or feudal predecessors. The words they so endlessly produce are there to hide the obvious – they increasingly serve no other purpose than preserving their own status and good life. That is historically a bad place to be. Once French aristocrats lost the monopoly on fighting and force, Muggles, mayhem and even guillotines were not that far away.

    That’s why stirring up the society and bringing in large numbers of new, open-eyed, and aspiring outsiders is the only way forward for them. They must have more and more ‘diversity’ to avoid irrelevance and contempt. And as the inevitable end of their status privilege approaches, the hysteria and silliness of this ‘diversity’ obsession will get worse. And then it will suddenly end and nobody will understand in retrospect why a ‘gender studies professor’ was ever taken seriously. But it is a great life while they can keep it going.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I don't see how the collapse is inevitable except...

    Thanks to its technology the West is so overproductive it can afford to waste resources on humanities boondoggles that grease the wheels for the baying Diverse to enter its privileged ranks. But, as their postmodern cant born out of envy for the hard sciences suggests, the academy hasn't understood what a misstep it is to promise the science/tech fields (or anywhere where incompetence is actually perceptible) to Diversity. Yet the technocratic elite must answer to them. Can they paste over the cracks in the West's technological edifice forever? Are we in for a slow decay? Perhaps the global Diverse are so numerous that you can find enough raw numbers at the required percentile... (Wasn't Noah Smith once pointing out all the blacks becoming high-achievers, as if the slave-descended are supposed to be appeased by African immigrants entering the elites?)

    , @Anonym
    That’s why stirring up the society and bringing in large numbers of new, open-eyed, and aspiring outsiders is the only way forward for them. They must have more and more ‘diversity’ to avoid irrelevance and contempt.

    A whitopia can continue pretty much indefinitely on the socialism/capitalism continuum, just as Japan has done and will continue to do so. There is no need to bring in non-whites. It makes no sense to do so in the long term. The EU could have been a thousand year Reich, but in historical time it won't last much longer than the third one the way they are going. Already Britain is gone and the Visegrad group are thumbing their nose at the EUdiocy.

    I agree that the current regime relies on monopoly of fighting and force. Already the Muslims prove that it's possible to form independently governed colonies (no-go zones) in such a limp-wristed society. I wonder if whites could do the same - we'd have to "want it more", so to speak. As I understand it, the way it is done is constant harrassment of the organs of government - police and other services. I wonder how these no-go zones get their money. Why does the Swedish government not turn off the welfare spigot?
  2. Wasn’t there a study recently that showed Harry Potter fans were more likely to be leftists?

    • Replies: @neutral

    Wasn’t there a study recently that showed Harry Potter fans were more likely to be leftists?
     
    I always had this instinctive dislike of Harry Potter, I could never put it to words, but every time I was dragged to watch Harry Potter I was wanted Voldemort to win. I am not surprised leftists like it, generally what they like I don't like.
  3. And Qin Shihuang said to his son, Qin Ershi, “To govern properly, kill all the academics first.”

    And people said he was crazy…

    • Replies: @27 year old
    Anglos have Shakespeare who wrote "the first thing we do is kill all the lawyers"
  4. I tend to view the Potter-politicization caused by a certain reading of the Potter-verse. Namely, that the liberals view themselves as the wizards (the special snowflakes, the enlightened caste) and conservatives as the muggles (should they be ruled over benevolently or subjugated completely?).

    • Replies: @Anonymous


    the most noteworthy divide isn’t between the good multicultural wizards and the bad racist ones. It’s between all the wizards, good and bad, and everybody else — the Muggles.
     
    Muggles are the boring masses of normies born without the genetic capability to do magic.
     

    But Rowling disagreed that Trump, Kushner, and the rest of the crew would be sorted into the same home as Tom Riddle, the Malfoy family, and Severus Snape. In fact, as her response made clear, she doesn't see Trump or his family members as belonging to Hogwarts at all. According to Rowling, they're Muggles who woudn't been invited to Hogwarts: they wouldn't have even received Hogwarts acceptance letters to begin with.
     
    As I've seen it said elsewhere, the worst insult she can level at Trump & Co. isn't that they're evil wizards, but that they aren't even in the managerial elite in the first place.
  5. I’ve long maintained that Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice; Sense & Sensibility; various other early 19th century chick-lit) is taught in school mainly because high school English Literature is run by women and caters to girls. Meanwhile, the lion of 18th century English fiction, Henry Fielding (The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling), has long been neglected, despite being more innovative and imaginative and frankly better.

    If this were some recent decision I would put it down to the current fashion to expel stale pale males from the canon deliberately and explicitly. However, this has been going on for so many decades that I think the explanation is more basic and organic: Austen is for girls; Fielding is for boys; since girls have been in charge of K-12 education for nearly the past 50 years they just went with what they liked.

    But no son of mine will be permitted to read volumes of mind-numbing Austen drivel without at least a good side helping of Fielding to even it out.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Jane Austen novels are shorter than "Tom Jones," which rambles on for 780 pages and then all of sudden every seeming loose end of the plot gets tied up amazingly well in the last 20 pages. So it's kind of tough to teach Fielding's best novel in high school because it's so long but you can't leave anything out.
    , @AM

    I’ve long maintained that Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice; Sense & Sensibility; various other early 19th century chick-lit)
     
    Look, you can not like Jane Austen, but compared to actual chick-lit of any era, it's quality is head and shoulders above it. It belongs with the greatest in terms of it's observations of life and it's understanding of people.

    Those were some of the only books I ever liked in English literature other than Shakespeare. Usually what's held up as "literature" is a never ending parade of "Angsty guy/gal never adjusts to life, does something stupid and tragic and than half heartedly adjusts or dies."

    The only place you could find marriages as part of the story were in fact in Shakespeare and Austen. You know, like people do in IRL - the realism of the wanna be teenagers of my English Professors were always wanting.

    I have never read Fielding but I assume it is in fact pages of depressing drivel meant to make everyone in the room down a whole bottle Valium to get through to Chapter 10. Or slap the protagonist for being such flipping maroon. I'm sure I'll be quite enlightened by the end if I ever get around to reading it. grin

    , @James Kabala
    Are Jane Austen books actually taught in school (outside maybe of AP classes)? Modern high school curricula usually seem to be:

    1. Shakespeare
    2. Big, big jump to Dickens (maybe) and Twain (probably - unless there is a strong anti-n-word contingent in town)
    3. Another, smaller jump to the novelists popular in the twentieth century, who are mostly male - Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Orwell, maybe Hemingway still, Salinger. Woolf (female) is beloved by female critics but, like male authors Faulkner and Joyce, would probably be considered too complicated for high school students.
    4. Genre or young adult novels of the present day (sometimes by women) that the teachers include in an attempt to seem cool and up-to-date.
    , @Jack Hanson
    Exemplified by the fact we had to chew down Wuthering Heights but Dune is considered "light fiction".
    , @JSM
    Feh. I just read the first 3 chapters. These people discover a foundling and have no clue who the mother is (in a small village for pete's sake)?? Did 19th century England not understand that ladies who deliver full-term babies tend to swell up in the months prior???

    --And having just read the Spark Notes plot synopsis, to discover that the bastard's mother was Mr. Allworthy's own sister -- who resided in his home for the duration of the requisite gestation, apparently unnoticed the entire time by the entire household, for crying out loud! -- I view as a plot hole sufficient to swallow the entire, overwrought, pretentious, steaming pile of dreck.

    Frankly, it's a lame trick of a plot twist to put M. Night Shyamalan to shame.

  6. Having an exclusive intellectual elite wouldn’t be so bad if they were cool like the Castalians in The Glass Bead Game. But instead we get a bunch of loathsome weirdos and arrogant, hate-filled dickheads– who do nothing positive for our culture besides.

    • Replies: @Anon
    Hesse knew this too. The Castalians are warned about their arrogance, and the character of Fritz Tegularius (Fred Nietzsche) is recognized as having superior Game abilities but being too manic/depressive and arrogant to ever be granted a significant role in the Order.

    On Hesse and Evola on Orders:

    https://www.counter-currents.com/2017/06/two-orders-same-man-1/
  7. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Beckow
    The 'imperial academia' is very fond of itself, but it is also scared. Their imperium is based on fancy words and increasingly not much else. It is a world of privilege not that different from their Victorian or feudal predecessors. The words they so endlessly produce are there to hide the obvious - they increasingly serve no other purpose than preserving their own status and good life. That is historically a bad place to be. Once French aristocrats lost the monopoly on fighting and force, Muggles, mayhem and even guillotines were not that far away.

    That's why stirring up the society and bringing in large numbers of new, open-eyed, and aspiring outsiders is the only way forward for them. They must have more and more 'diversity' to avoid irrelevance and contempt. And as the inevitable end of their status privilege approaches, the hysteria and silliness of this 'diversity' obsession will get worse. And then it will suddenly end and nobody will understand in retrospect why a 'gender studies professor' was ever taken seriously. But it is a great life while they can keep it going.

    I don’t see how the collapse is inevitable except…

    Thanks to its technology the West is so overproductive it can afford to waste resources on humanities boondoggles that grease the wheels for the baying Diverse to enter its privileged ranks. But, as their postmodern cant born out of envy for the hard sciences suggests, the academy hasn’t understood what a misstep it is to promise the science/tech fields (or anywhere where incompetence is actually perceptible) to Diversity. Yet the technocratic elite must answer to them. Can they paste over the cracks in the West’s technological edifice forever? Are we in for a slow decay? Perhaps the global Diverse are so numerous that you can find enough raw numbers at the required percentile… (Wasn’t Noah Smith once pointing out all the blacks becoming high-achievers, as if the slave-descended are supposed to be appeased by African immigrants entering the elites?)

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Thanks to its technology the West is so overproductive it can afford to waste resources on humanities boondoggles

    Once more with feeling. The distribution of baccalaureate degrees between coarse-grained subjects is as follows:

    0.44%: Area, group, ethnic studies
    2.7%: English language and literature.
    1.1%: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics
    2.4%: General studies and humanities
    2.6%: Multidisciplinary studies
    0.65%: Philosophy and religion
    5.2%: Visual and performing arts

    That sums to 15% of all college graduates, or 6.5% of each age cohort.


    About 100,000 baccalaureate degrees were awarded to blacks at the close of the 2013/14 academic year, distributed as follows:


    1.16%: Area, group, ethnic studies
    4.0%: English language and literature.
    0.9%: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics
    6.6%: General studies and humanities
    5.7%: Multidisciplinary studies
    0.9%: Philosophy and religion
    6.6%: Visual and performing arts

    or about 26% of all bacclaureate degrees awarded blacks, or ~4,5% of each black birth cohort. The excess of these degrees awarded blacks (over and above what it would be if their dispositions and choices were the same as the non-black student body) amount to 14,000 degrees awarded each year, or 14% of all degrees awarded to blacks, 0.75% of all degrees awarded, and 2.3% of a typical black birth cohort. It's a small problem.
  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I am a bit inebriated at the moment, but… this is one of the more intellectually interesting posts here in a a while (and I mean that as a praise…)
    Every woman I’ve known who has expressed clear interest in JRR has been… interesting. Feminine in many ways, many many ways, but interesting.
    I’m inclined to think that in our present culture, there are very few bad reasons for liking Tolkien.

    • Replies: @segundo
    Right on. However, I tend to divide the women who are really into JRRT between those who love it more for its pro-Western slant rather than its eco-/Luddite overtones. Still, even those women are better than their run-of-the-mill Lefty sisters.
  9. Rowling is a new-Laborite and hardcore ‘SJW’ type. These themes are woven into her book & the main villain obviously inspired by the new satan of the secular postwar era. If it’s becoming more common for politics to be viewed through the lens of Harry Potter, I expect that ‘s because the kids who grew up reading it are now old enough to start writing. So, Rowling’s sowing of those themes amongst youth was extremely effective. Kids stories have always been thought of as an important moral/educational tool (cf Aesop’s fables, the Grimm tales, etc). It irks me no end that Rowling plundered the very British tradition of ‘boarding school’ childrens novels (and the appeal of the series hinges to a large degree on the appeal of this kind of world) as a vehicle for this. I live in Oxford and it is amusing the number of 20something students who are huge fans of this series (given a number of them come from the continent, the setting of the movies here seems to have influenced their view of the place). And as you hint at in the last sentence, it’s notable that all of them are female (& still being at school when the first books came out, I can confirm they were fairly popular amongst boys to begin with at least, but not so much later). It goes with saying they are also always very, very ‘liberal’ in their instincts.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Rowling is so new labour that she dislikes the alt left Jeremy Corbyn. She had to inform her followers that Corbyn is not Dumbledore.

    I have never read the books but have watched bits from the films. Did the popularity of Harry Potter books drop amongst boys as the relationship side of the story develops as he gets older? Nothing drops the interest level of boys faster than that, themes absent from JRR Tolkein books with their emphasis on comradeship and fighting.
  10. [It is always a temptation to yield to the rule of “the one who knows”. Emerson once had an essay in this vein, and it sounds good until you get to the part where he thinks that good philosopher-king would’ve been John Brown, and you think, ah no]

    Not only is wizardry heritable, the wizards are slave-holders. You’d think that’d be a deal-killer in this day age. Or is another one of those who? whom? things …. ?

    • Replies: @Laugh Track

    Not only is wizardry heritable, the wizards are slave-holders. You’d think that’d be a deal-killer in this day age. Or is another one of those who? whom? things …. ?
     
    Hermoine's campaign to free the house elves was certainly a case of injecting SJWing into the series. Unfortunately, it seems to have indoctrinated Emma Watson at an early age and her post-Potter public do-gooding has been as annoying as Hermoine was throughout much of the series.
  11. @Ben Kurtz
    I've long maintained that Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice; Sense & Sensibility; various other early 19th century chick-lit) is taught in school mainly because high school English Literature is run by women and caters to girls. Meanwhile, the lion of 18th century English fiction, Henry Fielding (The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling), has long been neglected, despite being more innovative and imaginative and frankly better.

    If this were some recent decision I would put it down to the current fashion to expel stale pale males from the canon deliberately and explicitly. However, this has been going on for so many decades that I think the explanation is more basic and organic: Austen is for girls; Fielding is for boys; since girls have been in charge of K-12 education for nearly the past 50 years they just went with what they liked.

    But no son of mine will be permitted to read volumes of mind-numbing Austen drivel without at least a good side helping of Fielding to even it out.

    Jane Austen novels are shorter than “Tom Jones,” which rambles on for 780 pages and then all of sudden every seeming loose end of the plot gets tied up amazingly well in the last 20 pages. So it’s kind of tough to teach Fielding’s best novel in high school because it’s so long but you can’t leave anything out.

    • Replies: @Ben Kurtz
    So, as you summarize it, Tom Jones bears more than a passing resemblance to Heller's Catch-22. Which, at around 450 pages, I guess is a bit more manageable...
    , @syonredux

    Jane Austen novels are shorter than “Tom Jones,” which rambles on for 780 pages and then all of sudden every seeming loose end of the plot gets tied up amazingly well in the last 20 pages. So it’s kind of tough to teach Fielding’s best novel in high school because it’s so long but you can’t leave anything out.
     
    Yeah. Length is a critical factor when you are writing a lit syllabus. Lots of great works (Moby-Dick, War and Peace, Middlemarch, Clarissa, etc) are just too long. That's one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It's really good and quite brief.
  12. It’s a good post, but the Half Blood Prince was Voldemort himself, not Severus Snape. I believe the latter was full wizard. The former was the product of a witch’s love potion, if I remember correctly!

    • Replies: @the Supreme Gentleman
    Ackshually, the Half Blood Prince is indeed Severus Snape. The eponymous "Prince" is the former owner of Harry's used potions textbook, revealed to be Snape towards the end of the novel. (Though of course the title "Half Blood Prince" would be arguably appropriate for Potter or Voldemort.)
  13. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @al-Gharaniq
    I tend to view the Potter-politicization caused by a certain reading of the Potter-verse. Namely, that the liberals view themselves as the wizards (the special snowflakes, the enlightened caste) and conservatives as the muggles (should they be ruled over benevolently or subjugated completely?).

    the most noteworthy divide isn’t between the good multicultural wizards and the bad racist ones. It’s between all the wizards, good and bad, and everybody else — the Muggles.

    Muggles are the boring masses of normies born without the genetic capability to do magic.

    But Rowling disagreed that Trump, Kushner, and the rest of the crew would be sorted into the same home as Tom Riddle, the Malfoy family, and Severus Snape. In fact, as her response made clear, she doesn’t see Trump or his family members as belonging to Hogwarts at all. According to Rowling, they’re Muggles who woudn’t been invited to Hogwarts: they wouldn’t have even received Hogwarts acceptance letters to begin with.

    As I’ve seen it said elsewhere, the worst insult she can level at Trump & Co. isn’t that they’re evil wizards, but that they aren’t even in the managerial elite in the first place.

    • Replies: @fish
    "NOCD"

    Not our class dear.
  14. ” makes the thrill of becoming a magical initiate in the Potterverse remarkably similar to the thrill of being chosen by the modern meritocracy”

    The post-Potter series about another wizard school called “Magicians” which my wife watches makes this pretty much explicit.

  15. @Beckow
    The 'imperial academia' is very fond of itself, but it is also scared. Their imperium is based on fancy words and increasingly not much else. It is a world of privilege not that different from their Victorian or feudal predecessors. The words they so endlessly produce are there to hide the obvious - they increasingly serve no other purpose than preserving their own status and good life. That is historically a bad place to be. Once French aristocrats lost the monopoly on fighting and force, Muggles, mayhem and even guillotines were not that far away.

    That's why stirring up the society and bringing in large numbers of new, open-eyed, and aspiring outsiders is the only way forward for them. They must have more and more 'diversity' to avoid irrelevance and contempt. And as the inevitable end of their status privilege approaches, the hysteria and silliness of this 'diversity' obsession will get worse. And then it will suddenly end and nobody will understand in retrospect why a 'gender studies professor' was ever taken seriously. But it is a great life while they can keep it going.

    That’s why stirring up the society and bringing in large numbers of new, open-eyed, and aspiring outsiders is the only way forward for them. They must have more and more ‘diversity’ to avoid irrelevance and contempt.

    A whitopia can continue pretty much indefinitely on the socialism/capitalism continuum, just as Japan has done and will continue to do so. There is no need to bring in non-whites. It makes no sense to do so in the long term. The EU could have been a thousand year Reich, but in historical time it won’t last much longer than the third one the way they are going. Already Britain is gone and the Visegrad group are thumbing their nose at the EUdiocy.

    I agree that the current regime relies on monopoly of fighting and force. Already the Muslims prove that it’s possible to form independently governed colonies (no-go zones) in such a limp-wristed society. I wonder if whites could do the same – we’d have to “want it more”, so to speak. As I understand it, the way it is done is constant harrassment of the organs of government – police and other services. I wonder how these no-go zones get their money. Why does the Swedish government not turn off the welfare spigot?

    • Replies: @AM

    A whitopia can continue pretty much indefinitely on the socialism/capitalism continuum, just as Japan has done and will continue to do so.
     
    No, it can't in part because whitopia aren't the Japanese and never will be. If you'd like to pinpoint modern whitopia decay on every front, it is always with the introduction of some form socialism, from communism in Russia to socialism lite in the US.

    Without the struggle to survive, without the feeling that they're working without a net other than God, whites die spiritually and the rest is only a matter of time.

    Why does the Swedish government not turn off the welfare spigot?
     
    Because then everything they've ever told themselves about the state, it's ability to protect them, and the relative nature of socialism is untrue. They've told themselves that Christianity is stupid, backward, and hateful so all they have left is government worship.

    The spigot will turn off eventually because socialism unstable and all h*ll will break lose. Until then, shutting off the welfare spigot is asking for Sweden to abandon it's shaky religious and spiritual base, not merely an obvious economic choice.
  16. @inselaffen
    Rowling is a new-Laborite and hardcore 'SJW' type. These themes are woven into her book & the main villain obviously inspired by the new satan of the secular postwar era. If it's becoming more common for politics to be viewed through the lens of Harry Potter, I expect that 's because the kids who grew up reading it are now old enough to start writing. So, Rowling's sowing of those themes amongst youth was extremely effective. Kids stories have always been thought of as an important moral/educational tool (cf Aesop's fables, the Grimm tales, etc). It irks me no end that Rowling plundered the very British tradition of 'boarding school' childrens novels (and the appeal of the series hinges to a large degree on the appeal of this kind of world) as a vehicle for this. I live in Oxford and it is amusing the number of 20something students who are huge fans of this series (given a number of them come from the continent, the setting of the movies here seems to have influenced their view of the place). And as you hint at in the last sentence, it's notable that all of them are female (& still being at school when the first books came out, I can confirm they were fairly popular amongst boys to begin with at least, but not so much later). It goes with saying they are also always very, very 'liberal' in their instincts.

    Rowling is so new labour that she dislikes the alt left Jeremy Corbyn. She had to inform her followers that Corbyn is not Dumbledore.

    I have never read the books but have watched bits from the films. Did the popularity of Harry Potter books drop amongst boys as the relationship side of the story develops as he gets older? Nothing drops the interest level of boys faster than that, themes absent from JRR Tolkein books with their emphasis on comradeship and fighting.

  17. AM says:
    @Ben Kurtz
    I've long maintained that Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice; Sense & Sensibility; various other early 19th century chick-lit) is taught in school mainly because high school English Literature is run by women and caters to girls. Meanwhile, the lion of 18th century English fiction, Henry Fielding (The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling), has long been neglected, despite being more innovative and imaginative and frankly better.

    If this were some recent decision I would put it down to the current fashion to expel stale pale males from the canon deliberately and explicitly. However, this has been going on for so many decades that I think the explanation is more basic and organic: Austen is for girls; Fielding is for boys; since girls have been in charge of K-12 education for nearly the past 50 years they just went with what they liked.

    But no son of mine will be permitted to read volumes of mind-numbing Austen drivel without at least a good side helping of Fielding to even it out.

    I’ve long maintained that Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice; Sense & Sensibility; various other early 19th century chick-lit)

    Look, you can not like Jane Austen, but compared to actual chick-lit of any era, it’s quality is head and shoulders above it. It belongs with the greatest in terms of it’s observations of life and it’s understanding of people.

    Those were some of the only books I ever liked in English literature other than Shakespeare. Usually what’s held up as “literature” is a never ending parade of “Angsty guy/gal never adjusts to life, does something stupid and tragic and than half heartedly adjusts or dies.”

    The only place you could find marriages as part of the story were in fact in Shakespeare and Austen. You know, like people do in IRL – the realism of the wanna be teenagers of my English Professors were always wanting.

    I have never read Fielding but I assume it is in fact pages of depressing drivel meant to make everyone in the room down a whole bottle Valium to get through to Chapter 10. Or slap the protagonist for being such flipping maroon. I’m sure I’ll be quite enlightened by the end if I ever get around to reading it. grin

    • Replies: @Ben Kurtz
    Fielding is a hoot... a rollicking good time. You should really read him sometime, particularly before saying anything so ill-informed about his books.
    , @James Kabala
    The anti-Austen poster was wrong, but now the anti-Fielding poster is wrong also.

    Tom Jones is a comedy. The protagonist is well-meaning but oversexed and has 800 pages of comic adventures. You might want to slap him, but not for being moody or depressed. Also, as Steve notes, the plot is very well-constructed and all the subplots tie up nicely. And marriage is the ultimate goal, even if Tom screws up (pun intended) frequently along the way.
    , @keypusher
    Nothing to add to what James Kabala said about Tom Jones, except that it might be the least depressing book ever written. Fielding will make you laugh out loud every few pages.

    Tons of classic English novels feature marriage. I agree that Jane Austen was a genius, but she had a pretty limited range. A later woman writerwho also had amazing insight into people and a much broader scope was George Eliot. I thought she was way beyond Dickens in depth, though not nearly as fun to read. Middlemarch is bloody long. I know I should read The Mill on the Floss, but I kind of doubt I ever will.
    , @Jake
    I say that anyone who cannot finish, with rounds of laughter, both Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy should be ignored on most subjects.

    Jane Austen has always been the novelist of girls and gay guys who like to present non-gayness for the most part. Yes, she is worlds above the 'damned mob of scribbling women' and their even worse successors. But she remains effeminizing if swallowed by young males in too large a dose.
  18. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Amasius
    Having an exclusive intellectual elite wouldn't be so bad if they were cool like the Castalians in The Glass Bead Game. But instead we get a bunch of loathsome weirdos and arrogant, hate-filled dickheads-- who do nothing positive for our culture besides.

    Hesse knew this too. The Castalians are warned about their arrogance, and the character of Fritz Tegularius (Fred Nietzsche) is recognized as having superior Game abilities but being too manic/depressive and arrogant to ever be granted a significant role in the Order.

    On Hesse and Evola on Orders:

    https://www.counter-currents.com/2017/06/two-orders-same-man-1/

  19. It strikes me that the Harry Potter series is kind of a Third Year at Malory Towers (Enid Blyton) type series, updated for the SJW set. School is tedious enough without reading books about it, my schoolboy self thought. I wanted to read about adventure. Whether it was epics by Tolkien, flying fighter aircraft, flying space fighters, controlling the spice, battling vampires, spying for the USA, gaining epic magical powers to be used in battle – none of it was confined to a schoolyard bitching about one another.

    These were all matters of life, death, power struggles and fighting, sometimes with interludes of beautiful women but they weren’t necessary.

    It is also very emasculating for a white male to read about how bad white males are, and how we must say “yes sir, no sir, very well sir, how may I serve you better while you genocide me”.

  20. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Everyone who believes in superior races etc. believes he belongs in it. Very few characters like Eddie in Atlas Shrugged who see themselves as loyal retainers.

    A lot of “Traditionalists” read Evola and think, yeah, let’s have a strict Order run by the best, and some of them find out that Evola was “evaluated” by the SS and the chicken-farmer in charge declared him an enemy of the Reich.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Hey, I grew up on a farm and that's an insult to chicken farmers. Himmler was an UNSUCCESSFUL chicken farmer.
    , @Daniel Chieh
    I'm pretty happy for being in a system of order without having to be on the top of it, actually. Stability is pretty nice, you know.

    Anyway, from what I read of Evola, he really didn't care so much about the best. He argued against aristocracy being judged by the results of their policy. Essentially he just felt that the structure needs to exist and accepted, on faith, as unquestioningly as possible, because it enables other virtues he felt were worthy.

  21. Anonymous [AKA "JasonB"] says:

    Just from an anecdotal perspective, I know a *lot* of women who love Tolkien. Not that I doubt your theory that “most” of his fans are male, but I bet it’s closer to an even split than Harry Potter adult fans. My wife’s theory about Harry Potter is that JK started out writing books for kids and then kept writing books for the adult women that read the first Harry Potter books as kids.

  22. Muggles are too stupid to notice that wizards actually rule the world, and the wizards prudently keep them in ignorance.

    Dr. Kevin MacDonald would concur with this allegory being the most pertinent reading of the books, as applied to the modern world order.

    And he’d be right.

  23. Tex says:

    Rowling’s main literary model is Tom Brown’s Schooldays, an 1850s-era tale of how an unlicked cub became a Christian gentleman of the sort who would make the British Empire run. While the author, Hughes, leaned on his old headmaster Arnold’s muscular Christianity as the basis for what to instill in young minds, a lot of the Victorians saw themselves as basically progressive. This was the high era of the Liberals under Palmerston and Gladstone, who wanted to run an empire for the benefit of the natives, though they often got fuzzy about the details.

    One of my favorite authors is George MacDonald Fraser who wrote the Flashman series as an extended parody on Tom Brown (Flashman being the bully of the school, Draco Malfoy’s literary precursor). GMF was a WWII vet (on the Burma front) who loathed mealy-mouthed hypocrisy. So he has Flashman tell how it really was being a hero of empire, burdened with fools who really believed the propaganda, and fools who were just fools, all the while surrounded by bloodthirsty savages who’d just as soon lop off a man’s head as eat a hot meal. GMF respected courage, but didn’t have any time for idealism that other men would have to pay for in blood.

    I truly hope Rowling gets her GMF in my lifetime. I look forward to hearing Draco’s side of the story.

    • Replies: @PV van der Byl
    George McDonald Fraser was super. Obviously the Flashman novels were hilarious as was the premise (that the Flashman papers were accidentally discovered after nearly a hundred years and were currently being annotated by some scholar).

    Re his experiences in Burma: Read "Quartered Safe Out Here" if you have not already.
    , @psmith
    As soon as you mentioned Tom Brown, I was thinking Flashman. Great comment, great ideas.

    Have you read Fraser's McAuslan stories? Great stuff. his WWII memoir is the best I've ever read, too, better than Sledge or Leckie or the Band of Brothers books.
    , @Alden
    I too love the Flashman series. I've read them all. I found them in the library of the university where I worked.
    I also love Austen, not for the love stories that always end in marriage but for Austen's truly vicious wit and sarcasm. First Austen I read was Mansfield Park. I was 13. That book is very sarcastic. Austen makes fun about the meddling Aunt Norris, the totally lazy Lady Bertram and the perfect father Sir Thomas who doesn't notice that a visitor is trying very hard to seduce his daughters.

    The best chapter in Austen is the one in which Fanny Dashwood convinces her husband to keep his sister's inheritance for themselves.

    But the Hobbit, the best book I've ever read. I fell in love with macho man Aragorn, not the hobbits.

    But the best series is MacDonalds Flashman. Never liked Dickens much although I've read most of them. There's just too much goody goody in Dickens.
    , @European-American

    One of my favorite authors is George MacDonald Fraser who wrote the Flashman series as an extended parody on Tom Brown (Flashman being the bully of the school, Draco Malfoy’s literary precursor). GMF was a WWII vet (on the Burma front) who loathed mealy-mouthed hypocrisy. So he has Flashman tell how it really was being a hero of empire
     
    In a different genre, but speaking of telling how it really was, The Last Ringbearer is a great take on The Lord of the Rings, which turns out to have been a work of propaganda. In reality, Mordor and orcs are the good guys, on the side of science and technological progress. Gandalf and the elves are stasis-favoring genocidal fascists. I love Tolkien, but also really enjoyed biologist and paleontologist Kirill Eskov's contrary view, which feels like a Russian takedown of our Western/British pieties, and makes a pretty good spy story too. First heard of the book on Karlin's blog here on unz.

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

  24. Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway. Hobbits are little cartoon versions of the unthreatening, nerdy Englishmen that are the reason that Englishwomen are currently importing millions of vibrant head-choppers. Much of the universe around them is the vomit-inducing Victorian pre-raphaelite view on mythology/the dark ages where already the main attributes of the valiant hero were asexuality, timid self-sacrifice and an ability to mope.

    Now compare that to the Conan stories (even though Howard was gay and couldn’t write as well). That’s masculine.

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it’s impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity. Only with videogames have boys gotten a medium which fits them as well as books fit girls.

    • Troll: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Anon

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it’s impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity. Only with videogames have boys gotten a medium which fits them as well as books fit girls.
     
    99 out of 100 of the best writers in any given century disagree with you.
    , @inselaffen
    I'd agree with all of this comment, except the line that (hobbits) 'are the reason that Englishwomen are currently importing millions of vibrant head-choppers'. The idea that women are primarily responsible for immigration is one of the most pernicious/stupid things to have crossed over from the MRA/PUA types IMO. Also this particular formulation of it is miles away from reality.

    Meanwhile comments suggesting immigration should be restricted to females only (preferably attractive ones) are are widely celebrated on blogs/forums, with minimal self-awareness.
    , @Jack Hanson
    "Howard was gay"

    Good fucking grief. And Shakespear was actually a black woman.
    , @YetAnotherAnon
    "where already the main attributes of the valiant hero were asexuality, timid self-sacrifice and an ability to mope"

    Aragorn son of Arathorn, not to mention the Lady Arwen, beg to differ. If Aragorn has a model, it's Lancelot or Gawaine, neither one a slouch with the ladies.

    "Hobbits are little cartoon versions of the unthreatening, nerdy Englishmen"

    They're little cartoon versions of the rustics Tolkien would meet as he walked and cycled through what was then rural Worcestershire, the same people who fought and died alongside him in WWI, "the plain soldier from the agricultural counties".

    "Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway"

    Have you actually read the books?


    "One has indeed personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression; but as the years go by it seems now often forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead."
     
    , @guest
    "Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway"

    Did you ever slug it out in the trenches against the hated Hun? Huh?
    , @Chrisnonymous

    Hobbits are little cartoon versions of...
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Agincourt

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roanoke_Colony
    (shout out to VDare's Dare County...)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutiny_on_the_Bounty#Bligh.27s_open-boat_voyage

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lacolle_Mills_(1814)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Rorke's_Drift

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

    etc...

    Which is why Tolkien had Bilbo and Frodo doing things people thought beyond them. Because he knew his countrymen.
    , @Chrisnonymous

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it’s impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity.
     
    There may be something in this in that the "Homers" of the world are not synonymous with the "Achilles" of the world.

    On the other hand, without Homer, we wouldn't know about Achilles, and possibly the Hellenes who venerated the Iliad would've been less manly. That's where you get into that ying-yang shit.
    , @guest
    Verbal ability is more feminine,because they're the talking kind. But you may have noticed most great writers are male. That's not because the patriarchy keeps women down, nor because men are more highly motivated, though that's part of it.

    It's because writing requires more than verbal ability. Writing requires abstraction. Plots and themes don't write themselves. Listen to women try and tell an anecdote some time, and tell me whether they're conveying useful information or merely unburdening themselves of the word baggage built up inside their heads.

    Even dialogue requires abstraction. It's not just recounting word-for-word. If it were, men would better at it anyway, because men are more observant. Speaking of which, men are better at observing things. That's why they make up all the great scientists, too.

    Women are good at sympathy and empathy (whatever the difference may be), but they're not very objective. Which means, I think, men are better at putting themselves in other people's minds. Women are too wrapped up in their own feelz to weigh separate feelz fairly, for the sake of story.

    The real problem, if you want to call it that, is that the overall habit of telling and listening to/reading stories is feminine. The best story in the world might not mean as much to a boy as going outside and having his own adventure. The medium doesn't fit boys as well as girls. But that doesn't whatsoever mean you can't write a masculine story, or that all writers are effeminate.

    , @Anon
    Coherent thought, too.
    , @Anon
    "And may your first child be a masculine one."
    , @Autochthon

    In that vast shadow once of yore
    Fingolfin stood: his shield he bore
    with field of heaven's blue and star
    of crystal shining pale afar.
    In overmastering wrath and hate
    desperate he smote upon that gate,
    the Gnomish king, there standing lone,
    while endless fortresses of stone
    engulfed the thin clear ringing keen
    of silver horn on baldric green.
    His hopeless challenge dauntless cried
    Fingolfin there: 'Come, open wide,
    dark king, your ghastly brazen doors!
    Come forth, whom earth and heaven abhors!
    Come forth, O monstrous craven lord,
    and fight with thine own hand and sword,
    thou wielder of hosts of banded thralls,
    thou tyrant leaguered with strong walls,
    thou foe of Gods and elvish race!
    I wait thee here. Come! Show thy face!'

    Then Morgoth came. For the last time
    in those great wars he dared to climb
    from subterranean throne profound,
    the rumour of his feet a sound
    of rumbling earthquake underground.
    Black-armoured, towering, iron-crowned
    he issued forth; his mighty shield
    a vast unblazoned sable field
    with shadow like a thundercloud;
    and o'er the gleaming king it bowed,
    as huge aloft like mace he hurled
    that hammer of the underworld,
    Grond. Clanging to ground it tumbled
    down like a thunder-bolt, and crumbled
    the rocks beneath it; smoke up-started,
    a pit yawned, and a fire darted.

    Fingolfin like a shooting light
    beneath a cloud, a stab of white,
    sprang then aside, and Ringil drew
    like ice that gleameth cold and blue,
    his sword devised of elvish skill
    to pierce the flesh with deadly chill.
    With seven wounds it rent his foe,
    and seven mighty cries of woe
    rang in the mountains, and the earth quook,
    and Angband's trembling armies shook.
    Yet Orcs would after laughing tell
    of the duel at the gates of hell;
    though elvish song thereof was made
    ere this but one — when sad was laid
    the mighty king in barrow high,
    and Thorondor, Eagle of the sky,
    the dreadful tidings brought and told
    to mourning Elfinesse of old.
    Thrice was Fingolfin with great blows
    to his knees beaten, thrice he rose
    still leaping up beneath the cloud
    aloft to hold star-shining, proud,
    his stricken shield, his sundered helm,
    that dark nor might could overwhelm
    till all the earth was burst and rent
    in pits about him. He was spent.
    His feet stumbled. He fell to wreck
    upon the ground, and on his neck
    a foot like rooted hills was set,
    and he was crushed — not conquered yet;
    one last despairing stroke he gave:
    the mighty foot pale Ringil clave
    about the heel, and black the blood
    gushed as from smoking fount in flood.
    Halt goes for ever from that stroke
    great Morgoth; but the king he broke,
    and would have hewn and mangled thrown
    to wolves devouring. Lo! from throne
    that Manwë bade him build on high,
    on peak unscaled beneath the sky,
    Morgoth to watch, now down there swooped
    Thorondor the King of Eagles, stooped,
    and rending beak of gold he smote
    in Bauglir's face, then up did float
    on pinions thirty fathoms wide
    bearing away, though loud they cried,
    the mighty corse, the Elven-king;
    and where the mountains make a ring
    far to the south about that plain
    where after Gondolin did reign,
    embattled city, at great height
    upon a dizzy snowcap white
    in mounded cairn the mighty dead
    he laid upon the mountain's head.
    Never Orc nor demon after dared
    that pass to climb, o'er which there stared
    Fingolfin's high and holy tomb,
    till Gondolin's appointed doom.

    Thus Bauglir earned the furrowed scar
    that his dark countenance doth mar,
    and thus his limping gait he gained;
    but afterward profound he reigned
    darkling upon his hidden throne;
    and thunderous paced his halls of stone,
    slow building there his vast design
    the world in thraldom to confine.
     
    Yeah, pretty effeminate stuff from a man who knew nothing of war, bloodshed, and courage in the face of certain death. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  25. @Ben Kurtz
    I've long maintained that Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice; Sense & Sensibility; various other early 19th century chick-lit) is taught in school mainly because high school English Literature is run by women and caters to girls. Meanwhile, the lion of 18th century English fiction, Henry Fielding (The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling), has long been neglected, despite being more innovative and imaginative and frankly better.

    If this were some recent decision I would put it down to the current fashion to expel stale pale males from the canon deliberately and explicitly. However, this has been going on for so many decades that I think the explanation is more basic and organic: Austen is for girls; Fielding is for boys; since girls have been in charge of K-12 education for nearly the past 50 years they just went with what they liked.

    But no son of mine will be permitted to read volumes of mind-numbing Austen drivel without at least a good side helping of Fielding to even it out.

    Are Jane Austen books actually taught in school (outside maybe of AP classes)? Modern high school curricula usually seem to be:

    1. Shakespeare
    2. Big, big jump to Dickens (maybe) and Twain (probably – unless there is a strong anti-n-word contingent in town)
    3. Another, smaller jump to the novelists popular in the twentieth century, who are mostly male – Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Orwell, maybe Hemingway still, Salinger. Woolf (female) is beloved by female critics but, like male authors Faulkner and Joyce, would probably be considered too complicated for high school students.
    4. Genre or young adult novels of the present day (sometimes by women) that the teachers include in an attempt to seem cool and up-to-date.

    • Replies: @James Kabala
    I forgot probably the most-assigned female-penned book - probably assigned more than most if not all male books as well - To Kill a Mockingbird.
    , @kihowi
    Clearly the function of high school English is still to turn children (especially boys) off reading. It's hazing. Subconsciously teachers feel that only those who have gone through the depression-inducing boredom of those books are allowed to have fun with entertaining books later.
    , @AM

    Faulkner and Joyce, would probably be considered too complicated for high school students.
     
    Faulkner is complicated but decidedly not worth the trouble either. Shakespeare is worth the trouble of decoding, but modern authors rarely are.

    I remember reading one Faulkner book in high school and thinking he just want to impress me with his vocabulary. The actual story, plot line, and characters fell flat. Great, it took me 2 or 3 times as long to get through a paragraph. So what? Bad editing and thesaurus like brain doesn't make fabulous writing.
    , @Bill
    Your curriculum wasn't much like mine or my children's. Maybe the curriculum changes every decade or something?
    , @Jonathan Mason
    I think some authors are taught so as to introduce students to authors who were particularly influential in some manner, so even if they aren't enjoyed much in high school they might be returned to later in life.

    I must say I find Jane Austen extremely witty and amusing in my late middle age.

    Dickens is hard to read sometimes, but this is the guy who virtually single-handedly invented the child abuse industry, and Oliver! was a wonderful musical, still worth watching on video. I also like his book American notes, which is one of the few America travel books written in the 19th century, even if the tone is sour at times.

    Orwell is still hugely readable and as relevant as every, maybe even more so.

    I can't say that I find much to enjoy in Rowling. The treatment of good and evil is simplistic and pantomimish, and if you want a children's author who dabbles in the supernatural and magic, E. Nesbit is an amusing read for both children and adults.

    In Five Children and It, a group of children discover a sand fairy who can make wishes come true. The children wish that the baby was grown up, whereupon the baby turns into a selfish, smug young man who completely disowns this sibling group of annoying younger children!

    E. Nesbit was also a political progressive who cofounded the Fabian society.
    , @guest
    You mention Shakespeare, then posit Faulkner and Joyce may be too complicated? What could be more complex than Shakespeare?

    Ah, but Shakespeare is superficially entertaining, plus the kids can just watch the movies. Faulkner and Joyce are "difficult" moderns, which on the superficial level are annoying (to me, at least).*

    High schoolers could easily pick up on the trick to reading Joyce: don't bother. (With the novels, that is; Dubliners stories actually make sense.) You don't even really have to read his books. Just skim along, enjoy the ride. Go as fast as you please. It doesn't really matter. There's no difference between getting and not getting Joyce.

    *Actually, Faulkner is hit or miss. Some of his stuff is relatively straightforward. I liked A Rose for Emily and parts of the Unvanquished. Other of his stuff is offensive. I couldn't make it through the first chapter of Sound and the Fury, and I literally three the Bear at the wall.
  26. 2017: pulp-fiction author who writes about monsters and housewife who writes about wizards are our most influential political thinkers. Come friendly bombs and fall on western civilization.

  27. We didn’t catch the reference in your book’s title because knowing anything more about Harry Potter than the words “Harry Potter” is…obedient.

    At this very moment, instead of partaking in yet another The Golden Age Of Television, we’re reading a racist blog about golf courses, state-bourgeoisie careerism, old British literature, and how California used to be.

    We’re jerks.

    • Replies: @James Kabala
    In fairness to Potter, it was a series that became popular (at least at first) by genuine word of mouth enthusiasm. The main elite reaction I remember at the time was that the New York Times created a separate children's book best seller list to prevent the Potter books from being Number One on the regular fiction list! (I think most reviewers did like it, the cult was built up by genuine enthusiasm of children.)
  28. Is magic power supposed to be a recessive genetic trait? I thought (based on distant memories of the first two books only) that it was a power that turned up in a person mysteriously – you might have a hundred generations of Muggle ancestors and then suddenly have a Wizard baby for no apparent reason. It was not a sign of recessive-gene Wizard ancestry. On the other hand, magic skill did seem to be hereditary once it existed. (But they all married endogamously, right? Was it ever made clear in the later books what would happen if a mixed marriage took place?)

    • Replies: @James Kabala
    Duh - obviously that was the Half-Blood Prince. I guess I did not read the original post carefully enough. But I think my basic point - that there are Wizards who have 100% Muggle ancestry - is still correct. Hermione herself was one if I recall correctly.
  29. @James Kabala
    Are Jane Austen books actually taught in school (outside maybe of AP classes)? Modern high school curricula usually seem to be:

    1. Shakespeare
    2. Big, big jump to Dickens (maybe) and Twain (probably - unless there is a strong anti-n-word contingent in town)
    3. Another, smaller jump to the novelists popular in the twentieth century, who are mostly male - Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Orwell, maybe Hemingway still, Salinger. Woolf (female) is beloved by female critics but, like male authors Faulkner and Joyce, would probably be considered too complicated for high school students.
    4. Genre or young adult novels of the present day (sometimes by women) that the teachers include in an attempt to seem cool and up-to-date.

    I forgot probably the most-assigned female-penned book – probably assigned more than most if not all male books as well – To Kill a Mockingbird.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Not a particularly feminine story, IIRC. The characters were drawn largely from life and the narrator, while female, is notable for her lack of femininity, lack of female friends, and her preference for adult men over adult women.
    , @AM

    I forgot probably the most-assigned female-penned book – probably assigned more than most if not all male books as well – To Kill a Mockingbird.
     
    High school teachers love teaching it because it's protagonist has lovely, simple worldview and has all the politically correct ideas.

    It's not really literature -- it's our modern day Uncle Tom's Cabin. But it's taught that way.
  30. @The Only Catholic Unionist
    [It is always a temptation to yield to the rule of "the one who knows". Emerson once had an essay in this vein, and it sounds good until you get to the part where he thinks that good philosopher-king would've been John Brown, and you think, ah no]

    Not only is wizardry heritable, the wizards are slave-holders. You'd think that'd be a deal-killer in this day age. Or is another one of those who? whom? things .... ?

    Not only is wizardry heritable, the wizards are slave-holders. You’d think that’d be a deal-killer in this day age. Or is another one of those who? whom? things …. ?

    Hermoine’s campaign to free the house elves was certainly a case of injecting SJWing into the series. Unfortunately, it seems to have indoctrinated Emma Watson at an early age and her post-Potter public do-gooding has been as annoying as Hermoine was throughout much of the series.

    • Replies: @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    Hermoine’s campaign to free the house elves was certainly a case of injecting SJWing into the series.
     
    And she did nothing for the Field Elves?
    , @Wency
    While I never made it past the first Potter book or film, I think this Hermione character is a big part of the gender split. She's the author insert, and someone the girls can all identify with: a bookish girl in a series of books for girls and women who are, ipso facto, at least somewhat bookish.

    Tolkien had no strong female characters, but plenty of male characters for young men to aspire to. Kings, warriors, and brave adventurers.
  31. @James Kabala
    Is magic power supposed to be a recessive genetic trait? I thought (based on distant memories of the first two books only) that it was a power that turned up in a person mysteriously - you might have a hundred generations of Muggle ancestors and then suddenly have a Wizard baby for no apparent reason. It was not a sign of recessive-gene Wizard ancestry. On the other hand, magic skill did seem to be hereditary once it existed. (But they all married endogamously, right? Was it ever made clear in the later books what would happen if a mixed marriage took place?)

    Duh – obviously that was the Half-Blood Prince. I guess I did not read the original post carefully enough. But I think my basic point – that there are Wizards who have 100% Muggle ancestry – is still correct. Hermione herself was one if I recall correctly.

  32. @James Kabala
    Are Jane Austen books actually taught in school (outside maybe of AP classes)? Modern high school curricula usually seem to be:

    1. Shakespeare
    2. Big, big jump to Dickens (maybe) and Twain (probably - unless there is a strong anti-n-word contingent in town)
    3. Another, smaller jump to the novelists popular in the twentieth century, who are mostly male - Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Orwell, maybe Hemingway still, Salinger. Woolf (female) is beloved by female critics but, like male authors Faulkner and Joyce, would probably be considered too complicated for high school students.
    4. Genre or young adult novels of the present day (sometimes by women) that the teachers include in an attempt to seem cool and up-to-date.

    Clearly the function of high school English is still to turn children (especially boys) off reading. It’s hazing. Subconsciously teachers feel that only those who have gone through the depression-inducing boredom of those books are allowed to have fun with entertaining books later.

    • Agree: 27 year old
    • Replies: @The Only Catholic Unionist
    No, it's done to turn them off to reading, because when people read for themselves and discover their cultural patrimony, there's no stopping them, and if enough do it, *poof* goes the cultural Marxism.
  33. Tolkien is probably one of the last popular redoubts of premodern thought; I remember reading him and realizing that he was a Luddite and finding it incomprehensible. Why would anyone see technology as corrosive? Why would someone associate use of technology with evil?

    For me, he became an introduction to an entire canon of thought that is pretty much absent these days. Writers are occasionally accused of romanticism, but as of late, I actually haven’t found much in that vein released and almost none with any degree of philosophical coherency.

    • Replies: @AM

    I remember reading him and realizing that he was a Luddite and finding it incomprehensible. Why would anyone see technology as corrosive? Why would someone associate use of technology with evil?
     
    Just as total coincidence, Tolkien was a practicing Catholic who preferred Latin Masses I believe. ;)
    , @yaqub the mad scientist
    There was an entire strain of thought that was still around in the 80's that critiqued technology, urbanization, and most importanlty the homogenization of cultures. The enviro left was huge on it, and had an entire philosophy called bioregionalism to articulate it.

    has utterly disappeared. Read stuff put out by the enviros now where they write articles malicously deconstructing their own positions from three decades ago. They really believe now that the way to go is international, cookie-cutter globoculture
    , @Rod1963
    Glad someone noticed this.

    Tolkien was from a different era, he saw modern technology fully introduced on the battlefield of WWI and it horrified him. Poison gas, machine guns, aircraft which gave us butchery on a scale never seen before. The England he knew died in that war.

    Technology as "Corrosive" Quite so. It has proven to be a cultural solvent and helps atomize societies. In terms of evil it has brought about Orwell's nightmare though we have gladly embraced it.

    Twenty years ago if you would have asked a person if you could implant them with a tracker that tracks them 24 hours a day and also hook them up to a device that monitors and records their conversations and even sees what they see. The average person would say *go to hell"

    Today a person happily spills their guts on Facebook, has a cell phone/ipod that tracks their every movement, who they talk to, what they buy, etc. Now we have families who don't talk to each other, they talk to Facebook or twit.
  34. Do any of you remember yesteryear when David Frum and Victor Davis were using Lord of the Rings to justify the invasion of Iraq? Sometimes too many conclusions drawn from what is after all “fiction.”

  35. @Jason Liu
    Wasn't there a study recently that showed Harry Potter fans were more likely to be leftists?

    Wasn’t there a study recently that showed Harry Potter fans were more likely to be leftists?

    I always had this instinctive dislike of Harry Potter, I could never put it to words, but every time I was dragged to watch Harry Potter I was wanted Voldemort to win. I am not surprised leftists like it, generally what they like I don’t like.

  36. @Jason Liu
    And Qin Shihuang said to his son, Qin Ershi, "To govern properly, kill all the academics first."

    And people said he was crazy...

    Anglos have Shakespeare who wrote “the first thing we do is kill all the lawyers”

  37. @Anonymous


    the most noteworthy divide isn’t between the good multicultural wizards and the bad racist ones. It’s between all the wizards, good and bad, and everybody else — the Muggles.
     
    Muggles are the boring masses of normies born without the genetic capability to do magic.
     

    But Rowling disagreed that Trump, Kushner, and the rest of the crew would be sorted into the same home as Tom Riddle, the Malfoy family, and Severus Snape. In fact, as her response made clear, she doesn't see Trump or his family members as belonging to Hogwarts at all. According to Rowling, they're Muggles who woudn't been invited to Hogwarts: they wouldn't have even received Hogwarts acceptance letters to begin with.
     
    As I've seen it said elsewhere, the worst insult she can level at Trump & Co. isn't that they're evil wizards, but that they aren't even in the managerial elite in the first place.

    “NOCD”

    Not our class dear.

  38. @Anonymous
    I don't see how the collapse is inevitable except...

    Thanks to its technology the West is so overproductive it can afford to waste resources on humanities boondoggles that grease the wheels for the baying Diverse to enter its privileged ranks. But, as their postmodern cant born out of envy for the hard sciences suggests, the academy hasn't understood what a misstep it is to promise the science/tech fields (or anywhere where incompetence is actually perceptible) to Diversity. Yet the technocratic elite must answer to them. Can they paste over the cracks in the West's technological edifice forever? Are we in for a slow decay? Perhaps the global Diverse are so numerous that you can find enough raw numbers at the required percentile... (Wasn't Noah Smith once pointing out all the blacks becoming high-achievers, as if the slave-descended are supposed to be appeased by African immigrants entering the elites?)

    Thanks to its technology the West is so overproductive it can afford to waste resources on humanities boondoggles

    Once more with feeling. The distribution of baccalaureate degrees between coarse-grained subjects is as follows:

    0.44%: Area, group, ethnic studies
    2.7%: English language and literature.
    1.1%: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics
    2.4%: General studies and humanities
    2.6%: Multidisciplinary studies
    0.65%: Philosophy and religion
    5.2%: Visual and performing arts

    That sums to 15% of all college graduates, or 6.5% of each age cohort.

    About 100,000 baccalaureate degrees were awarded to blacks at the close of the 2013/14 academic year, distributed as follows:

    1.16%: Area, group, ethnic studies
    4.0%: English language and literature.
    0.9%: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics
    6.6%: General studies and humanities
    5.7%: Multidisciplinary studies
    0.9%: Philosophy and religion
    6.6%: Visual and performing arts

    or about 26% of all bacclaureate degrees awarded blacks, or ~4,5% of each black birth cohort. The excess of these degrees awarded blacks (over and above what it would be if their dispositions and choices were the same as the non-black student body) amount to 14,000 degrees awarded each year, or 14% of all degrees awarded to blacks, 0.75% of all degrees awarded, and 2.3% of a typical black birth cohort. It’s a small problem.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    These people cause a disproportionate amount of damage and they contribute little if anything positive, so on the whole they are still a drag on the economy and culture and we would be much better off without them. At the very least we should not be using taxpayer funds to subsidize them. If George Soros wanted to fund them using (non-tax deductible) donations, then fine, but Democrats are always full of "good ideas" that they want to pay for using my hard earned money.
    , @Anonymous
    Good numbers, but the boondoggle is the 15%, plus history, sociology, anthropology, etc., (https://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/media/shiftingmajors.png) minus all the segments of these disciplines that haven't been cult-marxed beyond recognition. We could all be worker bee drones (what are the breakdowns in China?) but for privilege to justify itself it needs the patina of a Diverse elite, and social justice and social-justicizing degrees are where we'll get it. So far so good. But by its own logic the academy is relevant insofar as it critiques non-meritocratic privilege; since it itself is increasingly made up of raw self-justifying status, and hijacking rather than demolishing existing privilege-bestowing institutions, it must look elsewhere to slay dragons. How long before we feel its effects on technocracy?
  39. @Anonymous
    I am a bit inebriated at the moment, but... this is one of the more intellectually interesting posts here in a a while (and I mean that as a praise...)
    Every woman I've known who has expressed clear interest in JRR has been... interesting. Feminine in many ways, many many ways, but interesting.
    I'm inclined to think that in our present culture, there are very few bad reasons for liking Tolkien.

    Right on. However, I tend to divide the women who are really into JRRT between those who love it more for its pro-Western slant rather than its eco-/Luddite overtones. Still, even those women are better than their run-of-the-mill Lefty sisters.

  40. @James Kabala
    I forgot probably the most-assigned female-penned book - probably assigned more than most if not all male books as well - To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Not a particularly feminine story, IIRC. The characters were drawn largely from life and the narrator, while female, is notable for her lack of femininity, lack of female friends, and her preference for adult men over adult women.

    • Replies: @whoever
    She also adores her brave and wise father and, conveniently for her, there is no pesky mother she need compete with for his attention and affection. I suppose when she grew up she drove a Buick Electra.
  41. Query: Is there literary merit to the several Harry Potter books? Or are they just The Hardy Boys for the Millennial generation?

    Fantasies of magic power always seemed to me to appeal to nerds, weirdos and weaklings – the idea that you can wield great power in the physical world by reading books and using words just so. It probably has a certain appeal to a narrow set of personality types beyond childhood who harbor long-simmering resentments towards the archetypal Quarterback and Homecoming Queen.

    I imagine that these sorts populate the second tier managerial Mandarin ranks in Manhattan/D.C./Silicon Valley. (Second tier, in the sense that they’re not the Billionaire titans of our new, gay industries – but then again you can see Gates/Bezos/Cook as would-be wizards). I think this – together with not having a broad survey of English literature from which to draw – explains the attraction of left wing adults to the Harry Potter politics lens.

    • Agree: Luke Lea
    • Replies: @JohnnyGeo

    Is there literary merit to the several Harry Potter books?
     
    I would place them above The Hardy Boys, just because they are a little less formulaic. But they are far, far below other sci-fi/fantasy series like The Book of Three, Wizard of Earthsea, and the Tripod Trilogy. For contemporary series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, while it has very simple writing has such a unique style it is worth reading.
    , @Daniel Chieh
    They were fun - at least the beginning ones? There's a certain real sense of charm to them much like an extended and more fully realized modern fairy tale. I wouldn't say that it just appealed to a bitter segment; the notion of being pretty ordinary and then discovering that you're actually special is a common trope. Even The Hobbit indulged in that too, with the ordinary life of Bilbo Baggins interrupted and suddenly given purpose with no great contribution from him beyond his "queer, unhobbity sense of adventure."

    But yes, after awhile, there was something overall hollow to the worldbuilding, especially to the people. Tolkien's characters feel rich and complex; even the detestable, such as the Uruk-hai demonstrate moments of valor and soldiery courage, while the superior Elves are afflicted with a wistful sadness and there's just this overall sense of underlying beauty that can only really come from a writer that felt that there was, indeed, a greater plan for the world and really wanted to communicate it.

    Missing that, most of modern writing can be cute and fun, but ultimately, tends to feel very soulless. In sum: you have tales of great Nations of Men who fell and became sad corsairs for their arrogance in Tolkien; you get tales of booger-flavored jellybeans in Harry Potter.

    , @snorlax
    They're fun, exciting reads for children/teenagers, and Rowling is a talent quite a few cuts above whichever Hardy Boys hack. Despite their popularity among leftists and Rowling's Twitter antics, political themes are subtle-to-nonexistent, and as Spotted Toad points out, given the whitopia boarding school setting, in many ways borderline-reactionary.

    But they are children's books, not some kind of high art. Their enduring popularity is mostly because "well-written children's book" is about the limit for comfortable reading comprehension among the broad middle of the bell curve.
  42. @Laugh Track

    Not only is wizardry heritable, the wizards are slave-holders. You’d think that’d be a deal-killer in this day age. Or is another one of those who? whom? things …. ?
     
    Hermoine's campaign to free the house elves was certainly a case of injecting SJWing into the series. Unfortunately, it seems to have indoctrinated Emma Watson at an early age and her post-Potter public do-gooding has been as annoying as Hermoine was throughout much of the series.

    Hermoine’s campaign to free the house elves was certainly a case of injecting SJWing into the series.

    And she did nothing for the Field Elves?

    • LOL: AM
  43. @Tex
    Rowling's main literary model is Tom Brown's Schooldays, an 1850s-era tale of how an unlicked cub became a Christian gentleman of the sort who would make the British Empire run. While the author, Hughes, leaned on his old headmaster Arnold's muscular Christianity as the basis for what to instill in young minds, a lot of the Victorians saw themselves as basically progressive. This was the high era of the Liberals under Palmerston and Gladstone, who wanted to run an empire for the benefit of the natives, though they often got fuzzy about the details.

    One of my favorite authors is George MacDonald Fraser who wrote the Flashman series as an extended parody on Tom Brown (Flashman being the bully of the school, Draco Malfoy's literary precursor). GMF was a WWII vet (on the Burma front) who loathed mealy-mouthed hypocrisy. So he has Flashman tell how it really was being a hero of empire, burdened with fools who really believed the propaganda, and fools who were just fools, all the while surrounded by bloodthirsty savages who'd just as soon lop off a man's head as eat a hot meal. GMF respected courage, but didn't have any time for idealism that other men would have to pay for in blood.

    I truly hope Rowling gets her GMF in my lifetime. I look forward to hearing Draco's side of the story.

    George McDonald Fraser was super. Obviously the Flashman novels were hilarious as was the premise (that the Flashman papers were accidentally discovered after nearly a hundred years and were currently being annotated by some scholar).

    Re his experiences in Burma: Read “Quartered Safe Out Here” if you have not already.

  44. @Steve Sailer
    Jane Austen novels are shorter than "Tom Jones," which rambles on for 780 pages and then all of sudden every seeming loose end of the plot gets tied up amazingly well in the last 20 pages. So it's kind of tough to teach Fielding's best novel in high school because it's so long but you can't leave anything out.

    So, as you summarize it, Tom Jones bears more than a passing resemblance to Heller’s Catch-22. Which, at around 450 pages, I guess is a bit more manageable…

  45. @kihowi
    Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway. Hobbits are little cartoon versions of the unthreatening, nerdy Englishmen that are the reason that Englishwomen are currently importing millions of vibrant head-choppers. Much of the universe around them is the vomit-inducing Victorian pre-raphaelite view on mythology/the dark ages where already the main attributes of the valiant hero were asexuality, timid self-sacrifice and an ability to mope.

    Now compare that to the Conan stories (even though Howard was gay and couldn't write as well). That's masculine.

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it's impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity. Only with videogames have boys gotten a medium which fits them as well as books fit girls.

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it’s impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity. Only with videogames have boys gotten a medium which fits them as well as books fit girls.

    99 out of 100 of the best writers in any given century disagree with you.

  46. @Ben Kurtz
    I've long maintained that Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice; Sense & Sensibility; various other early 19th century chick-lit) is taught in school mainly because high school English Literature is run by women and caters to girls. Meanwhile, the lion of 18th century English fiction, Henry Fielding (The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling), has long been neglected, despite being more innovative and imaginative and frankly better.

    If this were some recent decision I would put it down to the current fashion to expel stale pale males from the canon deliberately and explicitly. However, this has been going on for so many decades that I think the explanation is more basic and organic: Austen is for girls; Fielding is for boys; since girls have been in charge of K-12 education for nearly the past 50 years they just went with what they liked.

    But no son of mine will be permitted to read volumes of mind-numbing Austen drivel without at least a good side helping of Fielding to even it out.

    Exemplified by the fact we had to chew down Wuthering Heights but Dune is considered “light fiction”.

  47. @AM

    I’ve long maintained that Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice; Sense & Sensibility; various other early 19th century chick-lit)
     
    Look, you can not like Jane Austen, but compared to actual chick-lit of any era, it's quality is head and shoulders above it. It belongs with the greatest in terms of it's observations of life and it's understanding of people.

    Those were some of the only books I ever liked in English literature other than Shakespeare. Usually what's held up as "literature" is a never ending parade of "Angsty guy/gal never adjusts to life, does something stupid and tragic and than half heartedly adjusts or dies."

    The only place you could find marriages as part of the story were in fact in Shakespeare and Austen. You know, like people do in IRL - the realism of the wanna be teenagers of my English Professors were always wanting.

    I have never read Fielding but I assume it is in fact pages of depressing drivel meant to make everyone in the room down a whole bottle Valium to get through to Chapter 10. Or slap the protagonist for being such flipping maroon. I'm sure I'll be quite enlightened by the end if I ever get around to reading it. grin

    Fielding is a hoot… a rollicking good time. You should really read him sometime, particularly before saying anything so ill-informed about his books.

    • Agree: Autochthon
    • Replies: @AM

    Fielding is a hoot… a rollicking good time. You should really read him sometime, particularly before saying anything so ill-informed about his books.
     
    I clearly stated I hadn't read him. Twice. :)

    Considering that the initial post was about Austen and he was "opposite" , I think I can be forgiven in assuming he was one of the those hopelessly antsy authors whose sole purpose in life is apparently to finish manuscripts before his anti-depression meds run out and he's on his 5 or 6th suicide attempt.

    Also, do the jokes really last 800 pages? Cause that's a tall order. I've been burned on books before. A lot.
  48. @kihowi
    Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway. Hobbits are little cartoon versions of the unthreatening, nerdy Englishmen that are the reason that Englishwomen are currently importing millions of vibrant head-choppers. Much of the universe around them is the vomit-inducing Victorian pre-raphaelite view on mythology/the dark ages where already the main attributes of the valiant hero were asexuality, timid self-sacrifice and an ability to mope.

    Now compare that to the Conan stories (even though Howard was gay and couldn't write as well). That's masculine.

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it's impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity. Only with videogames have boys gotten a medium which fits them as well as books fit girls.

    I’d agree with all of this comment, except the line that (hobbits) ‘are the reason that Englishwomen are currently importing millions of vibrant head-choppers’. The idea that women are primarily responsible for immigration is one of the most pernicious/stupid things to have crossed over from the MRA/PUA types IMO. Also this particular formulation of it is miles away from reality.

    Meanwhile comments suggesting immigration should be restricted to females only (preferably attractive ones) are are widely celebrated on blogs/forums, with minimal self-awareness.

    • Agree: whoever
  49. AM says:
    @Anonym
    That’s why stirring up the society and bringing in large numbers of new, open-eyed, and aspiring outsiders is the only way forward for them. They must have more and more ‘diversity’ to avoid irrelevance and contempt.

    A whitopia can continue pretty much indefinitely on the socialism/capitalism continuum, just as Japan has done and will continue to do so. There is no need to bring in non-whites. It makes no sense to do so in the long term. The EU could have been a thousand year Reich, but in historical time it won't last much longer than the third one the way they are going. Already Britain is gone and the Visegrad group are thumbing their nose at the EUdiocy.

    I agree that the current regime relies on monopoly of fighting and force. Already the Muslims prove that it's possible to form independently governed colonies (no-go zones) in such a limp-wristed society. I wonder if whites could do the same - we'd have to "want it more", so to speak. As I understand it, the way it is done is constant harrassment of the organs of government - police and other services. I wonder how these no-go zones get their money. Why does the Swedish government not turn off the welfare spigot?

    A whitopia can continue pretty much indefinitely on the socialism/capitalism continuum, just as Japan has done and will continue to do so.

    No, it can’t in part because whitopia aren’t the Japanese and never will be. If you’d like to pinpoint modern whitopia decay on every front, it is always with the introduction of some form socialism, from communism in Russia to socialism lite in the US.

    Without the struggle to survive, without the feeling that they’re working without a net other than God, whites die spiritually and the rest is only a matter of time.

    Why does the Swedish government not turn off the welfare spigot?

    Because then everything they’ve ever told themselves about the state, it’s ability to protect them, and the relative nature of socialism is untrue. They’ve told themselves that Christianity is stupid, backward, and hateful so all they have left is government worship.

    The spigot will turn off eventually because socialism unstable and all h*ll will break lose. Until then, shutting off the welfare spigot is asking for Sweden to abandon it’s shaky religious and spiritual base, not merely an obvious economic choice.

    • Replies: @Anonym
    No, it can’t in part because whitopia aren’t the Japanese and never will be. If you’d like to pinpoint modern whitopia decay on every front, it is always with the introduction of some form socialism, from communism in Russia to socialism lite in the US.

    Ok, you'd like a white example. Iceland. There aren't many left. The example of Poland, with 20% welfare spending, is an example of socialism. Sad to say, but most countries with better border control were originally behind the Iron Curtain.

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

    You are not going to find many Galt's Gulches around. There are plenty of things where it makes little sense to not go with a government solution. Rather than a strict ideological approach, it makes more sense to go with what works best in a given situation. And I started out as very much a libertarian until my mid twenties, until I saw that a lot of people tend to work naturally according to their degree of competence - just because their employer is governmental does not cause them to be incompetent. And there can be waste and incompetence in the private sector.

  50. @S.P.H.
    We didn't catch the reference in your book's title because knowing anything more about Harry Potter than the words "Harry Potter" is...obedient.

    At this very moment, instead of partaking in yet another The Golden Age Of Television, we're reading a racist blog about golf courses, state-bourgeoisie careerism, old British literature, and how California used to be.

    We're jerks.

    In fairness to Potter, it was a series that became popular (at least at first) by genuine word of mouth enthusiasm. The main elite reaction I remember at the time was that the New York Times created a separate children’s book best seller list to prevent the Potter books from being Number One on the regular fiction list! (I think most reviewers did like it, the cult was built up by genuine enthusiasm of children.)

    • Replies: @Jake
    With a user name like 'Kabala,' I assume that you are aware of the actual reason why Rowling and her filth have been promoted so widely and endlessly: she is an anti-Christ atheist feminist who has done her fair share of dabbling in the Gnostic cesspool that is Kabbalah.

    Al; gnostic groups have a faith in being a secretly born Elite with special powers of at least insight.
  51. AM says:
    @James Kabala
    I forgot probably the most-assigned female-penned book - probably assigned more than most if not all male books as well - To Kill a Mockingbird.

    I forgot probably the most-assigned female-penned book – probably assigned more than most if not all male books as well – To Kill a Mockingbird.

    High school teachers love teaching it because it’s protagonist has lovely, simple worldview and has all the politically correct ideas.

    It’s not really literature — it’s our modern day Uncle Tom’s Cabin. But it’s taught that way.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    High school teachers love teaching it because it’s protagonist has lovely, simple worldview and has all the politically correct ideas.

    The protagonist is a youngster between the ages of 6 and 9. Babbling about her 'worldview' and referring to her accounts of daily life in a small town in south Alabama as imbued with 'politically correct themes' is obtuse with a thoroughness than most of can shoot for only in vain.
  52. @Daniel Chieh
    Tolkien is probably one of the last popular redoubts of premodern thought; I remember reading him and realizing that he was a Luddite and finding it incomprehensible. Why would anyone see technology as corrosive? Why would someone associate use of technology with evil?

    For me, he became an introduction to an entire canon of thought that is pretty much absent these days. Writers are occasionally accused of romanticism, but as of late, I actually haven't found much in that vein released and almost none with any degree of philosophical coherency.

    I remember reading him and realizing that he was a Luddite and finding it incomprehensible. Why would anyone see technology as corrosive? Why would someone associate use of technology with evil?

    Just as total coincidence, Tolkien was a practicing Catholic who preferred Latin Masses I believe. 😉

  53. @AM

    I’ve long maintained that Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice; Sense & Sensibility; various other early 19th century chick-lit)
     
    Look, you can not like Jane Austen, but compared to actual chick-lit of any era, it's quality is head and shoulders above it. It belongs with the greatest in terms of it's observations of life and it's understanding of people.

    Those were some of the only books I ever liked in English literature other than Shakespeare. Usually what's held up as "literature" is a never ending parade of "Angsty guy/gal never adjusts to life, does something stupid and tragic and than half heartedly adjusts or dies."

    The only place you could find marriages as part of the story were in fact in Shakespeare and Austen. You know, like people do in IRL - the realism of the wanna be teenagers of my English Professors were always wanting.

    I have never read Fielding but I assume it is in fact pages of depressing drivel meant to make everyone in the room down a whole bottle Valium to get through to Chapter 10. Or slap the protagonist for being such flipping maroon. I'm sure I'll be quite enlightened by the end if I ever get around to reading it. grin

    The anti-Austen poster was wrong, but now the anti-Fielding poster is wrong also.

    Tom Jones is a comedy. The protagonist is well-meaning but oversexed and has 800 pages of comic adventures. You might want to slap him, but not for being moody or depressed. Also, as Steve notes, the plot is very well-constructed and all the subplots tie up nicely. And marriage is the ultimate goal, even if Tom screws up (pun intended) frequently along the way.

    • Replies: @AM

    Tom Jones is a comedy. The protagonist is well-meaning but oversexed and has 800 pages of comic adventures. You might want to slap him, but not for being moody or depressed.
     
    So it's a young Benny Hill Show (remember that TV show) for 800 pages?

    I'm glad that it sounds like won't make me run screaming to the pharmaceutical counter and in that I'm happy to be wrong. But it doesn't actually sound like it's the counter part to Jane Austen.

    Also 800 pages? Editing. Editing is good.
    , @Sam Haysom
    Yea I don't particular enjoy Austen- but she 100 percent belongs in the canon and conservatives should be doing everything in their power to protect her position there from the women writers the left wants to replace her with.
  54. AM says:
    @James Kabala
    Are Jane Austen books actually taught in school (outside maybe of AP classes)? Modern high school curricula usually seem to be:

    1. Shakespeare
    2. Big, big jump to Dickens (maybe) and Twain (probably - unless there is a strong anti-n-word contingent in town)
    3. Another, smaller jump to the novelists popular in the twentieth century, who are mostly male - Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Orwell, maybe Hemingway still, Salinger. Woolf (female) is beloved by female critics but, like male authors Faulkner and Joyce, would probably be considered too complicated for high school students.
    4. Genre or young adult novels of the present day (sometimes by women) that the teachers include in an attempt to seem cool and up-to-date.

    Faulkner and Joyce, would probably be considered too complicated for high school students.

    Faulkner is complicated but decidedly not worth the trouble either. Shakespeare is worth the trouble of decoding, but modern authors rarely are.

    I remember reading one Faulkner book in high school and thinking he just want to impress me with his vocabulary. The actual story, plot line, and characters fell flat. Great, it took me 2 or 3 times as long to get through a paragraph. So what? Bad editing and thesaurus like brain doesn’t make fabulous writing.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    It's depressing how many people here (I've always like to think Steve's blog is followed by fairly smart people) make the complaint: "My vocabulary is small, and any author whose vocabulary is larger than mine is a bad writer." You had might as well claim Isaac Newton was a poor mathematician because calculus requires difficult operations, or that Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was a lousy composer because "Flight of the Bumblebee" is challenging to perform.

    This outlook is one step removed from the attitude of the antagonists in Revenge of the Nerds.

    (Big wurdz bad; me no lyk buk!)
  55. @kihowi
    Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway. Hobbits are little cartoon versions of the unthreatening, nerdy Englishmen that are the reason that Englishwomen are currently importing millions of vibrant head-choppers. Much of the universe around them is the vomit-inducing Victorian pre-raphaelite view on mythology/the dark ages where already the main attributes of the valiant hero were asexuality, timid self-sacrifice and an ability to mope.

    Now compare that to the Conan stories (even though Howard was gay and couldn't write as well). That's masculine.

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it's impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity. Only with videogames have boys gotten a medium which fits them as well as books fit girls.

    “Howard was gay”

    Good fucking grief. And Shakespear was actually a black woman.

  56. AM says:
    @James Kabala
    The anti-Austen poster was wrong, but now the anti-Fielding poster is wrong also.

    Tom Jones is a comedy. The protagonist is well-meaning but oversexed and has 800 pages of comic adventures. You might want to slap him, but not for being moody or depressed. Also, as Steve notes, the plot is very well-constructed and all the subplots tie up nicely. And marriage is the ultimate goal, even if Tom screws up (pun intended) frequently along the way.

    Tom Jones is a comedy. The protagonist is well-meaning but oversexed and has 800 pages of comic adventures. You might want to slap him, but not for being moody or depressed.

    So it’s a young Benny Hill Show (remember that TV show) for 800 pages?

    I’m glad that it sounds like won’t make me run screaming to the pharmaceutical counter and in that I’m happy to be wrong. But it doesn’t actually sound like it’s the counter part to Jane Austen.

    Also 800 pages? Editing. Editing is good.

  57. @kihowi
    Clearly the function of high school English is still to turn children (especially boys) off reading. It's hazing. Subconsciously teachers feel that only those who have gone through the depression-inducing boredom of those books are allowed to have fun with entertaining books later.

    No, it’s done to turn them off to reading, because when people read for themselves and discover their cultural patrimony, there’s no stopping them, and if enough do it, *poof* goes the cultural Marxism.

  58. @James Kabala
    The anti-Austen poster was wrong, but now the anti-Fielding poster is wrong also.

    Tom Jones is a comedy. The protagonist is well-meaning but oversexed and has 800 pages of comic adventures. You might want to slap him, but not for being moody or depressed. Also, as Steve notes, the plot is very well-constructed and all the subplots tie up nicely. And marriage is the ultimate goal, even if Tom screws up (pun intended) frequently along the way.

    Yea I don’t particular enjoy Austen- but she 100 percent belongs in the canon and conservatives should be doing everything in their power to protect her position there from the women writers the left wants to replace her with.

  59. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)
    Query: Is there literary merit to the several Harry Potter books? Or are they just The Hardy Boys for the Millennial generation?

    Fantasies of magic power always seemed to me to appeal to nerds, weirdos and weaklings - the idea that you can wield great power in the physical world by reading books and using words just so. It probably has a certain appeal to a narrow set of personality types beyond childhood who harbor long-simmering resentments towards the archetypal Quarterback and Homecoming Queen.

    I imagine that these sorts populate the second tier managerial Mandarin ranks in Manhattan/D.C./Silicon Valley. (Second tier, in the sense that they're not the Billionaire titans of our new, gay industries - but then again you can see Gates/Bezos/Cook as would-be wizards). I think this - together with not having a broad survey of English literature from which to draw - explains the attraction of left wing adults to the Harry Potter politics lens.

    Is there literary merit to the several Harry Potter books?

    I would place them above The Hardy Boys, just because they are a little less formulaic. But they are far, far below other sci-fi/fantasy series like The Book of Three, Wizard of Earthsea, and the Tripod Trilogy. For contemporary series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, while it has very simple writing has such a unique style it is worth reading.

  60. One reason a lot of girls might like HP is that Hermoine is by far the smartest person in the book, almost at Mary-Sue levels of competence. Harry is impressive, but Hermoine is a genius who’s keeping s couple years ahead of her classmates by independently reading and studying stuff.

    FWIW, all three of my kids are big HP fans, and my daughter basically learned to enjoy reading because of them.

    • Replies: @AM

    One reason a lot of girls might like HP is that Hermoine is by far the smartest person in the book, almost at Mary-Sue levels of competence. Harry is impressive, but Hermoine is a genius who’s keeping s couple years ahead of her classmates by independently reading and studying stuff.
     
    Hermoine is the girl that many girls wish they could be somehow. Rowling is a good enough writer to not let that be perfection and let the natural neurositism of such a situation shine through.

    On the other hand, by the end of the series, Harry is so flat as a character, the interesting people are actually Ron and Hermoine. It seems like Rowling was shooting for everyman in Harry and got it in spades to the point that he's a little... boring and Ken dollish.

    Meanwhile the ending of the series has a got feminized touch to it. Harry has to be willing to die to save everyone, but like a video game it turns out he's got 2nd life. Huzzah! I don't think many authors can really pull off the that off and have it ring true for everyone, especially the boys. She might have gotten the boys back if Harry actually died and we cut to a ghost scene or something. Or get a real warrior who puts off marriage until well into his 30's after kicking more hiney for a decade or two.

    But instead of that, we get Harry as normal suburban Dad, making sure Hogwarts, a school, is the center of the the universe. Huzzah again (for the girls)! Yeah, by the end it was a romance novel, not an adventure/thriller.
  61. @Tex
    Rowling's main literary model is Tom Brown's Schooldays, an 1850s-era tale of how an unlicked cub became a Christian gentleman of the sort who would make the British Empire run. While the author, Hughes, leaned on his old headmaster Arnold's muscular Christianity as the basis for what to instill in young minds, a lot of the Victorians saw themselves as basically progressive. This was the high era of the Liberals under Palmerston and Gladstone, who wanted to run an empire for the benefit of the natives, though they often got fuzzy about the details.

    One of my favorite authors is George MacDonald Fraser who wrote the Flashman series as an extended parody on Tom Brown (Flashman being the bully of the school, Draco Malfoy's literary precursor). GMF was a WWII vet (on the Burma front) who loathed mealy-mouthed hypocrisy. So he has Flashman tell how it really was being a hero of empire, burdened with fools who really believed the propaganda, and fools who were just fools, all the while surrounded by bloodthirsty savages who'd just as soon lop off a man's head as eat a hot meal. GMF respected courage, but didn't have any time for idealism that other men would have to pay for in blood.

    I truly hope Rowling gets her GMF in my lifetime. I look forward to hearing Draco's side of the story.

    As soon as you mentioned Tom Brown, I was thinking Flashman. Great comment, great ideas.

    Have you read Fraser’s McAuslan stories? Great stuff. his WWII memoir is the best I’ve ever read, too, better than Sledge or Leckie or the Band of Brothers books.

  62. This analysis is not totally wrong, but don’t forget that Rowling is British and so her work has to be understood in the context of the British class system. Yes, modern Britain has a meritocratic elite and elite universities somewhat like those in America, but it’s not quite the same. So analyzing her work through an American lens doesn’t quite work.

  63. @Daniel Chieh
    Tolkien is probably one of the last popular redoubts of premodern thought; I remember reading him and realizing that he was a Luddite and finding it incomprehensible. Why would anyone see technology as corrosive? Why would someone associate use of technology with evil?

    For me, he became an introduction to an entire canon of thought that is pretty much absent these days. Writers are occasionally accused of romanticism, but as of late, I actually haven't found much in that vein released and almost none with any degree of philosophical coherency.

    There was an entire strain of thought that was still around in the 80’s that critiqued technology, urbanization, and most importanlty the homogenization of cultures. The enviro left was huge on it, and had an entire philosophy called bioregionalism to articulate it.

    has utterly disappeared. Read stuff put out by the enviros now where they write articles malicously deconstructing their own positions from three decades ago. They really believe now that the way to go is international, cookie-cutter globoculture

    • Replies: @snorlax
    Obviously there were broader trends working against it, but I think one Ted Kaczynski nipped (or letter-bombed) that line of thinking in the bud.
    , @Daniel Chieh
    Could you recommend some titles on bioregionalism?
  64. @Anon
    Everyone who believes in superior races etc. believes he belongs in it. Very few characters like Eddie in Atlas Shrugged who see themselves as loyal retainers.

    A lot of "Traditionalists" read Evola and think, yeah, let's have a strict Order run by the best, and some of them find out that Evola was "evaluated" by the SS and the chicken-farmer in charge declared him an enemy of the Reich.

    Hey, I grew up on a farm and that’s an insult to chicken farmers. Himmler was an UNSUCCESSFUL chicken farmer.

  65. @AM

    I’ve long maintained that Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice; Sense & Sensibility; various other early 19th century chick-lit)
     
    Look, you can not like Jane Austen, but compared to actual chick-lit of any era, it's quality is head and shoulders above it. It belongs with the greatest in terms of it's observations of life and it's understanding of people.

    Those were some of the only books I ever liked in English literature other than Shakespeare. Usually what's held up as "literature" is a never ending parade of "Angsty guy/gal never adjusts to life, does something stupid and tragic and than half heartedly adjusts or dies."

    The only place you could find marriages as part of the story were in fact in Shakespeare and Austen. You know, like people do in IRL - the realism of the wanna be teenagers of my English Professors were always wanting.

    I have never read Fielding but I assume it is in fact pages of depressing drivel meant to make everyone in the room down a whole bottle Valium to get through to Chapter 10. Or slap the protagonist for being such flipping maroon. I'm sure I'll be quite enlightened by the end if I ever get around to reading it. grin

    Nothing to add to what James Kabala said about Tom Jones, except that it might be the least depressing book ever written. Fielding will make you laugh out loud every few pages.

    Tons of classic English novels feature marriage. I agree that Jane Austen was a genius, but she had a pretty limited range. A later woman writerwho also had amazing insight into people and a much broader scope was George Eliot. I thought she was way beyond Dickens in depth, though not nearly as fun to read. Middlemarch is bloody long. I know I should read The Mill on the Floss, but I kind of doubt I ever will.

    • Replies: @AM

    Fielding will make you laugh out loud every few pages.
     
    Or cause me to throw the book across the room because he's such maroon. That's the other reaction, if it's not really funny, and I mentioned that in my post. :)

    I don't like Bridget Jones (actual modern chick lit, based on Pride and Prejudice) for that reason.

    Gracie Allen's "stupid" character is funny, because Gracie Allen was smart. Really stupid without any vague sense of progress towards smart, not so much.

    later woman writerwho also had amazing insight into people and a much broader scope was George Eliot.
     
    I have not read her either. I have, however, read The Great Awakening by Kate Chopin, which I was told was amazing literature about domestic life.

    I'll give you the plot summary, my way. Unhappy, bored, selfish rich bitch ignores her kids, has an affair, and drowns herself. Sure, it had a happy ending, but we were forced into chapters of endless angst by a woman who, if heaven forbid, had been just a little grateful for everything she had in her life, might have avoid a great deal of pain for everyone, including her family.

    So if George Elliot is "broader" than Jane Austen because she ventures into "Man, I'm rich and bored and my life totally bites" Or "Man, I'm poor, and I'm artist, and nobody understands me and my life totally bites", I'll pass. It's a genre that's been done to the death (Ha!).
    , @AM
    Update (everyone was waiting, I'm sure), I have read George Elliot, at least her short novel, Silas Marner. I apologize for the presumption that it will be pointless, hand wringing angst, although it's usually safe, particularly with modern novels.

    I'm not sure what you mean "broader" in scope than Jane Austen, unless her other novels step outside of the genre of Silas Marnar. It's the same lens of looking at domestic life and seeing what there is to see.
    , @James Kabala
    "It being strictly a history of a boy, it must stop here; the story could not go much further without becoming the history of a man. When one writes a novel about grown people, he knows exactly where to stop—that is, with a marriage; but when he writes of juveniles, he must stop where he best can." - Penultimate paragraph of Tom Sawyer.

    Marriage was a pretty standard ending for a novel in those days, although the previous several hundred pages might not have had as laser-like a focus on that topic as a Austen novel usually does.
  66. The word “muggle” itself is a racial slur. It was originally “mugloid” or “muglo” which in English simply means lacking in magic.

    It’s a bit surprising Rowling gets away with using the word.

    The muglos themselves tried to appropriate the word by using it to refer to each other in their own conversations, as in “what up, muggle” and “muggle please!”

    I expect at some point in the future we will see bowdlerized versions of the Harry Potter novels in which the offensive word ‘muggle’ is replaced with a more acceptable term.

  67. it’s loyalty to a selective school, with an antique pedigree but a modern claim to excellence, an exclusive admissions process but a pleasingly multicultural student body. A school where everybody knows that they belong…

    Which explains the temper tantrums and protesting at Yale, Middlebury, Claremont, et al. Demands at Columbia to be excused from finals after Michael Brown.

    Isn’t one of the great campus complaints about the lack of inclusion–all while coalescing around narrow affinity and identity groups. Aren’t campuses where decrying ‘white privilege’ has gained a strong foothold?

    Douthat swings and misses. Or as Yogi Berra waxed, “In theory, it works in practice, in practice it doesn’t.”

  68. @Art Deco
    Thanks to its technology the West is so overproductive it can afford to waste resources on humanities boondoggles

    Once more with feeling. The distribution of baccalaureate degrees between coarse-grained subjects is as follows:

    0.44%: Area, group, ethnic studies
    2.7%: English language and literature.
    1.1%: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics
    2.4%: General studies and humanities
    2.6%: Multidisciplinary studies
    0.65%: Philosophy and religion
    5.2%: Visual and performing arts

    That sums to 15% of all college graduates, or 6.5% of each age cohort.


    About 100,000 baccalaureate degrees were awarded to blacks at the close of the 2013/14 academic year, distributed as follows:


    1.16%: Area, group, ethnic studies
    4.0%: English language and literature.
    0.9%: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics
    6.6%: General studies and humanities
    5.7%: Multidisciplinary studies
    0.9%: Philosophy and religion
    6.6%: Visual and performing arts

    or about 26% of all bacclaureate degrees awarded blacks, or ~4,5% of each black birth cohort. The excess of these degrees awarded blacks (over and above what it would be if their dispositions and choices were the same as the non-black student body) amount to 14,000 degrees awarded each year, or 14% of all degrees awarded to blacks, 0.75% of all degrees awarded, and 2.3% of a typical black birth cohort. It's a small problem.

    These people cause a disproportionate amount of damage and they contribute little if anything positive, so on the whole they are still a drag on the economy and culture and we would be much better off without them. At the very least we should not be using taxpayer funds to subsidize them. If George Soros wanted to fund them using (non-tax deductible) donations, then fine, but Democrats are always full of “good ideas” that they want to pay for using my hard earned money.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    A humanities degree is generally a labor market signal. These people aren't a drag on the economy unless they're engaged in some rent-extracting operation. As for being 'destructive', try the legal profession, corporate HR, or educational administration, not sales reps who got a humanities degree.
  69. @AM

    I’ve long maintained that Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice; Sense & Sensibility; various other early 19th century chick-lit)
     
    Look, you can not like Jane Austen, but compared to actual chick-lit of any era, it's quality is head and shoulders above it. It belongs with the greatest in terms of it's observations of life and it's understanding of people.

    Those were some of the only books I ever liked in English literature other than Shakespeare. Usually what's held up as "literature" is a never ending parade of "Angsty guy/gal never adjusts to life, does something stupid and tragic and than half heartedly adjusts or dies."

    The only place you could find marriages as part of the story were in fact in Shakespeare and Austen. You know, like people do in IRL - the realism of the wanna be teenagers of my English Professors were always wanting.

    I have never read Fielding but I assume it is in fact pages of depressing drivel meant to make everyone in the room down a whole bottle Valium to get through to Chapter 10. Or slap the protagonist for being such flipping maroon. I'm sure I'll be quite enlightened by the end if I ever get around to reading it. grin

    I say that anyone who cannot finish, with rounds of laughter, both Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy should be ignored on most subjects.

    Jane Austen has always been the novelist of girls and gay guys who like to present non-gayness for the most part. Yes, she is worlds above the ‘damned mob of scribbling women’ and their even worse successors. But she remains effeminizing if swallowed by young males in too large a dose.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Jane Austen was always the writer's writer, recommended by the big time pros like Dickens as the professional that aspiring professional writers should study.
    , @AM

    Jane Austen has always been the novelist of girls and gay guys who like to present non-gayness for the most part
     
    Yeah, BS. Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice in her early 20's. She understood more about people then than it appears the average person sees about humanity in a lifetime.

    Sorry that it's about domestic situations and family life, an area she knew well. It's not Treasure Island, which is another surprisingly good book, but it's subject matter that's difficult to make a good story out of and she does, for the most part.


    I say that anyone who cannot finish, with rounds of laughter, both Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy should be ignored on most subjects.
     
    I say that anyone who can't see pure genius in the characterizations and observations of Jane Austen should be ignored on most subjects.
  70. @Anon
    Everyone who believes in superior races etc. believes he belongs in it. Very few characters like Eddie in Atlas Shrugged who see themselves as loyal retainers.

    A lot of "Traditionalists" read Evola and think, yeah, let's have a strict Order run by the best, and some of them find out that Evola was "evaluated" by the SS and the chicken-farmer in charge declared him an enemy of the Reich.

    I’m pretty happy for being in a system of order without having to be on the top of it, actually. Stability is pretty nice, you know.

    Anyway, from what I read of Evola, he really didn’t care so much about the best. He argued against aristocracy being judged by the results of their policy. Essentially he just felt that the structure needs to exist and accepted, on faith, as unquestioningly as possible, because it enables other virtues he felt were worthy.

  71. AM says:
    @NOTA
    One reason a lot of girls might like HP is that Hermoine is by far the smartest person in the book, almost at Mary-Sue levels of competence. Harry is impressive, but Hermoine is a genius who's keeping s couple years ahead of her classmates by independently reading and studying stuff.

    FWIW, all three of my kids are big HP fans, and my daughter basically learned to enjoy reading because of them.

    One reason a lot of girls might like HP is that Hermoine is by far the smartest person in the book, almost at Mary-Sue levels of competence. Harry is impressive, but Hermoine is a genius who’s keeping s couple years ahead of her classmates by independently reading and studying stuff.

    Hermoine is the girl that many girls wish they could be somehow. Rowling is a good enough writer to not let that be perfection and let the natural neurositism of such a situation shine through.

    On the other hand, by the end of the series, Harry is so flat as a character, the interesting people are actually Ron and Hermoine. It seems like Rowling was shooting for everyman in Harry and got it in spades to the point that he’s a little… boring and Ken dollish.

    Meanwhile the ending of the series has a got feminized touch to it. Harry has to be willing to die to save everyone, but like a video game it turns out he’s got 2nd life. Huzzah! I don’t think many authors can really pull off the that off and have it ring true for everyone, especially the boys. She might have gotten the boys back if Harry actually died and we cut to a ghost scene or something. Or get a real warrior who puts off marriage until well into his 30’s after kicking more hiney for a decade or two.

    But instead of that, we get Harry as normal suburban Dad, making sure Hogwarts, a school, is the center of the the universe. Huzzah again (for the girls)! Yeah, by the end it was a romance novel, not an adventure/thriller.

    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
    I thought Neville decapitating a snake after pulling out Gryffindor's sword and becoming a conquering hero only for him to decide "muh plants" was pretty emblematic of how women can't write men generally.
    , @ANon
    If you actually read thousands of pages of "Harry Potter" you don't get to complain about Fielding or Sterne being too long.

    Now, the "Grand Cyrus" of Scuderi, on the other hand...
  72. @James Kabala
    In fairness to Potter, it was a series that became popular (at least at first) by genuine word of mouth enthusiasm. The main elite reaction I remember at the time was that the New York Times created a separate children's book best seller list to prevent the Potter books from being Number One on the regular fiction list! (I think most reviewers did like it, the cult was built up by genuine enthusiasm of children.)

    With a user name like ‘Kabala,’ I assume that you are aware of the actual reason why Rowling and her filth have been promoted so widely and endlessly: she is an anti-Christ atheist feminist who has done her fair share of dabbling in the Gnostic cesspool that is Kabbalah.

    Al; gnostic groups have a faith in being a secretly born Elite with special powers of at least insight.

  73. @Romanian
    It's a good post, but the Half Blood Prince was Voldemort himself, not Severus Snape. I believe the latter was full wizard. The former was the product of a witch's love potion, if I remember correctly!

    Ackshually, the Half Blood Prince is indeed Severus Snape. The eponymous “Prince” is the former owner of Harry’s used potions textbook, revealed to be Snape towards the end of the novel. (Though of course the title “Half Blood Prince” would be arguably appropriate for Potter or Voldemort.)

    • Replies: @Romanian
    I stand corrected. Mea culpa!
  74. I get the impression that being hetero/cis is also muggle-ish.

  75. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)
    Query: Is there literary merit to the several Harry Potter books? Or are they just The Hardy Boys for the Millennial generation?

    Fantasies of magic power always seemed to me to appeal to nerds, weirdos and weaklings - the idea that you can wield great power in the physical world by reading books and using words just so. It probably has a certain appeal to a narrow set of personality types beyond childhood who harbor long-simmering resentments towards the archetypal Quarterback and Homecoming Queen.

    I imagine that these sorts populate the second tier managerial Mandarin ranks in Manhattan/D.C./Silicon Valley. (Second tier, in the sense that they're not the Billionaire titans of our new, gay industries - but then again you can see Gates/Bezos/Cook as would-be wizards). I think this - together with not having a broad survey of English literature from which to draw - explains the attraction of left wing adults to the Harry Potter politics lens.

    They were fun – at least the beginning ones? There’s a certain real sense of charm to them much like an extended and more fully realized modern fairy tale. I wouldn’t say that it just appealed to a bitter segment; the notion of being pretty ordinary and then discovering that you’re actually special is a common trope. Even The Hobbit indulged in that too, with the ordinary life of Bilbo Baggins interrupted and suddenly given purpose with no great contribution from him beyond his “queer, unhobbity sense of adventure.”

    But yes, after awhile, there was something overall hollow to the worldbuilding, especially to the people. Tolkien’s characters feel rich and complex; even the detestable, such as the Uruk-hai demonstrate moments of valor and soldiery courage, while the superior Elves are afflicted with a wistful sadness and there’s just this overall sense of underlying beauty that can only really come from a writer that felt that there was, indeed, a greater plan for the world and really wanted to communicate it.

    Missing that, most of modern writing can be cute and fun, but ultimately, tends to feel very soulless. In sum: you have tales of great Nations of Men who fell and became sad corsairs for their arrogance in Tolkien; you get tales of booger-flavored jellybeans in Harry Potter.

    • Agree: AM, Mikey Darmody
    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
    Part of it was it was so starkly black and white: Gryffindor et al were the Golden Guardians of Good and the Death Eaters/Slytherin were there to eat curses.

    AFAIK there were two Slytherin who had positive qualities: Snape and Slughorn. I thought Slughorn had potential to be an amazing character, but seeing as he was brought in Book 6 or so, he got lost in the rising action.

    Giving the other side a motivation beyond what motivated COBRA on Saturday mornings was just a bridge too far I guess.

  76. @Steve Sailer
    Jane Austen novels are shorter than "Tom Jones," which rambles on for 780 pages and then all of sudden every seeming loose end of the plot gets tied up amazingly well in the last 20 pages. So it's kind of tough to teach Fielding's best novel in high school because it's so long but you can't leave anything out.

    Jane Austen novels are shorter than “Tom Jones,” which rambles on for 780 pages and then all of sudden every seeming loose end of the plot gets tied up amazingly well in the last 20 pages. So it’s kind of tough to teach Fielding’s best novel in high school because it’s so long but you can’t leave anything out.

    Yeah. Length is a critical factor when you are writing a lit syllabus. Lots of great works (Moby-Dick, War and Peace, Middlemarch, Clarissa, etc) are just too long. That’s one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It’s really good and quite brief.

    • Replies: @keypusher
    Yes, if I was a serious writer who usually wrote bricks and I was striving for immortality I'd try to write at least one short novel. As long as kids need to write English papers, Ethan Frome will remain in the canon.
    , @Ben Kurtz
    Don’t get me started on Moby-Dick! Right up there next to the Bible.

    The essence of human wisdom distilled into one line:

    “For with little external to constrain us, the innermost necessities in our being, these still drive us on.”

    Ch. 36.
    , @whorefinder

    That’s one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It’s really good
     
    The Great Gatsby is not a good book. It was a failure when it first came out, and was derided as Fitzgerald's worst work. As Steve has pointed out, its popularity was largely helped out when it was passed out to American GIs during WW2 as reading material during down times. It's quite pedantic and boring, and it's metaphors/symbolism are trite compared to truly great works of writing. (I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school, as the book made no attempt to connect with anyone outside of those people in connection with 1920s Long Island high society).

    But there's another reason Gatsby became popular in school, and it's quite ironic: Jewish control of The Megaphone.

    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward: he's a poor boy con artist/bootlegger striving to become old money and take his shiksa, er, old money love Daisy. He changed his name to fit in and came from a far away place to make his fortune in New York. He's big on jazz parties and having a big house and lots of expensive signs of making it, but doesn't enjoy them. Heck, he even does his bootlegging with a Jewish gangster. He doesn't feel worthy of being there even when he deflowers Daisy.

    Jews see a lot of Jay Gatsby in themselves, given his outsider status, black market dealings, name changing, desire for shiksas, etc. Since they have gotten more control of the Megaphone, they've pushed it into the stratosphere (as I pointed out they did to Philip Roth in general, such as Portnoy's Complaint and Goodbye, Columbus).

    I say this is ironic because Fitzgerald was notorious for his pro-white, pro-masculine, pro-Christian views---"muscular Christianity". He didn't like whites mixing with non-whites, and was highly critical of Jews. But Gatsby the character speaks to a lot of Jews.
    , @guest
    Length is probably the primary concern. Here are the kind of novels I remember reading in high school: Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, Huckleberry Finn, Lord of the Flies.

    The other big concern is that the teachers have something to explain. Can't have kids enjoying stories straightforwardly; must be symbols, allegories, and social relevance. All the above gots those, too.
  77. In case anyone was curious, a link from Steve more-or-less matches a link from Ross in terms of blog traffic, and is much higher in terms of total pages read. That’s probably partly because iSteve readers are more willing to click on a link than NYT readers, but it’s still pretty surprising to me.

  78. @Art Deco
    Not a particularly feminine story, IIRC. The characters were drawn largely from life and the narrator, while female, is notable for her lack of femininity, lack of female friends, and her preference for adult men over adult women.

    She also adores her brave and wise father and, conveniently for her, there is no pesky mother she need compete with for his attention and affection. I suppose when she grew up she drove a Buick Electra.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    She also adores her brave and wise father

    In order to be 'real literature', I suppose the character must despise her father.



    and, conveniently for her, there is no pesky mother she need compete with for his attention and affection.

    Her brother and aunt were also in residence. It's set in 1935. The youngsters portrayed are low-maintenance.
  79. @kihowi
    Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway. Hobbits are little cartoon versions of the unthreatening, nerdy Englishmen that are the reason that Englishwomen are currently importing millions of vibrant head-choppers. Much of the universe around them is the vomit-inducing Victorian pre-raphaelite view on mythology/the dark ages where already the main attributes of the valiant hero were asexuality, timid self-sacrifice and an ability to mope.

    Now compare that to the Conan stories (even though Howard was gay and couldn't write as well). That's masculine.

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it's impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity. Only with videogames have boys gotten a medium which fits them as well as books fit girls.

    “where already the main attributes of the valiant hero were asexuality, timid self-sacrifice and an ability to mope”

    Aragorn son of Arathorn, not to mention the Lady Arwen, beg to differ. If Aragorn has a model, it’s Lancelot or Gawaine, neither one a slouch with the ladies.

    “Hobbits are little cartoon versions of the unthreatening, nerdy Englishmen”

    They’re little cartoon versions of the rustics Tolkien would meet as he walked and cycled through what was then rural Worcestershire, the same people who fought and died alongside him in WWI, “the plain soldier from the agricultural counties”.

    “Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway”

    Have you actually read the books?

    “One has indeed personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression; but as the years go by it seems now often forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead.”

  80. @syonredux

    Jane Austen novels are shorter than “Tom Jones,” which rambles on for 780 pages and then all of sudden every seeming loose end of the plot gets tied up amazingly well in the last 20 pages. So it’s kind of tough to teach Fielding’s best novel in high school because it’s so long but you can’t leave anything out.
     
    Yeah. Length is a critical factor when you are writing a lit syllabus. Lots of great works (Moby-Dick, War and Peace, Middlemarch, Clarissa, etc) are just too long. That's one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It's really good and quite brief.

    Yes, if I was a serious writer who usually wrote bricks and I was striving for immortality I’d try to write at least one short novel. As long as kids need to write English papers, Ethan Frome will remain in the canon.

  81. I’m very happy to say I’ve never read any of the Potter books nor seen any of the movies.

    I have read and seen all of the LOTR books/movies.

    Have also read and seen all of the Narnia books/movies.

  82. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)
    Query: Is there literary merit to the several Harry Potter books? Or are they just The Hardy Boys for the Millennial generation?

    Fantasies of magic power always seemed to me to appeal to nerds, weirdos and weaklings - the idea that you can wield great power in the physical world by reading books and using words just so. It probably has a certain appeal to a narrow set of personality types beyond childhood who harbor long-simmering resentments towards the archetypal Quarterback and Homecoming Queen.

    I imagine that these sorts populate the second tier managerial Mandarin ranks in Manhattan/D.C./Silicon Valley. (Second tier, in the sense that they're not the Billionaire titans of our new, gay industries - but then again you can see Gates/Bezos/Cook as would-be wizards). I think this - together with not having a broad survey of English literature from which to draw - explains the attraction of left wing adults to the Harry Potter politics lens.

    They’re fun, exciting reads for children/teenagers, and Rowling is a talent quite a few cuts above whichever Hardy Boys hack. Despite their popularity among leftists and Rowling’s Twitter antics, political themes are subtle-to-nonexistent, and as Spotted Toad points out, given the whitopia boarding school setting, in many ways borderline-reactionary.

    But they are children’s books, not some kind of high art. Their enduring popularity is mostly because “well-written children’s book” is about the limit for comfortable reading comprehension among the broad middle of the bell curve.

    • Replies: @Anonym
    They’re fun, exciting reads for children/teenagers, and Rowling is a talent quite a few cuts above whichever Hardy Boys hack.

    I liked The Hardy Boys books. Similar to Doctor Who, just because they farm the brand out to multiple authors, doesn't mean there aren't some good stories amongst them.

    Glancing at Amazon, 4.6 and 4.5 is very respectable, and the occasional 4.7 is excellent. Doctor Who anthologies also get 4.6 or so. They were popular books for a reason.

  83. @Tex
    Rowling's main literary model is Tom Brown's Schooldays, an 1850s-era tale of how an unlicked cub became a Christian gentleman of the sort who would make the British Empire run. While the author, Hughes, leaned on his old headmaster Arnold's muscular Christianity as the basis for what to instill in young minds, a lot of the Victorians saw themselves as basically progressive. This was the high era of the Liberals under Palmerston and Gladstone, who wanted to run an empire for the benefit of the natives, though they often got fuzzy about the details.

    One of my favorite authors is George MacDonald Fraser who wrote the Flashman series as an extended parody on Tom Brown (Flashman being the bully of the school, Draco Malfoy's literary precursor). GMF was a WWII vet (on the Burma front) who loathed mealy-mouthed hypocrisy. So he has Flashman tell how it really was being a hero of empire, burdened with fools who really believed the propaganda, and fools who were just fools, all the while surrounded by bloodthirsty savages who'd just as soon lop off a man's head as eat a hot meal. GMF respected courage, but didn't have any time for idealism that other men would have to pay for in blood.

    I truly hope Rowling gets her GMF in my lifetime. I look forward to hearing Draco's side of the story.

    I too love the Flashman series. I’ve read them all. I found them in the library of the university where I worked.
    I also love Austen, not for the love stories that always end in marriage but for Austen’s truly vicious wit and sarcasm. First Austen I read was Mansfield Park. I was 13. That book is very sarcastic. Austen makes fun about the meddling Aunt Norris, the totally lazy Lady Bertram and the perfect father Sir Thomas who doesn’t notice that a visitor is trying very hard to seduce his daughters.

    The best chapter in Austen is the one in which Fanny Dashwood convinces her husband to keep his sister’s inheritance for themselves.

    But the Hobbit, the best book I’ve ever read. I fell in love with macho man Aragorn, not the hobbits.

    But the best series is MacDonalds Flashman. Never liked Dickens much although I’ve read most of them. There’s just too much goody goody in Dickens.

  84. I recommend you read this short paper from UT law school. “Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Bureaucracy.”

    http://www.law.leeds.ac.uk/assets/files/events/barton-harry-potter.pdf

    Rowling may be a billionaire socialist, but her books can be read as a critique of the state. Some readers may learn to distrust authority from reading Harry Potter.

  85. My literary lens to the modern world is the works of H.P. Lovecraft, especially the Cthulhoid stories.

    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican, @cthulhu
    Cthulhu for President! This time, why settle for a lesser evil!

    I too love Lovecraft's work, especially The Call of Cthulhu, The Shadow Out of Time, and At the Mountains of Madness. Somebody needs to force Guillermo del Toro to get off his ass and finally make his film adaptation of the latter.
  86. The Potter books are reasonably well-written, but they’re not very complex or sophisticated.

    Social trends which expand rapidly must have very low barriers to entry – if they don’t appeal to the least common factors among people, if they exclude potential carriers by demanding too much of them, they can’t spread fast enough.

    I’ve read plenty of children’s books which were at least as good as the Potters and arguably better. But they asked more from their readers than Rowling did.

  87. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Art Deco
    Thanks to its technology the West is so overproductive it can afford to waste resources on humanities boondoggles

    Once more with feeling. The distribution of baccalaureate degrees between coarse-grained subjects is as follows:

    0.44%: Area, group, ethnic studies
    2.7%: English language and literature.
    1.1%: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics
    2.4%: General studies and humanities
    2.6%: Multidisciplinary studies
    0.65%: Philosophy and religion
    5.2%: Visual and performing arts

    That sums to 15% of all college graduates, or 6.5% of each age cohort.


    About 100,000 baccalaureate degrees were awarded to blacks at the close of the 2013/14 academic year, distributed as follows:


    1.16%: Area, group, ethnic studies
    4.0%: English language and literature.
    0.9%: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics
    6.6%: General studies and humanities
    5.7%: Multidisciplinary studies
    0.9%: Philosophy and religion
    6.6%: Visual and performing arts

    or about 26% of all bacclaureate degrees awarded blacks, or ~4,5% of each black birth cohort. The excess of these degrees awarded blacks (over and above what it would be if their dispositions and choices were the same as the non-black student body) amount to 14,000 degrees awarded each year, or 14% of all degrees awarded to blacks, 0.75% of all degrees awarded, and 2.3% of a typical black birth cohort. It's a small problem.

    Good numbers, but the boondoggle is the 15%, plus history, sociology, anthropology, etc., (https://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/media/shiftingmajors.png) minus all the segments of these disciplines that haven’t been cult-marxed beyond recognition. We could all be worker bee drones (what are the breakdowns in China?) but for privilege to justify itself it needs the patina of a Diverse elite, and social justice and social-justicizing degrees are where we’ll get it. So far so good. But by its own logic the academy is relevant insofar as it critiques non-meritocratic privilege; since it itself is increasingly made up of raw self-justifying status, and hijacking rather than demolishing existing privilege-bestowing institutions, it must look elsewhere to slay dragons. How long before we feel its effects on technocracy?

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Good numbers, but the boondoggle is the 15%, plus history, sociology, anthropology, etc.,

    A large slice of sociology is quantitative. A grand total of 0.6% of all baccalaureate degrees are awarded in anthropology. That a venerable discipline like history is considered a 'boondoggle' is testament to the degree to which vulgarity is mistaken for perspicacity hereabouts.

  88. @syonredux

    Jane Austen novels are shorter than “Tom Jones,” which rambles on for 780 pages and then all of sudden every seeming loose end of the plot gets tied up amazingly well in the last 20 pages. So it’s kind of tough to teach Fielding’s best novel in high school because it’s so long but you can’t leave anything out.
     
    Yeah. Length is a critical factor when you are writing a lit syllabus. Lots of great works (Moby-Dick, War and Peace, Middlemarch, Clarissa, etc) are just too long. That's one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It's really good and quite brief.

    Don’t get me started on Moby-Dick! Right up there next to the Bible.

    The essence of human wisdom distilled into one line:

    “For with little external to constrain us, the innermost necessities in our being, these still drive us on.”

    Ch. 36.

    • Agree: slumber_j
  89. @Jake
    I say that anyone who cannot finish, with rounds of laughter, both Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy should be ignored on most subjects.

    Jane Austen has always been the novelist of girls and gay guys who like to present non-gayness for the most part. Yes, she is worlds above the 'damned mob of scribbling women' and their even worse successors. But she remains effeminizing if swallowed by young males in too large a dose.

    Jane Austen was always the writer’s writer, recommended by the big time pros like Dickens as the professional that aspiring professional writers should study.

  90. Why? Mostly, I think, because J.K. is a girl and J.R.R. was a boy. In the very long run, sex will tell.

    It’s amazingly easy to tell the sex of the author, regardless of how they obscure it (nearly every “Alex” who writes popular fiction is female), and even when they’re writing a story that boys would find interesting. Very few women have a clue regarding what goes on in a man’s head, and their male characters tend to think like women. My theory is it’s because until a woman is 35 or so it doesn’t really matter what men think – she can get whatever she wants from them.

    Rowling is a prime example of someone who can do one thing that requires a relatively high IQ very well, but seems to be a veritable moron when it comes to everything else.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Jay McInerney's "Story of My Life" from about 1990 is an underrated attempt by a male author to get inside the head of a very female character, modeled on McInerney's ex-girlfriend who became VP candidate John Edwards' secret baby momma years later.
    , @guest
    On another thread people were claiming the heroes of Ayn Rand as autistic. She seems to me able to get inside the heads of men better than the average woman writer,* despite the imputation of neurological abnormality. (Are autistes more likely to be male? I wouldn't know.)

    That being said, you can easily tell her sex. Her heroes are always described on the basis of what gives her the tingles, and all the right female characters share her tingles.

    *Women generally write great male characters better than men write great female characters, but that's probably because males generally make for better characters, even in girlier genres.

    , @Autochthon
    The simplest tell of the author's sex in this case as in most is the intellectual rigor of the material, because the most ingenius men are far more ingenius than the most ingenius women (and, of course only the ingenius write timeless literature).

    Tolkien's opus reflects mastery of multiple languages (offhand, I can think of Latin, Greek, German, French, Welsh, Finnish, and English – ancient and modern varieties); mythologies; religon; etc. They reflect the experiences of a horrifying war in which literally all of his friends died. They reflect his own work to raise four children in an upright way and a lifetime which saw greater upheaval than perhaps any before or since (with the introduction of aeroplanes, automobiles, telephones, etc.).

    Rowling's works reflect the twee musings of an unemployed, childless, not particularly well educated divorceé collecting welfare.

    It shows.
  91. AM says:
    @Ben Kurtz
    Fielding is a hoot... a rollicking good time. You should really read him sometime, particularly before saying anything so ill-informed about his books.

    Fielding is a hoot… a rollicking good time. You should really read him sometime, particularly before saying anything so ill-informed about his books.

    I clearly stated I hadn’t read him. Twice. 🙂

    Considering that the initial post was about Austen and he was “opposite” , I think I can be forgiven in assuming he was one of the those hopelessly antsy authors whose sole purpose in life is apparently to finish manuscripts before his anti-depression meds run out and he’s on his 5 or 6th suicide attempt.

    Also, do the jokes really last 800 pages? Cause that’s a tall order. I’ve been burned on books before. A lot.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "Tom Jones" is one of the great books in the English language. There had been novels before, but after "Tom Jones" the novel stayed invented.
  92. @AM

    One reason a lot of girls might like HP is that Hermoine is by far the smartest person in the book, almost at Mary-Sue levels of competence. Harry is impressive, but Hermoine is a genius who’s keeping s couple years ahead of her classmates by independently reading and studying stuff.
     
    Hermoine is the girl that many girls wish they could be somehow. Rowling is a good enough writer to not let that be perfection and let the natural neurositism of such a situation shine through.

    On the other hand, by the end of the series, Harry is so flat as a character, the interesting people are actually Ron and Hermoine. It seems like Rowling was shooting for everyman in Harry and got it in spades to the point that he's a little... boring and Ken dollish.

    Meanwhile the ending of the series has a got feminized touch to it. Harry has to be willing to die to save everyone, but like a video game it turns out he's got 2nd life. Huzzah! I don't think many authors can really pull off the that off and have it ring true for everyone, especially the boys. She might have gotten the boys back if Harry actually died and we cut to a ghost scene or something. Or get a real warrior who puts off marriage until well into his 30's after kicking more hiney for a decade or two.

    But instead of that, we get Harry as normal suburban Dad, making sure Hogwarts, a school, is the center of the the universe. Huzzah again (for the girls)! Yeah, by the end it was a romance novel, not an adventure/thriller.

    I thought Neville decapitating a snake after pulling out Gryffindor’s sword and becoming a conquering hero only for him to decide “muh plants” was pretty emblematic of how women can’t write men generally.

  93. @Tex
    Rowling's main literary model is Tom Brown's Schooldays, an 1850s-era tale of how an unlicked cub became a Christian gentleman of the sort who would make the British Empire run. While the author, Hughes, leaned on his old headmaster Arnold's muscular Christianity as the basis for what to instill in young minds, a lot of the Victorians saw themselves as basically progressive. This was the high era of the Liberals under Palmerston and Gladstone, who wanted to run an empire for the benefit of the natives, though they often got fuzzy about the details.

    One of my favorite authors is George MacDonald Fraser who wrote the Flashman series as an extended parody on Tom Brown (Flashman being the bully of the school, Draco Malfoy's literary precursor). GMF was a WWII vet (on the Burma front) who loathed mealy-mouthed hypocrisy. So he has Flashman tell how it really was being a hero of empire, burdened with fools who really believed the propaganda, and fools who were just fools, all the while surrounded by bloodthirsty savages who'd just as soon lop off a man's head as eat a hot meal. GMF respected courage, but didn't have any time for idealism that other men would have to pay for in blood.

    I truly hope Rowling gets her GMF in my lifetime. I look forward to hearing Draco's side of the story.

    One of my favorite authors is George MacDonald Fraser who wrote the Flashman series as an extended parody on Tom Brown (Flashman being the bully of the school, Draco Malfoy’s literary precursor). GMF was a WWII vet (on the Burma front) who loathed mealy-mouthed hypocrisy. So he has Flashman tell how it really was being a hero of empire

    In a different genre, but speaking of telling how it really was, The Last Ringbearer is a great take on The Lord of the Rings, which turns out to have been a work of propaganda. In reality, Mordor and orcs are the good guys, on the side of science and technological progress. Gandalf and the elves are stasis-favoring genocidal fascists. I love Tolkien, but also really enjoyed biologist and paleontologist Kirill Eskov’s contrary view, which feels like a Russian takedown of our Western/British pieties, and makes a pretty good spy story too. First heard of the book on Karlin’s blog here on unz.

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

    • Replies: @27 year old
    That's awesome. And also, extremely Russian. Thanks for posting.
  94. @Daniel Chieh
    They were fun - at least the beginning ones? There's a certain real sense of charm to them much like an extended and more fully realized modern fairy tale. I wouldn't say that it just appealed to a bitter segment; the notion of being pretty ordinary and then discovering that you're actually special is a common trope. Even The Hobbit indulged in that too, with the ordinary life of Bilbo Baggins interrupted and suddenly given purpose with no great contribution from him beyond his "queer, unhobbity sense of adventure."

    But yes, after awhile, there was something overall hollow to the worldbuilding, especially to the people. Tolkien's characters feel rich and complex; even the detestable, such as the Uruk-hai demonstrate moments of valor and soldiery courage, while the superior Elves are afflicted with a wistful sadness and there's just this overall sense of underlying beauty that can only really come from a writer that felt that there was, indeed, a greater plan for the world and really wanted to communicate it.

    Missing that, most of modern writing can be cute and fun, but ultimately, tends to feel very soulless. In sum: you have tales of great Nations of Men who fell and became sad corsairs for their arrogance in Tolkien; you get tales of booger-flavored jellybeans in Harry Potter.

    Part of it was it was so starkly black and white: Gryffindor et al were the Golden Guardians of Good and the Death Eaters/Slytherin were there to eat curses.

    AFAIK there were two Slytherin who had positive qualities: Snape and Slughorn. I thought Slughorn had potential to be an amazing character, but seeing as he was brought in Book 6 or so, he got lost in the rising action.

    Giving the other side a motivation beyond what motivated COBRA on Saturday mornings was just a bridge too far I guess.

  95. AM says:
    @Jake
    I say that anyone who cannot finish, with rounds of laughter, both Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy should be ignored on most subjects.

    Jane Austen has always been the novelist of girls and gay guys who like to present non-gayness for the most part. Yes, she is worlds above the 'damned mob of scribbling women' and their even worse successors. But she remains effeminizing if swallowed by young males in too large a dose.

    Jane Austen has always been the novelist of girls and gay guys who like to present non-gayness for the most part

    Yeah, BS. Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice in her early 20’s. She understood more about people then than it appears the average person sees about humanity in a lifetime.

    Sorry that it’s about domestic situations and family life, an area she knew well. It’s not Treasure Island, which is another surprisingly good book, but it’s subject matter that’s difficult to make a good story out of and she does, for the most part.

    I say that anyone who cannot finish, with rounds of laughter, both Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy should be ignored on most subjects.

    I say that anyone who can’t see pure genius in the characterizations and observations of Jane Austen should be ignored on most subjects.

    • Replies: @vinteuil
    "She understood more about people then than it appears the average person sees about humanity in a lifetime."

    Yes. This.

    And Darcy's rejected proposal scene in Pride & Prejudice ranks with Achilles confrontation with Odysseus in Iliad IX. Literary art doesn't get any greater than this.
  96. Never read the books. Saw the first two movies which were good. After that? Borrrringggg! Kid stuff. This Rowling woman couldn’t shine Tolkien’s shoes.

  97. @the Supreme Gentleman
    Ackshually, the Half Blood Prince is indeed Severus Snape. The eponymous "Prince" is the former owner of Harry's used potions textbook, revealed to be Snape towards the end of the novel. (Though of course the title "Half Blood Prince" would be arguably appropriate for Potter or Voldemort.)

    I stand corrected. Mea culpa!

  98. Despite how much I really wanted to like the Harry Potter movies (never read the books), I found them only mildly entertaining. Part of that is the fact that at some point in my life, I grew weary of reading fiction and watching TV, but also I just found the characters and their relationships with each other to be dull and disappointing – a problem that got worse with each movie. The first four were ok as childrens’ fantasy flicks, but the remainer were a labor to sit through. Maybe a lot of boys felt the same way and tuned out as the series dragged on.

    Hermione and Ron had no chemistry whatsoever, and Harry’s love interest, Ron’s sister Ginny, was never anything more than a two dimensional supporting character, at least in the films. Herminone and Ron had so many false starts that by the time they actually become a couple, I just didn’t give a shit anymore; there was the time she reached for his hand and then pulled away, the time she got mad at him for not asking her to the ball, etc. I conjecture that the cast was tired of each other by the time it was all over with, and that was reflected in their rather flacid on-screen relationships.

    Also, being a wizard would be dangerous. Seeing as how their magic doesn’t make them invulnerable or potentially immortal, I think I’d rather be a muggle, thank you very much.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The only romantic chemistry on screen was between Harry and that spacey hippie chick Luna Moon or whatever her name was, but the movie makers couldn't run with that because they had to stick with the books.

    In other movie franchises, they can play around more and see what audiences like. For example, in Marvel, they're reintroducing Spider-Man and his relatives, except now his Aunt May is no longer about 80, she's instead the very frisky, age-immune Marisa Tomei, and the filmmakers seem to want to see if there is public interest in her and Tony Stark getting together.

  99. AM says:
    @keypusher
    Nothing to add to what James Kabala said about Tom Jones, except that it might be the least depressing book ever written. Fielding will make you laugh out loud every few pages.

    Tons of classic English novels feature marriage. I agree that Jane Austen was a genius, but she had a pretty limited range. A later woman writerwho also had amazing insight into people and a much broader scope was George Eliot. I thought she was way beyond Dickens in depth, though not nearly as fun to read. Middlemarch is bloody long. I know I should read The Mill on the Floss, but I kind of doubt I ever will.

    Fielding will make you laugh out loud every few pages.

    Or cause me to throw the book across the room because he’s such maroon. That’s the other reaction, if it’s not really funny, and I mentioned that in my post. 🙂

    I don’t like Bridget Jones (actual modern chick lit, based on Pride and Prejudice) for that reason.

    Gracie Allen’s “stupid” character is funny, because Gracie Allen was smart. Really stupid without any vague sense of progress towards smart, not so much.

    later woman writerwho also had amazing insight into people and a much broader scope was George Eliot.

    I have not read her either. I have, however, read The Great Awakening by Kate Chopin, which I was told was amazing literature about domestic life.

    I’ll give you the plot summary, my way. Unhappy, bored, selfish rich bitch ignores her kids, has an affair, and drowns herself. Sure, it had a happy ending, but we were forced into chapters of endless angst by a woman who, if heaven forbid, had been just a little grateful for everything she had in her life, might have avoid a great deal of pain for everyone, including her family.

    So if George Elliot is “broader” than Jane Austen because she ventures into “Man, I’m rich and bored and my life totally bites” Or “Man, I’m poor, and I’m artist, and nobody understands me and my life totally bites”, I’ll pass. It’s a genre that’s been done to the death (Ha!).

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I don’t like Bridget Jones (actual modern chick lit, based on Pride and Prejudice) for that reason.

    There's some Tom Jones as well in Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones, as the names suggest.

    , @The Last Real Calvinist
    I suggest you give Tom Jones a chance. It's really good.

    I was thinking it would make a good summer holiday re-reading project, and just picked up an Amazon Kindle version for free: LINK
    , @guest
    Stupidity isn't funny because a person feigning stupidity is actually smart. Real stupid people in real life are funny. Not always, but in proper doses. If a writer can capture that, edited to fit in a novel, it will be funny.
    , @vinteuil
    The 1963 movie with Albert Finney, Edith Evans, Joan Greenwood, and various other greats is endlessly entertaining & reasonably faithful to the spirit of the book. Give it a couple of hours.
  100. @yaqub the mad scientist
    There was an entire strain of thought that was still around in the 80's that critiqued technology, urbanization, and most importanlty the homogenization of cultures. The enviro left was huge on it, and had an entire philosophy called bioregionalism to articulate it.

    has utterly disappeared. Read stuff put out by the enviros now where they write articles malicously deconstructing their own positions from three decades ago. They really believe now that the way to go is international, cookie-cutter globoculture

    Obviously there were broader trends working against it, but I think one Ted Kaczynski nipped (or letter-bombed) that line of thinking in the bud.

  101. @AM

    A whitopia can continue pretty much indefinitely on the socialism/capitalism continuum, just as Japan has done and will continue to do so.
     
    No, it can't in part because whitopia aren't the Japanese and never will be. If you'd like to pinpoint modern whitopia decay on every front, it is always with the introduction of some form socialism, from communism in Russia to socialism lite in the US.

    Without the struggle to survive, without the feeling that they're working without a net other than God, whites die spiritually and the rest is only a matter of time.

    Why does the Swedish government not turn off the welfare spigot?
     
    Because then everything they've ever told themselves about the state, it's ability to protect them, and the relative nature of socialism is untrue. They've told themselves that Christianity is stupid, backward, and hateful so all they have left is government worship.

    The spigot will turn off eventually because socialism unstable and all h*ll will break lose. Until then, shutting off the welfare spigot is asking for Sweden to abandon it's shaky religious and spiritual base, not merely an obvious economic choice.

    No, it can’t in part because whitopia aren’t the Japanese and never will be. If you’d like to pinpoint modern whitopia decay on every front, it is always with the introduction of some form socialism, from communism in Russia to socialism lite in the US.

    Ok, you’d like a white example. Iceland. There aren’t many left. The example of Poland, with 20% welfare spending, is an example of socialism. Sad to say, but most countries with better border control were originally behind the Iron Curtain.

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

    You are not going to find many Galt’s Gulches around. There are plenty of things where it makes little sense to not go with a government solution. Rather than a strict ideological approach, it makes more sense to go with what works best in a given situation. And I started out as very much a libertarian until my mid twenties, until I saw that a lot of people tend to work naturally according to their degree of competence – just because their employer is governmental does not cause them to be incompetent. And there can be waste and incompetence in the private sector.

    • Replies: @SimpleSong
    I agree, the whole 'capitalism versus socialism vs communism is a fundamentally important question' is just bizarre to me. They're just organizational tools each of which has their place, sometimes work, sometimes don't.

    Would you die to make sure your city is wired with AC versus DC? No you say? That's stupid? So why would you die for capitalism? Capitalism usually works better, in most situations. So does AC. I'm not dying for Tesla, and I ain't dying for Adam Smith.

    Nationalism is different as it has a biological basis and nation-states are as old as human civilization. We are biological things, not economic things.
    , @AM

    Ok, you’d like a white example. Iceland. The example of Poland, with 20% welfare spending, is an example of socialism.
     
    I am assuming Iceland is pretty safe from the Islamic hordes and indeed, the vast majority of the planet. I'm willing to set it aside as the exception that proves the rule. :)

    Poland on the other hand.. 20% of the government budget on social spending is very little. The US Federal government spends 60% of her budget on entitlements and we're not counting what the states are adding on. And the US of course, is practically the wild west when it comes to Western socialism.

    I spent some time on your link and then looking for additional sources of welfare information on Poland. What's interesting is what little information is to be had, the trend in Poland is away from socialism. It looks like they raised the retirement age recently, based on comic??? I don' t know because there's not much about it in English and the page you link to discusses 1980s/1990s reforms.

    For sure in the 1990s most of the reform was massive cut backs in the system, especially in regards to unemployment.

    This is article from 8 years ago, complaining that Poland's social system was a fraction of that found in the rest of Europe: http://www.voxeurop.eu/en/content/news-brief/49851-polands-welfare-state

    Poland also just made Christ the official monarch of Poland. I'm thrilled at the development, but are you? Right now the best border controls are in places that because their religion was forced from them, they have rediscovered traditional Christianity. (Pope John Paul the II was also instrumental in revitalizing Catholicism within Poland)

    If you haven't seen this video of Poland's march against Islam in Nov. 2015, it's worth the look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_BjPy19bYs

    It appears that in Poland in particular right now is in full retreat from modern, secular, socialistic thinking. I think if anything, Poland is an example of what I'm talking about. The more socialistic the white society, the more it's at least correlated (I think it's causal) with declines in Christianity, birth rates, and general porousness of borders. The less socialistic, the more religious and protective of long term national interests.

    It appears that socialism sucks the very life blood out of Western white societies. I don't really think it's possible long term to keep socialism and a border in a white nation. I wish I could come to a different conclusion because a lot of white people seem to really like their socialism. However, I haven't found any compelling counter examples yet, with Poland being the most likely one, and it seems to backup my thesis, not counter it.

  102. @Stealth
    Despite how much I really wanted to like the Harry Potter movies (never read the books), I found them only mildly entertaining. Part of that is the fact that at some point in my life, I grew weary of reading fiction and watching TV, but also I just found the characters and their relationships with each other to be dull and disappointing - a problem that got worse with each movie. The first four were ok as childrens' fantasy flicks, but the remainer were a labor to sit through. Maybe a lot of boys felt the same way and tuned out as the series dragged on.

    Hermione and Ron had no chemistry whatsoever, and Harry's love interest, Ron's sister Ginny, was never anything more than a two dimensional supporting character, at least in the films. Herminone and Ron had so many false starts that by the time they actually become a couple, I just didn't give a shit anymore; there was the time she reached for his hand and then pulled away, the time she got mad at him for not asking her to the ball, etc. I conjecture that the cast was tired of each other by the time it was all over with, and that was reflected in their rather flacid on-screen relationships.

    Also, being a wizard would be dangerous. Seeing as how their magic doesn't make them invulnerable or potentially immortal, I think I'd rather be a muggle, thank you very much.

    The only romantic chemistry on screen was between Harry and that spacey hippie chick Luna Moon or whatever her name was, but the movie makers couldn’t run with that because they had to stick with the books.

    In other movie franchises, they can play around more and see what audiences like. For example, in Marvel, they’re reintroducing Spider-Man and his relatives, except now his Aunt May is no longer about 80, she’s instead the very frisky, age-immune Marisa Tomei, and the filmmakers seem to want to see if there is public interest in her and Tony Stark getting together.

    • Replies: @Stealth

    The only romantic chemistry on screen was between Harry and that spacey hippie chick Luna Moon or whatever her name was, ...
     
    Agreed. 100%.
    , @AnotherDad

    The only romantic chemistry on screen was between Harry and that spacey hippie chick Luna Moon or whatever her name was, but the movie makers couldn’t run with that because they had to stick with the books.
     
    Good observation.

    At my age and life experience I have basically no interest in sitting down to a work of fiction--though the Tom Jones comments have me thinking I should put that on my kindle for airport downtime. (I don't think this pattern is male atypical.) But I have sat through all the movies--at home, not theater--because I have two daughters.

    But yeah, the first couple a nice enough kid stories, then it becomes an ever more tedious drag. Turned out to be--hard to tell when the kids are 10--some really mediocre casting for keeping this interesting. All the more tedious, not just because of Hermione but by Rowlings' lack of any understanding of male impulses, or to just have Potter take one for the team. And to the extent there's any romantic chemistry in the movies, that little bit with Harry and Luna was it.
  103. @AM

    Fielding is a hoot… a rollicking good time. You should really read him sometime, particularly before saying anything so ill-informed about his books.
     
    I clearly stated I hadn't read him. Twice. :)

    Considering that the initial post was about Austen and he was "opposite" , I think I can be forgiven in assuming he was one of the those hopelessly antsy authors whose sole purpose in life is apparently to finish manuscripts before his anti-depression meds run out and he's on his 5 or 6th suicide attempt.

    Also, do the jokes really last 800 pages? Cause that's a tall order. I've been burned on books before. A lot.

    “Tom Jones” is one of the great books in the English language. There had been novels before, but after “Tom Jones” the novel stayed invented.

    • Replies: @AM

    “Tom Jones” is one of the great books in the English language. There had been novels before, but after “Tom Jones” the novel stayed invented.
     
    Hmmm..skeptical...I'll give it go, but if I lose my kindle due to repeated high velocity wall impacts, I'm won't be looking to this comment section for a book discussion. ;)
  104. @tsotha

    Why? Mostly, I think, because J.K. is a girl and J.R.R. was a boy. In the very long run, sex will tell.
     
    It's amazingly easy to tell the sex of the author, regardless of how they obscure it (nearly every "Alex" who writes popular fiction is female), and even when they're writing a story that boys would find interesting. Very few women have a clue regarding what goes on in a man's head, and their male characters tend to think like women. My theory is it's because until a woman is 35 or so it doesn't really matter what men think - she can get whatever she wants from them.

    Rowling is a prime example of someone who can do one thing that requires a relatively high IQ very well, but seems to be a veritable moron when it comes to everything else.

    Jay McInerney’s “Story of My Life” from about 1990 is an underrated attempt by a male author to get inside the head of a very female character, modeled on McInerney’s ex-girlfriend who became VP candidate John Edwards’ secret baby momma years later.

  105. AM says:
    @keypusher
    Nothing to add to what James Kabala said about Tom Jones, except that it might be the least depressing book ever written. Fielding will make you laugh out loud every few pages.

    Tons of classic English novels feature marriage. I agree that Jane Austen was a genius, but she had a pretty limited range. A later woman writerwho also had amazing insight into people and a much broader scope was George Eliot. I thought she was way beyond Dickens in depth, though not nearly as fun to read. Middlemarch is bloody long. I know I should read The Mill on the Floss, but I kind of doubt I ever will.

    Update (everyone was waiting, I’m sure), I have read George Elliot, at least her short novel, Silas Marner. I apologize for the presumption that it will be pointless, hand wringing angst, although it’s usually safe, particularly with modern novels.

    I’m not sure what you mean “broader” in scope than Jane Austen, unless her other novels step outside of the genre of Silas Marnar. It’s the same lens of looking at domestic life and seeing what there is to see.

  106. @AM

    Fielding will make you laugh out loud every few pages.
     
    Or cause me to throw the book across the room because he's such maroon. That's the other reaction, if it's not really funny, and I mentioned that in my post. :)

    I don't like Bridget Jones (actual modern chick lit, based on Pride and Prejudice) for that reason.

    Gracie Allen's "stupid" character is funny, because Gracie Allen was smart. Really stupid without any vague sense of progress towards smart, not so much.

    later woman writerwho also had amazing insight into people and a much broader scope was George Eliot.
     
    I have not read her either. I have, however, read The Great Awakening by Kate Chopin, which I was told was amazing literature about domestic life.

    I'll give you the plot summary, my way. Unhappy, bored, selfish rich bitch ignores her kids, has an affair, and drowns herself. Sure, it had a happy ending, but we were forced into chapters of endless angst by a woman who, if heaven forbid, had been just a little grateful for everything she had in her life, might have avoid a great deal of pain for everyone, including her family.

    So if George Elliot is "broader" than Jane Austen because she ventures into "Man, I'm rich and bored and my life totally bites" Or "Man, I'm poor, and I'm artist, and nobody understands me and my life totally bites", I'll pass. It's a genre that's been done to the death (Ha!).

    I don’t like Bridget Jones (actual modern chick lit, based on Pride and Prejudice) for that reason.

    There’s some Tom Jones as well in Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones, as the names suggest.

    • Replies: @PA Polka
    I read that Helen Fielding came up with Bridget Jones when she was tapped to write a column similar to what Candace Bushnell was doing with Sex and the City. At that point she had written a novel entitled Cause Celeb. While I found the Bridget Jones books enjoyable, they are lightweight and clearly derivative.

    Fielding's first novel Cause Celeb is highly original, and for me, one of the best modern comedies of recent decades. The plot would be of interest to iSteve readers.

    The protagonist is a Bridget Jones type media blonde who, after being dumped by a high profile tv personality boyfriend, decides to chuck her career and become an aid worker in a refugee camp in Africa. She later uses her old media contacts in London to produce a Live Aid style fundraiser. It's a witty, satirical yet compassionate look at the refugee situation, the NGO community, the media world, and modern values. The satire mainly targets the oddball SJW types attracted to the idea of taking care of stateless refugees in wartorn Africa, and their motives.

    While the comedy had me laughing out loud on most pages, the narrative seamlessly veers into believable and intense depictions of war and starvations that had me crying real tears. It is rare these days to encounter a novel that does both. It is definitely worth the read.

  107. AM says:
    @Steve Sailer
    "Tom Jones" is one of the great books in the English language. There had been novels before, but after "Tom Jones" the novel stayed invented.

    “Tom Jones” is one of the great books in the English language. There had been novels before, but after “Tom Jones” the novel stayed invented.

    Hmmm..skeptical…I’ll give it go, but if I lose my kindle due to repeated high velocity wall impacts, I’m won’t be looking to this comment section for a book discussion. 😉

  108. @Dave Shanken
    My literary lens to the modern world is the works of H.P. Lovecraft, especially the Cthulhoid stories.
  109. @Anonym
    No, it can’t in part because whitopia aren’t the Japanese and never will be. If you’d like to pinpoint modern whitopia decay on every front, it is always with the introduction of some form socialism, from communism in Russia to socialism lite in the US.

    Ok, you'd like a white example. Iceland. There aren't many left. The example of Poland, with 20% welfare spending, is an example of socialism. Sad to say, but most countries with better border control were originally behind the Iron Curtain.

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

    You are not going to find many Galt's Gulches around. There are plenty of things where it makes little sense to not go with a government solution. Rather than a strict ideological approach, it makes more sense to go with what works best in a given situation. And I started out as very much a libertarian until my mid twenties, until I saw that a lot of people tend to work naturally according to their degree of competence - just because their employer is governmental does not cause them to be incompetent. And there can be waste and incompetence in the private sector.

    I agree, the whole ‘capitalism versus socialism vs communism is a fundamentally important question’ is just bizarre to me. They’re just organizational tools each of which has their place, sometimes work, sometimes don’t.

    Would you die to make sure your city is wired with AC versus DC? No you say? That’s stupid? So why would you die for capitalism? Capitalism usually works better, in most situations. So does AC. I’m not dying for Tesla, and I ain’t dying for Adam Smith.

    Nationalism is different as it has a biological basis and nation-states are as old as human civilization. We are biological things, not economic things.

    • Agree: 27 year old
    • Replies: @27 year old

    Would you die to make sure your city is wired with AC versus DC? No you say? That’s stupid? So why would you die for capitalism? Capitalism usually works better, in most situations. So does AC. I’m not dying for Tesla, and I ain’t dying for Adam Smith.
     
    Gold
    , @AM

    I agree, the whole ‘capitalism versus socialism vs communism is a fundamentally important question’ is just bizarre to me. They’re just organizational tools each of which has their place, sometimes work, sometimes don’t.
     
    It's bizarre only if you've never considered that every social organizational tool requires a model of humanity and government in some form.

    Communism is an extreme form of socialism, but both believe that the government should be involved in fulfilling the basic needs of it's people. It also believes to a real extent that religion is either hostile to humans or in socialism, just kind of unnecessary, but we'll let stand as hobby. In socialist world, all humans default to good, because otherwise socialism would obviously fall apart like communism did.

    Capitalism (including regulated) says the government should not be involved with it's people's needs and in that makes no prejudgment on religious/spiritual practices. In it's indifference to poverty it gives Christianity in particular the room to flourish. It also creates room for the idea that humans default to fallen or being rotters which is exactly Christianities' view on the subject.

    How well tool works is only as good as your model of the problem you're trying fix. Communism/socialism fail because their model of humanity is significantly worse than capitalism's.


    Nationalism is different as it has a biological basis and nation-states are as old as human civilization. We are biological things, not economic things.
     
    To call us a biological thing is to call us an economic thing. It makes us just stuff still.

    From my view, our material prosperity is the side effects of rightly ordered (as possible) spiritual life. It appears attempts to get rid of that aspects of our lives to stay in comfort zone of materialism (which includes a hyper focus on biology) is killing white nations.

  110. @Daniel Chieh
    Tolkien is probably one of the last popular redoubts of premodern thought; I remember reading him and realizing that he was a Luddite and finding it incomprehensible. Why would anyone see technology as corrosive? Why would someone associate use of technology with evil?

    For me, he became an introduction to an entire canon of thought that is pretty much absent these days. Writers are occasionally accused of romanticism, but as of late, I actually haven't found much in that vein released and almost none with any degree of philosophical coherency.

    Glad someone noticed this.

    Tolkien was from a different era, he saw modern technology fully introduced on the battlefield of WWI and it horrified him. Poison gas, machine guns, aircraft which gave us butchery on a scale never seen before. The England he knew died in that war.

    Technology as “Corrosive” Quite so. It has proven to be a cultural solvent and helps atomize societies. In terms of evil it has brought about Orwell’s nightmare though we have gladly embraced it.

    Twenty years ago if you would have asked a person if you could implant them with a tracker that tracks them 24 hours a day and also hook them up to a device that monitors and records their conversations and even sees what they see. The average person would say *go to hell”

    Today a person happily spills their guts on Facebook, has a cell phone/ipod that tracks their every movement, who they talk to, what they buy, etc. Now we have families who don’t talk to each other, they talk to Facebook or twit.

  111. AM says:
    @Anonym
    No, it can’t in part because whitopia aren’t the Japanese and never will be. If you’d like to pinpoint modern whitopia decay on every front, it is always with the introduction of some form socialism, from communism in Russia to socialism lite in the US.

    Ok, you'd like a white example. Iceland. There aren't many left. The example of Poland, with 20% welfare spending, is an example of socialism. Sad to say, but most countries with better border control were originally behind the Iron Curtain.

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

    You are not going to find many Galt's Gulches around. There are plenty of things where it makes little sense to not go with a government solution. Rather than a strict ideological approach, it makes more sense to go with what works best in a given situation. And I started out as very much a libertarian until my mid twenties, until I saw that a lot of people tend to work naturally according to their degree of competence - just because their employer is governmental does not cause them to be incompetent. And there can be waste and incompetence in the private sector.

    Ok, you’d like a white example. Iceland. The example of Poland, with 20% welfare spending, is an example of socialism.

    I am assuming Iceland is pretty safe from the Islamic hordes and indeed, the vast majority of the planet. I’m willing to set it aside as the exception that proves the rule. 🙂

    Poland on the other hand.. 20% of the government budget on social spending is very little. The US Federal government spends 60% of her budget on entitlements and we’re not counting what the states are adding on. And the US of course, is practically the wild west when it comes to Western socialism.

    I spent some time on your link and then looking for additional sources of welfare information on Poland. What’s interesting is what little information is to be had, the trend in Poland is away from socialism. It looks like they raised the retirement age recently, based on comic??? I don’ t know because there’s not much about it in English and the page you link to discusses 1980s/1990s reforms.

    For sure in the 1990s most of the reform was massive cut backs in the system, especially in regards to unemployment.

    This is article from 8 years ago, complaining that Poland’s social system was a fraction of that found in the rest of Europe: http://www.voxeurop.eu/en/content/news-brief/49851-polands-welfare-state

    Poland also just made Christ the official monarch of Poland. I’m thrilled at the development, but are you? Right now the best border controls are in places that because their religion was forced from them, they have rediscovered traditional Christianity. (Pope John Paul the II was also instrumental in revitalizing Catholicism within Poland)

    If you haven’t seen this video of Poland’s march against Islam in Nov. 2015, it’s worth the look:

    It appears that in Poland in particular right now is in full retreat from modern, secular, socialistic thinking. I think if anything, Poland is an example of what I’m talking about. The more socialistic the white society, the more it’s at least correlated (I think it’s causal) with declines in Christianity, birth rates, and general porousness of borders. The less socialistic, the more religious and protective of long term national interests.

    It appears that socialism sucks the very life blood out of Western white societies. I don’t really think it’s possible long term to keep socialism and a border in a white nation. I wish I could come to a different conclusion because a lot of white people seem to really like their socialism. However, I haven’t found any compelling counter examples yet, with Poland being the most likely one, and it seems to backup my thesis, not counter it.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Actually enough socialism does indeed at least retard business growth and results in businessmen that I knew even in the highly sociaized Scandic countries basically become "free riders" by living in Finland and using its generous system, but establishing jobs and factories in Eastern Europe. It really doesn't seem like it is a permanent solution, and it does make me think that in general, inviting immigration was a final and desperate attempt at fixing problems that socialism at already introduced.

    Japan, as noted, isn't Europe and operates by vastly different methodology, including governance. However, they also suffer similar business issues and its a consistent complaint, because as much as it is lionized here and it does have a lot of great qualities, anyone who's been there will find a lot of citizens complaining about their way of life and believing that things could be better if they were somehow more Westernized.

    Grass is geener and all.
    , @Anonym
    It appears that socialism sucks the very life blood out of Western white societies. I don’t really think it’s possible long term to keep socialism and a border in a white nation. I wish I could come to a different conclusion because a lot of white people seem to really like their socialism. However, I haven’t found any compelling counter examples yet, with Poland being the most likely one, and it seems to backup my thesis, not counter it.

    The biggest issue with socialism (in my view) is that some forms of it allow idle, innumerate, bedwetting types of middling intelligence and not much practicality a free lunch, and influence in universities and politics. Having to work for a living would be good for a lot of these people.

    When tax goes into a slush fund and is doled out irrespective of ethnicity, there is a huge problem with socialism. By rights if you are going to have immigration, at the very least the inter-ethnicity wealth transfer needs to stop. But it is hard to do.

    Unfettered capitalism has allowed in many countries a freedom to accumulate enough of the press so that there is no way to use the media as a public forum on issues such as immigration.

    Contrary to your point, Le Pen has achieved a good deal of success but not an outright victory, campaigning on socialistic principles. I know a great deal of legitimate criticism can be leveled at Hitler, but in his socialist world the boats from North Africa would be quickly dealt with by Stuka or U-boat. They didn't call it the National Capitalist Business Owners Party.

    I am way more sympathetic to capitalism than my posts here make out, indeed I prefer it in situations where it works. However, I prefer to look at real world examples. If you can find a whitopia, find a strongly capitalistic one and argue your case.
  112. @James Kabala
    Are Jane Austen books actually taught in school (outside maybe of AP classes)? Modern high school curricula usually seem to be:

    1. Shakespeare
    2. Big, big jump to Dickens (maybe) and Twain (probably - unless there is a strong anti-n-word contingent in town)
    3. Another, smaller jump to the novelists popular in the twentieth century, who are mostly male - Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Orwell, maybe Hemingway still, Salinger. Woolf (female) is beloved by female critics but, like male authors Faulkner and Joyce, would probably be considered too complicated for high school students.
    4. Genre or young adult novels of the present day (sometimes by women) that the teachers include in an attempt to seem cool and up-to-date.

    Your curriculum wasn’t much like mine or my children’s. Maybe the curriculum changes every decade or something?

  113. @Steve Sailer
    The only romantic chemistry on screen was between Harry and that spacey hippie chick Luna Moon or whatever her name was, but the movie makers couldn't run with that because they had to stick with the books.

    In other movie franchises, they can play around more and see what audiences like. For example, in Marvel, they're reintroducing Spider-Man and his relatives, except now his Aunt May is no longer about 80, she's instead the very frisky, age-immune Marisa Tomei, and the filmmakers seem to want to see if there is public interest in her and Tony Stark getting together.

    The only romantic chemistry on screen was between Harry and that spacey hippie chick Luna Moon or whatever her name was, …

    Agreed. 100%.

  114. @AM

    Fielding will make you laugh out loud every few pages.
     
    Or cause me to throw the book across the room because he's such maroon. That's the other reaction, if it's not really funny, and I mentioned that in my post. :)

    I don't like Bridget Jones (actual modern chick lit, based on Pride and Prejudice) for that reason.

    Gracie Allen's "stupid" character is funny, because Gracie Allen was smart. Really stupid without any vague sense of progress towards smart, not so much.

    later woman writerwho also had amazing insight into people and a much broader scope was George Eliot.
     
    I have not read her either. I have, however, read The Great Awakening by Kate Chopin, which I was told was amazing literature about domestic life.

    I'll give you the plot summary, my way. Unhappy, bored, selfish rich bitch ignores her kids, has an affair, and drowns herself. Sure, it had a happy ending, but we were forced into chapters of endless angst by a woman who, if heaven forbid, had been just a little grateful for everything she had in her life, might have avoid a great deal of pain for everyone, including her family.

    So if George Elliot is "broader" than Jane Austen because she ventures into "Man, I'm rich and bored and my life totally bites" Or "Man, I'm poor, and I'm artist, and nobody understands me and my life totally bites", I'll pass. It's a genre that's been done to the death (Ha!).

    I suggest you give Tom Jones a chance. It’s really good.

    I was thinking it would make a good summer holiday re-reading project, and just picked up an Amazon Kindle version for free: LINK

    • Replies: @AM
    Okay, okay, I give in. I've got Tom Jones on my kindle. That's what you get for shooting your mouth off one evening on a comment board. ;)
  115. @European-American

    One of my favorite authors is George MacDonald Fraser who wrote the Flashman series as an extended parody on Tom Brown (Flashman being the bully of the school, Draco Malfoy’s literary precursor). GMF was a WWII vet (on the Burma front) who loathed mealy-mouthed hypocrisy. So he has Flashman tell how it really was being a hero of empire
     
    In a different genre, but speaking of telling how it really was, The Last Ringbearer is a great take on The Lord of the Rings, which turns out to have been a work of propaganda. In reality, Mordor and orcs are the good guys, on the side of science and technological progress. Gandalf and the elves are stasis-favoring genocidal fascists. I love Tolkien, but also really enjoyed biologist and paleontologist Kirill Eskov's contrary view, which feels like a Russian takedown of our Western/British pieties, and makes a pretty good spy story too. First heard of the book on Karlin's blog here on unz.

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

    That’s awesome. And also, extremely Russian. Thanks for posting.

  116. @SimpleSong
    I agree, the whole 'capitalism versus socialism vs communism is a fundamentally important question' is just bizarre to me. They're just organizational tools each of which has their place, sometimes work, sometimes don't.

    Would you die to make sure your city is wired with AC versus DC? No you say? That's stupid? So why would you die for capitalism? Capitalism usually works better, in most situations. So does AC. I'm not dying for Tesla, and I ain't dying for Adam Smith.

    Nationalism is different as it has a biological basis and nation-states are as old as human civilization. We are biological things, not economic things.

    Would you die to make sure your city is wired with AC versus DC? No you say? That’s stupid? So why would you die for capitalism? Capitalism usually works better, in most situations. So does AC. I’m not dying for Tesla, and I ain’t dying for Adam Smith.

    Gold

    • Replies: @AM

    Would you die to make sure your city is wired with AC versus DC? No you say? That’s stupid? So why would you die for capitalism? Capitalism usually works better, in most situations. So does AC. I’m not dying for Tesla, and I ain’t dying for Adam Smith.

    Gold
     

    No, not really because the analogy is far too narrow.

    I'm noting here that most of the "gosh these economic systems discussion really don't matter" replies also don't want to talk about God/spirituality and in the West, Christianity. At all.

    So let's broaden the question. If you don't want to die for Tesla or Adam Smith, what are you willing to die for, then?

    If we tackle the mental part of the creature we're calling Europeanous Caucasianous, if we found he or she lacked a spiritual life, I can almost guarantee that the answer to what they are willing to die for is "Nothing". There is nothing worth dieing for.

    And in such society, filled with people that have nothing to live or die for, rot and indifference is just a matter of time.

    The capitalism/socialism question is a proxy for a two vary different models of humanity that have the net effect of encouraging or discouraging a spiritual life in the West. If you're not willing to tackle it or are so nihilistic as to think it doesn't matter, then that's just more part of the rot. I wouldn't expect different results than right now. shrug.

  117. @yaqub the mad scientist
    There was an entire strain of thought that was still around in the 80's that critiqued technology, urbanization, and most importanlty the homogenization of cultures. The enviro left was huge on it, and had an entire philosophy called bioregionalism to articulate it.

    has utterly disappeared. Read stuff put out by the enviros now where they write articles malicously deconstructing their own positions from three decades ago. They really believe now that the way to go is international, cookie-cutter globoculture

    Could you recommend some titles on bioregionalism?

  118. @syonredux

    Jane Austen novels are shorter than “Tom Jones,” which rambles on for 780 pages and then all of sudden every seeming loose end of the plot gets tied up amazingly well in the last 20 pages. So it’s kind of tough to teach Fielding’s best novel in high school because it’s so long but you can’t leave anything out.
     
    Yeah. Length is a critical factor when you are writing a lit syllabus. Lots of great works (Moby-Dick, War and Peace, Middlemarch, Clarissa, etc) are just too long. That's one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It's really good and quite brief.

    That’s one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It’s really good

    The Great Gatsby is not a good book. It was a failure when it first came out, and was derided as Fitzgerald’s worst work. As Steve has pointed out, its popularity was largely helped out when it was passed out to American GIs during WW2 as reading material during down times. It’s quite pedantic and boring, and it’s metaphors/symbolism are trite compared to truly great works of writing. (I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school, as the book made no attempt to connect with anyone outside of those people in connection with 1920s Long Island high society).

    But there’s another reason Gatsby became popular in school, and it’s quite ironic: Jewish control of The Megaphone.

    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward: he’s a poor boy con artist/bootlegger striving to become old money and take his shiksa, er, old money love Daisy. He changed his name to fit in and came from a far away place to make his fortune in New York. He’s big on jazz parties and having a big house and lots of expensive signs of making it, but doesn’t enjoy them. Heck, he even does his bootlegging with a Jewish gangster. He doesn’t feel worthy of being there even when he deflowers Daisy.

    Jews see a lot of Jay Gatsby in themselves, given his outsider status, black market dealings, name changing, desire for shiksas, etc. Since they have gotten more control of the Megaphone, they’ve pushed it into the stratosphere (as I pointed out they did to Philip Roth in general, such as Portnoy’s Complaint and Goodbye, Columbus).

    I say this is ironic because Fitzgerald was notorious for his pro-white, pro-masculine, pro-Christian views—“muscular Christianity”. He didn’t like whites mixing with non-whites, and was highly critical of Jews. But Gatsby the character speaks to a lot of Jews.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The Jewish character in The Great Gatsby ought to be read as an obvious anti-Semitic archetype -- he's the Jew who corrupted America's national pastime by getting the Chicago Black Sox to throw the World Series!

    And the brief mention of blacks in "Gatsby" is scornful.

    But Tom Buchanan!

    , @Jack D
    This is an exceedingly strange reading of Gatsby because there are actual Jewish characters in the book who are NOT Gatsby and who are portrayed in a very unflattering, anti-Semitic way.
    , @guest
    Do I care what Jews see in Gatsby? Say it was promoted because of their selfish identification. They're not the only ones who read it, and we see it from other points of view. Take me. Fitzgerald was a Minnesotan (like me) and ethnically Irish (like part of me) with a sentimental attachment to the Old South (unlike me, really, but I have sentimental attachments to other old things). None of which has much to do with Jews.

    The book is all wrapped up in Gatsby, of course. Though the modern U.S. has become increasingly Gatsby-esque--whether or not that's because it's gotten more Jewish--it's not ultimately in Gatsby's corner. He's a tragic figure because there are a lot of things wrong with him, including many of the characteristics you mention. We see him, moreover, through the eyes of the narrator, who is not Jewish and not Gatsby-esque, despite being drawn to Gatsby.

    Even if the story had been told from Gatsby's perspective, he was by no means a Portnoy. He's more like Fitzgerald himself, a social climber with high ambition who gets distracted and ruins himself, never getting over the fact that he had to start life lagging behind, and he could never go back, fix things, and do them right. He actually got to marry his Southern belle, but in a lot of ways he screwed up just as much as if he had let Tom Buchanan take her.

    That's a big reason why it has remained so popular. Because people are suckers for supposed secret autobiographies like that.
    , @guest
    "It's quite pedantic and boring...I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school"

    "Pedantic" is an odd description. I can't imagine why anyone would characterize that book as pedantic, except if they happened to have been assigned it in school and had it crammed down their throat by a teacher. But that's not really the Great Gatsby's fault.

    , @Art Deco
    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward: he’s a poor boy con artist/bootlegger striving to become old money and take his shiksa, er, old money love Daisy.

    Not unless you fancy the rural midwest is populated with Jews or that German Lutherans farmers are interchangeable with Jews. The 'subtle unadaptablity' of 'midwesterners' to life in the east is made explicit, and refers to the narrator, Gatsby, Daisy, and Jordan Baker.
    , @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward
     
    While many of the things you point out about Gatsby’s outsider status and pretentions could be seen as similar to the kind of Jew who social climbs (or climbed) into the world of haute-WASPs, the character himself is not anything like a Philip Roth neurotic nebbish. Nick Carraway’s description of Gatsby fits Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2013 adaptation:

    I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty
     
    Gatsby is simply an obsessed diehard romantic who sees himself as equal to Daisy but for the circumstance of class and wealth. He uses his ill-gotten gains not to ingratiate himself with Society, but instead in an attempt to (re)claim Daisy by offering her material comforts even better than she’s accustomed to, thereby allowing her to return to her first ‘true love.’

    Beyond the character of Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s personal ‘guest of a guest’ concerns get some (satirical? sour grapes?) play in the book, which parallel your point about the type of Jews afflicted with Golfocaust resentment. But Gatsby himself doesn’t fit the profile.
    , @syonredux

    The Great Gatsby is not a good book.
     
    I beg to differ. I've read it five or six times. It's a great piece of writing.

    It was a failure when it first came out,
     
    Dunno if you want to make that the criterion for aesthetic success....

    and was derided as Fitzgerald’s worst work.
     
    Not by TS Eiot....

    The Great Gatsby with your charming and overpowering inscription arrived the very morning I was leaving in some haste for a sea voyage advised by my doctor. I therefore left it behind and only read it on my return a few days ago. I have, however, now read it three times. I am not in the least influenced by your remark about myself when I say that it has interested and excited me more than any new novel I have seen, either English or American, for a number of years.
    When I have more time I should like to write to you more fully and tell you exactly why it seems to me such a remarkable book. In fact it seems to me to be the first step that American fiction has taken since Henry James.
     
    And if you want to compare it to a bad piece of writing by Fitzgerald, just try reading This Side of Paradise. Fitzgerald improved a lot in the five years between Paradise and Gatsby

    It’s quite pedantic and boring,
     
    Well, I can see how some might find it boring. You know, compared to Bulldog Drummond, say, there's not much in the way of punching and shooting......But "pedantic?" I can't imagine ever using that word to describe Gatsby.

    (I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school, as the book made no attempt to connect with anyone outside of those people in connection with 1920s Long Island high society).
     
    MMM, I recall liking it quite a bit in High School.....Of course, I also liked Edith Wharton and middle-period Henry James...

    But Gatsby the character speaks to a lot of Jews.
     
    And also to a lot of non-Jews....Fitzgerald, the boy from Minnesota, obviously saw something of himself in James Gaatz, the poor farmer's son from North Dakota who wanted to enter high society....
    , @guest
    It occurs to me there is one aspect of Gatsby that appeals specifically to Jews. They like to think of white gentile modern civilization as being a big show that's merely a thin veneer covering dark secrets. You can find that line of thought in Freud and a million other sources.

    In this case, Gatsby's lavish parties in the elite WASP ground-zero of Long Island are funded by black market racketeering and put on by a jumped-up farmboy who doesn't even read his books!

    Not that this Civilization and Its Discontents angle is necessary to interpreting Gatsby. But I can see how it would appeal to a certain type.

  119. @AM

    Ok, you’d like a white example. Iceland. The example of Poland, with 20% welfare spending, is an example of socialism.
     
    I am assuming Iceland is pretty safe from the Islamic hordes and indeed, the vast majority of the planet. I'm willing to set it aside as the exception that proves the rule. :)

    Poland on the other hand.. 20% of the government budget on social spending is very little. The US Federal government spends 60% of her budget on entitlements and we're not counting what the states are adding on. And the US of course, is practically the wild west when it comes to Western socialism.

    I spent some time on your link and then looking for additional sources of welfare information on Poland. What's interesting is what little information is to be had, the trend in Poland is away from socialism. It looks like they raised the retirement age recently, based on comic??? I don' t know because there's not much about it in English and the page you link to discusses 1980s/1990s reforms.

    For sure in the 1990s most of the reform was massive cut backs in the system, especially in regards to unemployment.

    This is article from 8 years ago, complaining that Poland's social system was a fraction of that found in the rest of Europe: http://www.voxeurop.eu/en/content/news-brief/49851-polands-welfare-state

    Poland also just made Christ the official monarch of Poland. I'm thrilled at the development, but are you? Right now the best border controls are in places that because their religion was forced from them, they have rediscovered traditional Christianity. (Pope John Paul the II was also instrumental in revitalizing Catholicism within Poland)

    If you haven't seen this video of Poland's march against Islam in Nov. 2015, it's worth the look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_BjPy19bYs

    It appears that in Poland in particular right now is in full retreat from modern, secular, socialistic thinking. I think if anything, Poland is an example of what I'm talking about. The more socialistic the white society, the more it's at least correlated (I think it's causal) with declines in Christianity, birth rates, and general porousness of borders. The less socialistic, the more religious and protective of long term national interests.

    It appears that socialism sucks the very life blood out of Western white societies. I don't really think it's possible long term to keep socialism and a border in a white nation. I wish I could come to a different conclusion because a lot of white people seem to really like their socialism. However, I haven't found any compelling counter examples yet, with Poland being the most likely one, and it seems to backup my thesis, not counter it.

    Actually enough socialism does indeed at least retard business growth and results in businessmen that I knew even in the highly sociaized Scandic countries basically become “free riders” by living in Finland and using its generous system, but establishing jobs and factories in Eastern Europe. It really doesn’t seem like it is a permanent solution, and it does make me think that in general, inviting immigration was a final and desperate attempt at fixing problems that socialism at already introduced.

    Japan, as noted, isn’t Europe and operates by vastly different methodology, including governance. However, they also suffer similar business issues and its a consistent complaint, because as much as it is lionized here and it does have a lot of great qualities, anyone who’s been there will find a lot of citizens complaining about their way of life and believing that things could be better if they were somehow more Westernized.

    Grass is geener and all.

    • Replies: @Anonymous

    inviting immigration was a final and desperate attempt at fixing problems that socialism at already introduced
     
    Could you elaborate on this a little?
    , @AM

    Actually enough socialism does indeed at least retard business growth and results in businessmen that I knew even in the highly sociaized Scandic countries basically become “free riders” by living in Finland and using its generous system, but establishing jobs and factories in Eastern Europe.
     
    Absolutely. I'm not arguing that one at all. Socialism pretty obviously incentivizes all the wrong behaviors which is why I'm scratching my head at "these economic systems discussions are a one off".

    The places where whites are spontaneously putting up effective resistance to the Islamic hordes are the least socialistic and the most religious and Christian.

    But let's keep talking about the magic of white DNA see if we can find some solutions there. Clearly, the model of social organization has zero to with what motivates whites and how they act. sigh
  120. @Steve Sailer
    The only romantic chemistry on screen was between Harry and that spacey hippie chick Luna Moon or whatever her name was, but the movie makers couldn't run with that because they had to stick with the books.

    In other movie franchises, they can play around more and see what audiences like. For example, in Marvel, they're reintroducing Spider-Man and his relatives, except now his Aunt May is no longer about 80, she's instead the very frisky, age-immune Marisa Tomei, and the filmmakers seem to want to see if there is public interest in her and Tony Stark getting together.

    The only romantic chemistry on screen was between Harry and that spacey hippie chick Luna Moon or whatever her name was, but the movie makers couldn’t run with that because they had to stick with the books.

    Good observation.

    At my age and life experience I have basically no interest in sitting down to a work of fiction–though the Tom Jones comments have me thinking I should put that on my kindle for airport downtime. (I don’t think this pattern is male atypical.) But I have sat through all the movies–at home, not theater–because I have two daughters.

    But yeah, the first couple a nice enough kid stories, then it becomes an ever more tedious drag. Turned out to be–hard to tell when the kids are 10–some really mediocre casting for keeping this interesting. All the more tedious, not just because of Hermione but by Rowlings’ lack of any understanding of male impulses, or to just have Potter take one for the team. And to the extent there’s any romantic chemistry in the movies, that little bit with Harry and Luna was it.

  121. @whorefinder

    That’s one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It’s really good
     
    The Great Gatsby is not a good book. It was a failure when it first came out, and was derided as Fitzgerald's worst work. As Steve has pointed out, its popularity was largely helped out when it was passed out to American GIs during WW2 as reading material during down times. It's quite pedantic and boring, and it's metaphors/symbolism are trite compared to truly great works of writing. (I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school, as the book made no attempt to connect with anyone outside of those people in connection with 1920s Long Island high society).

    But there's another reason Gatsby became popular in school, and it's quite ironic: Jewish control of The Megaphone.

    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward: he's a poor boy con artist/bootlegger striving to become old money and take his shiksa, er, old money love Daisy. He changed his name to fit in and came from a far away place to make his fortune in New York. He's big on jazz parties and having a big house and lots of expensive signs of making it, but doesn't enjoy them. Heck, he even does his bootlegging with a Jewish gangster. He doesn't feel worthy of being there even when he deflowers Daisy.

    Jews see a lot of Jay Gatsby in themselves, given his outsider status, black market dealings, name changing, desire for shiksas, etc. Since they have gotten more control of the Megaphone, they've pushed it into the stratosphere (as I pointed out they did to Philip Roth in general, such as Portnoy's Complaint and Goodbye, Columbus).

    I say this is ironic because Fitzgerald was notorious for his pro-white, pro-masculine, pro-Christian views---"muscular Christianity". He didn't like whites mixing with non-whites, and was highly critical of Jews. But Gatsby the character speaks to a lot of Jews.

    The Jewish character in The Great Gatsby ought to be read as an obvious anti-Semitic archetype — he’s the Jew who corrupted America’s national pastime by getting the Chicago Black Sox to throw the World Series!

    And the brief mention of blacks in “Gatsby” is scornful.

    But Tom Buchanan!

    • Replies: @guest
    "But Tom Buchanan!"

    He does yeoman's work against the evil, racist pseudoscience driven from our land by the gallant St. Boas.* But let's not get carried away, because he's dangerous by implication regarding Global Warming.

    *I recently had occasion to plug "Madison Grant" into a search engine, and the first thing to pop up, in its own special little box above all website links, was text telling me that Fitzgerald:

    A. Made fun of Grant and Stoddard, and

    B. Whoa, don't get carried away, because he was not as opposed to the two as might be expected. Actually, he was kind of racist and can be unpersoned any time we feel like it. Likely in favor of his wife, who would've been the superior novelist if not for Scott's plagiarism and the patriarchy. (That part wasn't said explicitly.)

    , @Art Deco
    The Jewish character in The Great Gatsby ought to be read as an obvious anti-Semitic archetype — he’s the Jew who corrupted America’s national pastime by getting the Chicago Black Sox to throw the World Series!

    The model for the character was the crime boss Arthur Rothstein, who actually had done that.
    , @whorefinder
    Yes, the character of Meyer Wolfsheim was an anti-Jewish caricature---the character was based on Arnold Rothstein and supposedly named after another Jewish gangster who was still up-and-coming at the time it was written--Meyer Lansky. But the Wolfsheim's appearance in the work is brief and rather ignorable as an anti-Jewish "sin", especially for pre-PC days Jews.

    The fact remains that Gatsby has become, for Jews, a stand-in for themselves, and hence why the book became pushed by Jewish critics. His traits are too stereotypical "poor Jewish boy it makes it in America " for Jews not to take notice.

    Compare The Great Gatsby to The Rise of David Levinsky (a classic popular among Jewish-American immigrants) and you'll see Levinsky's story and alienation align in many ways with Gatsby: name change, dealings with the underworld, lonliness, abandonment of old land, the girl who got away, attempts to fit in by aping those born wealthy, etc.. https://infogalactic.com/info/The_Rise_of_David_Levinsky

  122. @syonredux

    Jane Austen novels are shorter than “Tom Jones,” which rambles on for 780 pages and then all of sudden every seeming loose end of the plot gets tied up amazingly well in the last 20 pages. So it’s kind of tough to teach Fielding’s best novel in high school because it’s so long but you can’t leave anything out.
     
    Yeah. Length is a critical factor when you are writing a lit syllabus. Lots of great works (Moby-Dick, War and Peace, Middlemarch, Clarissa, etc) are just too long. That's one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It's really good and quite brief.

    Length is probably the primary concern. Here are the kind of novels I remember reading in high school: Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, Huckleberry Finn, Lord of the Flies.

    The other big concern is that the teachers have something to explain. Can’t have kids enjoying stories straightforwardly; must be symbols, allegories, and social relevance. All the above gots those, too.

    • Replies: @Neil Templeton
    It's very important to teach children to interpret stories in the preferred manner. Can't have them going off and developing their own ideas using their own experience. Wouldn't do at all.
  123. @AM

    Ok, you’d like a white example. Iceland. The example of Poland, with 20% welfare spending, is an example of socialism.
     
    I am assuming Iceland is pretty safe from the Islamic hordes and indeed, the vast majority of the planet. I'm willing to set it aside as the exception that proves the rule. :)

    Poland on the other hand.. 20% of the government budget on social spending is very little. The US Federal government spends 60% of her budget on entitlements and we're not counting what the states are adding on. And the US of course, is practically the wild west when it comes to Western socialism.

    I spent some time on your link and then looking for additional sources of welfare information on Poland. What's interesting is what little information is to be had, the trend in Poland is away from socialism. It looks like they raised the retirement age recently, based on comic??? I don' t know because there's not much about it in English and the page you link to discusses 1980s/1990s reforms.

    For sure in the 1990s most of the reform was massive cut backs in the system, especially in regards to unemployment.

    This is article from 8 years ago, complaining that Poland's social system was a fraction of that found in the rest of Europe: http://www.voxeurop.eu/en/content/news-brief/49851-polands-welfare-state

    Poland also just made Christ the official monarch of Poland. I'm thrilled at the development, but are you? Right now the best border controls are in places that because their religion was forced from them, they have rediscovered traditional Christianity. (Pope John Paul the II was also instrumental in revitalizing Catholicism within Poland)

    If you haven't seen this video of Poland's march against Islam in Nov. 2015, it's worth the look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_BjPy19bYs

    It appears that in Poland in particular right now is in full retreat from modern, secular, socialistic thinking. I think if anything, Poland is an example of what I'm talking about. The more socialistic the white society, the more it's at least correlated (I think it's causal) with declines in Christianity, birth rates, and general porousness of borders. The less socialistic, the more religious and protective of long term national interests.

    It appears that socialism sucks the very life blood out of Western white societies. I don't really think it's possible long term to keep socialism and a border in a white nation. I wish I could come to a different conclusion because a lot of white people seem to really like their socialism. However, I haven't found any compelling counter examples yet, with Poland being the most likely one, and it seems to backup my thesis, not counter it.

    It appears that socialism sucks the very life blood out of Western white societies. I don’t really think it’s possible long term to keep socialism and a border in a white nation. I wish I could come to a different conclusion because a lot of white people seem to really like their socialism. However, I haven’t found any compelling counter examples yet, with Poland being the most likely one, and it seems to backup my thesis, not counter it.

    The biggest issue with socialism (in my view) is that some forms of it allow idle, innumerate, bedwetting types of middling intelligence and not much practicality a free lunch, and influence in universities and politics. Having to work for a living would be good for a lot of these people.

    When tax goes into a slush fund and is doled out irrespective of ethnicity, there is a huge problem with socialism. By rights if you are going to have immigration, at the very least the inter-ethnicity wealth transfer needs to stop. But it is hard to do.

    Unfettered capitalism has allowed in many countries a freedom to accumulate enough of the press so that there is no way to use the media as a public forum on issues such as immigration.

    Contrary to your point, Le Pen has achieved a good deal of success but not an outright victory, campaigning on socialistic principles. I know a great deal of legitimate criticism can be leveled at Hitler, but in his socialist world the boats from North Africa would be quickly dealt with by Stuka or U-boat. They didn’t call it the National Capitalist Business Owners Party.

    I am way more sympathetic to capitalism than my posts here make out, indeed I prefer it in situations where it works. However, I prefer to look at real world examples. If you can find a whitopia, find a strongly capitalistic one and argue your case.

    • Replies: @AM

    The biggest issue with socialism (in my view) is that some forms of it allow idle, innumerate, bedwetting types of middling intelligence and not much practicality a free lunch, and influence in universities and politics. Having to work for a living would be good for a lot of these people.
     
    Your arguments want that socialism is just another economic system with a few bad side effects, but then you're noticing causally a whole slew of social ripple effects.

    Socialism is a point of view that says government not only regulates and ensures the safety of populace, but has the obligation to fulfill it's basic needs. It's from that "new" mission that creates a slew of psychological changes, particularly in white nations.

    For whites who do recognize the need to work, they file socialism in their back pocket as safety in their worst case life nightmares. That shifts comfort and security from a spiritual life to the government and materialism. And the degree to which that happens is the degree to which whites in particular lose interest in religious practice,their heritage, and ultimately, their borders.

    When tax goes into a slush fund and is doled out irrespective of ethnicity, there is a huge problem with socialism.
     
    Sweden didn't have that problem until recently. Socialism introduced it. I have no examples of a white country that doesn't almost simultaneous institute some form of socialism and then somehow open it's borders, with the affects small at first, snowballing into today.

    Unfettered capitalism has allowed in many countries a freedom to accumulate enough of the press so that there is no way to use the media as a public forum on issues such as immigration.
     
    Dropping socialism is not the same as unfettered capitalism. A non-socialist society can still regulate businesses for environmental issues etc.

    At any rate, highly socialistic societies have the same problems we do. Lugenpresse is a German word.

    Contrary to your point, Le Pen has achieved a good deal of success but not an outright victory, campaigning on socialistic principles.
     
    Practical politicians are practical. If a drug addict isn't willing to quit, and you need their consent for something, cold turkey is not how you approach it.

    I am way more sympathetic to capitalism than my posts here make out, indeed I prefer it in situations where it works. However, I prefer to look at real world examples. If you can find a whitopia, find a strongly capitalistic one and argue your case.
     
    Umm...I think I've made my case pretty definitely that socialism and modern Western rot go together. You've also completely ignored the spiritual side of the West and the loss of Christianity, like people can be reasoned into positions and the loss of 1000+ years of spiritual life is a nothing burger. (A highly irrational position.)

    I think your responses also highlight my point that whites really, really, really like their socialism and they may actually choose the death of their nation over giving it up.

    From your view, we can have our socialism, we just need to keep the browns and the black out. That will fix it. Well no, socialism is causing shockingly homogeneous nations to import actively hostile populations on taxpayer money. It's not "just" an economic tool. Socialism is model of government that appears to rot the white nations from the inside out.
  124. @Steve Sailer
    The Jewish character in The Great Gatsby ought to be read as an obvious anti-Semitic archetype -- he's the Jew who corrupted America's national pastime by getting the Chicago Black Sox to throw the World Series!

    And the brief mention of blacks in "Gatsby" is scornful.

    But Tom Buchanan!

    “But Tom Buchanan!”

    He does yeoman’s work against the evil, racist pseudoscience driven from our land by the gallant St. Boas.* But let’s not get carried away, because he’s dangerous by implication regarding Global Warming.

    *I recently had occasion to plug “Madison Grant” into a search engine, and the first thing to pop up, in its own special little box above all website links, was text telling me that Fitzgerald:

    A. Made fun of Grant and Stoddard, and

    B. Whoa, don’t get carried away, because he was not as opposed to the two as might be expected. Actually, he was kind of racist and can be unpersoned any time we feel like it. Likely in favor of his wife, who would’ve been the superior novelist if not for Scott’s plagiarism and the patriarchy. (That part wasn’t said explicitly.)

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Tom Buchanan's views are pretty much copied from a serious letter Fitzgerald wrote to Edmund Wilson in 1922 about how us Nordics must unite against the Alpinoid Threat.
  125. @whorefinder

    That’s one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It’s really good
     
    The Great Gatsby is not a good book. It was a failure when it first came out, and was derided as Fitzgerald's worst work. As Steve has pointed out, its popularity was largely helped out when it was passed out to American GIs during WW2 as reading material during down times. It's quite pedantic and boring, and it's metaphors/symbolism are trite compared to truly great works of writing. (I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school, as the book made no attempt to connect with anyone outside of those people in connection with 1920s Long Island high society).

    But there's another reason Gatsby became popular in school, and it's quite ironic: Jewish control of The Megaphone.

    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward: he's a poor boy con artist/bootlegger striving to become old money and take his shiksa, er, old money love Daisy. He changed his name to fit in and came from a far away place to make his fortune in New York. He's big on jazz parties and having a big house and lots of expensive signs of making it, but doesn't enjoy them. Heck, he even does his bootlegging with a Jewish gangster. He doesn't feel worthy of being there even when he deflowers Daisy.

    Jews see a lot of Jay Gatsby in themselves, given his outsider status, black market dealings, name changing, desire for shiksas, etc. Since they have gotten more control of the Megaphone, they've pushed it into the stratosphere (as I pointed out they did to Philip Roth in general, such as Portnoy's Complaint and Goodbye, Columbus).

    I say this is ironic because Fitzgerald was notorious for his pro-white, pro-masculine, pro-Christian views---"muscular Christianity". He didn't like whites mixing with non-whites, and was highly critical of Jews. But Gatsby the character speaks to a lot of Jews.

    This is an exceedingly strange reading of Gatsby because there are actual Jewish characters in the book who are NOT Gatsby and who are portrayed in a very unflattering, anti-Semitic way.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    A lot of people, both Jews and anti-Semites alike, assume that James Gatz from the Dakotas must be Jewish because who ever heard of anybody in America who had a German-sounding name without being Jewish?
    , @Art Deco
    Meyer Wolfsheim wasn't portrayed in a particularly unflattering way. At the end of the day, he would not pay his respects to his business partner, something he had in common with everyone in Gatsby's social world bar the narrator and the boozer with the oversized spectacles.
  126. @snorlax
    They're fun, exciting reads for children/teenagers, and Rowling is a talent quite a few cuts above whichever Hardy Boys hack. Despite their popularity among leftists and Rowling's Twitter antics, political themes are subtle-to-nonexistent, and as Spotted Toad points out, given the whitopia boarding school setting, in many ways borderline-reactionary.

    But they are children's books, not some kind of high art. Their enduring popularity is mostly because "well-written children's book" is about the limit for comfortable reading comprehension among the broad middle of the bell curve.

    They’re fun, exciting reads for children/teenagers, and Rowling is a talent quite a few cuts above whichever Hardy Boys hack.

    I liked The Hardy Boys books. Similar to Doctor Who, just because they farm the brand out to multiple authors, doesn’t mean there aren’t some good stories amongst them.

    Glancing at Amazon, 4.6 and 4.5 is very respectable, and the occasional 4.7 is excellent. Doctor Who anthologies also get 4.6 or so. They were popular books for a reason.

    • Replies: @snorlax
    Oh, I couldn’t get enough of the Hardy Boys when I was in grade school, but in retrospect they don’t have much if any literary merit for the adult reader.
  127. @kihowi
    Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway. Hobbits are little cartoon versions of the unthreatening, nerdy Englishmen that are the reason that Englishwomen are currently importing millions of vibrant head-choppers. Much of the universe around them is the vomit-inducing Victorian pre-raphaelite view on mythology/the dark ages where already the main attributes of the valiant hero were asexuality, timid self-sacrifice and an ability to mope.

    Now compare that to the Conan stories (even though Howard was gay and couldn't write as well). That's masculine.

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it's impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity. Only with videogames have boys gotten a medium which fits them as well as books fit girls.

    “Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway”

    Did you ever slug it out in the trenches against the hated Hun? Huh?

  128. JSM says:
    @Ben Kurtz
    I've long maintained that Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice; Sense & Sensibility; various other early 19th century chick-lit) is taught in school mainly because high school English Literature is run by women and caters to girls. Meanwhile, the lion of 18th century English fiction, Henry Fielding (The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling), has long been neglected, despite being more innovative and imaginative and frankly better.

    If this were some recent decision I would put it down to the current fashion to expel stale pale males from the canon deliberately and explicitly. However, this has been going on for so many decades that I think the explanation is more basic and organic: Austen is for girls; Fielding is for boys; since girls have been in charge of K-12 education for nearly the past 50 years they just went with what they liked.

    But no son of mine will be permitted to read volumes of mind-numbing Austen drivel without at least a good side helping of Fielding to even it out.

    Feh. I just read the first 3 chapters. These people discover a foundling and have no clue who the mother is (in a small village for pete’s sake)?? Did 19th century England not understand that ladies who deliver full-term babies tend to swell up in the months prior???

    –And having just read the Spark Notes plot synopsis, to discover that the bastard’s mother was Mr. Allworthy’s own sister — who resided in his home for the duration of the requisite gestation, apparently unnoticed the entire time by the entire household, for crying out loud! — I view as a plot hole sufficient to swallow the entire, overwrought, pretentious, steaming pile of dreck.

    Frankly, it’s a lame trick of a plot twist to put M. Night Shyamalan to shame.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Did 19th century England not understand that ladies who deliver full-term babies tend to swell up in the months prior???

    Not sure about Britain. In the United States it was still common in my grandmother's generation to refrain from appearing in public visibly pregnant.
  129. @AM

    Fielding will make you laugh out loud every few pages.
     
    Or cause me to throw the book across the room because he's such maroon. That's the other reaction, if it's not really funny, and I mentioned that in my post. :)

    I don't like Bridget Jones (actual modern chick lit, based on Pride and Prejudice) for that reason.

    Gracie Allen's "stupid" character is funny, because Gracie Allen was smart. Really stupid without any vague sense of progress towards smart, not so much.

    later woman writerwho also had amazing insight into people and a much broader scope was George Eliot.
     
    I have not read her either. I have, however, read The Great Awakening by Kate Chopin, which I was told was amazing literature about domestic life.

    I'll give you the plot summary, my way. Unhappy, bored, selfish rich bitch ignores her kids, has an affair, and drowns herself. Sure, it had a happy ending, but we were forced into chapters of endless angst by a woman who, if heaven forbid, had been just a little grateful for everything she had in her life, might have avoid a great deal of pain for everyone, including her family.

    So if George Elliot is "broader" than Jane Austen because she ventures into "Man, I'm rich and bored and my life totally bites" Or "Man, I'm poor, and I'm artist, and nobody understands me and my life totally bites", I'll pass. It's a genre that's been done to the death (Ha!).

    Stupidity isn’t funny because a person feigning stupidity is actually smart. Real stupid people in real life are funny. Not always, but in proper doses. If a writer can capture that, edited to fit in a novel, it will be funny.

  130. @Jack D
    This is an exceedingly strange reading of Gatsby because there are actual Jewish characters in the book who are NOT Gatsby and who are portrayed in a very unflattering, anti-Semitic way.

    A lot of people, both Jews and anti-Semites alike, assume that James Gatz from the Dakotas must be Jewish because who ever heard of anybody in America who had a German-sounding name without being Jewish?

    • Replies: @guest
    I had never heard of Gatsby described as Jewish until recently, and it came as if out of the blue. Because, just why? I mean, aside from the fact that he dealt with Jewish gangsters. (Does that make Lucky Luciano Jewish?)

    So I looked the character up on Jew or Not a Jew, a website created and written by Jews. Pretty much the only evidence is that he changed his name from something German-sounding, he didn't fit in with WASP society (though they had a time at his parties), and the gangster angle.

    The gangster angle is weaker than might be assumed at first, because we are given to believe Gatsby was recruited specifically because they wanted to use him for entree into polite white society. Which they could have done with a Jew who "passed," but why not get someone closer to a WASP? Even if he's a Dakotan.

    Speaking of which, he's from North Dakota. As that website argued, what writer in his right mind would have a crypto-Jew come from "the least Jewish state possible?" Couldn't he have been from outside Chicago, or something?

    , @syonredux

    A lot of people, both Jews and anti-Semites alike, assume that James Gatz from the Dakotas must be Jewish because who ever heard of anybody in America who had a German-sounding name without being Jewish?
     
    I actually heard a colleague offer the Jame Gatz-is-Jewish theory at a seminar. I almost burst out laughing....
  131. @guest
    "But Tom Buchanan!"

    He does yeoman's work against the evil, racist pseudoscience driven from our land by the gallant St. Boas.* But let's not get carried away, because he's dangerous by implication regarding Global Warming.

    *I recently had occasion to plug "Madison Grant" into a search engine, and the first thing to pop up, in its own special little box above all website links, was text telling me that Fitzgerald:

    A. Made fun of Grant and Stoddard, and

    B. Whoa, don't get carried away, because he was not as opposed to the two as might be expected. Actually, he was kind of racist and can be unpersoned any time we feel like it. Likely in favor of his wife, who would've been the superior novelist if not for Scott's plagiarism and the patriarchy. (That part wasn't said explicitly.)

    Tom Buchanan’s views are pretty much copied from a serious letter Fitzgerald wrote to Edmund Wilson in 1922 about how us Nordics must unite against the Alpinoid Threat.

    • Replies: @James Kabala
    Interesting - but how do we square this with the fact Tom is not a likable or sympathetic character? (Although his thoughts on immigration and race come very early in the book, before that is fully established. Present-day readers inevitably interpret this passage as one of our first hints that Tom is a jerk, but maybe in the 1920s it was just considered small talk that could have been put in the mouth of any character?)
    , @syonredux

    Tom Buchanan’s views are pretty much copied from a serious letter Fitzgerald wrote to Edmund Wilson in 1922 about how us Nordics must unite against the Alpinoid Threat.
     
    Yep.

    Rome is only a few years behind Tyre and Babylon. The negroid streak creeps northward to defile the Nordic race. Already the Italians have the souls of blackamoors. Raise the bars of immigration and permit only Scandinavians, Teutons, Anglo-Saxons and Celts to enter. France made me sick. Its silly pose as the thing the world has to save. I think it's a shame that England and America didn't let Germany conquer Europe. It's the only thing that would have saved the fleet of tottering old wrecks.
     
  132. @whorefinder

    That’s one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It’s really good
     
    The Great Gatsby is not a good book. It was a failure when it first came out, and was derided as Fitzgerald's worst work. As Steve has pointed out, its popularity was largely helped out when it was passed out to American GIs during WW2 as reading material during down times. It's quite pedantic and boring, and it's metaphors/symbolism are trite compared to truly great works of writing. (I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school, as the book made no attempt to connect with anyone outside of those people in connection with 1920s Long Island high society).

    But there's another reason Gatsby became popular in school, and it's quite ironic: Jewish control of The Megaphone.

    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward: he's a poor boy con artist/bootlegger striving to become old money and take his shiksa, er, old money love Daisy. He changed his name to fit in and came from a far away place to make his fortune in New York. He's big on jazz parties and having a big house and lots of expensive signs of making it, but doesn't enjoy them. Heck, he even does his bootlegging with a Jewish gangster. He doesn't feel worthy of being there even when he deflowers Daisy.

    Jews see a lot of Jay Gatsby in themselves, given his outsider status, black market dealings, name changing, desire for shiksas, etc. Since they have gotten more control of the Megaphone, they've pushed it into the stratosphere (as I pointed out they did to Philip Roth in general, such as Portnoy's Complaint and Goodbye, Columbus).

    I say this is ironic because Fitzgerald was notorious for his pro-white, pro-masculine, pro-Christian views---"muscular Christianity". He didn't like whites mixing with non-whites, and was highly critical of Jews. But Gatsby the character speaks to a lot of Jews.

    Do I care what Jews see in Gatsby? Say it was promoted because of their selfish identification. They’re not the only ones who read it, and we see it from other points of view. Take me. Fitzgerald was a Minnesotan (like me) and ethnically Irish (like part of me) with a sentimental attachment to the Old South (unlike me, really, but I have sentimental attachments to other old things). None of which has much to do with Jews.

    The book is all wrapped up in Gatsby, of course. Though the modern U.S. has become increasingly Gatsby-esque–whether or not that’s because it’s gotten more Jewish–it’s not ultimately in Gatsby’s corner. He’s a tragic figure because there are a lot of things wrong with him, including many of the characteristics you mention. We see him, moreover, through the eyes of the narrator, who is not Jewish and not Gatsby-esque, despite being drawn to Gatsby.

    Even if the story had been told from Gatsby’s perspective, he was by no means a Portnoy. He’s more like Fitzgerald himself, a social climber with high ambition who gets distracted and ruins himself, never getting over the fact that he had to start life lagging behind, and he could never go back, fix things, and do them right. He actually got to marry his Southern belle, but in a lot of ways he screwed up just as much as if he had let Tom Buchanan take her.

    That’s a big reason why it has remained so popular. Because people are suckers for supposed secret autobiographies like that.

    • Agree: syonredux
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    The character 'Gatsby' is a farm-bred midwestern German.
    , @Art Deco
    That’s a big reason why it has remained so popular. Because people are suckers for supposed secret autobiographies like that.

    It's quite brief as novels go, and well executed in its portraiture and style. Good choice for high school English.
  133. @Steve Sailer
    A lot of people, both Jews and anti-Semites alike, assume that James Gatz from the Dakotas must be Jewish because who ever heard of anybody in America who had a German-sounding name without being Jewish?

    I had never heard of Gatsby described as Jewish until recently, and it came as if out of the blue. Because, just why? I mean, aside from the fact that he dealt with Jewish gangsters. (Does that make Lucky Luciano Jewish?)

    So I looked the character up on Jew or Not a Jew, a website created and written by Jews. Pretty much the only evidence is that he changed his name from something German-sounding, he didn’t fit in with WASP society (though they had a time at his parties), and the gangster angle.

    The gangster angle is weaker than might be assumed at first, because we are given to believe Gatsby was recruited specifically because they wanted to use him for entree into polite white society. Which they could have done with a Jew who “passed,” but why not get someone closer to a WASP? Even if he’s a Dakotan.

    Speaking of which, he’s from North Dakota. As that website argued, what writer in his right mind would have a crypto-Jew come from “the least Jewish state possible?” Couldn’t he have been from outside Chicago, or something?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    It's just an example of how Jews dominate discourse these days and nobody dares make fun of their fetishes, so their interests get taken seriously.
  134. @AM

    I forgot probably the most-assigned female-penned book – probably assigned more than most if not all male books as well – To Kill a Mockingbird.
     
    High school teachers love teaching it because it's protagonist has lovely, simple worldview and has all the politically correct ideas.

    It's not really literature -- it's our modern day Uncle Tom's Cabin. But it's taught that way.

    High school teachers love teaching it because it’s protagonist has lovely, simple worldview and has all the politically correct ideas.

    The protagonist is a youngster between the ages of 6 and 9. Babbling about her ‘worldview’ and referring to her accounts of daily life in a small town in south Alabama as imbued with ‘politically correct themes’ is obtuse with a thoroughness than most of can shoot for only in vain.

    • Replies: @guest
    The book is relatively politically correct, especially given its setting, when you compare it to the recently published Go Set a Watchman, which I am given to understand is an earlier version of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird.

    The themes are very comfortable for at least 20th century liberals, in any case. I can't speak for Current Year liberals. There is only one major non-white character, after all, and he isn't much of a character.
    , @AM

    The protagonist is a youngster between the ages of 6 and 9. Babbling about her ‘worldview’ and referring to her accounts of daily life in a small town in south Alabama as imbued with ‘politically correct themes’ is obtuse with a thoroughness than most of can shoot for only in vain.
     
    LOL! No, actually I think I was pretty clear. I'll translate it to modern 'street' if you like.

    The story is narrated by woke 9 year old who has never experienced anything but a nice Dad and a nice life and nice blacks and is genuinely horrified when dear old Dad fails to clear a retarded black man of rape, after clearly weighing all the evidence within her 9 year old mind that he is indeed innocent, along with Dad's say so.

    We thankfully (phew!) never see anyone else's POV, including dear old Dad's lest we muddy the waters with thoughts that are either more adult or more experienced.

    Thus it is genuinely loved by liberals everywhere for it's lovely, simple worldview and politically correct themes. ;)
  135. @guest
    Do I care what Jews see in Gatsby? Say it was promoted because of their selfish identification. They're not the only ones who read it, and we see it from other points of view. Take me. Fitzgerald was a Minnesotan (like me) and ethnically Irish (like part of me) with a sentimental attachment to the Old South (unlike me, really, but I have sentimental attachments to other old things). None of which has much to do with Jews.

    The book is all wrapped up in Gatsby, of course. Though the modern U.S. has become increasingly Gatsby-esque--whether or not that's because it's gotten more Jewish--it's not ultimately in Gatsby's corner. He's a tragic figure because there are a lot of things wrong with him, including many of the characteristics you mention. We see him, moreover, through the eyes of the narrator, who is not Jewish and not Gatsby-esque, despite being drawn to Gatsby.

    Even if the story had been told from Gatsby's perspective, he was by no means a Portnoy. He's more like Fitzgerald himself, a social climber with high ambition who gets distracted and ruins himself, never getting over the fact that he had to start life lagging behind, and he could never go back, fix things, and do them right. He actually got to marry his Southern belle, but in a lot of ways he screwed up just as much as if he had let Tom Buchanan take her.

    That's a big reason why it has remained so popular. Because people are suckers for supposed secret autobiographies like that.

    The character ‘Gatsby’ is a farm-bred midwestern German.

  136. @tsotha

    Why? Mostly, I think, because J.K. is a girl and J.R.R. was a boy. In the very long run, sex will tell.
     
    It's amazingly easy to tell the sex of the author, regardless of how they obscure it (nearly every "Alex" who writes popular fiction is female), and even when they're writing a story that boys would find interesting. Very few women have a clue regarding what goes on in a man's head, and their male characters tend to think like women. My theory is it's because until a woman is 35 or so it doesn't really matter what men think - she can get whatever she wants from them.

    Rowling is a prime example of someone who can do one thing that requires a relatively high IQ very well, but seems to be a veritable moron when it comes to everything else.

    On another thread people were claiming the heroes of Ayn Rand as autistic. She seems to me able to get inside the heads of men better than the average woman writer,* despite the imputation of neurological abnormality. (Are autistes more likely to be male? I wouldn’t know.)

    That being said, you can easily tell her sex. Her heroes are always described on the basis of what gives her the tingles, and all the right female characters share her tingles.

    *Women generally write great male characters better than men write great female characters, but that’s probably because males generally make for better characters, even in girlier genres.

    • Replies: @Anonym
    On another thread people were claiming the heroes of Ayn Rand as autistic. She seems to me able to get inside the heads of men better than the average woman writer,* despite the imputation of neurological abnormality. (Are autistes more likely to be male? I wouldn’t know.)

    That was me, and I last read Atlas Shrugged nearly 20 years ago, so my memory may not be the best. Considering that her solution to the spread of socialism was not argument but avoidance (Galt's Gulch), maybe there is something to it, along with her lionizing industrialist nerds. I did get savaged in that post so take it with a grain of salt. I did play Bioshock less than a decade ago. ;)

    Rand does write male characters well. I think it has something to do with being a Jewess and with a technically minded father, so maybe some of that DNA came through. Jews have some rather male-like women, see Golda Meir, probably most of the Lesbian heads of NOW, probably others. Just why does the Jewish male go hard for the shiksa, pardon the unintended pun? That is a frequent theme of this blog.

  137. @Jack D
    This is an exceedingly strange reading of Gatsby because there are actual Jewish characters in the book who are NOT Gatsby and who are portrayed in a very unflattering, anti-Semitic way.

    Meyer Wolfsheim wasn’t portrayed in a particularly unflattering way. At the end of the day, he would not pay his respects to his business partner, something he had in common with everyone in Gatsby’s social world bar the narrator and the boozer with the oversized spectacles.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Here is the narrator's description of Wolfsheim:

    "A small,flat nosed Jew raised his large head and regarded me with two fine growths of hair which luxuriated in either nostril. After a moment, I discovered his tiny eyes in the half darkness.."

    I suppose you are right - if Fitzgerald was anti-Semitic he would have given Meyer a hook nose instead of a flat one. :-)
  138. @JSM
    Feh. I just read the first 3 chapters. These people discover a foundling and have no clue who the mother is (in a small village for pete's sake)?? Did 19th century England not understand that ladies who deliver full-term babies tend to swell up in the months prior???

    --And having just read the Spark Notes plot synopsis, to discover that the bastard's mother was Mr. Allworthy's own sister -- who resided in his home for the duration of the requisite gestation, apparently unnoticed the entire time by the entire household, for crying out loud! -- I view as a plot hole sufficient to swallow the entire, overwrought, pretentious, steaming pile of dreck.

    Frankly, it's a lame trick of a plot twist to put M. Night Shyamalan to shame.

    Did 19th century England not understand that ladies who deliver full-term babies tend to swell up in the months prior???

    Not sure about Britain. In the United States it was still common in my grandmother’s generation to refrain from appearing in public visibly pregnant.

  139. @Art Deco
    High school teachers love teaching it because it’s protagonist has lovely, simple worldview and has all the politically correct ideas.

    The protagonist is a youngster between the ages of 6 and 9. Babbling about her 'worldview' and referring to her accounts of daily life in a small town in south Alabama as imbued with 'politically correct themes' is obtuse with a thoroughness than most of can shoot for only in vain.

    The book is relatively politically correct, especially given its setting, when you compare it to the recently published Go Set a Watchman, which I am given to understand is an earlier version of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird.

    The themes are very comfortable for at least 20th century liberals, in any case. I can’t speak for Current Year liberals. There is only one major non-white character, after all, and he isn’t much of a character.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    To Kill a Mockingbird benefited from the fortuitous coincidence that Harper Lee grew up next door to Truman Capote, who had become a huge celebrity by the time the book was published. The young Capote shows up as a character in the book and movie.

    It's kind of like if Robert Louis Stevenson had grown up next door to Oscar Wilde.

    , @Art Deco
    The book is relatively politically correct,

    The Italian Communist press once denounced Lucy Van Pelt as a social fascist. Reductionism can be funny, but I don't think you mean for me to be chortling at you.
    , @JSM
    In which case, the village busybodies would have taken note of, and gossiped about, of Bridget's *abscence* and put two and two together, just as pregger teens in the 50s who left school during the school year to "go live with an aunt," everybody knew that meant she went to live in an Unwed Mother's home.
  140. @Steve Sailer
    The Jewish character in The Great Gatsby ought to be read as an obvious anti-Semitic archetype -- he's the Jew who corrupted America's national pastime by getting the Chicago Black Sox to throw the World Series!

    And the brief mention of blacks in "Gatsby" is scornful.

    But Tom Buchanan!

    The Jewish character in The Great Gatsby ought to be read as an obvious anti-Semitic archetype — he’s the Jew who corrupted America’s national pastime by getting the Chicago Black Sox to throw the World Series!

    The model for the character was the crime boss Arthur Rothstein, who actually had done that.

    • Replies: @guest
    Since when is truth a defense against anti-semitism?
  141. @whorefinder

    That’s one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It’s really good
     
    The Great Gatsby is not a good book. It was a failure when it first came out, and was derided as Fitzgerald's worst work. As Steve has pointed out, its popularity was largely helped out when it was passed out to American GIs during WW2 as reading material during down times. It's quite pedantic and boring, and it's metaphors/symbolism are trite compared to truly great works of writing. (I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school, as the book made no attempt to connect with anyone outside of those people in connection with 1920s Long Island high society).

    But there's another reason Gatsby became popular in school, and it's quite ironic: Jewish control of The Megaphone.

    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward: he's a poor boy con artist/bootlegger striving to become old money and take his shiksa, er, old money love Daisy. He changed his name to fit in and came from a far away place to make his fortune in New York. He's big on jazz parties and having a big house and lots of expensive signs of making it, but doesn't enjoy them. Heck, he even does his bootlegging with a Jewish gangster. He doesn't feel worthy of being there even when he deflowers Daisy.

    Jews see a lot of Jay Gatsby in themselves, given his outsider status, black market dealings, name changing, desire for shiksas, etc. Since they have gotten more control of the Megaphone, they've pushed it into the stratosphere (as I pointed out they did to Philip Roth in general, such as Portnoy's Complaint and Goodbye, Columbus).

    I say this is ironic because Fitzgerald was notorious for his pro-white, pro-masculine, pro-Christian views---"muscular Christianity". He didn't like whites mixing with non-whites, and was highly critical of Jews. But Gatsby the character speaks to a lot of Jews.

    “It’s quite pedantic and boring…I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school”

    “Pedantic” is an odd description. I can’t imagine why anyone would characterize that book as pedantic, except if they happened to have been assigned it in school and had it crammed down their throat by a teacher. But that’s not really the Great Gatsby’s fault.

  142. @Art Deco
    The Jewish character in The Great Gatsby ought to be read as an obvious anti-Semitic archetype — he’s the Jew who corrupted America’s national pastime by getting the Chicago Black Sox to throw the World Series!

    The model for the character was the crime boss Arthur Rothstein, who actually had done that.

    Since when is truth a defense against anti-semitism?

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    You're all looking at a piece of literature and in your commentary on it out comes your social and political tropes. Meyer Wolfsheim is a literary character, one drawn from an actual historical personage. He's not a social statement.
  143. @guest
    I had never heard of Gatsby described as Jewish until recently, and it came as if out of the blue. Because, just why? I mean, aside from the fact that he dealt with Jewish gangsters. (Does that make Lucky Luciano Jewish?)

    So I looked the character up on Jew or Not a Jew, a website created and written by Jews. Pretty much the only evidence is that he changed his name from something German-sounding, he didn't fit in with WASP society (though they had a time at his parties), and the gangster angle.

    The gangster angle is weaker than might be assumed at first, because we are given to believe Gatsby was recruited specifically because they wanted to use him for entree into polite white society. Which they could have done with a Jew who "passed," but why not get someone closer to a WASP? Even if he's a Dakotan.

    Speaking of which, he's from North Dakota. As that website argued, what writer in his right mind would have a crypto-Jew come from "the least Jewish state possible?" Couldn't he have been from outside Chicago, or something?

    It’s just an example of how Jews dominate discourse these days and nobody dares make fun of their fetishes, so their interests get taken seriously.

  144. @guest
    The book is relatively politically correct, especially given its setting, when you compare it to the recently published Go Set a Watchman, which I am given to understand is an earlier version of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird.

    The themes are very comfortable for at least 20th century liberals, in any case. I can't speak for Current Year liberals. There is only one major non-white character, after all, and he isn't much of a character.

    To Kill a Mockingbird benefited from the fortuitous coincidence that Harper Lee grew up next door to Truman Capote, who had become a huge celebrity by the time the book was published. The young Capote shows up as a character in the book and movie.

    It’s kind of like if Robert Louis Stevenson had grown up next door to Oscar Wilde.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    I'm sure Capote's connections helped Harper Lee get her book published. It would not have influenced sales. I don't think the book's ever been out of print.
    , @cthulhu
    Any truth to the persistent rumor that Capote to some degree ghost-wrote To Kill a Mockingbird?
  145. @Anonymous
    Good numbers, but the boondoggle is the 15%, plus history, sociology, anthropology, etc., (https://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/media/shiftingmajors.png) minus all the segments of these disciplines that haven't been cult-marxed beyond recognition. We could all be worker bee drones (what are the breakdowns in China?) but for privilege to justify itself it needs the patina of a Diverse elite, and social justice and social-justicizing degrees are where we'll get it. So far so good. But by its own logic the academy is relevant insofar as it critiques non-meritocratic privilege; since it itself is increasingly made up of raw self-justifying status, and hijacking rather than demolishing existing privilege-bestowing institutions, it must look elsewhere to slay dragons. How long before we feel its effects on technocracy?

    Good numbers, but the boondoggle is the 15%, plus history, sociology, anthropology, etc.,

    A large slice of sociology is quantitative. A grand total of 0.6% of all baccalaureate degrees are awarded in anthropology. That a venerable discipline like history is considered a ‘boondoggle’ is testament to the degree to which vulgarity is mistaken for perspicacity hereabouts.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    What's the upper bound on the amount of weapons-grade blank slate-ism in a sociology degree, and is it possible to squeeze through sociology degrees with qualitative identity-group studies courses, and graduate degrees through autoethnographies, and so on -- and what about in twenty years?

    I'm not interested in your answer so much as the number of words in a sentence you can take in before encountering a mental block and discarding the rest.

  146. Steve: Now, even D Zuck is following in your footsteps

    https://twitter.com/donnazuck/status/880143457204846592

    • Replies: @guest
    I thought literary theorists were the only ones stupid enough to think that the intentional "fallacy" is an actual fallacy. Apparently classicists are on board, too. Makes putting words in the mouths of Ancient Dead White Males easier. They're only tactically stupid.

    Of course, inserting an author's supposed intention somewhere it doesn't belong can be fallacious. But out of that you cannot a Fallacy build. Because how can you know for sure when you're wrong? You can't take the author's word for it, because that would be merely pushing the intention question back a step. There are instances when objective evidence can be adduced, I guess. For instance, authors who lived before the invention of technology X couldn't have intended a passage to be interpreted as involving technology X. Unless they were like da Vinci and dreamed it up themselves.

    Really, then, the fallacy consists of "you cannot assume authorial intent when something was not intended by the author." Which is tautological. Or "authors don't intend everything," which is obvious. Or "it's not possible to know an author intended any particular reading of his work," which is trivial.

    The upshot is usually something like "the benefit of the doubt goes to unintendedness,"which is convenient for literary professors and critics. Because it gives you license to make crap up.

    , @grapesoda
    She just tried to say like 45 different unrelated things in one nonsensical tweet.

    This billionaire-funded culture-destabilizing trash would learn more in one day of shoveling asphalt in the 110 degree heat than she's ever known, or ever will know, in her whole life.

    Btw Archie is on par with anything that Herodotus ever wrote... Look inside for details!!

  147. @guest
    Since when is truth a defense against anti-semitism?

    You’re all looking at a piece of literature and in your commentary on it out comes your social and political tropes. Meyer Wolfsheim is a literary character, one drawn from an actual historical personage. He’s not a social statement.

    • Replies: @guest
    "He's not a social statement"

    He wouldn't have to be. It's enough for him to be seen as a caricature possessing stereotypical Jewish traits to be tagged as anti-semitic.

    Not by me, because I don't care, but by anti-semitism hunters.

  148. @Steve Sailer
    To Kill a Mockingbird benefited from the fortuitous coincidence that Harper Lee grew up next door to Truman Capote, who had become a huge celebrity by the time the book was published. The young Capote shows up as a character in the book and movie.

    It's kind of like if Robert Louis Stevenson had grown up next door to Oscar Wilde.

    I’m sure Capote’s connections helped Harper Lee get her book published. It would not have influenced sales. I don’t think the book’s ever been out of print.

  149. @guest
    The book is relatively politically correct, especially given its setting, when you compare it to the recently published Go Set a Watchman, which I am given to understand is an earlier version of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird.

    The themes are very comfortable for at least 20th century liberals, in any case. I can't speak for Current Year liberals. There is only one major non-white character, after all, and he isn't much of a character.

    The book is relatively politically correct,

    The Italian Communist press once denounced Lucy Van Pelt as a social fascist. Reductionism can be funny, but I don’t think you mean for me to be chortling at you.

    • Replies: @guest
    Who's being reductive? I'm just comparing it to Go Set a Watchman. If commies wanted to say Lucy is more fascistic than Woodstock, for instance, they might have a point.

    I don't actually know much about the politics of Peanuts characters, so pick a more applicable character if you like.
  150. @Anonym
    They’re fun, exciting reads for children/teenagers, and Rowling is a talent quite a few cuts above whichever Hardy Boys hack.

    I liked The Hardy Boys books. Similar to Doctor Who, just because they farm the brand out to multiple authors, doesn't mean there aren't some good stories amongst them.

    Glancing at Amazon, 4.6 and 4.5 is very respectable, and the occasional 4.7 is excellent. Doctor Who anthologies also get 4.6 or so. They were popular books for a reason.

    Oh, I couldn’t get enough of the Hardy Boys when I was in grade school, but in retrospect they don’t have much if any literary merit for the adult reader.

    • Replies: @Anonym
    True. I wouldn't read them now (like you, grade school) but neither would I read Harry Potter as an adult.
  151. @guest
    Do I care what Jews see in Gatsby? Say it was promoted because of their selfish identification. They're not the only ones who read it, and we see it from other points of view. Take me. Fitzgerald was a Minnesotan (like me) and ethnically Irish (like part of me) with a sentimental attachment to the Old South (unlike me, really, but I have sentimental attachments to other old things). None of which has much to do with Jews.

    The book is all wrapped up in Gatsby, of course. Though the modern U.S. has become increasingly Gatsby-esque--whether or not that's because it's gotten more Jewish--it's not ultimately in Gatsby's corner. He's a tragic figure because there are a lot of things wrong with him, including many of the characteristics you mention. We see him, moreover, through the eyes of the narrator, who is not Jewish and not Gatsby-esque, despite being drawn to Gatsby.

    Even if the story had been told from Gatsby's perspective, he was by no means a Portnoy. He's more like Fitzgerald himself, a social climber with high ambition who gets distracted and ruins himself, never getting over the fact that he had to start life lagging behind, and he could never go back, fix things, and do them right. He actually got to marry his Southern belle, but in a lot of ways he screwed up just as much as if he had let Tom Buchanan take her.

    That's a big reason why it has remained so popular. Because people are suckers for supposed secret autobiographies like that.

    That’s a big reason why it has remained so popular. Because people are suckers for supposed secret autobiographies like that.

    It’s quite brief as novels go, and well executed in its portraiture and style. Good choice for high school English.

  152. @whorefinder

    That’s one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It’s really good
     
    The Great Gatsby is not a good book. It was a failure when it first came out, and was derided as Fitzgerald's worst work. As Steve has pointed out, its popularity was largely helped out when it was passed out to American GIs during WW2 as reading material during down times. It's quite pedantic and boring, and it's metaphors/symbolism are trite compared to truly great works of writing. (I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school, as the book made no attempt to connect with anyone outside of those people in connection with 1920s Long Island high society).

    But there's another reason Gatsby became popular in school, and it's quite ironic: Jewish control of The Megaphone.

    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward: he's a poor boy con artist/bootlegger striving to become old money and take his shiksa, er, old money love Daisy. He changed his name to fit in and came from a far away place to make his fortune in New York. He's big on jazz parties and having a big house and lots of expensive signs of making it, but doesn't enjoy them. Heck, he even does his bootlegging with a Jewish gangster. He doesn't feel worthy of being there even when he deflowers Daisy.

    Jews see a lot of Jay Gatsby in themselves, given his outsider status, black market dealings, name changing, desire for shiksas, etc. Since they have gotten more control of the Megaphone, they've pushed it into the stratosphere (as I pointed out they did to Philip Roth in general, such as Portnoy's Complaint and Goodbye, Columbus).

    I say this is ironic because Fitzgerald was notorious for his pro-white, pro-masculine, pro-Christian views---"muscular Christianity". He didn't like whites mixing with non-whites, and was highly critical of Jews. But Gatsby the character speaks to a lot of Jews.

    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward: he’s a poor boy con artist/bootlegger striving to become old money and take his shiksa, er, old money love Daisy.

    Not unless you fancy the rural midwest is populated with Jews or that German Lutherans farmers are interchangeable with Jews. The ‘subtle unadaptablity’ of ‘midwesterners’ to life in the east is made explicit, and refers to the narrator, Gatsby, Daisy, and Jordan Baker.

  153. @snorlax
    Oh, I couldn’t get enough of the Hardy Boys when I was in grade school, but in retrospect they don’t have much if any literary merit for the adult reader.

    True. I wouldn’t read them now (like you, grade school) but neither would I read Harry Potter as an adult.

  154. @whoever
    She also adores her brave and wise father and, conveniently for her, there is no pesky mother she need compete with for his attention and affection. I suppose when she grew up she drove a Buick Electra.

    She also adores her brave and wise father

    In order to be ‘real literature’, I suppose the character must despise her father.

    and, conveniently for her, there is no pesky mother she need compete with for his attention and affection.

    Her brother and aunt were also in residence. It’s set in 1935. The youngsters portrayed are low-maintenance.

    • Replies: @whoever

    She also adores her brave and wise father
    In order to be ‘real literature’, I suppose the character must despise her father.
     
    That doesn't make any sense at all. Why would you conclude that?

    and, conveniently for her, there is no pesky mother she need compete with for his attention and affection.
    Her brother and aunt were also in residence.

     

    Don't forget Calpurnia!

    Apparently, my neo-Freudian joke zoomed over your head.


    It’s set in 1935.
     
    Who knew!

    The youngsters portrayed are low-maintenance.

     

    I take it that you have never had -- or been -- a daughter like Scout!
    ______________

    Incidentally, I love Mockingbird. It's one of my childhood favorites and I've read it a number of times over the years. The edition I originally read was the Popular Library paperback that my grandmother bought when it first came out. She read it. My mother read it. I read it, and my own children will read that exact same copy by and by. The cover has been taped and the spine glued again and again. There are ancient cookie crumbs embedded in the pages. The front and end pages are full of generations of scribbled comments.
    I won't tell my children what the novel is about or what they are supposed to take away from reading it. They'll decide that for themselves. We'll only talk about it after they've read it.

  155. Jews don’t dominate discourse. Rather, urbanites and in particular, wealthy and aspiring wealthy young women in urban centers like LA, NY, SF dominate, along with gays and Blacks.

    After all, if Jews dominated discourse, would there be a general purging of Jews from Hollywood by Black people? Would the most anti-Israeli President, a Third World Aristocrat with typical disdain for Jews, have become the most wildly popular two term President? Would Al Sharpton be the respected national civil rights leader with his own TV show? Would Genius T. Coates be well, Genius T. Coates instead of “needs the work” relatives of Mel Brooks or Rob Reiner? Would Israel be mostly a global pariah with campuses actively excluding Jews and Jewish speakers? Would gay pride parades ban the Israeli flag? But welcome the Palestinian one?

    Would a Jewish dominated America be rushing to push in more … MUSLIMS?

    Does anyone really think that Jerry Seinfeld, David Lee Roth, Howard Stern, Mark Zuckerberg, and Adam Sandler get together and think “hey you know what would make our lives so much better? MUSLIMS!”

    Now, Eat-Pray-Love aging trust fund urban sloots, sure. Lots of Angry Black women, sure. You can’t criticize THEM in public. You don’t see urban sluts or Angry Black women being booted off the national mall or a Bernie Sanders campaign event.

    Heck, that right there shows how little influence Jews have — they can’t even get ol Bern the nomination, against Crooked Cankles and the pantsuit of doom. When Obama clearly HATE HATE HATED her Cacklepants Guts.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    "Would a Jewish dominated America be rushing to push in more … MUSLIMS? "

    Israel has been surrounded by hostile Muslim countries for 70 years. In the first 25 years they fought them and beat them, for the last few decades the most powerful nation has done the fighting. Muslims are no longer seen as an existential threat, if ever they were.

    "Divide et impera"

    , @Art Deco
    have become the most wildly popular two term President?

    He wasn't. From the Spring of 2010 to the Spring of 2016, he was underwater with public opinion, bar for a brief (but crucial) period in the fall of 2012. He had a honeymoon, as nearly all presidents do, but after that north of 40% of the public was consistently disapproving of him or disgusted with him. He's had a wretched effect on the Democratic Party downticket. Their performance hasn't been this bad since the 1920s. Having contributed so little, he won't go away (bar for golfing holidays).

  156. @Jack D
    These people cause a disproportionate amount of damage and they contribute little if anything positive, so on the whole they are still a drag on the economy and culture and we would be much better off without them. At the very least we should not be using taxpayer funds to subsidize them. If George Soros wanted to fund them using (non-tax deductible) donations, then fine, but Democrats are always full of "good ideas" that they want to pay for using my hard earned money.

    A humanities degree is generally a labor market signal. These people aren’t a drag on the economy unless they’re engaged in some rent-extracting operation. As for being ‘destructive’, try the legal profession, corporate HR, or educational administration, not sales reps who got a humanities degree.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Always and ever the law gets lumped in among useless and silly things like underwater basketweaving, but I doubt any man Jack who understands the implications wants a world without laws and lawyers; the only alternative is tyranny and whim.

    "It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws." —Aristotle

    "We are a nation of laws, not of men." — John Adams

    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." — William Shakespeare
     
    The trouble is reflected in the rampant misunderstanding of the context for Shakespeare's words by fools who've never bothered to watch or read the play.

    Certainly law – like so much else – has devolved now into a horrible kakistocracy, but the solution is not derision for the institution, but rather accountability and replacement of its guardians (the whole point of nomocracy; for there is no replacing the king!). Luther did not advocate the dissolution of the church; rather, he wanted its clergy to stop being jerks, or, in the alternative, for men who were not jerks to replace them....

    Nomocracy matters.
  157. anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Most important news story IN THE WORLD!!!

    JK Rowling responds to Trump’s Mika Brzezinski attack with Lincoln quote

    “If you want to test a man’s character, give him power”

    Trump is clearly unfit to be president because …

    Trump said Brzezinski had a “low I.Q.” and slammed her for “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when he saw Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough — Brzezinksi’s co-host and fiancé — around New Year’s Eve.

    It’s the Reichstag Fire x 1,000,000,000,000!!!

    Several others have come to Brzezinski’s defense, calling the president’s behavior undignified.

    Please just stop. This isn’t normal and it’s beneath the dignity of your office.
    — Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) June 29, 2017

    Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America.
    — Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) June 29, 2017

    This is disgraceful & shameful. The message this sends, that you can bully others like this w/out any shame or consequence, is disgusting. pic.twitter.com/jrvzJwIspd
    — Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 29, 2017

    Why are you ignoring this iSteve? This is the issue of our time!!!

  158. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Art Deco
    Good numbers, but the boondoggle is the 15%, plus history, sociology, anthropology, etc.,

    A large slice of sociology is quantitative. A grand total of 0.6% of all baccalaureate degrees are awarded in anthropology. That a venerable discipline like history is considered a 'boondoggle' is testament to the degree to which vulgarity is mistaken for perspicacity hereabouts.

    What’s the upper bound on the amount of weapons-grade blank slate-ism in a sociology degree, and is it possible to squeeze through sociology degrees with qualitative identity-group studies courses, and graduate degrees through autoethnographies, and so on — and what about in twenty years?

    I’m not interested in your answer so much as the number of words in a sentence you can take in before encountering a mental block and discarding the rest.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Ask a coherent question, and I might answer you.
  159. Something that is often forgotten about J.K. Rowling’s books/movies is that while they started out being almost equally popular among girls and boys (the authoress chose old-fashioned initials to hide her sex from little girl-hating he-men), by the time the eighth and (sort of) final movie in the series finally came out, their appeal was almost wholly to girls, just as J.R.R. Tolkien’s fans are overwhelmingly male.

    I think this is perhaps a bit of a stretch; certainly the most obsequious and hysterical Harry Potter fans tend to be women (or effeminate men), but FWIW I think that most of my male Millenial peers have read and quite enjoyed the books as well. (There may be a difference between the books and movies/their fandoms here.) I think part of the reason the books are so successful is that, in addition to appealing to young women for the reasons described by Steve and various commenters, there’s also quite a bit of action heroism interwoven in to appeal to boys. Indeed, contra Steve, I think that from the 4th book on or so there’s actually more emphasis on the heroes’ exertions in combat/fighting relative to the earlier books’ focus on trials of the spirit.

  160. @guest
    On another thread people were claiming the heroes of Ayn Rand as autistic. She seems to me able to get inside the heads of men better than the average woman writer,* despite the imputation of neurological abnormality. (Are autistes more likely to be male? I wouldn't know.)

    That being said, you can easily tell her sex. Her heroes are always described on the basis of what gives her the tingles, and all the right female characters share her tingles.

    *Women generally write great male characters better than men write great female characters, but that's probably because males generally make for better characters, even in girlier genres.

    On another thread people were claiming the heroes of Ayn Rand as autistic. She seems to me able to get inside the heads of men better than the average woman writer,* despite the imputation of neurological abnormality. (Are autistes more likely to be male? I wouldn’t know.)

    That was me, and I last read Atlas Shrugged nearly 20 years ago, so my memory may not be the best. Considering that her solution to the spread of socialism was not argument but avoidance (Galt’s Gulch), maybe there is something to it, along with her lionizing industrialist nerds. I did get savaged in that post so take it with a grain of salt. I did play Bioshock less than a decade ago. 😉

    Rand does write male characters well. I think it has something to do with being a Jewess and with a technically minded father, so maybe some of that DNA came through. Jews have some rather male-like women, see Golda Meir, probably most of the Lesbian heads of NOW, probably others. Just why does the Jewish male go hard for the shiksa, pardon the unintended pun? That is a frequent theme of this blog.

    • Replies: @guest
    "a Jewess and with a technically minded father"

    It is interesting that all the main characters of Rand's major novels are technically-minded,* though as far as I know she wasn't. She studied history and philosophy, which among the humanities are more masculine than feminine. But her mania for movies and literature can be seen as more feminine than masculine.

    *We, the Living--aspiring engineer; Anthem--scientist (rediscovers electricity); the Fountainhead--architect; Atlas Shrugged--inventor (static electric motor).

  161. @Art Deco
    You're all looking at a piece of literature and in your commentary on it out comes your social and political tropes. Meyer Wolfsheim is a literary character, one drawn from an actual historical personage. He's not a social statement.

    “He’s not a social statement”

    He wouldn’t have to be. It’s enough for him to be seen as a caricature possessing stereotypical Jewish traits to be tagged as anti-semitic.

    Not by me, because I don’t care, but by anti-semitism hunters.

  162. @Art Deco
    The book is relatively politically correct,

    The Italian Communist press once denounced Lucy Van Pelt as a social fascist. Reductionism can be funny, but I don't think you mean for me to be chortling at you.

    Who’s being reductive? I’m just comparing it to Go Set a Watchman. If commies wanted to say Lucy is more fascistic than Woodstock, for instance, they might have a point.

    I don’t actually know much about the politics of Peanuts characters, so pick a more applicable character if you like.

  163. @Not Raul
    Steve: Now, even D Zuck is following in your footsteps

    https://twitter.com/donnazuck/status/880143457204846592

    I thought literary theorists were the only ones stupid enough to think that the intentional “fallacy” is an actual fallacy. Apparently classicists are on board, too. Makes putting words in the mouths of Ancient Dead White Males easier. They’re only tactically stupid.

    Of course, inserting an author’s supposed intention somewhere it doesn’t belong can be fallacious. But out of that you cannot a Fallacy build. Because how can you know for sure when you’re wrong? You can’t take the author’s word for it, because that would be merely pushing the intention question back a step. There are instances when objective evidence can be adduced, I guess. For instance, authors who lived before the invention of technology X couldn’t have intended a passage to be interpreted as involving technology X. Unless they were like da Vinci and dreamed it up themselves.

    Really, then, the fallacy consists of “you cannot assume authorial intent when something was not intended by the author.” Which is tautological. Or “authors don’t intend everything,” which is obvious. Or “it’s not possible to know an author intended any particular reading of his work,” which is trivial.

    The upshot is usually something like “the benefit of the doubt goes to unintendedness,”which is convenient for literary professors and critics. Because it gives you license to make crap up.

  164. @Daniel Chieh
    Actually enough socialism does indeed at least retard business growth and results in businessmen that I knew even in the highly sociaized Scandic countries basically become "free riders" by living in Finland and using its generous system, but establishing jobs and factories in Eastern Europe. It really doesn't seem like it is a permanent solution, and it does make me think that in general, inviting immigration was a final and desperate attempt at fixing problems that socialism at already introduced.

    Japan, as noted, isn't Europe and operates by vastly different methodology, including governance. However, they also suffer similar business issues and its a consistent complaint, because as much as it is lionized here and it does have a lot of great qualities, anyone who's been there will find a lot of citizens complaining about their way of life and believing that things could be better if they were somehow more Westernized.

    Grass is geener and all.

    inviting immigration was a final and desperate attempt at fixing problems that socialism at already introduced

    Could you elaborate on this a little?

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    I'm most familiar with Finland in this, but the broken wage structure due to extremely restrictive regulations - you can't even hire someone to work for your grocery without the appropriate cashier education, and then you have to pay her a specific rate based on her years of experience - made it so much more vastly competitive to hire an immigrant where those regulations would be excluded.Even without that, as noted, the same regulations/high tax/high benefits means that a large section of the native population exist as free riders, and often with the wealthier trying to loophole away their portion of the tax.

    In the long run, the intractable power of unions versus the iron laws of economics mean that something has gotta give.

    In illnesses, its usually secondary diseases that perform the actual killing blow on the patient. I personally would say that immigration is a secondary disease from dealing with issues introduced by an original system.

  165. @Art Deco
    She also adores her brave and wise father

    In order to be 'real literature', I suppose the character must despise her father.



    and, conveniently for her, there is no pesky mother she need compete with for his attention and affection.

    Her brother and aunt were also in residence. It's set in 1935. The youngsters portrayed are low-maintenance.

    She also adores her brave and wise father
    In order to be ‘real literature’, I suppose the character must despise her father.

    That doesn’t make any sense at all. Why would you conclude that?

    and, conveniently for her, there is no pesky mother she need compete with for his attention and affection.
    Her brother and aunt were also in residence.

    Don’t forget Calpurnia!

    Apparently, my neo-Freudian joke zoomed over your head.

    It’s set in 1935.

    Who knew!

    The youngsters portrayed are low-maintenance.

    I take it that you have never had — or been — a daughter like Scout!
    ______________

    Incidentally, I love Mockingbird. It’s one of my childhood favorites and I’ve read it a number of times over the years. The edition I originally read was the Popular Library paperback that my grandmother bought when it first came out. She read it. My mother read it. I read it, and my own children will read that exact same copy by and by. The cover has been taped and the spine glued again and again. There are ancient cookie crumbs embedded in the pages. The front and end pages are full of generations of scribbled comments.
    I won’t tell my children what the novel is about or what they are supposed to take away from reading it. They’ll decide that for themselves. We’ll only talk about it after they’ve read it.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    I take it that you have never had — or been — a daughter like Scout!

    I take it you didn't read the book. The children amuse themselves. Atticus Finch arrives home from work, reads the newspaper, has crabby discussions with his sister, eats the meals Calpurnia prepares for him, and occasionally answers questions from his daughter or reads to her. She doesn't need much attention and affection from her father and doesn't get much. The ministrations of her aunt are a trial for her (even though they only have words once during the course of the narrative).
  166. @Not Raul
    Steve: Now, even D Zuck is following in your footsteps

    https://twitter.com/donnazuck/status/880143457204846592

    She just tried to say like 45 different unrelated things in one nonsensical tweet.

    This billionaire-funded culture-destabilizing trash would learn more in one day of shoveling asphalt in the 110 degree heat than she’s ever known, or ever will know, in her whole life.

    Btw Archie is on par with anything that Herodotus ever wrote… Look inside for details!!

  167. @kihowi
    Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway. Hobbits are little cartoon versions of the unthreatening, nerdy Englishmen that are the reason that Englishwomen are currently importing millions of vibrant head-choppers. Much of the universe around them is the vomit-inducing Victorian pre-raphaelite view on mythology/the dark ages where already the main attributes of the valiant hero were asexuality, timid self-sacrifice and an ability to mope.

    Now compare that to the Conan stories (even though Howard was gay and couldn't write as well). That's masculine.

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it's impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity. Only with videogames have boys gotten a medium which fits them as well as books fit girls.

  168. @kihowi
    Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway. Hobbits are little cartoon versions of the unthreatening, nerdy Englishmen that are the reason that Englishwomen are currently importing millions of vibrant head-choppers. Much of the universe around them is the vomit-inducing Victorian pre-raphaelite view on mythology/the dark ages where already the main attributes of the valiant hero were asexuality, timid self-sacrifice and an ability to mope.

    Now compare that to the Conan stories (even though Howard was gay and couldn't write as well). That's masculine.

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it's impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity. Only with videogames have boys gotten a medium which fits them as well as books fit girls.

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it’s impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity.

    There may be something in this in that the “Homers” of the world are not synonymous with the “Achilles” of the world.

    On the other hand, without Homer, we wouldn’t know about Achilles, and possibly the Hellenes who venerated the Iliad would’ve been less manly. That’s where you get into that ying-yang shit.

  169. I have always found muggles magical, but I’m a big follower of Louis Armstrong.

  170. @Anonym
    On another thread people were claiming the heroes of Ayn Rand as autistic. She seems to me able to get inside the heads of men better than the average woman writer,* despite the imputation of neurological abnormality. (Are autistes more likely to be male? I wouldn’t know.)

    That was me, and I last read Atlas Shrugged nearly 20 years ago, so my memory may not be the best. Considering that her solution to the spread of socialism was not argument but avoidance (Galt's Gulch), maybe there is something to it, along with her lionizing industrialist nerds. I did get savaged in that post so take it with a grain of salt. I did play Bioshock less than a decade ago. ;)

    Rand does write male characters well. I think it has something to do with being a Jewess and with a technically minded father, so maybe some of that DNA came through. Jews have some rather male-like women, see Golda Meir, probably most of the Lesbian heads of NOW, probably others. Just why does the Jewish male go hard for the shiksa, pardon the unintended pun? That is a frequent theme of this blog.

    “a Jewess and with a technically minded father”

    It is interesting that all the main characters of Rand’s major novels are technically-minded,* though as far as I know she wasn’t. She studied history and philosophy, which among the humanities are more masculine than feminine. But her mania for movies and literature can be seen as more feminine than masculine.

    *We, the Living–aspiring engineer; Anthem–scientist (rediscovers electricity); the Fountainhead–architect; Atlas Shrugged–inventor (static electric motor).

  171. @kihowi
    Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway. Hobbits are little cartoon versions of the unthreatening, nerdy Englishmen that are the reason that Englishwomen are currently importing millions of vibrant head-choppers. Much of the universe around them is the vomit-inducing Victorian pre-raphaelite view on mythology/the dark ages where already the main attributes of the valiant hero were asexuality, timid self-sacrifice and an ability to mope.

    Now compare that to the Conan stories (even though Howard was gay and couldn't write as well). That's masculine.

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it's impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity. Only with videogames have boys gotten a medium which fits them as well as books fit girls.

    Verbal ability is more feminine,because they’re the talking kind. But you may have noticed most great writers are male. That’s not because the patriarchy keeps women down, nor because men are more highly motivated, though that’s part of it.

    It’s because writing requires more than verbal ability. Writing requires abstraction. Plots and themes don’t write themselves. Listen to women try and tell an anecdote some time, and tell me whether they’re conveying useful information or merely unburdening themselves of the word baggage built up inside their heads.

    Even dialogue requires abstraction. It’s not just recounting word-for-word. If it were, men would better at it anyway, because men are more observant. Speaking of which, men are better at observing things. That’s why they make up all the great scientists, too.

    Women are good at sympathy and empathy (whatever the difference may be), but they’re not very objective. Which means, I think, men are better at putting themselves in other people’s minds. Women are too wrapped up in their own feelz to weigh separate feelz fairly, for the sake of story.

    The real problem, if you want to call it that, is that the overall habit of telling and listening to/reading stories is feminine. The best story in the world might not mean as much to a boy as going outside and having his own adventure. The medium doesn’t fit boys as well as girls. But that doesn’t whatsoever mean you can’t write a masculine story, or that all writers are effeminate.

  172. @whorefinder

    That’s one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It’s really good
     
    The Great Gatsby is not a good book. It was a failure when it first came out, and was derided as Fitzgerald's worst work. As Steve has pointed out, its popularity was largely helped out when it was passed out to American GIs during WW2 as reading material during down times. It's quite pedantic and boring, and it's metaphors/symbolism are trite compared to truly great works of writing. (I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school, as the book made no attempt to connect with anyone outside of those people in connection with 1920s Long Island high society).

    But there's another reason Gatsby became popular in school, and it's quite ironic: Jewish control of The Megaphone.

    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward: he's a poor boy con artist/bootlegger striving to become old money and take his shiksa, er, old money love Daisy. He changed his name to fit in and came from a far away place to make his fortune in New York. He's big on jazz parties and having a big house and lots of expensive signs of making it, but doesn't enjoy them. Heck, he even does his bootlegging with a Jewish gangster. He doesn't feel worthy of being there even when he deflowers Daisy.

    Jews see a lot of Jay Gatsby in themselves, given his outsider status, black market dealings, name changing, desire for shiksas, etc. Since they have gotten more control of the Megaphone, they've pushed it into the stratosphere (as I pointed out they did to Philip Roth in general, such as Portnoy's Complaint and Goodbye, Columbus).

    I say this is ironic because Fitzgerald was notorious for his pro-white, pro-masculine, pro-Christian views---"muscular Christianity". He didn't like whites mixing with non-whites, and was highly critical of Jews. But Gatsby the character speaks to a lot of Jews.

    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward

    While many of the things you point out about Gatsby’s outsider status and pretentions could be seen as similar to the kind of Jew who social climbs (or climbed) into the world of haute-WASPs, the character himself is not anything like a Philip Roth neurotic nebbish. Nick Carraway’s description of Gatsby fits Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2013 adaptation:

    I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty

    Gatsby is simply an obsessed diehard romantic who sees himself as equal to Daisy but for the circumstance of class and wealth. He uses his ill-gotten gains not to ingratiate himself with Society, but instead in an attempt to (re)claim Daisy by offering her material comforts even better than she’s accustomed to, thereby allowing her to return to her first ‘true love.’

    Beyond the character of Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s personal ‘guest of a guest’ concerns get some (satirical? sour grapes?) play in the book, which parallel your point about the type of Jews afflicted with Golfocaust resentment. But Gatsby himself doesn’t fit the profile.

    • Replies: @guest
    "similar to the kind of Jew who social climbs (or climbed) into the world of haute-WASPs"

    Only weird Jew-obsession could see climbing and not fitting comfortably into WASP high society as particularly Jewish. Fitzgerald himself was a climber, and not at all Jewish. He was a comfortable middle-class non-WASP who wanted to bust into high society, and he did so by going to Princeton and becoming a famous novelist.

    He didn't succeed entirely, though the level at which he succeeded, at least posthumously, is beyond what all but a few humans ever experience. Of course his talents wained or went unfulfilled, and his life dissipated and ended tragically. That tragedy is sprinkled over his novels. But there's none of the alienation and outsiderism of which the above poster is speaking.

    No Roth stuff,though Roth isn't that bad so far as these kinds of writers are concerned. Except the Plot Against America, which is ridiculously paranoid.

    "Gatsby is simply an obsessed die hard romantic who sees himself as equal to Daisy but for the circumstances of class and wealth."

    That's true. The key line to the novel, I think, is when Nick tells Gatsby you can't repeat the past, and he responds, "Why, of course you can!" His life would've been perfect had Daisy picked him back when. If he can get her to go with him now, he will have corrected that mistake.

    Which is childish thinking. But he had this vision of himself, Gatsby, which he pursued despite reality, and it undoes him.

    Fitzgerald himself experienced similar circumstances. I'm not sure of the timeline exactly,but Zelda was a Southern belle whom he met when he was in the army during WWI,which must have been 1917-18. They were engaged, but she broke it off because she wasn't sure he coukd support her, probably among other reasons.

    He had a vision of himself as a great writer, and was sure he'd be famous. He fulfilled that promise by becoming a sensation when he published This Side of Paradise in 1920. Then she finally married him.

    So Fitzgerald didn't have to go back an entire decade or more to fix the past like Gatsby. It was only a few years, but a few years can be a lifetime when you're in love in your early 20s.

  173. @Whiskey
    Jews don't dominate discourse. Rather, urbanites and in particular, wealthy and aspiring wealthy young women in urban centers like LA, NY, SF dominate, along with gays and Blacks.

    After all, if Jews dominated discourse, would there be a general purging of Jews from Hollywood by Black people? Would the most anti-Israeli President, a Third World Aristocrat with typical disdain for Jews, have become the most wildly popular two term President? Would Al Sharpton be the respected national civil rights leader with his own TV show? Would Genius T. Coates be well, Genius T. Coates instead of "needs the work" relatives of Mel Brooks or Rob Reiner? Would Israel be mostly a global pariah with campuses actively excluding Jews and Jewish speakers? Would gay pride parades ban the Israeli flag? But welcome the Palestinian one?

    Would a Jewish dominated America be rushing to push in more ... MUSLIMS?

    Does anyone really think that Jerry Seinfeld, David Lee Roth, Howard Stern, Mark Zuckerberg, and Adam Sandler get together and think "hey you know what would make our lives so much better? MUSLIMS!"

    Now, Eat-Pray-Love aging trust fund urban sloots, sure. Lots of Angry Black women, sure. You can't criticize THEM in public. You don't see urban sluts or Angry Black women being booted off the national mall or a Bernie Sanders campaign event.

    Heck, that right there shows how little influence Jews have -- they can't even get ol Bern the nomination, against Crooked Cankles and the pantsuit of doom. When Obama clearly HATE HATE HATED her Cacklepants Guts.

    “Would a Jewish dominated America be rushing to push in more … MUSLIMS? “

    Israel has been surrounded by hostile Muslim countries for 70 years. In the first 25 years they fought them and beat them, for the last few decades the most powerful nation has done the fighting. Muslims are no longer seen as an existential threat, if ever they were.

    “Divide et impera”

  174. AM says:
    @Anonym
    It appears that socialism sucks the very life blood out of Western white societies. I don’t really think it’s possible long term to keep socialism and a border in a white nation. I wish I could come to a different conclusion because a lot of white people seem to really like their socialism. However, I haven’t found any compelling counter examples yet, with Poland being the most likely one, and it seems to backup my thesis, not counter it.

    The biggest issue with socialism (in my view) is that some forms of it allow idle, innumerate, bedwetting types of middling intelligence and not much practicality a free lunch, and influence in universities and politics. Having to work for a living would be good for a lot of these people.

    When tax goes into a slush fund and is doled out irrespective of ethnicity, there is a huge problem with socialism. By rights if you are going to have immigration, at the very least the inter-ethnicity wealth transfer needs to stop. But it is hard to do.

    Unfettered capitalism has allowed in many countries a freedom to accumulate enough of the press so that there is no way to use the media as a public forum on issues such as immigration.

    Contrary to your point, Le Pen has achieved a good deal of success but not an outright victory, campaigning on socialistic principles. I know a great deal of legitimate criticism can be leveled at Hitler, but in his socialist world the boats from North Africa would be quickly dealt with by Stuka or U-boat. They didn't call it the National Capitalist Business Owners Party.

    I am way more sympathetic to capitalism than my posts here make out, indeed I prefer it in situations where it works. However, I prefer to look at real world examples. If you can find a whitopia, find a strongly capitalistic one and argue your case.

    The biggest issue with socialism (in my view) is that some forms of it allow idle, innumerate, bedwetting types of middling intelligence and not much practicality a free lunch, and influence in universities and politics. Having to work for a living would be good for a lot of these people.

    Your arguments want that socialism is just another economic system with a few bad side effects, but then you’re noticing causally a whole slew of social ripple effects.

    Socialism is a point of view that says government not only regulates and ensures the safety of populace, but has the obligation to fulfill it’s basic needs. It’s from that “new” mission that creates a slew of psychological changes, particularly in white nations.

    For whites who do recognize the need to work, they file socialism in their back pocket as safety in their worst case life nightmares. That shifts comfort and security from a spiritual life to the government and materialism. And the degree to which that happens is the degree to which whites in particular lose interest in religious practice,their heritage, and ultimately, their borders.

    When tax goes into a slush fund and is doled out irrespective of ethnicity, there is a huge problem with socialism.

    Sweden didn’t have that problem until recently. Socialism introduced it. I have no examples of a white country that doesn’t almost simultaneous institute some form of socialism and then somehow open it’s borders, with the affects small at first, snowballing into today.

    Unfettered capitalism has allowed in many countries a freedom to accumulate enough of the press so that there is no way to use the media as a public forum on issues such as immigration.

    Dropping socialism is not the same as unfettered capitalism. A non-socialist society can still regulate businesses for environmental issues etc.

    [MORE]

    At any rate, highly socialistic societies have the same problems we do. Lugenpresse is a German word.

    Contrary to your point, Le Pen has achieved a good deal of success but not an outright victory, campaigning on socialistic principles.

    Practical politicians are practical. If a drug addict isn’t willing to quit, and you need their consent for something, cold turkey is not how you approach it.

    I am way more sympathetic to capitalism than my posts here make out, indeed I prefer it in situations where it works. However, I prefer to look at real world examples. If you can find a whitopia, find a strongly capitalistic one and argue your case.

    Umm…I think I’ve made my case pretty definitely that socialism and modern Western rot go together. You’ve also completely ignored the spiritual side of the West and the loss of Christianity, like people can be reasoned into positions and the loss of 1000+ years of spiritual life is a nothing burger. (A highly irrational position.)

    I think your responses also highlight my point that whites really, really, really like their socialism and they may actually choose the death of their nation over giving it up.

    From your view, we can have our socialism, we just need to keep the browns and the black out. That will fix it. Well no, socialism is causing shockingly homogeneous nations to import actively hostile populations on taxpayer money. It’s not “just” an economic tool. Socialism is model of government that appears to rot the white nations from the inside out.

  175. AM says:
    @Art Deco
    High school teachers love teaching it because it’s protagonist has lovely, simple worldview and has all the politically correct ideas.

    The protagonist is a youngster between the ages of 6 and 9. Babbling about her 'worldview' and referring to her accounts of daily life in a small town in south Alabama as imbued with 'politically correct themes' is obtuse with a thoroughness than most of can shoot for only in vain.

    The protagonist is a youngster between the ages of 6 and 9. Babbling about her ‘worldview’ and referring to her accounts of daily life in a small town in south Alabama as imbued with ‘politically correct themes’ is obtuse with a thoroughness than most of can shoot for only in vain.

    LOL! No, actually I think I was pretty clear. I’ll translate it to modern ‘street’ if you like.

    The story is narrated by woke 9 year old who has never experienced anything but a nice Dad and a nice life and nice blacks and is genuinely horrified when dear old Dad fails to clear a retarded black man of rape, after clearly weighing all the evidence within her 9 year old mind that he is indeed innocent, along with Dad’s say so.

    We thankfully (phew!) never see anyone else’s POV, including dear old Dad’s lest we muddy the waters with thoughts that are either more adult or more experienced.

    Thus it is genuinely loved by liberals everywhere for it’s lovely, simple worldview and politically correct themes. 😉

    • Replies: @anonymous
    Art Deco is a regular Boo Radley isn't he?
    , @Art Deco
    The story is narrated by woke 9 year old who has never experienced anything but a nice Dad and a nice life and nice blacks and is genuinely horrified when dear old Dad fails to clear a retarded black man of rape, after clearly weighing all the evidence within her 9 year old mind that he is indeed innocent, along with Dad’s say so.

    The story is narrated by a 9 year old tomboy who plays with her brother and the next door neighbor's visiting nephew, gets into fights with schoolmates and cousins, enjoys reading in the evening, is fascinated with the mysterious family who live three doors down and are hardly ever seen, and is irritated by the local schoolteachers, her aunt, and various women in her aunt's social circle.

    The breadth of her experience is neither greater nor lesser than that of any other small-town six year old (though less inundated by media than people a generation younger). Strange as it may seem to you, there are in this world middle-aged men with phlegmatic or sanguine temperaments, and they do have children from time to time. Strange as it may seem to you, there were people in this country in 1935 who were not employed in agriculture, were adequately nourished, and were not dodging bill collectors.

    You're all fixated on one particular plotline because it offends your f***-the-blacks impulses. "Woke"? The questions and conflicts in the story don't have much to do with latter-day racial discourse (except for the bilge peddled by the worst sort of black-nationalist hucksters). The one thing at issue in the story is whether you meet out punishment to people because their conduct merits it or you meet out punishment to people because your honor culture demands they suffer. Doesn't have much to do with racial equality or anything that's been a matter of dispute in the last 60 years.

    While we're at it, the character Tom Robinson is not retarded. He has a crippled arm.

  176. AM says:
    @SimpleSong
    I agree, the whole 'capitalism versus socialism vs communism is a fundamentally important question' is just bizarre to me. They're just organizational tools each of which has their place, sometimes work, sometimes don't.

    Would you die to make sure your city is wired with AC versus DC? No you say? That's stupid? So why would you die for capitalism? Capitalism usually works better, in most situations. So does AC. I'm not dying for Tesla, and I ain't dying for Adam Smith.

    Nationalism is different as it has a biological basis and nation-states are as old as human civilization. We are biological things, not economic things.

    I agree, the whole ‘capitalism versus socialism vs communism is a fundamentally important question’ is just bizarre to me. They’re just organizational tools each of which has their place, sometimes work, sometimes don’t.

    It’s bizarre only if you’ve never considered that every social organizational tool requires a model of humanity and government in some form.

    Communism is an extreme form of socialism, but both believe that the government should be involved in fulfilling the basic needs of it’s people. It also believes to a real extent that religion is either hostile to humans or in socialism, just kind of unnecessary, but we’ll let stand as hobby. In socialist world, all humans default to good, because otherwise socialism would obviously fall apart like communism did.

    Capitalism (including regulated) says the government should not be involved with it’s people’s needs and in that makes no prejudgment on religious/spiritual practices. In it’s indifference to poverty it gives Christianity in particular the room to flourish. It also creates room for the idea that humans default to fallen or being rotters which is exactly Christianities’ view on the subject.

    How well tool works is only as good as your model of the problem you’re trying fix. Communism/socialism fail because their model of humanity is significantly worse than capitalism’s.

    Nationalism is different as it has a biological basis and nation-states are as old as human civilization. We are biological things, not economic things.

    To call us a biological thing is to call us an economic thing. It makes us just stuff still.

    From my view, our material prosperity is the side effects of rightly ordered (as possible) spiritual life. It appears attempts to get rid of that aspects of our lives to stay in comfort zone of materialism (which includes a hyper focus on biology) is killing white nations.

  177. AM says:
    @27 year old

    Would you die to make sure your city is wired with AC versus DC? No you say? That’s stupid? So why would you die for capitalism? Capitalism usually works better, in most situations. So does AC. I’m not dying for Tesla, and I ain’t dying for Adam Smith.
     
    Gold

    Would you die to make sure your city is wired with AC versus DC? No you say? That’s stupid? So why would you die for capitalism? Capitalism usually works better, in most situations. So does AC. I’m not dying for Tesla, and I ain’t dying for Adam Smith.

    Gold

    No, not really because the analogy is far too narrow.

    I’m noting here that most of the “gosh these economic systems discussion really don’t matter” replies also don’t want to talk about God/spirituality and in the West, Christianity. At all.

    So let’s broaden the question. If you don’t want to die for Tesla or Adam Smith, what are you willing to die for, then?

    If we tackle the mental part of the creature we’re calling Europeanous Caucasianous, if we found he or she lacked a spiritual life, I can almost guarantee that the answer to what they are willing to die for is “Nothing”. There is nothing worth dieing for.

    And in such society, filled with people that have nothing to live or die for, rot and indifference is just a matter of time.

    The capitalism/socialism question is a proxy for a two vary different models of humanity that have the net effect of encouraging or discouraging a spiritual life in the West. If you’re not willing to tackle it or are so nihilistic as to think it doesn’t matter, then that’s just more part of the rot. I wouldn’t expect different results than right now. shrug.

    • Replies: @SimpleSong

    So let’s broaden the question. If you don’t want to die for Tesla or Adam Smith, what are you willing to die for, then?
     
    LOL, is this a serious question, or are you just trolling me? If the latter, well done, sir. If the former, might I suggest that you've taken a wrong turn on the intertubes--I believe you're looking for the Cato Institute's donation page, or perhaps David Brook's column?

    Anyway, since I have to spell it out: the same thing that the Russians died for at Stalingrad, or the Vietnamese died for at Dien Bien Phu, or the Texans died for at the Alamo, or the Spartans at Thermopylae, or the French at Verdun or any one of a billion examples: Blood. and. soil. My kids. My posterity. The only thing that any non-lunatic should be willing to die for. My countrymen, with whom I share bonds of blood an history, centuries of toil and sacrifice to build a nation. Not "Americans", with whom I share a blue passport and the obligation to file a 1040 by April 15th of each year, and certainly not "The American Way", whatever that means. This is why we haven't won a war in 65 years: we fight for fluffy half-baked values, the other side fights for blood and soil.

    If your people aren't enough for you, if you need some abstract idealistic flim-flam to motivate you, I don't know what to tell you. That's the sort of foolishness that birthed the Children's Crusade and the Second Gulf War.
  178. I am a millenial who was reading the Potter books as they came out. I think I read all them, though somewhat out of order. My impression is that the first was fun and the second less so, the third was a jumble, the fourth was somewhat fun, and the rest all blend together. I never really got anything from the character of Harry. He seems like a cardboard cutout of a character or a stand-in. For instance, I don’t think he ever told a joke in all 8(?) books. His horrible relatives the Dursleys are actually more interesting, & even they are essentially just simplistically awful caricatures. Rowling uses the Dursley son (Dudley?) to lampoon physically fit gym rats/boxers, later in the series. That son is also the head of an improbably-White street gang. Later in the series as well, there is a truly transracial, Dolezalian character who can change her color at will (naturally , she is one of the simply good characters). One of the lynchpins of the series is Harry’s possession of a Prophecy, which is confusedly explained and never distinguished from a normal person’s state (I guess his mom loved extra special, which somehow made him a Savior). Rowling’s true talent seems to be to able to make up queer, evocative terminologies, but she fails at fleshing them out later. The books suffer from exactly what Douthat mentions, namely that they become heavily focused on inter-office politics among wizards (I.e. something about Ministries and Aurors). I read Tom Brown’s Schooldays at the same time and remember being moved much more by the latter, though it is described as pretty moralistic.

    • Replies: @Mikey Darmody
    Re. Rowling's terminological gifts: it took me years before I consciously noticed that Hogwarts is just Warthogs inverted (the books don't inspire much deep thought and are usually finished in one night). I think that Rowling drew from the more Anglo-Saxon side of the English grammatical tradition to represent the good guys. She opposed this to the Norman-French side of the English grammatical tradition, which represented the bad guys. Both made use of Latin, which was the language of magic. Her Potter-world is like Caldwell's A Farewell to Alms, but where the Saxons are the good guys and the Normans are the bad guys. Both of those groups struggle to control the Latin-language schools (magical public schools). The Saxons have the merit, the Normans have the accumulated wealth and the family connections. The schools themselves are capable of being perverted, but ideally meant for allowing the Saxon types to display their academic/humanistic/fashion superiority over the old-money Norman types.
  179. @Mikey Darmody
    I am a millenial who was reading the Potter books as they came out. I think I read all them, though somewhat out of order. My impression is that the first was fun and the second less so, the third was a jumble, the fourth was somewhat fun, and the rest all blend together. I never really got anything from the character of Harry. He seems like a cardboard cutout of a character or a stand-in. For instance, I don't think he ever told a joke in all 8(?) books. His horrible relatives the Dursleys are actually more interesting, & even they are essentially just simplistically awful caricatures. Rowling uses the Dursley son (Dudley?) to lampoon physically fit gym rats/boxers, later in the series. That son is also the head of an improbably-White street gang. Later in the series as well, there is a truly transracial, Dolezalian character who can change her color at will (naturally , she is one of the simply good characters). One of the lynchpins of the series is Harry's possession of a Prophecy, which is confusedly explained and never distinguished from a normal person's state (I guess his mom loved extra special, which somehow made him a Savior). Rowling's true talent seems to be to able to make up queer, evocative terminologies, but she fails at fleshing them out later. The books suffer from exactly what Douthat mentions, namely that they become heavily focused on inter-office politics among wizards (I.e. something about Ministries and Aurors). I read Tom Brown's Schooldays at the same time and remember being moved much more by the latter, though it is described as pretty moralistic.

    Re. Rowling’s terminological gifts: it took me years before I consciously noticed that Hogwarts is just Warthogs inverted (the books don’t inspire much deep thought and are usually finished in one night). I think that Rowling drew from the more Anglo-Saxon side of the English grammatical tradition to represent the good guys. She opposed this to the Norman-French side of the English grammatical tradition, which represented the bad guys. Both made use of Latin, which was the language of magic. Her Potter-world is like Caldwell’s A Farewell to Alms, but where the Saxons are the good guys and the Normans are the bad guys. Both of those groups struggle to control the Latin-language schools (magical public schools). The Saxons have the merit, the Normans have the accumulated wealth and the family connections. The schools themselves are capable of being perverted, but ideally meant for allowing the Saxon types to display their academic/humanistic/fashion superiority over the old-money Norman types.

  180. AM says:
    @Daniel Chieh
    Actually enough socialism does indeed at least retard business growth and results in businessmen that I knew even in the highly sociaized Scandic countries basically become "free riders" by living in Finland and using its generous system, but establishing jobs and factories in Eastern Europe. It really doesn't seem like it is a permanent solution, and it does make me think that in general, inviting immigration was a final and desperate attempt at fixing problems that socialism at already introduced.

    Japan, as noted, isn't Europe and operates by vastly different methodology, including governance. However, they also suffer similar business issues and its a consistent complaint, because as much as it is lionized here and it does have a lot of great qualities, anyone who's been there will find a lot of citizens complaining about their way of life and believing that things could be better if they were somehow more Westernized.

    Grass is geener and all.

    Actually enough socialism does indeed at least retard business growth and results in businessmen that I knew even in the highly sociaized Scandic countries basically become “free riders” by living in Finland and using its generous system, but establishing jobs and factories in Eastern Europe.

    Absolutely. I’m not arguing that one at all. Socialism pretty obviously incentivizes all the wrong behaviors which is why I’m scratching my head at “these economic systems discussions are a one off”.

    The places where whites are spontaneously putting up effective resistance to the Islamic hordes are the least socialistic and the most religious and Christian.

    But let’s keep talking about the magic of white DNA see if we can find some solutions there. Clearly, the model of social organization has zero to with what motivates whites and how they act. sigh

  181. @Steve Sailer
    I don’t like Bridget Jones (actual modern chick lit, based on Pride and Prejudice) for that reason.

    There's some Tom Jones as well in Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones, as the names suggest.

    I read that Helen Fielding came up with Bridget Jones when she was tapped to write a column similar to what Candace Bushnell was doing with Sex and the City. At that point she had written a novel entitled Cause Celeb. While I found the Bridget Jones books enjoyable, they are lightweight and clearly derivative.

    Fielding’s first novel Cause Celeb is highly original, and for me, one of the best modern comedies of recent decades. The plot would be of interest to iSteve readers.

    The protagonist is a Bridget Jones type media blonde who, after being dumped by a high profile tv personality boyfriend, decides to chuck her career and become an aid worker in a refugee camp in Africa. She later uses her old media contacts in London to produce a Live Aid style fundraiser. It’s a witty, satirical yet compassionate look at the refugee situation, the NGO community, the media world, and modern values. The satire mainly targets the oddball SJW types attracted to the idea of taking care of stateless refugees in wartorn Africa, and their motives.

    While the comedy had me laughing out loud on most pages, the narrative seamlessly veers into believable and intense depictions of war and starvations that had me crying real tears. It is rare these days to encounter a novel that does both. It is definitely worth the read.

  182. @The Last Real Calvinist
    I suggest you give Tom Jones a chance. It's really good.

    I was thinking it would make a good summer holiday re-reading project, and just picked up an Amazon Kindle version for free: LINK

    Okay, okay, I give in. I’ve got Tom Jones on my kindle. That’s what you get for shooting your mouth off one evening on a comment board. 😉

  183. @AM

    Fielding will make you laugh out loud every few pages.
     
    Or cause me to throw the book across the room because he's such maroon. That's the other reaction, if it's not really funny, and I mentioned that in my post. :)

    I don't like Bridget Jones (actual modern chick lit, based on Pride and Prejudice) for that reason.

    Gracie Allen's "stupid" character is funny, because Gracie Allen was smart. Really stupid without any vague sense of progress towards smart, not so much.

    later woman writerwho also had amazing insight into people and a much broader scope was George Eliot.
     
    I have not read her either. I have, however, read The Great Awakening by Kate Chopin, which I was told was amazing literature about domestic life.

    I'll give you the plot summary, my way. Unhappy, bored, selfish rich bitch ignores her kids, has an affair, and drowns herself. Sure, it had a happy ending, but we were forced into chapters of endless angst by a woman who, if heaven forbid, had been just a little grateful for everything she had in her life, might have avoid a great deal of pain for everyone, including her family.

    So if George Elliot is "broader" than Jane Austen because she ventures into "Man, I'm rich and bored and my life totally bites" Or "Man, I'm poor, and I'm artist, and nobody understands me and my life totally bites", I'll pass. It's a genre that's been done to the death (Ha!).

    The 1963 movie with Albert Finney, Edith Evans, Joan Greenwood, and various other greats is endlessly entertaining & reasonably faithful to the spirit of the book. Give it a couple of hours.

  184. @Steve Sailer
    Tom Buchanan's views are pretty much copied from a serious letter Fitzgerald wrote to Edmund Wilson in 1922 about how us Nordics must unite against the Alpinoid Threat.

    Interesting – but how do we square this with the fact Tom is not a likable or sympathetic character? (Although his thoughts on immigration and race come very early in the book, before that is fully established. Present-day readers inevitably interpret this passage as one of our first hints that Tom is a jerk, but maybe in the 1920s it was just considered small talk that could have been put in the mouth of any character?)

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Interesting – but how do we square this with the fact Tom is not a likable or sympathetic character?
     
    Negative capability. Fitzgerald was an artist, not pamphleteer. Hence, he was fully capable of mocking things that he believed.
    , @syonredux

    Interesting – but how do we square this with the fact Tom is not a likable or sympathetic character?
     
    Negative capability. Fitzgerald was an artist, not a* pamphleteer. Hence, he was fully capable of mocking things that he believed.


    *Corrected a typo
  185. @Anonymous

    inviting immigration was a final and desperate attempt at fixing problems that socialism at already introduced
     
    Could you elaborate on this a little?

    I’m most familiar with Finland in this, but the broken wage structure due to extremely restrictive regulations – you can’t even hire someone to work for your grocery without the appropriate cashier education, and then you have to pay her a specific rate based on her years of experience – made it so much more vastly competitive to hire an immigrant where those regulations would be excluded.Even without that, as noted, the same regulations/high tax/high benefits means that a large section of the native population exist as free riders, and often with the wealthier trying to loophole away their portion of the tax.

    In the long run, the intractable power of unions versus the iron laws of economics mean that something has gotta give.

    In illnesses, its usually secondary diseases that perform the actual killing blow on the patient. I personally would say that immigration is a secondary disease from dealing with issues introduced by an original system.

  186. @Whiskey
    Jews don't dominate discourse. Rather, urbanites and in particular, wealthy and aspiring wealthy young women in urban centers like LA, NY, SF dominate, along with gays and Blacks.

    After all, if Jews dominated discourse, would there be a general purging of Jews from Hollywood by Black people? Would the most anti-Israeli President, a Third World Aristocrat with typical disdain for Jews, have become the most wildly popular two term President? Would Al Sharpton be the respected national civil rights leader with his own TV show? Would Genius T. Coates be well, Genius T. Coates instead of "needs the work" relatives of Mel Brooks or Rob Reiner? Would Israel be mostly a global pariah with campuses actively excluding Jews and Jewish speakers? Would gay pride parades ban the Israeli flag? But welcome the Palestinian one?

    Would a Jewish dominated America be rushing to push in more ... MUSLIMS?

    Does anyone really think that Jerry Seinfeld, David Lee Roth, Howard Stern, Mark Zuckerberg, and Adam Sandler get together and think "hey you know what would make our lives so much better? MUSLIMS!"

    Now, Eat-Pray-Love aging trust fund urban sloots, sure. Lots of Angry Black women, sure. You can't criticize THEM in public. You don't see urban sluts or Angry Black women being booted off the national mall or a Bernie Sanders campaign event.

    Heck, that right there shows how little influence Jews have -- they can't even get ol Bern the nomination, against Crooked Cankles and the pantsuit of doom. When Obama clearly HATE HATE HATED her Cacklepants Guts.

    have become the most wildly popular two term President?

    He wasn’t. From the Spring of 2010 to the Spring of 2016, he was underwater with public opinion, bar for a brief (but crucial) period in the fall of 2012. He had a honeymoon, as nearly all presidents do, but after that north of 40% of the public was consistently disapproving of him or disgusted with him. He’s had a wretched effect on the Democratic Party downticket. Their performance hasn’t been this bad since the 1920s. Having contributed so little, he won’t go away (bar for golfing holidays).

    • Replies: @James Kabala
    Actually, while Obama has not disappeared as thoroughly as George W. Bush did, so far he seems to be keeping his public presence pretty low-key. I have to give him credit for once that he has not embraced the opportunity to keep himself in the public eye as self-appointed Leader of the Resistance. (Hillary, on the other hand, really will not go away and clearly would like such a role.)
  187. @Anonymous
    What's the upper bound on the amount of weapons-grade blank slate-ism in a sociology degree, and is it possible to squeeze through sociology degrees with qualitative identity-group studies courses, and graduate degrees through autoethnographies, and so on -- and what about in twenty years?

    I'm not interested in your answer so much as the number of words in a sentence you can take in before encountering a mental block and discarding the rest.

    Ask a coherent question, and I might answer you.

  188. @keypusher
    Nothing to add to what James Kabala said about Tom Jones, except that it might be the least depressing book ever written. Fielding will make you laugh out loud every few pages.

    Tons of classic English novels feature marriage. I agree that Jane Austen was a genius, but she had a pretty limited range. A later woman writerwho also had amazing insight into people and a much broader scope was George Eliot. I thought she was way beyond Dickens in depth, though not nearly as fun to read. Middlemarch is bloody long. I know I should read The Mill on the Floss, but I kind of doubt I ever will.

    “It being strictly a history of a boy, it must stop here; the story could not go much further without becoming the history of a man. When one writes a novel about grown people, he knows exactly where to stop—that is, with a marriage; but when he writes of juveniles, he must stop where he best can.” – Penultimate paragraph of Tom Sawyer.

    Marriage was a pretty standard ending for a novel in those days, although the previous several hundred pages might not have had as laser-like a focus on that topic as a Austen novel usually does.

  189. @Steve Sailer
    The Jewish character in The Great Gatsby ought to be read as an obvious anti-Semitic archetype -- he's the Jew who corrupted America's national pastime by getting the Chicago Black Sox to throw the World Series!

    And the brief mention of blacks in "Gatsby" is scornful.

    But Tom Buchanan!

    Yes, the character of Meyer Wolfsheim was an anti-Jewish caricature—the character was based on Arnold Rothstein and supposedly named after another Jewish gangster who was still up-and-coming at the time it was written–Meyer Lansky. But the Wolfsheim’s appearance in the work is brief and rather ignorable as an anti-Jewish “sin”, especially for pre-PC days Jews.

    The fact remains that Gatsby has become, for Jews, a stand-in for themselves, and hence why the book became pushed by Jewish critics. His traits are too stereotypical “poor Jewish boy it makes it in America ” for Jews not to take notice.

    Compare The Great Gatsby to The Rise of David Levinsky (a classic popular among Jewish-American immigrants) and you’ll see Levinsky’s story and alienation align in many ways with Gatsby: name change, dealings with the underworld, lonliness, abandonment of old land, the girl who got away, attempts to fit in by aping those born wealthy, etc.. https://infogalactic.com/info/The_Rise_of_David_Levinsky

    • Replies: @guest
    Again, I wonder why what Jewish people get out of the book is so important. They have their thoughts and feelings, I have mine. This can't be a case of them forcing their peculiar likes onto the rest of us, as often happens. Because they didn't have that much influence back in 1925.

    Your argument rests uncomfortably on the difference between the Great Gatsby's reputation back when versus now. Indeed, it wasn't immediately a Great American Novel that every high school kid was forced to read. Neither was it some forgotten book salvaged from the ash heap by Jews whenever they achieved their cultural gatekeeper status. It was a hit that raised Fitzgerald from Boy Wonder, literary sensation, and master of the commercial short story to Serious Writer with promise.

    Books that go unrecognized in their own times almost never become classics, despite modernist pretensions. So we're really talking about a marginal change in Gasby's reputation. From just another respectable bestseller to part of the canon. There are reasons beyond Jewishness for this change to have occurred. It's short, which is good for homework. It has symbols which critics and teachers get to explain.

    One aspect you have in your favor is how people take it as a model of the American Dream. As if an upwardly mobile criminal who throws garish parties for the sake of a substanceless debutante and throws his life away without starting a family is what Americans are all about, in their heart of hearts. Who thinks that? Jews, maybe.

    One thing I can say, however, is that the Irish and the Jews were both latecomers to modernity. This country wasn't made for them. The ambitious ones, at least, after they came en masse, must have been similarly envious and resentful. If it's an Irish-type story, then it's a Jewish-type story too, I'm a way. I can see why Jews would respond to a tragic rags-to-riches story about an outsider who ultimately fails to fit in. But it's not specifically Jewish enough. It's not specifically Irish enough, either. That story can and does appeal to a wide variety of people.

    , @guest
    Correction, I oversold the Great Gatsby's original success in my above post. I wouldn't call it a bestseller. It required WWII to make it a classic. But that was not because of Jews. They still weren't cultural gatekeepers in 1941-45.

    The book has been kept in print continuously since 1925. That doesn't happen with failures. Unless Scribner's kept it on welfare, in a manner of speaking. But why would they do that, unless they thought it had potential for profit or because it was important for their prestige? Not because of Jews.

    As for people calling it Fitzgerald's worst book and all that, the reviews were mixed, not overwhelmingly negative.

    I think its original reputation has been distorted for the sake of the modernist "unappreciated in its own time" myth.

  190. @AM

    Jane Austen has always been the novelist of girls and gay guys who like to present non-gayness for the most part
     
    Yeah, BS. Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice in her early 20's. She understood more about people then than it appears the average person sees about humanity in a lifetime.

    Sorry that it's about domestic situations and family life, an area she knew well. It's not Treasure Island, which is another surprisingly good book, but it's subject matter that's difficult to make a good story out of and she does, for the most part.


    I say that anyone who cannot finish, with rounds of laughter, both Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy should be ignored on most subjects.
     
    I say that anyone who can't see pure genius in the characterizations and observations of Jane Austen should be ignored on most subjects.

    “She understood more about people then than it appears the average person sees about humanity in a lifetime.”

    Yes. This.

    And Darcy’s rejected proposal scene in Pride & Prejudice ranks with Achilles confrontation with Odysseus in Iliad IX. Literary art doesn’t get any greater than this.

  191. @Art Deco
    have become the most wildly popular two term President?

    He wasn't. From the Spring of 2010 to the Spring of 2016, he was underwater with public opinion, bar for a brief (but crucial) period in the fall of 2012. He had a honeymoon, as nearly all presidents do, but after that north of 40% of the public was consistently disapproving of him or disgusted with him. He's had a wretched effect on the Democratic Party downticket. Their performance hasn't been this bad since the 1920s. Having contributed so little, he won't go away (bar for golfing holidays).

    Actually, while Obama has not disappeared as thoroughly as George W. Bush did, so far he seems to be keeping his public presence pretty low-key. I have to give him credit for once that he has not embraced the opportunity to keep himself in the public eye as self-appointed Leader of the Resistance. (Hillary, on the other hand, really will not go away and clearly would like such a role.)

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    He can rent an ordinary size house in Washington until his daughter finishes high school, find suitable work there (there are seven research universities around DC who would be pleased to have him as a fundraiser, student affairs apparatchik, or faculty member), and decamp to Chicago when said daughter heads off to college. Valerie Jarrett's well-connected enough to find a position in Chicago until she's ready to retire. She doesn't need to be wasting her life working for some shizzy non-profit set up to promote BO.
    , @AM

    I have to give him credit for once that he has not embraced the opportunity to keep himself in the public eye as self-appointed Leader of the Resistance.
     
    Obama now has the job he really wanted from Day 1, which was the job of ex-President. His reaction to actually being in office was a)take time off, b)campaign, and c)attempt to defer difficult decisions to others.

    He had some fairy dust about him that made the die hard leftists and, for a while, some rather normal people see what they wanted to see in him.

    But he struck me as one of those people who would dump all sorts of work into getting to the point of not having to do anything at all for the rest of life. Massive effort efficiently expended into social climbing and taking time off.

    We've survived his Presidency and he's now disappearing, leaving the Dems with Hillary, "muh Russia", and weekly therapy bills. I feel a bit sorry if anyone genuinely hoped he would be the leader of the resistance, rather than seeing he was finally free to be living Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
  192. @whoever

    She also adores her brave and wise father
    In order to be ‘real literature’, I suppose the character must despise her father.
     
    That doesn't make any sense at all. Why would you conclude that?

    and, conveniently for her, there is no pesky mother she need compete with for his attention and affection.
    Her brother and aunt were also in residence.

     

    Don't forget Calpurnia!

    Apparently, my neo-Freudian joke zoomed over your head.


    It’s set in 1935.
     
    Who knew!

    The youngsters portrayed are low-maintenance.

     

    I take it that you have never had -- or been -- a daughter like Scout!
    ______________

    Incidentally, I love Mockingbird. It's one of my childhood favorites and I've read it a number of times over the years. The edition I originally read was the Popular Library paperback that my grandmother bought when it first came out. She read it. My mother read it. I read it, and my own children will read that exact same copy by and by. The cover has been taped and the spine glued again and again. There are ancient cookie crumbs embedded in the pages. The front and end pages are full of generations of scribbled comments.
    I won't tell my children what the novel is about or what they are supposed to take away from reading it. They'll decide that for themselves. We'll only talk about it after they've read it.

    I take it that you have never had — or been — a daughter like Scout!

    I take it you didn’t read the book. The children amuse themselves. Atticus Finch arrives home from work, reads the newspaper, has crabby discussions with his sister, eats the meals Calpurnia prepares for him, and occasionally answers questions from his daughter or reads to her. She doesn’t need much attention and affection from her father and doesn’t get much. The ministrations of her aunt are a trial for her (even though they only have words once during the course of the narrative).

    • Replies: @whoever
    http://i.imgur.com/kyAXQBl.gif
  193. @Art Deco
    Meyer Wolfsheim wasn't portrayed in a particularly unflattering way. At the end of the day, he would not pay his respects to his business partner, something he had in common with everyone in Gatsby's social world bar the narrator and the boozer with the oversized spectacles.

    Here is the narrator’s description of Wolfsheim:

    “A small,flat nosed Jew raised his large head and regarded me with two fine growths of hair which luxuriated in either nostril. After a moment, I discovered his tiny eyes in the half darkness..”

    I suppose you are right – if Fitzgerald was anti-Semitic he would have given Meyer a hook nose instead of a flat one. 🙂

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.2417716.1446220998!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_750/arnold31a-6-web.jpg
    , @black sea
    Well, he does give Wolfsheim a large head, so there is some credit where credit is due.
  194. @James Kabala
    Actually, while Obama has not disappeared as thoroughly as George W. Bush did, so far he seems to be keeping his public presence pretty low-key. I have to give him credit for once that he has not embraced the opportunity to keep himself in the public eye as self-appointed Leader of the Resistance. (Hillary, on the other hand, really will not go away and clearly would like such a role.)

    He can rent an ordinary size house in Washington until his daughter finishes high school, find suitable work there (there are seven research universities around DC who would be pleased to have him as a fundraiser, student affairs apparatchik, or faculty member), and decamp to Chicago when said daughter heads off to college. Valerie Jarrett’s well-connected enough to find a position in Chicago until she’s ready to retire. She doesn’t need to be wasting her life working for some shizzy non-profit set up to promote BO.

    • Replies: @AM

    He can rent an ordinary size house in Washington until his daughter finishes high school, find suitable work there
     
    Ha, ha, ha. If Obama wanted to do that, why would he have bothered becoming President in the first place?
  195. @Jack D
    Here is the narrator's description of Wolfsheim:

    "A small,flat nosed Jew raised his large head and regarded me with two fine growths of hair which luxuriated in either nostril. After a moment, I discovered his tiny eyes in the half darkness.."

    I suppose you are right - if Fitzgerald was anti-Semitic he would have given Meyer a hook nose instead of a flat one. :-)

  196. @Art Deco
    A humanities degree is generally a labor market signal. These people aren't a drag on the economy unless they're engaged in some rent-extracting operation. As for being 'destructive', try the legal profession, corporate HR, or educational administration, not sales reps who got a humanities degree.

    Always and ever the law gets lumped in among useless and silly things like underwater basketweaving, but I doubt any man Jack who understands the implications wants a world without laws and lawyers; the only alternative is tyranny and whim.

    “It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.” —Aristotle

    “We are a nation of laws, not of men.” — John Adams

    “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” — William Shakespeare

    The trouble is reflected in the rampant misunderstanding of the context for Shakespeare’s words by fools who’ve never bothered to watch or read the play.

    Certainly law – like so much else – has devolved now into a horrible kakistocracy, but the solution is not derision for the institution, but rather accountability and replacement of its guardians (the whole point of nomocracy; for there is no replacing the king!). Luther did not advocate the dissolution of the church; rather, he wanted its clergy to stop being jerks, or, in the alternative, for men who were not jerks to replace them….

    Nomocracy matters.

    • Replies: @guest
    Just because you kill all the lawyers at the start of your revolution doesn't mean you have to go without lawyers forever. You can get better ones.

    By the way, I don't think not understanding Shakespeare's context is a problem. Does anyone actually think that was a serious proposal? Maybe Lenin.

    Kill all the lawyers, yeah, sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Can't possibly be a joke or anything.
  197. AM says:
    @James Kabala
    Actually, while Obama has not disappeared as thoroughly as George W. Bush did, so far he seems to be keeping his public presence pretty low-key. I have to give him credit for once that he has not embraced the opportunity to keep himself in the public eye as self-appointed Leader of the Resistance. (Hillary, on the other hand, really will not go away and clearly would like such a role.)

    I have to give him credit for once that he has not embraced the opportunity to keep himself in the public eye as self-appointed Leader of the Resistance.

    Obama now has the job he really wanted from Day 1, which was the job of ex-President. His reaction to actually being in office was a)take time off, b)campaign, and c)attempt to defer difficult decisions to others.

    He had some fairy dust about him that made the die hard leftists and, for a while, some rather normal people see what they wanted to see in him.

    But he struck me as one of those people who would dump all sorts of work into getting to the point of not having to do anything at all for the rest of life. Massive effort efficiently expended into social climbing and taking time off.

    We’ve survived his Presidency and he’s now disappearing, leaving the Dems with Hillary, “muh Russia”, and weekly therapy bills. I feel a bit sorry if anyone genuinely hoped he would be the leader of the resistance, rather than seeing he was finally free to be living Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

  198. @Art Deco
    He can rent an ordinary size house in Washington until his daughter finishes high school, find suitable work there (there are seven research universities around DC who would be pleased to have him as a fundraiser, student affairs apparatchik, or faculty member), and decamp to Chicago when said daughter heads off to college. Valerie Jarrett's well-connected enough to find a position in Chicago until she's ready to retire. She doesn't need to be wasting her life working for some shizzy non-profit set up to promote BO.

    He can rent an ordinary size house in Washington until his daughter finishes high school, find suitable work there

    Ha, ha, ha. If Obama wanted to do that, why would he have bothered becoming President in the first place?

  199. @Laugh Track

    Not only is wizardry heritable, the wizards are slave-holders. You’d think that’d be a deal-killer in this day age. Or is another one of those who? whom? things …. ?
     
    Hermoine's campaign to free the house elves was certainly a case of injecting SJWing into the series. Unfortunately, it seems to have indoctrinated Emma Watson at an early age and her post-Potter public do-gooding has been as annoying as Hermoine was throughout much of the series.

    While I never made it past the first Potter book or film, I think this Hermione character is a big part of the gender split. She’s the author insert, and someone the girls can all identify with: a bookish girl in a series of books for girls and women who are, ipso facto, at least somewhat bookish.

    Tolkien had no strong female characters, but plenty of male characters for young men to aspire to. Kings, warriors, and brave adventurers.

  200. @tsotha

    Why? Mostly, I think, because J.K. is a girl and J.R.R. was a boy. In the very long run, sex will tell.
     
    It's amazingly easy to tell the sex of the author, regardless of how they obscure it (nearly every "Alex" who writes popular fiction is female), and even when they're writing a story that boys would find interesting. Very few women have a clue regarding what goes on in a man's head, and their male characters tend to think like women. My theory is it's because until a woman is 35 or so it doesn't really matter what men think - she can get whatever she wants from them.

    Rowling is a prime example of someone who can do one thing that requires a relatively high IQ very well, but seems to be a veritable moron when it comes to everything else.

    The simplest tell of the author’s sex in this case as in most is the intellectual rigor of the material, because the most ingenius men are far more ingenius than the most ingenius women (and, of course only the ingenius write timeless literature).

    Tolkien’s opus reflects mastery of multiple languages (offhand, I can think of Latin, Greek, German, French, Welsh, Finnish, and English – ancient and modern varieties); mythologies; religon; etc. They reflect the experiences of a horrifying war in which literally all of his friends died. They reflect his own work to raise four children in an upright way and a lifetime which saw greater upheaval than perhaps any before or since (with the introduction of aeroplanes, automobiles, telephones, etc.).

    Rowling’s works reflect the twee musings of an unemployed, childless, not particularly well educated divorceé collecting welfare.

    It shows.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    1. She had a daughter at the time she wrote the first novel.

    2. She has a university degree. About 8% of her cohort in Britain received one.

  201. @whorefinder

    That’s one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It’s really good
     
    The Great Gatsby is not a good book. It was a failure when it first came out, and was derided as Fitzgerald's worst work. As Steve has pointed out, its popularity was largely helped out when it was passed out to American GIs during WW2 as reading material during down times. It's quite pedantic and boring, and it's metaphors/symbolism are trite compared to truly great works of writing. (I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school, as the book made no attempt to connect with anyone outside of those people in connection with 1920s Long Island high society).

    But there's another reason Gatsby became popular in school, and it's quite ironic: Jewish control of The Megaphone.

    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward: he's a poor boy con artist/bootlegger striving to become old money and take his shiksa, er, old money love Daisy. He changed his name to fit in and came from a far away place to make his fortune in New York. He's big on jazz parties and having a big house and lots of expensive signs of making it, but doesn't enjoy them. Heck, he even does his bootlegging with a Jewish gangster. He doesn't feel worthy of being there even when he deflowers Daisy.

    Jews see a lot of Jay Gatsby in themselves, given his outsider status, black market dealings, name changing, desire for shiksas, etc. Since they have gotten more control of the Megaphone, they've pushed it into the stratosphere (as I pointed out they did to Philip Roth in general, such as Portnoy's Complaint and Goodbye, Columbus).

    I say this is ironic because Fitzgerald was notorious for his pro-white, pro-masculine, pro-Christian views---"muscular Christianity". He didn't like whites mixing with non-whites, and was highly critical of Jews. But Gatsby the character speaks to a lot of Jews.

    The Great Gatsby is not a good book.

    I beg to differ. I’ve read it five or six times. It’s a great piece of writing.

    It was a failure when it first came out,

    Dunno if you want to make that the criterion for aesthetic success….

    and was derided as Fitzgerald’s worst work.

    Not by TS Eiot….

    The Great Gatsby with your charming and overpowering inscription arrived the very morning I was leaving in some haste for a sea voyage advised by my doctor. I therefore left it behind and only read it on my return a few days ago. I have, however, now read it three times. I am not in the least influenced by your remark about myself when I say that it has interested and excited me more than any new novel I have seen, either English or American, for a number of years.
    When I have more time I should like to write to you more fully and tell you exactly why it seems to me such a remarkable book. In fact it seems to me to be the first step that American fiction has taken since Henry James.

    And if you want to compare it to a bad piece of writing by Fitzgerald, just try reading This Side of Paradise. Fitzgerald improved a lot in the five years between Paradise and Gatsby

    It’s quite pedantic and boring,

    Well, I can see how some might find it boring. You know, compared to Bulldog Drummond, say, there’s not much in the way of punching and shooting……But “pedantic?” I can’t imagine ever using that word to describe Gatsby.

    (I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school, as the book made no attempt to connect with anyone outside of those people in connection with 1920s Long Island high society).

    MMM, I recall liking it quite a bit in High School…..Of course, I also liked Edith Wharton and middle-period Henry James…

    But Gatsby the character speaks to a lot of Jews.

    And also to a lot of non-Jews….Fitzgerald, the boy from Minnesota, obviously saw something of himself in James Gaatz, the poor farmer’s son from North Dakota who wanted to enter high society….

    • Replies: @AM

    I beg to differ. I’ve read it five or six times. It’s a great piece of writing.
     
    How did you accomplish that without either wanting to take flamethrower to all of humanity or become a shockingly bad driver yourself, with hope of ending it all?


    But “pedantic?” I can’t imagine ever using that word to describe Gatsby.
     
    It's pretty succinct on the point. :)

    MMM, I recall liking it quite a bit in High School…..Of course, I also liked Edith Wharton and middle-period Henry James…
     
    Ah, so you like tragic romances that involve the theme: "It's so hard and soulless and confining and difficult to be rich and elite." I can see why it might be hard to think of Gatsby as pedantic, as it's the same genre.
  202. @Steve Sailer
    A lot of people, both Jews and anti-Semites alike, assume that James Gatz from the Dakotas must be Jewish because who ever heard of anybody in America who had a German-sounding name without being Jewish?

    A lot of people, both Jews and anti-Semites alike, assume that James Gatz from the Dakotas must be Jewish because who ever heard of anybody in America who had a German-sounding name without being Jewish?

    I actually heard a colleague offer the Jame Gatz-is-Jewish theory at a seminar. I almost burst out laughing….

  203. @Steve Sailer
    Tom Buchanan's views are pretty much copied from a serious letter Fitzgerald wrote to Edmund Wilson in 1922 about how us Nordics must unite against the Alpinoid Threat.

    Tom Buchanan’s views are pretty much copied from a serious letter Fitzgerald wrote to Edmund Wilson in 1922 about how us Nordics must unite against the Alpinoid Threat.

    Yep.

    Rome is only a few years behind Tyre and Babylon. The negroid streak creeps northward to defile the Nordic race. Already the Italians have the souls of blackamoors. Raise the bars of immigration and permit only Scandinavians, Teutons, Anglo-Saxons and Celts to enter. France made me sick. Its silly pose as the thing the world has to save. I think it’s a shame that England and America didn’t let Germany conquer Europe. It’s the only thing that would have saved the fleet of tottering old wrecks.

  204. @James Kabala
    Interesting - but how do we square this with the fact Tom is not a likable or sympathetic character? (Although his thoughts on immigration and race come very early in the book, before that is fully established. Present-day readers inevitably interpret this passage as one of our first hints that Tom is a jerk, but maybe in the 1920s it was just considered small talk that could have been put in the mouth of any character?)

    Interesting – but how do we square this with the fact Tom is not a likable or sympathetic character?

    Negative capability. Fitzgerald was an artist, not pamphleteer. Hence, he was fully capable of mocking things that he believed.

  205. AM says:
    @syonredux

    The Great Gatsby is not a good book.
     
    I beg to differ. I've read it five or six times. It's a great piece of writing.

    It was a failure when it first came out,
     
    Dunno if you want to make that the criterion for aesthetic success....

    and was derided as Fitzgerald’s worst work.
     
    Not by TS Eiot....

    The Great Gatsby with your charming and overpowering inscription arrived the very morning I was leaving in some haste for a sea voyage advised by my doctor. I therefore left it behind and only read it on my return a few days ago. I have, however, now read it three times. I am not in the least influenced by your remark about myself when I say that it has interested and excited me more than any new novel I have seen, either English or American, for a number of years.
    When I have more time I should like to write to you more fully and tell you exactly why it seems to me such a remarkable book. In fact it seems to me to be the first step that American fiction has taken since Henry James.
     
    And if you want to compare it to a bad piece of writing by Fitzgerald, just try reading This Side of Paradise. Fitzgerald improved a lot in the five years between Paradise and Gatsby

    It’s quite pedantic and boring,
     
    Well, I can see how some might find it boring. You know, compared to Bulldog Drummond, say, there's not much in the way of punching and shooting......But "pedantic?" I can't imagine ever using that word to describe Gatsby.

    (I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school, as the book made no attempt to connect with anyone outside of those people in connection with 1920s Long Island high society).
     
    MMM, I recall liking it quite a bit in High School.....Of course, I also liked Edith Wharton and middle-period Henry James...

    But Gatsby the character speaks to a lot of Jews.
     
    And also to a lot of non-Jews....Fitzgerald, the boy from Minnesota, obviously saw something of himself in James Gaatz, the poor farmer's son from North Dakota who wanted to enter high society....

    I beg to differ. I’ve read it five or six times. It’s a great piece of writing.

    How did you accomplish that without either wanting to take flamethrower to all of humanity or become a shockingly bad driver yourself, with hope of ending it all?

    But “pedantic?” I can’t imagine ever using that word to describe Gatsby.

    It’s pretty succinct on the point. 🙂

    MMM, I recall liking it quite a bit in High School…..Of course, I also liked Edith Wharton and middle-period Henry James…

    Ah, so you like tragic romances that involve the theme: “It’s so hard and soulless and confining and difficult to be rich and elite.” I can see why it might be hard to think of Gatsby as pedantic, as it’s the same genre.

    • Replies: @guest
    "the theme, 'It's so hard and soulless and confining and difficult to be rich and elite'"

    That's not the theme, but even if it were, do you know any rich people? Are they all happy-go-lucky?

    James, far from being a "poor little rich person" writer, sought to remove all material concerns from his protagonists so as to focus on purely ethical and sentimental decisions. Which may not be of interest to you. But you are free to read authors wrapped up in money concerns, like Austen or the Gross Realists.
    , @syonredux

    I beg to differ. I’ve read it five or six times. It’s a great piece of writing.

    How did you accomplish that without either wanting to take flamethrower to all of humanity or become a shockingly bad driver yourself, with hope of ending it all?
     

    Clean living?

    But “pedantic?” I can’t imagine ever using that word to describe Gatsby.

    It’s pretty succinct on the point. :)
     

    Succinct, perhaps, but also quite inaccurate....

    MMM, I recall liking it quite a bit in High School…..Of course, I also liked Edith Wharton and middle-period Henry James…

    Ah, so you like tragic romances that involve the theme: “It’s so hard and soulless and confining and difficult to be rich and elite.” I can see why it might be hard to think of Gatsby as pedantic, as it’s the same genre.
     

    Dunno. Maybe I just have catholic tastes. I also like The Red Badge of Courage, The Shadow Out of Time, "The Man Who Would be King," and Henry IV, Part 1 ....
    , @syonredux

    Yeah, BS. Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice in her early 20′s. She understood more about people then than it appears the average person sees about humanity in a lifetime.

    Sorry that it’s about domestic situations and family life, an area she knew well. It’s not Treasure Island, which is another surprisingly good book, but it’s subject matter that’s difficult to make a good story out of and she does, for the most part.

    I say that anyone who cannot finish, with rounds of laughter, both Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy should be ignored on most subjects.

    I say that anyone who can’t see pure genius in the characterizations and observations of Jane Austen should be ignored on most subjects.
     
    Odd. You're the first Jane Austen fan that I've met who doesn't like Edith Wharton.....
  206. @James Kabala
    Interesting - but how do we square this with the fact Tom is not a likable or sympathetic character? (Although his thoughts on immigration and race come very early in the book, before that is fully established. Present-day readers inevitably interpret this passage as one of our first hints that Tom is a jerk, but maybe in the 1920s it was just considered small talk that could have been put in the mouth of any character?)

    Interesting – but how do we square this with the fact Tom is not a likable or sympathetic character?

    Negative capability. Fitzgerald was an artist, not a* pamphleteer. Hence, he was fully capable of mocking things that he believed.

    *Corrected a typo

  207. @kihowi
    Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway. Hobbits are little cartoon versions of the unthreatening, nerdy Englishmen that are the reason that Englishwomen are currently importing millions of vibrant head-choppers. Much of the universe around them is the vomit-inducing Victorian pre-raphaelite view on mythology/the dark ages where already the main attributes of the valiant hero were asexuality, timid self-sacrifice and an ability to mope.

    Now compare that to the Conan stories (even though Howard was gay and couldn't write as well). That's masculine.

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it's impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity. Only with videogames have boys gotten a medium which fits them as well as books fit girls.

    Coherent thought, too.

  208. @kihowi
    Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway. Hobbits are little cartoon versions of the unthreatening, nerdy Englishmen that are the reason that Englishwomen are currently importing millions of vibrant head-choppers. Much of the universe around them is the vomit-inducing Victorian pre-raphaelite view on mythology/the dark ages where already the main attributes of the valiant hero were asexuality, timid self-sacrifice and an ability to mope.

    Now compare that to the Conan stories (even though Howard was gay and couldn't write as well). That's masculine.

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it's impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity. Only with videogames have boys gotten a medium which fits them as well as books fit girls.

    “And may your first child be a masculine one.”

  209. @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward
     
    While many of the things you point out about Gatsby’s outsider status and pretentions could be seen as similar to the kind of Jew who social climbs (or climbed) into the world of haute-WASPs, the character himself is not anything like a Philip Roth neurotic nebbish. Nick Carraway’s description of Gatsby fits Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2013 adaptation:

    I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty
     
    Gatsby is simply an obsessed diehard romantic who sees himself as equal to Daisy but for the circumstance of class and wealth. He uses his ill-gotten gains not to ingratiate himself with Society, but instead in an attempt to (re)claim Daisy by offering her material comforts even better than she’s accustomed to, thereby allowing her to return to her first ‘true love.’

    Beyond the character of Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s personal ‘guest of a guest’ concerns get some (satirical? sour grapes?) play in the book, which parallel your point about the type of Jews afflicted with Golfocaust resentment. But Gatsby himself doesn’t fit the profile.

    “similar to the kind of Jew who social climbs (or climbed) into the world of haute-WASPs”

    Only weird Jew-obsession could see climbing and not fitting comfortably into WASP high society as particularly Jewish. Fitzgerald himself was a climber, and not at all Jewish. He was a comfortable middle-class non-WASP who wanted to bust into high society, and he did so by going to Princeton and becoming a famous novelist.

    He didn’t succeed entirely, though the level at which he succeeded, at least posthumously, is beyond what all but a few humans ever experience. Of course his talents wained or went unfulfilled, and his life dissipated and ended tragically. That tragedy is sprinkled over his novels. But there’s none of the alienation and outsiderism of which the above poster is speaking.

    No Roth stuff,though Roth isn’t that bad so far as these kinds of writers are concerned. Except the Plot Against America, which is ridiculously paranoid.

    “Gatsby is simply an obsessed die hard romantic who sees himself as equal to Daisy but for the circumstances of class and wealth.”

    That’s true. The key line to the novel, I think, is when Nick tells Gatsby you can’t repeat the past, and he responds, “Why, of course you can!” His life would’ve been perfect had Daisy picked him back when. If he can get her to go with him now, he will have corrected that mistake.

    Which is childish thinking. But he had this vision of himself, Gatsby, which he pursued despite reality, and it undoes him.

    Fitzgerald himself experienced similar circumstances. I’m not sure of the timeline exactly,but Zelda was a Southern belle whom he met when he was in the army during WWI,which must have been 1917-18. They were engaged, but she broke it off because she wasn’t sure he coukd support her, probably among other reasons.

    He had a vision of himself as a great writer, and was sure he’d be famous. He fulfilled that promise by becoming a sensation when he published This Side of Paradise in 1920. Then she finally married him.

    So Fitzgerald didn’t have to go back an entire decade or more to fix the past like Gatsby. It was only a few years, but a few years can be a lifetime when you’re in love in your early 20s.

    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Only weird Jew-obsession could see climbing and not fitting comfortably into WASP high society as particularly Jewish.
     
    Right. I didn’t state that social jockeying is limited to Jews; certainly among WASPs themselves there can be striving amidst the ‘ranks.’ I mentioned Jews in particular because of the forever angsty Golfocaust type of strivers that whorefinder was likening the character of Gatsby to.

    He further claimed that Jews themselves see Gatsby’s character as some sort of sympathetic touchstone and thus push the story in school curriculums, which I consider quite a stretch. I think whorefinder is baiting the commentariat a bit—it seems to have worked. :)

    Fitzgerald himself was a climber, and not at all Jewish.
     
    Again, we’re in agreement. I wrote:

    Fitzgerald’s personal ‘guest of a guest’ concerns get some (satirical? sour grapes?) play in the book, which parallel [whorefinder’s] point about the type of Jews afflicted with Golfocaust resentment.
     
    My reply to whorefinder was merely to distinguish (the character) Gatsby’s laser-focused romantic obsession from Jewish (or other) social striving. You wrote:

    Fitzgerald himself experienced similar circumstances. I’m not sure of the timeline exactly, but Zelda was a Southern belle (…) They were engaged, but she broke it off (…) Then she finally married him.
     
    Actually, his first (unattainable) love was Chicago debutante Ginevra King. Similar-looking Zelda was the consolation prize.

    So Fitzgerald didn’t have to go back an entire decade or more to fix the past
     
    Or not fix the past:

    In 1937 Ginevra and Fitzgerald met again in California. He was working in Hollywood and trying to stop drinking. ''She was the first girl I ever loved and I have faithfully avoided seeing her up to this moment to keep that illusion perfect,'' Fitzgerald wrote to his daughter, Scottie.

    The couple went to a bar. Fitzgerald began drinking. Ginevra King's granddaughter, Ginevra King Chandler, said that her grandmother asked which of his characters were modeled after her. ''Which bitch do you think you are?'' Fitzgerald replied, Ms. Chandler said.

    Later Ginevra told Arthur Mizener that Fitzgerald's deterioration made her ''heartsick as he had been behaving himself for some months.''

    But Ginevra ''was never in love with Fitzgerald,'' said her daughter, Ginevra Mitchell Hunter. ''She enjoyed him and said he was very bright, very witty,'' Mrs. Hunter said. ''She said he was always on the outside, looking in.’’
     
    Fitzgerald himself was both a hopeless romantic and socially hyper-attuned. Ginevra and the constellation she inhabited were inseparable in his quest “to determine what share was his of our local heavens.”
  210. @whorefinder
    Yes, the character of Meyer Wolfsheim was an anti-Jewish caricature---the character was based on Arnold Rothstein and supposedly named after another Jewish gangster who was still up-and-coming at the time it was written--Meyer Lansky. But the Wolfsheim's appearance in the work is brief and rather ignorable as an anti-Jewish "sin", especially for pre-PC days Jews.

    The fact remains that Gatsby has become, for Jews, a stand-in for themselves, and hence why the book became pushed by Jewish critics. His traits are too stereotypical "poor Jewish boy it makes it in America " for Jews not to take notice.

    Compare The Great Gatsby to The Rise of David Levinsky (a classic popular among Jewish-American immigrants) and you'll see Levinsky's story and alienation align in many ways with Gatsby: name change, dealings with the underworld, lonliness, abandonment of old land, the girl who got away, attempts to fit in by aping those born wealthy, etc.. https://infogalactic.com/info/The_Rise_of_David_Levinsky

    Again, I wonder why what Jewish people get out of the book is so important. They have their thoughts and feelings, I have mine. This can’t be a case of them forcing their peculiar likes onto the rest of us, as often happens. Because they didn’t have that much influence back in 1925.

    Your argument rests uncomfortably on the difference between the Great Gatsby’s reputation back when versus now. Indeed, it wasn’t immediately a Great American Novel that every high school kid was forced to read. Neither was it some forgotten book salvaged from the ash heap by Jews whenever they achieved their cultural gatekeeper status. It was a hit that raised Fitzgerald from Boy Wonder, literary sensation, and master of the commercial short story to Serious Writer with promise.

    Books that go unrecognized in their own times almost never become classics, despite modernist pretensions. So we’re really talking about a marginal change in Gasby’s reputation. From just another respectable bestseller to part of the canon. There are reasons beyond Jewishness for this change to have occurred. It’s short, which is good for homework. It has symbols which critics and teachers get to explain.

    One aspect you have in your favor is how people take it as a model of the American Dream. As if an upwardly mobile criminal who throws garish parties for the sake of a substanceless debutante and throws his life away without starting a family is what Americans are all about, in their heart of hearts. Who thinks that? Jews, maybe.

    One thing I can say, however, is that the Irish and the Jews were both latecomers to modernity. This country wasn’t made for them. The ambitious ones, at least, after they came en masse, must have been similarly envious and resentful. If it’s an Irish-type story, then it’s a Jewish-type story too, I’m a way. I can see why Jews would respond to a tragic rags-to-riches story about an outsider who ultimately fails to fit in. But it’s not specifically Jewish enough. It’s not specifically Irish enough, either. That story can and does appeal to a wide variety of people.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Books that go unrecognized in their own times almost never become classics,

    It's more accurate to say that artists that go unrecognized within, say, 6o or 70 years of their birth are seldom rediscovered. (E.g., Van Gogh would have lived to enjoy fame if he'd lived his three score and ten.) However, which art work by the celebrity artist becomes the favorite of the future is less certain. Leonardo was just about the first celebrity painter in post-Roman history, but despite his enormous fame, the "Mona Lisa" didn't ascend to its current status until the later 19th Century.

    , @syonredux

    Books that go unrecognized in their own times almost never become classics, despite modernist pretensions.
     
    Trying to think of a counter-example.....Maybe William Blake and Herman Melville?Their work was little regarded in their own lifetimes.....Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins don't count, as you can't blame the public for not recognizing your genius if you don't make an effort to get your work published....
  211. @Autochthon
    Always and ever the law gets lumped in among useless and silly things like underwater basketweaving, but I doubt any man Jack who understands the implications wants a world without laws and lawyers; the only alternative is tyranny and whim.

    "It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws." —Aristotle

    "We are a nation of laws, not of men." — John Adams

    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." — William Shakespeare
     
    The trouble is reflected in the rampant misunderstanding of the context for Shakespeare's words by fools who've never bothered to watch or read the play.

    Certainly law – like so much else – has devolved now into a horrible kakistocracy, but the solution is not derision for the institution, but rather accountability and replacement of its guardians (the whole point of nomocracy; for there is no replacing the king!). Luther did not advocate the dissolution of the church; rather, he wanted its clergy to stop being jerks, or, in the alternative, for men who were not jerks to replace them....

    Nomocracy matters.

    Just because you kill all the lawyers at the start of your revolution doesn’t mean you have to go without lawyers forever. You can get better ones.

    By the way, I don’t think not understanding Shakespeare’s context is a problem. Does anyone actually think that was a serious proposal? Maybe Lenin.

    Kill all the lawyers, yeah, sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Can’t possibly be a joke or anything.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Dick the Butcher is suggesting murdering all the lawyers to facilitate a bloody coup and disorder in society – perhaps as a joke, but only in the way criminals joke about robbing and killing people. A criminal who jokes of killing all the police in the world may not be making a serious proposal, but it is for want of means, not desire (likewise, perhaps ironically, with Lenin of his enemies, just as you suggest). In the event, Shakespeare's point remains that lawyers are a bulwark of civilisation.
  212. @whorefinder
    Yes, the character of Meyer Wolfsheim was an anti-Jewish caricature---the character was based on Arnold Rothstein and supposedly named after another Jewish gangster who was still up-and-coming at the time it was written--Meyer Lansky. But the Wolfsheim's appearance in the work is brief and rather ignorable as an anti-Jewish "sin", especially for pre-PC days Jews.

    The fact remains that Gatsby has become, for Jews, a stand-in for themselves, and hence why the book became pushed by Jewish critics. His traits are too stereotypical "poor Jewish boy it makes it in America " for Jews not to take notice.

    Compare The Great Gatsby to The Rise of David Levinsky (a classic popular among Jewish-American immigrants) and you'll see Levinsky's story and alienation align in many ways with Gatsby: name change, dealings with the underworld, lonliness, abandonment of old land, the girl who got away, attempts to fit in by aping those born wealthy, etc.. https://infogalactic.com/info/The_Rise_of_David_Levinsky

    Correction, I oversold the Great Gatsby’s original success in my above post. I wouldn’t call it a bestseller. It required WWII to make it a classic. But that was not because of Jews. They still weren’t cultural gatekeepers in 1941-45.

    The book has been kept in print continuously since 1925. That doesn’t happen with failures. Unless Scribner’s kept it on welfare, in a manner of speaking. But why would they do that, unless they thought it had potential for profit or because it was important for their prestige? Not because of Jews.

    As for people calling it Fitzgerald’s worst book and all that, the reviews were mixed, not overwhelmingly negative.

    I think its original reputation has been distorted for the sake of the modernist “unappreciated in its own time” myth.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Yeah, Fitzgerald was immensely appreciated in his own time. He was a huge celebrity in his 20s and made piles of money off his fiction. The Great Gatsby was one of his less immediately successful works, although 99% of the less Golden Boy fiction writers in America would have appreciated its reception.
  213. @AM

    The protagonist is a youngster between the ages of 6 and 9. Babbling about her ‘worldview’ and referring to her accounts of daily life in a small town in south Alabama as imbued with ‘politically correct themes’ is obtuse with a thoroughness than most of can shoot for only in vain.
     
    LOL! No, actually I think I was pretty clear. I'll translate it to modern 'street' if you like.

    The story is narrated by woke 9 year old who has never experienced anything but a nice Dad and a nice life and nice blacks and is genuinely horrified when dear old Dad fails to clear a retarded black man of rape, after clearly weighing all the evidence within her 9 year old mind that he is indeed innocent, along with Dad's say so.

    We thankfully (phew!) never see anyone else's POV, including dear old Dad's lest we muddy the waters with thoughts that are either more adult or more experienced.

    Thus it is genuinely loved by liberals everywhere for it's lovely, simple worldview and politically correct themes. ;)

    Art Deco is a regular Boo Radley isn’t he?

  214. @AM

    The protagonist is a youngster between the ages of 6 and 9. Babbling about her ‘worldview’ and referring to her accounts of daily life in a small town in south Alabama as imbued with ‘politically correct themes’ is obtuse with a thoroughness than most of can shoot for only in vain.
     
    LOL! No, actually I think I was pretty clear. I'll translate it to modern 'street' if you like.

    The story is narrated by woke 9 year old who has never experienced anything but a nice Dad and a nice life and nice blacks and is genuinely horrified when dear old Dad fails to clear a retarded black man of rape, after clearly weighing all the evidence within her 9 year old mind that he is indeed innocent, along with Dad's say so.

    We thankfully (phew!) never see anyone else's POV, including dear old Dad's lest we muddy the waters with thoughts that are either more adult or more experienced.

    Thus it is genuinely loved by liberals everywhere for it's lovely, simple worldview and politically correct themes. ;)

    The story is narrated by woke 9 year old who has never experienced anything but a nice Dad and a nice life and nice blacks and is genuinely horrified when dear old Dad fails to clear a retarded black man of rape, after clearly weighing all the evidence within her 9 year old mind that he is indeed innocent, along with Dad’s say so.

    The story is narrated by a 9 year old tomboy who plays with her brother and the next door neighbor’s visiting nephew, gets into fights with schoolmates and cousins, enjoys reading in the evening, is fascinated with the mysterious family who live three doors down and are hardly ever seen, and is irritated by the local schoolteachers, her aunt, and various women in her aunt’s social circle.

    The breadth of her experience is neither greater nor lesser than that of any other small-town six year old (though less inundated by media than people a generation younger). Strange as it may seem to you, there are in this world middle-aged men with phlegmatic or sanguine temperaments, and they do have children from time to time. Strange as it may seem to you, there were people in this country in 1935 who were not employed in agriculture, were adequately nourished, and were not dodging bill collectors.

    You’re all fixated on one particular plotline because it offends your f***-the-blacks impulses. “Woke”? The questions and conflicts in the story don’t have much to do with latter-day racial discourse (except for the bilge peddled by the worst sort of black-nationalist hucksters). The one thing at issue in the story is whether you meet out punishment to people because their conduct merits it or you meet out punishment to people because your honor culture demands they suffer. Doesn’t have much to do with racial equality or anything that’s been a matter of dispute in the last 60 years.

    While we’re at it, the character Tom Robinson is not retarded. He has a crippled arm.

    • Replies: @AM

    The breadth of her experience is neither greater nor lesser than that of any other small-town six year old (though less inundated by media than people a generation younger).
     
    It turns out she's very woke, aka advanced for a 6 old, but her young age makes the constricted worldview of the book plausible. That makes the book fun and easy to read, and easy and fun to teach in high school.

    I find most novelists are quite romantic when they try to see from a child's POV. Children understand far less of what's going on than writers give them credit for.

    A story told from a legitimate 6 year old POV would be interesting only to 6 year olds.

    While we’re at it, the character Tom Robinson is not retarded. He has a crippled arm.
     
    Oops, my bad. It's been a long time since I've read it. Thanks for the correction. Nice plot device, that. Imagine how less meaningful the ending would have been if he been completely healthy. You might have even though he was capable of rape, although one crippled arm wouldn't actually hold back an adult black very much.

    the questions and conflicts in the story don’t have much to do with latter-day racial discourse (except for the bilge peddled by the worst sort of black-nationalist hucksters).
     
    LOL! Of course To Kill a Mockingbird has everything to do with latter day racial discourse. It is our racial conversation right now, even told from Scout's POV.

    Sheltered girl child with pretensions to tomboy, via the shelter of painfully idyllic surroundings, through 3rd/4th hand information and her own positive interactions with blacks comes to think justice has been miscarried because Papa couldn't get the poor crippled black guy out of jail. We have no idea what Dad actually knew about Tom Robinson or if justice might well have been served by putting him in jail.

    We are all Scout now. Going beyond those simple child like questions is to support an awful "honor culture" ...or something.

    That's why liberal love the book. All of it's questions about morality and justice are seen by eliminating massive amounts of information and then processed through a childlike mind. Simple and so much easier to think about. Phew!
    , @Jenner Ickham Errican

    While we’re at it, the character Tom Robinson is not retarded. He has a crippled arm.
     
    Counterpoint:

    https://youtu.be/PX9reO3QnUA?t=17s
  215. @AM

    I beg to differ. I’ve read it five or six times. It’s a great piece of writing.
     
    How did you accomplish that without either wanting to take flamethrower to all of humanity or become a shockingly bad driver yourself, with hope of ending it all?


    But “pedantic?” I can’t imagine ever using that word to describe Gatsby.
     
    It's pretty succinct on the point. :)

    MMM, I recall liking it quite a bit in High School…..Of course, I also liked Edith Wharton and middle-period Henry James…
     
    Ah, so you like tragic romances that involve the theme: "It's so hard and soulless and confining and difficult to be rich and elite." I can see why it might be hard to think of Gatsby as pedantic, as it's the same genre.

    “the theme, ‘It’s so hard and soulless and confining and difficult to be rich and elite’”

    That’s not the theme, but even if it were, do you know any rich people? Are they all happy-go-lucky?

    James, far from being a “poor little rich person” writer, sought to remove all material concerns from his protagonists so as to focus on purely ethical and sentimental decisions. Which may not be of interest to you. But you are free to read authors wrapped up in money concerns, like Austen or the Gross Realists.

    • Replies: @AM

    That’s not the theme, but even if it were, do you know any rich people? Are they all happy-go-lucky?
     
    I went to a college that had at least 50% of the student body that was not on scholarship and it was very expensive. I've also been around trust funders in various settings. I'm of a working class background, but I have had the chance to study the crowd, much like Jane Goodall. :)

    It turns out they are not very happy people and it is difficult beyond a certain income level. People who grow up in that environment are not entirely wrong to feel middle class and poorer people have a degree of freedom they don't.

    But it is also generally self inflicted at a certain level. The two real issues seem to be a)lack of parental attention, because Mom and Dad could throw money at it and b)taking the money and position for granted

    Most of the angtsy angst found in "It's so hard to be rich" novels are mostly immaturity and ungratefulness. That's why I find them hollow, uncompelling dramas. My reaction usually is: "These characters are all ungrateful jerks. I must have something better to do than read this."

    James, far from being a “poor little rich person” writer, sought to remove all material concerns from his protagonists so as to focus on purely ethical and sentimental decisions.
     
    This is how a wealthy writer might attempt to approach the problem. Pretending that money and material goods don't exist and that it can be divorced from ethics particularly. That would be considered vaguely realistic only by someone who has the luxury of being relatively wealthy (or likes to think he has that luxury).

    Meanwhile, tell this working class girl how you manage what money have and I'll tell you a whole lot about your ethics and sentiments. I will know all sorts more information about you when we add money back into the picture.

    Quite often what's held up as intellectually and edgy in approach is just a way to avoid the difficulties of human nature in favor of artificial, "safe" drama. Don't like how you handle your money or feel bad you have too much of it or both? Make a story without it and pretend it's an amazing new approach so you don't have to go down rabbit holes that are uncomfortable.

    Star Trek got away with it, but it's mostly because it was cowboys in space. The original Star Wars series was far more interesting and realistic because it had money.
  216. @Art Deco
    I take it that you have never had — or been — a daughter like Scout!

    I take it you didn't read the book. The children amuse themselves. Atticus Finch arrives home from work, reads the newspaper, has crabby discussions with his sister, eats the meals Calpurnia prepares for him, and occasionally answers questions from his daughter or reads to her. She doesn't need much attention and affection from her father and doesn't get much. The ministrations of her aunt are a trial for her (even though they only have words once during the course of the narrative).

    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Uh oh. Unz has allowed us basic emojis, an LOL button, and Twitter and YouTube direct embedding. But taking advantage with reaction GIFs… whoever, that’s a bridge too far. ;)
  217. @Autochthon
    The simplest tell of the author's sex in this case as in most is the intellectual rigor of the material, because the most ingenius men are far more ingenius than the most ingenius women (and, of course only the ingenius write timeless literature).

    Tolkien's opus reflects mastery of multiple languages (offhand, I can think of Latin, Greek, German, French, Welsh, Finnish, and English – ancient and modern varieties); mythologies; religon; etc. They reflect the experiences of a horrifying war in which literally all of his friends died. They reflect his own work to raise four children in an upright way and a lifetime which saw greater upheaval than perhaps any before or since (with the introduction of aeroplanes, automobiles, telephones, etc.).

    Rowling's works reflect the twee musings of an unemployed, childless, not particularly well educated divorceé collecting welfare.

    It shows.

    1. She had a daughter at the time she wrote the first novel.

    2. She has a university degree. About 8% of her cohort in Britain received one.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    I stand corrected on the point of her being barren, but it only underscores her irresponsibility in breaking her marriage vows and depriving her child of a proper family. (Apparently some speculate her husband beat her, but she's not confirmed it, and, based upon both her own wrongheaded attitudes about morality and the social order, along with the statistics of women destroying marriages via frivorce, I will maintain my view until at the very least she herself offers some justification – and there are very few! – for leaving her husband.)

    (Having an undergraduate degree hardly indicates one is particularly well educated.)
  218. @whorefinder

    That’s one of the reasons why The Great Gatsby is such a classroom staple. It’s really good
     
    The Great Gatsby is not a good book. It was a failure when it first came out, and was derided as Fitzgerald's worst work. As Steve has pointed out, its popularity was largely helped out when it was passed out to American GIs during WW2 as reading material during down times. It's quite pedantic and boring, and it's metaphors/symbolism are trite compared to truly great works of writing. (I was bored out of my mind reading the book in high school, as the book made no attempt to connect with anyone outside of those people in connection with 1920s Long Island high society).

    But there's another reason Gatsby became popular in school, and it's quite ironic: Jewish control of The Megaphone.

    Gatsby is a great stand-in for Jews striving from the 1920s onward: he's a poor boy con artist/bootlegger striving to become old money and take his shiksa, er, old money love Daisy. He changed his name to fit in and came from a far away place to make his fortune in New York. He's big on jazz parties and having a big house and lots of expensive signs of making it, but doesn't enjoy them. Heck, he even does his bootlegging with a Jewish gangster. He doesn't feel worthy of being there even when he deflowers Daisy.

    Jews see a lot of Jay Gatsby in themselves, given his outsider status, black market dealings, name changing, desire for shiksas, etc. Since they have gotten more control of the Megaphone, they've pushed it into the stratosphere (as I pointed out they did to Philip Roth in general, such as Portnoy's Complaint and Goodbye, Columbus).

    I say this is ironic because Fitzgerald was notorious for his pro-white, pro-masculine, pro-Christian views---"muscular Christianity". He didn't like whites mixing with non-whites, and was highly critical of Jews. But Gatsby the character speaks to a lot of Jews.

    It occurs to me there is one aspect of Gatsby that appeals specifically to Jews. They like to think of white gentile modern civilization as being a big show that’s merely a thin veneer covering dark secrets. You can find that line of thought in Freud and a million other sources.

    In this case, Gatsby’s lavish parties in the elite WASP ground-zero of Long Island are funded by black market racketeering and put on by a jumped-up farmboy who doesn’t even read his books!

    Not that this Civilization and Its Discontents angle is necessary to interpreting Gatsby. But I can see how it would appeal to a certain type.

    • Replies: @whorefinder

    They like to think of white gentile modern civilization as being a big show that’s merely a thin veneer covering dark secrets. You can find that line of thought in Freud and a million other sources.
     
    To steal from Freud, that's really just Jewish projection. Jewish communities are rife with the kind of Twin Peaks-esque secrets: molestation, adultery, incest, backstabbing, etc. Jewish communities, however, are very insular and have a strict "keep Jewish problems from the goyim" mentality.
  219. AM says:
    @Art Deco
    The story is narrated by woke 9 year old who has never experienced anything but a nice Dad and a nice life and nice blacks and is genuinely horrified when dear old Dad fails to clear a retarded black man of rape, after clearly weighing all the evidence within her 9 year old mind that he is indeed innocent, along with Dad’s say so.

    The story is narrated by a 9 year old tomboy who plays with her brother and the next door neighbor's visiting nephew, gets into fights with schoolmates and cousins, enjoys reading in the evening, is fascinated with the mysterious family who live three doors down and are hardly ever seen, and is irritated by the local schoolteachers, her aunt, and various women in her aunt's social circle.

    The breadth of her experience is neither greater nor lesser than that of any other small-town six year old (though less inundated by media than people a generation younger). Strange as it may seem to you, there are in this world middle-aged men with phlegmatic or sanguine temperaments, and they do have children from time to time. Strange as it may seem to you, there were people in this country in 1935 who were not employed in agriculture, were adequately nourished, and were not dodging bill collectors.

    You're all fixated on one particular plotline because it offends your f***-the-blacks impulses. "Woke"? The questions and conflicts in the story don't have much to do with latter-day racial discourse (except for the bilge peddled by the worst sort of black-nationalist hucksters). The one thing at issue in the story is whether you meet out punishment to people because their conduct merits it or you meet out punishment to people because your honor culture demands they suffer. Doesn't have much to do with racial equality or anything that's been a matter of dispute in the last 60 years.

    While we're at it, the character Tom Robinson is not retarded. He has a crippled arm.

    The breadth of her experience is neither greater nor lesser than that of any other small-town six year old (though less inundated by media than people a generation younger).

    It turns out she’s very woke, aka advanced for a 6 old, but her young age makes the constricted worldview of the book plausible. That makes the book fun and easy to read, and easy and fun to teach in high school.

    I find most novelists are quite romantic when they try to see from a child’s POV. Children understand far less of what’s going on than writers give them credit for.

    A story told from a legitimate 6 year old POV would be interesting only to 6 year olds.

    While we’re at it, the character Tom Robinson is not retarded. He has a crippled arm.

    Oops, my bad. It’s been a long time since I’ve read it. Thanks for the correction. Nice plot device, that. Imagine how less meaningful the ending would have been if he been completely healthy. You might have even though he was capable of rape, although one crippled arm wouldn’t actually hold back an adult black very much.

    the questions and conflicts in the story don’t have much to do with latter-day racial discourse (except for the bilge peddled by the worst sort of black-nationalist hucksters).

    LOL! Of course To Kill a Mockingbird has everything to do with latter day racial discourse. It is our racial conversation right now, even told from Scout’s POV.

    Sheltered girl child with pretensions to tomboy, via the shelter of painfully idyllic surroundings, through 3rd/4th hand information and her own positive interactions with blacks comes to think justice has been miscarried because Papa couldn’t get the poor crippled black guy out of jail. We have no idea what Dad actually knew about Tom Robinson or if justice might well have been served by putting him in jail.

    We are all Scout now. Going beyond those simple child like questions is to support an awful “honor culture” …or something.

    That’s why liberal love the book. All of it’s questions about morality and justice are seen by eliminating massive amounts of information and then processed through a childlike mind. Simple and so much easier to think about. Phew!

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    It turns out she’s very woke,

    Repeating yourself and adding extraneous verbiage doesn't make an idiot anachronism something other than an idiot anachronism.
    , @Art Deco
    Sheltered girl child with pretensions to tomboy, via the shelter of painfully idyllic surroundings, through 3rd/4th hand information and her own positive interactions with blacks comes to think justice has been miscarried because Papa couldn’t get the poor crippled black guy out of jail. We have no idea what Dad actually knew about Tom Robinson or if justice might well have been served by putting him in jail.

    You didn't read the book did you? It's her brother, a good deal more than her, who is undone by the case. The reason is Tom Robinson was convicted on perjured testimony, and you know the testimony is perjured because of the forensic evidence. His supposed victim was beaten by her attacker. All of her bruises are on the right side of her face, administered by someone using his left hand exclusively. The defendant's left hand and arm is crippled and immobile, and this is made manifest to the jury; the left arm is half the length of the right arm and has to be manipulated in order to be placed on the Bible to swear the defendant in when he testifies (and slides off the Bible anyway). The accuser's father, known in the community as a drunk with a vicious temper, is left-handed, and this is demonstrated at trial. Not only does Scout know Tom Robinson is not guilty, the defense counsel knows it, the judge knows it, the Sheriff knows it, the local newspaper editor knows it, the two largest local landowners know it, and the defense counsel's sister and neighbors know it. All of this is explicit in the narrative. A aspect of the story is the two children trying to sort out the inconsistent dispositions of the people they know. Even though Tom Robinson is convicted (and dies in prison), the accuser's father has a vendetta against the defense counsel and the judge in the case because he was shunned as ever after the trial and both had humiliated him while he was lying his tuchus off on the stand. (His last act is attempting to kill the defense counsel's children).
  220. @kihowi
    Tolkien is pretty effeminate anyway. Hobbits are little cartoon versions of the unthreatening, nerdy Englishmen that are the reason that Englishwomen are currently importing millions of vibrant head-choppers. Much of the universe around them is the vomit-inducing Victorian pre-raphaelite view on mythology/the dark ages where already the main attributes of the valiant hero were asexuality, timid self-sacrifice and an ability to mope.

    Now compare that to the Conan stories (even though Howard was gay and couldn't write as well). That's masculine.

    The real problem with masculine literature is that fundamentally it's impossible because verbal ability is correlated with femininity. Only with videogames have boys gotten a medium which fits them as well as books fit girls.

    In that vast shadow once of yore
    Fingolfin stood: his shield he bore
    with field of heaven’s blue and star
    of crystal shining pale afar.
    In overmastering wrath and hate
    desperate he smote upon that gate,
    the Gnomish king, there standing lone,
    while endless fortresses of stone
    engulfed the thin clear ringing keen
    of silver horn on baldric green.
    His hopeless challenge dauntless cried
    Fingolfin there: ‘Come, open wide,
    dark king, your ghastly brazen doors!
    Come forth, whom earth and heaven abhors!
    Come forth, O monstrous craven lord,
    and fight with thine own hand and sword,
    thou wielder of hosts of banded thralls,
    thou tyrant leaguered with strong walls,
    thou foe of Gods and elvish race!
    I wait thee here. Come! Show thy face!’

    Then Morgoth came. For the last time
    in those great wars he dared to climb
    from subterranean throne profound,
    the rumour of his feet a sound
    of rumbling earthquake underground.
    Black-armoured, towering, iron-crowned
    he issued forth; his mighty shield
    a vast unblazoned sable field
    with shadow like a thundercloud;
    and o’er the gleaming king it bowed,
    as huge aloft like mace he hurled
    that hammer of the underworld,
    Grond. Clanging to ground it tumbled
    down like a thunder-bolt, and crumbled
    the rocks beneath it; smoke up-started,
    a pit yawned, and a fire darted.

    Fingolfin like a shooting light
    beneath a cloud, a stab of white,
    sprang then aside, and Ringil drew
    like ice that gleameth cold and blue,
    his sword devised of elvish skill
    to pierce the flesh with deadly chill.
    With seven wounds it rent his foe,
    and seven mighty cries of woe
    rang in the mountains, and the earth quook,
    and Angband’s trembling armies shook.
    Yet Orcs would after laughing tell
    of the duel at the gates of hell;
    though elvish song thereof was made
    ere this but one — when sad was laid
    the mighty king in barrow high,
    and Thorondor, Eagle of the sky,
    the dreadful tidings brought and told
    to mourning Elfinesse of old.
    Thrice was Fingolfin with great blows
    to his knees beaten, thrice he rose
    still leaping up beneath the cloud
    aloft to hold star-shining, proud,
    his stricken shield, his sundered helm,
    that dark nor might could overwhelm
    till all the earth was burst and rent
    in pits about him. He was spent.
    His feet stumbled. He fell to wreck
    upon the ground, and on his neck
    a foot like rooted hills was set,
    and he was crushed — not conquered yet;
    one last despairing stroke he gave:
    the mighty foot pale Ringil clave
    about the heel, and black the blood
    gushed as from smoking fount in flood.
    Halt goes for ever from that stroke
    great Morgoth; but the king he broke,
    and would have hewn and mangled thrown
    to wolves devouring. Lo! from throne
    that Manwë bade him build on high,
    on peak unscaled beneath the sky,
    Morgoth to watch, now down there swooped
    Thorondor the King of Eagles, stooped,
    and rending beak of gold he smote
    in Bauglir’s face, then up did float
    on pinions thirty fathoms wide
    bearing away, though loud they cried,
    the mighty corse, the Elven-king;
    and where the mountains make a ring
    far to the south about that plain
    where after Gondolin did reign,
    embattled city, at great height
    upon a dizzy snowcap white
    in mounded cairn the mighty dead
    he laid upon the mountain’s head.
    Never Orc nor demon after dared
    that pass to climb, o’er which there stared
    Fingolfin’s high and holy tomb,
    till Gondolin’s appointed doom.

    Thus Bauglir earned the furrowed scar
    that his dark countenance doth mar,
    and thus his limping gait he gained;
    but afterward profound he reigned
    darkling upon his hidden throne;
    and thunderous paced his halls of stone,
    slow building there his vast design
    the world in thraldom to confine.

    Yeah, pretty effeminate stuff from a man who knew nothing of war, bloodshed, and courage in the face of certain death. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  221. @Art Deco
    1. She had a daughter at the time she wrote the first novel.

    2. She has a university degree. About 8% of her cohort in Britain received one.

    I stand corrected on the point of her being barren, but it only underscores her irresponsibility in breaking her marriage vows and depriving her child of a proper family. (Apparently some speculate her husband beat her, but she’s not confirmed it, and, based upon both her own wrongheaded attitudes about morality and the social order, along with the statistics of women destroying marriages via frivorce, I will maintain my view until at the very least she herself offers some justification – and there are very few! – for leaving her husband.)

    (Having an undergraduate degree hardly indicates one is particularly well educated.)

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    I stand corrected on the point of her being barren, but it only underscores her irresponsibility in breaking her marriage vows and depriving her child of a proper family.

    Strange as it may seem to you, sometimes women are the defendants in divorce proceedings and sometimes husbands whore around or just cut and run. Doesn't usually work that way, but about a quarter of the time it does.

    (Having an undergraduate degree hardly indicates one is particularly well educated.)

    She doesn't read Sallust in the original. Who does? When you figure out where you want the goalpost, let me know.

  222. @James Kabala
    Are Jane Austen books actually taught in school (outside maybe of AP classes)? Modern high school curricula usually seem to be:

    1. Shakespeare
    2. Big, big jump to Dickens (maybe) and Twain (probably - unless there is a strong anti-n-word contingent in town)
    3. Another, smaller jump to the novelists popular in the twentieth century, who are mostly male - Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Orwell, maybe Hemingway still, Salinger. Woolf (female) is beloved by female critics but, like male authors Faulkner and Joyce, would probably be considered too complicated for high school students.
    4. Genre or young adult novels of the present day (sometimes by women) that the teachers include in an attempt to seem cool and up-to-date.

    I think some authors are taught so as to introduce students to authors who were particularly influential in some manner, so even if they aren’t enjoyed much in high school they might be returned to later in life.

    I must say I find Jane Austen extremely witty and amusing in my late middle age.

    Dickens is hard to read sometimes, but this is the guy who virtually single-handedly invented the child abuse industry, and Oliver! was a wonderful musical, still worth watching on video. I also like his book American notes, which is one of the few America travel books written in the 19th century, even if the tone is sour at times.

    Orwell is still hugely readable and as relevant as every, maybe even more so.

    I can’t say that I find much to enjoy in Rowling. The treatment of good and evil is simplistic and pantomimish, and if you want a children’s author who dabbles in the supernatural and magic, E. Nesbit is an amusing read for both children and adults.

    In Five Children and It, a group of children discover a sand fairy who can make wishes come true. The children wish that the baby was grown up, whereupon the baby turns into a selfish, smug young man who completely disowns this sibling group of annoying younger children!

    E. Nesbit was also a political progressive who cofounded the Fabian society.

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

    I must say I find Jane Austen extremely witty and amusing in my late middle age.

     

    Same here. When I was an undergrad, Austen left me cold. But my return to her works in my 40s, spurred by Mrs and Daughter C's interest, was very different. I realized I had missed a great deal of Austen's wit; only the broadest appealed to me in my youth.
  223. @AM

    Faulkner and Joyce, would probably be considered too complicated for high school students.
     
    Faulkner is complicated but decidedly not worth the trouble either. Shakespeare is worth the trouble of decoding, but modern authors rarely are.

    I remember reading one Faulkner book in high school and thinking he just want to impress me with his vocabulary. The actual story, plot line, and characters fell flat. Great, it took me 2 or 3 times as long to get through a paragraph. So what? Bad editing and thesaurus like brain doesn't make fabulous writing.

    It’s depressing how many people here (I’ve always like to think Steve’s blog is followed by fairly smart people) make the complaint: “My vocabulary is small, and any author whose vocabulary is larger than mine is a bad writer.” You had might as well claim Isaac Newton was a poor mathematician because calculus requires difficult operations, or that Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was a lousy composer because “Flight of the Bumblebee” is challenging to perform.

    This outlook is one step removed from the attitude of the antagonists in Revenge of the Nerds.

    (Big wurdz bad; me no lyk buk!)

    • Replies: @AM

    My vocabulary is small, and any author whose vocabulary is larger than mine is a bad writer.
     
    That wasn't my complaint. I am always impressed when people legitimately use high fluatin' vocabulary words naturally in well written articles, books, etc. Until I got tired of reading the same column repeatedly, James Taranto on the WSJ would cause me to Google at least one word almost per day. It was pretty obvious he knew his stuff and was using it in the proper context.

    Faulkner on the other hand, clearly (to me) used complex vocabulary to hide rather lackluster writing. There was no need to wade through syllables I was wading through.

    I'm at point in my life where if you use big words correctly and with reason, I'm impressed especially as my own vocabulary is lackluster. If it appears you're trying to up your reading level just cause, I'm gonna think you're lazy, a poor writer, and/or trying to fill up the space with BS.

  224. @AM

    I beg to differ. I’ve read it five or six times. It’s a great piece of writing.
     
    How did you accomplish that without either wanting to take flamethrower to all of humanity or become a shockingly bad driver yourself, with hope of ending it all?


    But “pedantic?” I can’t imagine ever using that word to describe Gatsby.
     
    It's pretty succinct on the point. :)

    MMM, I recall liking it quite a bit in High School…..Of course, I also liked Edith Wharton and middle-period Henry James…
     
    Ah, so you like tragic romances that involve the theme: "It's so hard and soulless and confining and difficult to be rich and elite." I can see why it might be hard to think of Gatsby as pedantic, as it's the same genre.

    I beg to differ. I’ve read it five or six times. It’s a great piece of writing.

    How did you accomplish that without either wanting to take flamethrower to all of humanity or become a shockingly bad driver yourself, with hope of ending it all?

    Clean living?

    But “pedantic?” I can’t imagine ever using that word to describe Gatsby.

    It’s pretty succinct on the point. 🙂

    Succinct, perhaps, but also quite inaccurate….

    MMM, I recall liking it quite a bit in High School…..Of course, I also liked Edith Wharton and middle-period Henry James…

    Ah, so you like tragic romances that involve the theme: “It’s so hard and soulless and confining and difficult to be rich and elite.” I can see why it might be hard to think of Gatsby as pedantic, as it’s the same genre.

    Dunno. Maybe I just have catholic tastes. I also like The Red Badge of Courage, The Shadow Out of Time, “The Man Who Would be King,” and Henry IV, Part 1 ….

    • Replies: @AM

    Succinct, perhaps, but also quite inaccurate….
     
    Here's the thing: if someone is going to tell me that a book is literature, I'm going to hold it to pretty high standards. I want to be a great story, but not only that, I want to teach me something I didn't know.

    For instance, I love Much Ado About Nothing. It's a great story and funny. But it's more than that. 2 couples, one conventional and one not, foiling each other. Let's watch the couple at each other's throats (supposedly) for so long act more a like married couple before they've even announced to the world or even sure of each other than the couple that was supposed to be married. Let's think about nature of reputation and what it means to a young woman in world where it means everything. So much to unpack and learn.

    And then there's the Great Gatsby. Neurotic, selfish rich people acting neurotic and selfish and stupid while burning through cash. Wee. Well, that was fun. What I did learn? Why did I bother, than than line about it takes 2 bad drivers to make a car crash?

    Yes, pediantic unless you can show me some amazing angle on the story I'm missing. Angst for it's own sake is not something I have much patience for anymore.

  225. @AM

    I beg to differ. I’ve read it five or six times. It’s a great piece of writing.
     
    How did you accomplish that without either wanting to take flamethrower to all of humanity or become a shockingly bad driver yourself, with hope of ending it all?


    But “pedantic?” I can’t imagine ever using that word to describe Gatsby.
     
    It's pretty succinct on the point. :)

    MMM, I recall liking it quite a bit in High School…..Of course, I also liked Edith Wharton and middle-period Henry James…
     
    Ah, so you like tragic romances that involve the theme: "It's so hard and soulless and confining and difficult to be rich and elite." I can see why it might be hard to think of Gatsby as pedantic, as it's the same genre.

    Yeah, BS. Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice in her early 20′s. She understood more about people then than it appears the average person sees about humanity in a lifetime.

    Sorry that it’s about domestic situations and family life, an area she knew well. It’s not Treasure Island, which is another surprisingly good book, but it’s subject matter that’s difficult to make a good story out of and she does, for the most part.

    I say that anyone who cannot finish, with rounds of laughter, both Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy should be ignored on most subjects.

    I say that anyone who can’t see pure genius in the characterizations and observations of Jane Austen should be ignored on most subjects.

    Odd. You’re the first Jane Austen fan that I’ve met who doesn’t like Edith Wharton…..

    • Replies: @AM

    Odd. You’re the first Jane Austen fan that I’ve met who doesn’t like Edith Wharton…..
     
    I also like Agatha Christie, if that means anything. :)
  226. @guest
    Length is probably the primary concern. Here are the kind of novels I remember reading in high school: Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, Huckleberry Finn, Lord of the Flies.

    The other big concern is that the teachers have something to explain. Can't have kids enjoying stories straightforwardly; must be symbols, allegories, and social relevance. All the above gots those, too.

    It’s very important to teach children to interpret stories in the preferred manner. Can’t have them going off and developing their own ideas using their own experience. Wouldn’t do at all.

  227. @guest
    "similar to the kind of Jew who social climbs (or climbed) into the world of haute-WASPs"

    Only weird Jew-obsession could see climbing and not fitting comfortably into WASP high society as particularly Jewish. Fitzgerald himself was a climber, and not at all Jewish. He was a comfortable middle-class non-WASP who wanted to bust into high society, and he did so by going to Princeton and becoming a famous novelist.

    He didn't succeed entirely, though the level at which he succeeded, at least posthumously, is beyond what all but a few humans ever experience. Of course his talents wained or went unfulfilled, and his life dissipated and ended tragically. That tragedy is sprinkled over his novels. But there's none of the alienation and outsiderism of which the above poster is speaking.

    No Roth stuff,though Roth isn't that bad so far as these kinds of writers are concerned. Except the Plot Against America, which is ridiculously paranoid.

    "Gatsby is simply an obsessed die hard romantic who sees himself as equal to Daisy but for the circumstances of class and wealth."

    That's true. The key line to the novel, I think, is when Nick tells Gatsby you can't repeat the past, and he responds, "Why, of course you can!" His life would've been perfect had Daisy picked him back when. If he can get her to go with him now, he will have corrected that mistake.

    Which is childish thinking. But he had this vision of himself, Gatsby, which he pursued despite reality, and it undoes him.

    Fitzgerald himself experienced similar circumstances. I'm not sure of the timeline exactly,but Zelda was a Southern belle whom he met when he was in the army during WWI,which must have been 1917-18. They were engaged, but she broke it off because she wasn't sure he coukd support her, probably among other reasons.

    He had a vision of himself as a great writer, and was sure he'd be famous. He fulfilled that promise by becoming a sensation when he published This Side of Paradise in 1920. Then she finally married him.

    So Fitzgerald didn't have to go back an entire decade or more to fix the past like Gatsby. It was only a few years, but a few years can be a lifetime when you're in love in your early 20s.

    Only weird Jew-obsession could see climbing and not fitting comfortably into WASP high society as particularly Jewish.

    Right. I didn’t state that social jockeying is limited to Jews; certainly among WASPs themselves there can be striving amidst the ‘ranks.’ I mentioned Jews in particular because of the forever angsty Golfocaust type of strivers that whorefinder was likening the character of Gatsby to.

    He further claimed that Jews themselves see Gatsby’s character as some sort of sympathetic touchstone and thus push the story in school curriculums, which I consider quite a stretch. I think whorefinder is baiting the commentariat a bit—it seems to have worked. 🙂

    Fitzgerald himself was a climber, and not at all Jewish.

    Again, we’re in agreement. I wrote:

    Fitzgerald’s personal ‘guest of a guest’ concerns get some (satirical? sour grapes?) play in the book, which parallel [whorefinder’s] point about the type of Jews afflicted with Golfocaust resentment.

    My reply to whorefinder was merely to distinguish (the character) Gatsby’s laser-focused romantic obsession from Jewish (or other) social striving. You wrote:

    Fitzgerald himself experienced similar circumstances. I’m not sure of the timeline exactly, but Zelda was a Southern belle (…) They were engaged, but she broke it off (…) Then she finally married him.

    Actually, his first (unattainable) love was Chicago debutante Ginevra King. Similar-looking Zelda was the consolation prize.

    So Fitzgerald didn’t have to go back an entire decade or more to fix the past

    Or not fix the past:

    In 1937 Ginevra and Fitzgerald met again in California. He was working in Hollywood and trying to stop drinking. ”She was the first girl I ever loved and I have faithfully avoided seeing her up to this moment to keep that illusion perfect,” Fitzgerald wrote to his daughter, Scottie.

    The couple went to a bar. Fitzgerald began drinking. Ginevra King’s granddaughter, Ginevra King Chandler, said that her grandmother asked which of his characters were modeled after her. ”Which bitch do you think you are?” Fitzgerald replied, Ms. Chandler said.

    Later Ginevra told Arthur Mizener that Fitzgerald’s deterioration made her ”heartsick as he had been behaving himself for some months.”

    But Ginevra ”was never in love with Fitzgerald,” said her daughter, Ginevra Mitchell Hunter. ”She enjoyed him and said he was very bright, very witty,” Mrs. Hunter said. ”She said he was always on the outside, looking in.’’

    Fitzgerald himself was both a hopeless romantic and socially hyper-attuned. Ginevra and the constellation she inhabited were inseparable in his quest “to determine what share was his of our local heavens.”

  228. @guest
    Correction, I oversold the Great Gatsby's original success in my above post. I wouldn't call it a bestseller. It required WWII to make it a classic. But that was not because of Jews. They still weren't cultural gatekeepers in 1941-45.

    The book has been kept in print continuously since 1925. That doesn't happen with failures. Unless Scribner's kept it on welfare, in a manner of speaking. But why would they do that, unless they thought it had potential for profit or because it was important for their prestige? Not because of Jews.

    As for people calling it Fitzgerald's worst book and all that, the reviews were mixed, not overwhelmingly negative.

    I think its original reputation has been distorted for the sake of the modernist "unappreciated in its own time" myth.

    Yeah, Fitzgerald was immensely appreciated in his own time. He was a huge celebrity in his 20s and made piles of money off his fiction. The Great Gatsby was one of his less immediately successful works, although 99% of the less Golden Boy fiction writers in America would have appreciated its reception.

  229. @guest
    Again, I wonder why what Jewish people get out of the book is so important. They have their thoughts and feelings, I have mine. This can't be a case of them forcing their peculiar likes onto the rest of us, as often happens. Because they didn't have that much influence back in 1925.

    Your argument rests uncomfortably on the difference between the Great Gatsby's reputation back when versus now. Indeed, it wasn't immediately a Great American Novel that every high school kid was forced to read. Neither was it some forgotten book salvaged from the ash heap by Jews whenever they achieved their cultural gatekeeper status. It was a hit that raised Fitzgerald from Boy Wonder, literary sensation, and master of the commercial short story to Serious Writer with promise.

    Books that go unrecognized in their own times almost never become classics, despite modernist pretensions. So we're really talking about a marginal change in Gasby's reputation. From just another respectable bestseller to part of the canon. There are reasons beyond Jewishness for this change to have occurred. It's short, which is good for homework. It has symbols which critics and teachers get to explain.

    One aspect you have in your favor is how people take it as a model of the American Dream. As if an upwardly mobile criminal who throws garish parties for the sake of a substanceless debutante and throws his life away without starting a family is what Americans are all about, in their heart of hearts. Who thinks that? Jews, maybe.

    One thing I can say, however, is that the Irish and the Jews were both latecomers to modernity. This country wasn't made for them. The ambitious ones, at least, after they came en masse, must have been similarly envious and resentful. If it's an Irish-type story, then it's a Jewish-type story too, I'm a way. I can see why Jews would respond to a tragic rags-to-riches story about an outsider who ultimately fails to fit in. But it's not specifically Jewish enough. It's not specifically Irish enough, either. That story can and does appeal to a wide variety of people.

    Books that go unrecognized in their own times almost never become classics,

    It’s more accurate to say that artists that go unrecognized within, say, 6o or 70 years of their birth are seldom rediscovered. (E.g., Van Gogh would have lived to enjoy fame if he’d lived his three score and ten.) However, which art work by the celebrity artist becomes the favorite of the future is less certain. Leonardo was just about the first celebrity painter in post-Roman history, but despite his enormous fame, the “Mona Lisa” didn’t ascend to its current status until the later 19th Century.

    • Replies: @whorefinder
    I would just like to point out that my criticizing The Great Gatsby has given me more replies than I've received in months.

    I like how filmmakers call the book "unfilmable" despite their being a number of adaptations. I think its really because the book isn't that good, and so when they try to adapt it to real, talking characters with serious issues it falls flat. That said, the Redford and DiCaprio versions are pretty good once you get past the 2-D aspects of the people involved.
  230. @Art Deco
    The story is narrated by woke 9 year old who has never experienced anything but a nice Dad and a nice life and nice blacks and is genuinely horrified when dear old Dad fails to clear a retarded black man of rape, after clearly weighing all the evidence within her 9 year old mind that he is indeed innocent, along with Dad’s say so.

    The story is narrated by a 9 year old tomboy who plays with her brother and the next door neighbor's visiting nephew, gets into fights with schoolmates and cousins, enjoys reading in the evening, is fascinated with the mysterious family who live three doors down and are hardly ever seen, and is irritated by the local schoolteachers, her aunt, and various women in her aunt's social circle.

    The breadth of her experience is neither greater nor lesser than that of any other small-town six year old (though less inundated by media than people a generation younger). Strange as it may seem to you, there are in this world middle-aged men with phlegmatic or sanguine temperaments, and they do have children from time to time. Strange as it may seem to you, there were people in this country in 1935 who were not employed in agriculture, were adequately nourished, and were not dodging bill collectors.

    You're all fixated on one particular plotline because it offends your f***-the-blacks impulses. "Woke"? The questions and conflicts in the story don't have much to do with latter-day racial discourse (except for the bilge peddled by the worst sort of black-nationalist hucksters). The one thing at issue in the story is whether you meet out punishment to people because their conduct merits it or you meet out punishment to people because your honor culture demands they suffer. Doesn't have much to do with racial equality or anything that's been a matter of dispute in the last 60 years.

    While we're at it, the character Tom Robinson is not retarded. He has a crippled arm.

    While we’re at it, the character Tom Robinson is not retarded. He has a crippled arm.

    Counterpoint:

  231. @whoever
    http://i.imgur.com/kyAXQBl.gif

    Uh oh. Unz has allowed us basic emojis, an LOL button, and Twitter and YouTube direct embedding. But taking advantage with reaction GIFs… whoever, that’s a bridge too far. 😉

    • Replies: @whoever
    (⌒▽⌒)
  232. @guest
    Again, I wonder why what Jewish people get out of the book is so important. They have their thoughts and feelings, I have mine. This can't be a case of them forcing their peculiar likes onto the rest of us, as often happens. Because they didn't have that much influence back in 1925.

    Your argument rests uncomfortably on the difference between the Great Gatsby's reputation back when versus now. Indeed, it wasn't immediately a Great American Novel that every high school kid was forced to read. Neither was it some forgotten book salvaged from the ash heap by Jews whenever they achieved their cultural gatekeeper status. It was a hit that raised Fitzgerald from Boy Wonder, literary sensation, and master of the commercial short story to Serious Writer with promise.

    Books that go unrecognized in their own times almost never become classics, despite modernist pretensions. So we're really talking about a marginal change in Gasby's reputation. From just another respectable bestseller to part of the canon. There are reasons beyond Jewishness for this change to have occurred. It's short, which is good for homework. It has symbols which critics and teachers get to explain.

    One aspect you have in your favor is how people take it as a model of the American Dream. As if an upwardly mobile criminal who throws garish parties for the sake of a substanceless debutante and throws his life away without starting a family is what Americans are all about, in their heart of hearts. Who thinks that? Jews, maybe.

    One thing I can say, however, is that the Irish and the Jews were both latecomers to modernity. This country wasn't made for them. The ambitious ones, at least, after they came en masse, must have been similarly envious and resentful. If it's an Irish-type story, then it's a Jewish-type story too, I'm a way. I can see why Jews would respond to a tragic rags-to-riches story about an outsider who ultimately fails to fit in. But it's not specifically Jewish enough. It's not specifically Irish enough, either. That story can and does appeal to a wide variety of people.

    Books that go unrecognized in their own times almost never become classics, despite modernist pretensions.

    Trying to think of a counter-example…..Maybe William Blake and Herman Melville?Their work was little regarded in their own lifetimes…..Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins don’t count, as you can’t blame the public for not recognizing your genius if you don’t make an effort to get your work published….

  233. JSM says:
    @guest
    The book is relatively politically correct, especially given its setting, when you compare it to the recently published Go Set a Watchman, which I am given to understand is an earlier version of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird.

    The themes are very comfortable for at least 20th century liberals, in any case. I can't speak for Current Year liberals. There is only one major non-white character, after all, and he isn't much of a character.

    In which case, the village busybodies would have taken note of, and gossiped about, of Bridget’s *abscence* and put two and two together, just as pregger teens in the 50s who left school during the school year to “go live with an aunt,” everybody knew that meant she went to live in an Unwed Mother’s home.

  234. AM says:
    @guest
    "the theme, 'It's so hard and soulless and confining and difficult to be rich and elite'"

    That's not the theme, but even if it were, do you know any rich people? Are they all happy-go-lucky?

    James, far from being a "poor little rich person" writer, sought to remove all material concerns from his protagonists so as to focus on purely ethical and sentimental decisions. Which may not be of interest to you. But you are free to read authors wrapped up in money concerns, like Austen or the Gross Realists.

    That’s not the theme, but even if it were, do you know any rich people? Are they all happy-go-lucky?

    I went to a college that had at least 50% of the student body that was not on scholarship and it was very expensive. I’ve also been around trust funders in various settings. I’m of a working class background, but I have had the chance to study the crowd, much like Jane Goodall. 🙂

    It turns out they are not very happy people and it is difficult beyond a certain income level. People who grow up in that environment are not entirely wrong to feel middle class and poorer people have a degree of freedom they don’t.

    But it is also generally self inflicted at a certain level. The two real issues seem to be a)lack of parental attention, because Mom and Dad could throw money at it and b)taking the money and position for granted

    Most of the angtsy angst found in “It’s so hard to be rich” novels are mostly immaturity and ungratefulness. That’s why I find them hollow, uncompelling dramas. My reaction usually is: “These characters are all ungrateful jerks. I must have something better to do than read this.”

    James, far from being a “poor little rich person” writer, sought to remove all material concerns from his protagonists so as to focus on purely ethical and sentimental decisions.

    This is how a wealthy writer might attempt to approach the problem. Pretending that money and material goods don’t exist and that it can be divorced from ethics particularly. That would be considered vaguely realistic only by someone who has the luxury of being relatively wealthy (or likes to think he has that luxury).

    Meanwhile, tell this working class girl how you manage what money have and I’ll tell you a whole lot about your ethics and sentiments. I will know all sorts more information about you when we add money back into the picture.

    Quite often what’s held up as intellectually and edgy in approach is just a way to avoid the difficulties of human nature in favor of artificial, “safe” drama. Don’t like how you handle your money or feel bad you have too much of it or both? Make a story without it and pretend it’s an amazing new approach so you don’t have to go down rabbit holes that are uncomfortable.

    Star Trek got away with it, but it’s mostly because it was cowboys in space. The original Star Wars series was far more interesting and realistic because it had money.

    • Replies: @guest
    "Most of the angsty angst"

    The authors mentioned above: Fitzgerald, Wharton, and James, weren't very angsty. I find angsty-angst stories more often to be of the "prostitute dying of consumption in a garret" variety. Or the better off if they're melancholy romantic types like Hamlet or Werther, but they were no Gatsbies.

    "Pretending that money and material goods don't exist"

    He doesn't do that. He makes it so that his main characters aren't compelled to make decisions out of material necessity. Then he's free to focus on other motivations, ones that interest him.

    But that doesn't go for all his characters. Take Washington Square. The center of the story is a conflict between father and daughter. The father is a well-off physician. The daughter stands not only to inherit her father's fortune, but has an independent income from her dead mother. She doesn't have to kowtow to daddy, though she's lived most of her life in his shadow. We get to see how her character shows without the constraining factor of having to worry about his patronage. On the other hand, we get to see how the father chooses to treat her without ultimate power over or sole responsibility for her livelihood. The result is they come oit with their hatred and disavow one another.

    That being said, there's another character, the daughter's suitor, who has no income. He has wasted an inheritance from his family and is heiress-hunting. He comes between father and daughter, seduces the latter, and intends to elope with her. Then he discovers her father has disinherited her, so he jilts her.

    Money certainly matters to that character. He turns downright mercenary when he returns after some time as a common laborer and, learning she never married, tries to reseduce her. She's free to take or leave him, and decides to crush his hopes because she can't forgive, and thus consigns herself to spinsterhood.

    Material goods exist in this world. The point is that we see some characters--some, not all--making decisions and bearing the responsibility for them free of material concerns. That's James seeking to reduce the complications of reality so as to focus in up on what interests him. It's not pretending complicating factors don't exist.

    This is not done to stay comfortable. James stories are plenty uncomfortable. Not physically, but morally and emotionally.

    I don't know about this "edgy" and "new approach" stuff. James was not particularly avant guarde.

    "in favor of artificial, 'safe' drama"

    What do you mean, "safe?" Like, there's no real drama unless the characters might starve to death? Living alone for the rest of your life because of a key decision you made, for instance, doesn't have high enough stakes, because, hey, you still have your butler?

  235. AM says:
    @Autochthon
    It's depressing how many people here (I've always like to think Steve's blog is followed by fairly smart people) make the complaint: "My vocabulary is small, and any author whose vocabulary is larger than mine is a bad writer." You had might as well claim Isaac Newton was a poor mathematician because calculus requires difficult operations, or that Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was a lousy composer because "Flight of the Bumblebee" is challenging to perform.

    This outlook is one step removed from the attitude of the antagonists in Revenge of the Nerds.

    (Big wurdz bad; me no lyk buk!)

    My vocabulary is small, and any author whose vocabulary is larger than mine is a bad writer.

    That wasn’t my complaint. I am always impressed when people legitimately use high fluatin’ vocabulary words naturally in well written articles, books, etc. Until I got tired of reading the same column repeatedly, James Taranto on the WSJ would cause me to Google at least one word almost per day. It was pretty obvious he knew his stuff and was using it in the proper context.

    Faulkner on the other hand, clearly (to me) used complex vocabulary to hide rather lackluster writing. There was no need to wade through syllables I was wading through.

    I’m at point in my life where if you use big words correctly and with reason, I’m impressed especially as my own vocabulary is lackluster. If it appears you’re trying to up your reading level just cause, I’m gonna think you’re lazy, a poor writer, and/or trying to fill up the space with BS.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Faulkner on the other hand, clearly (to me) used complex vocabulary to hide rather lackluster writing. There was no need to wade through syllables I was wading through.
     
    Huh. I never thought that Faulkner's vocabulary was terribly recondite, at least not when compared to someone like Updike.....

    And I found Absalom, Absalom! quite gripping when I read it as a teenager....Finished the whole thing in one day....
  236. @syonredux

    Yeah, BS. Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice in her early 20′s. She understood more about people then than it appears the average person sees about humanity in a lifetime.

    Sorry that it’s about domestic situations and family life, an area she knew well. It’s not Treasure Island, which is another surprisingly good book, but it’s subject matter that’s difficult to make a good story out of and she does, for the most part.

    I say that anyone who cannot finish, with rounds of laughter, both Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy should be ignored on most subjects.

    I say that anyone who can’t see pure genius in the characterizations and observations of Jane Austen should be ignored on most subjects.
     
    Odd. You're the first Jane Austen fan that I've met who doesn't like Edith Wharton.....

    Odd. You’re the first Jane Austen fan that I’ve met who doesn’t like Edith Wharton…..

    I also like Agatha Christie, if that means anything. 🙂

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Odd. You’re the first Jane Austen fan that I’ve met who doesn’t like Edith Wharton…..

    I also like Agatha Christie, if that means anything.
     
    Doubly odd, then, seeing as how Christie's tales are so blatantly artificial.....
    , @Anon
    What about Father (later Msgr.) Ronald Knox?
  237. @AM

    Would you die to make sure your city is wired with AC versus DC? No you say? That’s stupid? So why would you die for capitalism? Capitalism usually works better, in most situations. So does AC. I’m not dying for Tesla, and I ain’t dying for Adam Smith.

    Gold
     

    No, not really because the analogy is far too narrow.

    I'm noting here that most of the "gosh these economic systems discussion really don't matter" replies also don't want to talk about God/spirituality and in the West, Christianity. At all.

    So let's broaden the question. If you don't want to die for Tesla or Adam Smith, what are you willing to die for, then?

    If we tackle the mental part of the creature we're calling Europeanous Caucasianous, if we found he or she lacked a spiritual life, I can almost guarantee that the answer to what they are willing to die for is "Nothing". There is nothing worth dieing for.

    And in such society, filled with people that have nothing to live or die for, rot and indifference is just a matter of time.

    The capitalism/socialism question is a proxy for a two vary different models of humanity that have the net effect of encouraging or discouraging a spiritual life in the West. If you're not willing to tackle it or are so nihilistic as to think it doesn't matter, then that's just more part of the rot. I wouldn't expect different results than right now. shrug.

    So let’s broaden the question. If you don’t want to die for Tesla or Adam Smith, what are you willing to die for, then?

    LOL, is this a serious question, or are you just trolling me? If the latter, well done, sir. If the former, might I suggest that you’ve taken a wrong turn on the intertubes–I believe you’re looking for the Cato Institute’s donation page, or perhaps David Brook’s column?

    Anyway, since I have to spell it out: the same thing that the Russians died for at Stalingrad, or the Vietnamese died for at Dien Bien Phu, or the Texans died for at the Alamo, or the Spartans at Thermopylae, or the French at Verdun or any one of a billion examples: Blood. and. soil. My kids. My posterity. The only thing that any non-lunatic should be willing to die for. My countrymen, with whom I share bonds of blood an history, centuries of toil and sacrifice to build a nation. Not “Americans”, with whom I share a blue passport and the obligation to file a 1040 by April 15th of each year, and certainly not “The American Way”, whatever that means. This is why we haven’t won a war in 65 years: we fight for fluffy half-baked values, the other side fights for blood and soil.

    If your people aren’t enough for you, if you need some abstract idealistic flim-flam to motivate you, I don’t know what to tell you. That’s the sort of foolishness that birthed the Children’s Crusade and the Second Gulf War.

    • Replies: @AM

    My posterity. The only thing that any non-lunatic should be willing to die for.
     
    People don't seem to willing to die though, for their specific children alone, especially after the meeting the real, flawed versions of them. Mothers are more willing to do that, generally speaking, than fathers.

    Today's preference to help the "noble" stranger (immigrant/minority) is due in part to the perception they are more worthy and pure than whining brats we have to raise in front of us.

    If your people aren’t enough for you, if you need some abstract idealistic flim-flam to motivate you, I don’t know what to tell you.
     
    In a lot of ways, what you're talking about is idealistic, abstract, flim-flam. It only holds up if you think your flesh and blood kids are worth fighting for.

    It appears when people do fight, it is with the idea that they are fighting some sort of evil on behalf of others, including their children.

    If society has thoroughly disposed of the idea of evil (that old thing!) of in favor of "Everyone is the same" (a pre-condition for socialism), who and what is left to fight for, exactly?

    This is why we haven’t won a war in 65 years: we fight for fluffy half-baked values, the other side fights for blood and soil.
     
    Isn't it odd that almost simultaneously as we adopted socialistic like attitudes and actual socialism that we fight hobby wars with no real care if win them or not?

    Hmm...
  238. AM says:
    @syonredux

    I beg to differ. I’ve read it five or six times. It’s a great piece of writing.

    How did you accomplish that without either wanting to take flamethrower to all of humanity or become a shockingly bad driver yourself, with hope of ending it all?
     

    Clean living?

    But “pedantic?” I can’t imagine ever using that word to describe Gatsby.

    It’s pretty succinct on the point. :)
     

    Succinct, perhaps, but also quite inaccurate....

    MMM, I recall liking it quite a bit in High School…..Of course, I also liked Edith Wharton and middle-period Henry James…

    Ah, so you like tragic romances that involve the theme: “It’s so hard and soulless and confining and difficult to be rich and elite.” I can see why it might be hard to think of Gatsby as pedantic, as it’s the same genre.
     

    Dunno. Maybe I just have catholic tastes. I also like The Red Badge of Courage, The Shadow Out of Time, "The Man Who Would be King," and Henry IV, Part 1 ....

    Succinct, perhaps, but also quite inaccurate….

    Here’s the thing: if someone is going to tell me that a book is literature, I’m going to hold it to pretty high standards. I want to be a great story, but not only that, I want to teach me something I didn’t know.

    For instance, I love Much Ado About Nothing. It’s a great story and funny. But it’s more than that. 2 couples, one conventional and one not, foiling each other. Let’s watch the couple at each other’s throats (supposedly) for so long act more a like married couple before they’ve even announced to the world or even sure of each other than the couple that was supposed to be married. Let’s think about nature of reputation and what it means to a young woman in world where it means everything. So much to unpack and learn.

    And then there’s the Great Gatsby. Neurotic, selfish rich people acting neurotic and selfish and stupid while burning through cash. Wee. Well, that was fun. What I did learn? Why did I bother, than than line about it takes 2 bad drivers to make a car crash?

    Yes, pediantic unless you can show me some amazing angle on the story I’m missing. Angst for it’s own sake is not something I have much patience for anymore.

  239. @James Kabala
    Are Jane Austen books actually taught in school (outside maybe of AP classes)? Modern high school curricula usually seem to be:

    1. Shakespeare
    2. Big, big jump to Dickens (maybe) and Twain (probably - unless there is a strong anti-n-word contingent in town)
    3. Another, smaller jump to the novelists popular in the twentieth century, who are mostly male - Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Orwell, maybe Hemingway still, Salinger. Woolf (female) is beloved by female critics but, like male authors Faulkner and Joyce, would probably be considered too complicated for high school students.
    4. Genre or young adult novels of the present day (sometimes by women) that the teachers include in an attempt to seem cool and up-to-date.

    You mention Shakespeare, then posit Faulkner and Joyce may be too complicated? What could be more complex than Shakespeare?

    Ah, but Shakespeare is superficially entertaining, plus the kids can just watch the movies. Faulkner and Joyce are “difficult” moderns, which on the superficial level are annoying (to me, at least).*

    High schoolers could easily pick up on the trick to reading Joyce: don’t bother. (With the novels, that is; Dubliners stories actually make sense.) You don’t even really have to read his books. Just skim along, enjoy the ride. Go as fast as you please. It doesn’t really matter. There’s no difference between getting and not getting Joyce.

    *Actually, Faulkner is hit or miss. Some of his stuff is relatively straightforward. I liked A Rose for Emily and parts of the Unvanquished. Other of his stuff is offensive. I couldn’t make it through the first chapter of Sound and the Fury, and I literally three the Bear at the wall.

  240. @AM

    Odd. You’re the first Jane Austen fan that I’ve met who doesn’t like Edith Wharton…..
     
    I also like Agatha Christie, if that means anything. :)

    Odd. You’re the first Jane Austen fan that I’ve met who doesn’t like Edith Wharton…..

    I also like Agatha Christie, if that means anything.

    Doubly odd, then, seeing as how Christie’s tales are so blatantly artificial…..

    • Replies: @AM

    Doubly odd, then, seeing as how Christie’s tales are so blatantly artificial…..
     
    You missed everything important about Christie then. Oh, well, your loss. :)
  241. @AM

    My vocabulary is small, and any author whose vocabulary is larger than mine is a bad writer.
     
    That wasn't my complaint. I am always impressed when people legitimately use high fluatin' vocabulary words naturally in well written articles, books, etc. Until I got tired of reading the same column repeatedly, James Taranto on the WSJ would cause me to Google at least one word almost per day. It was pretty obvious he knew his stuff and was using it in the proper context.

    Faulkner on the other hand, clearly (to me) used complex vocabulary to hide rather lackluster writing. There was no need to wade through syllables I was wading through.

    I'm at point in my life where if you use big words correctly and with reason, I'm impressed especially as my own vocabulary is lackluster. If it appears you're trying to up your reading level just cause, I'm gonna think you're lazy, a poor writer, and/or trying to fill up the space with BS.

    Faulkner on the other hand, clearly (to me) used complex vocabulary to hide rather lackluster writing. There was no need to wade through syllables I was wading through.

    Huh. I never thought that Faulkner’s vocabulary was terribly recondite, at least not when compared to someone like Updike…..

    And I found Absalom, Absalom! quite gripping when I read it as a teenager….Finished the whole thing in one day….

    • Replies: @AM

    Huh. I never thought that Faulkner’s vocabulary was terribly recondite, at least not when compared to someone like Updike…..

    And I found Absalom, Absalom! quite gripping when I read it as a teenager….Finished the whole thing in one day….
     

    Yeah, not impressed. I'm getting "Worship me, I have a large vocabulary and I'm not afraid to use it" vibes.
    Tell me something interesting and worth my time with that vocabulary and then we'll talk.

    And I'm sorry that you couldn't figure out who did it Agatha Christie. If it helps, I couldn't either. ;)

  242. @Jonathan Mason
    I think some authors are taught so as to introduce students to authors who were particularly influential in some manner, so even if they aren't enjoyed much in high school they might be returned to later in life.

    I must say I find Jane Austen extremely witty and amusing in my late middle age.

    Dickens is hard to read sometimes, but this is the guy who virtually single-handedly invented the child abuse industry, and Oliver! was a wonderful musical, still worth watching on video. I also like his book American notes, which is one of the few America travel books written in the 19th century, even if the tone is sour at times.

    Orwell is still hugely readable and as relevant as every, maybe even more so.

    I can't say that I find much to enjoy in Rowling. The treatment of good and evil is simplistic and pantomimish, and if you want a children's author who dabbles in the supernatural and magic, E. Nesbit is an amusing read for both children and adults.

    In Five Children and It, a group of children discover a sand fairy who can make wishes come true. The children wish that the baby was grown up, whereupon the baby turns into a selfish, smug young man who completely disowns this sibling group of annoying younger children!

    E. Nesbit was also a political progressive who cofounded the Fabian society.

    I must say I find Jane Austen extremely witty and amusing in my late middle age.

    Same here. When I was an undergrad, Austen left me cold. But my return to her works in my 40s, spurred by Mrs and Daughter C’s interest, was very different. I realized I had missed a great deal of Austen’s wit; only the broadest appealed to me in my youth.

  243. @AM

    That’s not the theme, but even if it were, do you know any rich people? Are they all happy-go-lucky?
     
    I went to a college that had at least 50% of the student body that was not on scholarship and it was very expensive. I've also been around trust funders in various settings. I'm of a working class background, but I have had the chance to study the crowd, much like Jane Goodall. :)

    It turns out they are not very happy people and it is difficult beyond a certain income level. People who grow up in that environment are not entirely wrong to feel middle class and poorer people have a degree of freedom they don't.

    But it is also generally self inflicted at a certain level. The two real issues seem to be a)lack of parental attention, because Mom and Dad could throw money at it and b)taking the money and position for granted

    Most of the angtsy angst found in "It's so hard to be rich" novels are mostly immaturity and ungratefulness. That's why I find them hollow, uncompelling dramas. My reaction usually is: "These characters are all ungrateful jerks. I must have something better to do than read this."

    James, far from being a “poor little rich person” writer, sought to remove all material concerns from his protagonists so as to focus on purely ethical and sentimental decisions.
     
    This is how a wealthy writer might attempt to approach the problem. Pretending that money and material goods don't exist and that it can be divorced from ethics particularly. That would be considered vaguely realistic only by someone who has the luxury of being relatively wealthy (or likes to think he has that luxury).

    Meanwhile, tell this working class girl how you manage what money have and I'll tell you a whole lot about your ethics and sentiments. I will know all sorts more information about you when we add money back into the picture.

    Quite often what's held up as intellectually and edgy in approach is just a way to avoid the difficulties of human nature in favor of artificial, "safe" drama. Don't like how you handle your money or feel bad you have too much of it or both? Make a story without it and pretend it's an amazing new approach so you don't have to go down rabbit holes that are uncomfortable.

    Star Trek got away with it, but it's mostly because it was cowboys in space. The original Star Wars series was far more interesting and realistic because it had money.

    “Most of the angsty angst”

    The authors mentioned above: Fitzgerald, Wharton, and James, weren’t very angsty. I find angsty-angst stories more often to be of the “prostitute dying of consumption in a garret” variety. Or the better off if they’re melancholy romantic types like Hamlet or Werther, but they were no Gatsbies.

    “Pretending that money and material goods don’t exist”

    He doesn’t do that. He makes it so that his main characters aren’t compelled to make decisions out of material necessity. Then he’s free to focus on other motivations, ones that interest him.

    But that doesn’t go for all his characters. Take Washington Square. The center of the story is a conflict between father and daughter. The father is a well-off physician. The daughter stands not only to inherit her father’s fortune, but has an independent income from her dead mother. She doesn’t have to kowtow to daddy, though she’s lived most of her life in his shadow. We get to see how her character shows without the constraining factor of having to worry about his patronage. On the other hand, we get to see how the father chooses to treat her without ultimate power over or sole responsibility for her livelihood. The result is they come oit with their hatred and disavow one another.

    That being said, there’s another character, the daughter’s suitor, who has no income. He has wasted an inheritance from his family and is heiress-hunting. He comes between father and daughter, seduces the latter, and intends to elope with her. Then he discovers her father has disinherited her, so he jilts her.

    Money certainly matters to that character. He turns downright mercenary when he returns after some time as a common laborer and, learning she never married, tries to reseduce her. She’s free to take or leave him, and decides to crush his hopes because she can’t forgive, and thus consigns herself to spinsterhood.

    Material goods exist in this world. The point is that we see some characters–some, not all–making decisions and bearing the responsibility for them free of material concerns. That’s James seeking to reduce the complications of reality so as to focus in up on what interests him. It’s not pretending complicating factors don’t exist.

    This is not done to stay comfortable. James stories are plenty uncomfortable. Not physically, but morally and emotionally.

    I don’t know about this “edgy” and “new approach” stuff. James was not particularly avant guarde.

    “in favor of artificial, ‘safe’ drama”

    What do you mean, “safe?” Like, there’s no real drama unless the characters might starve to death? Living alone for the rest of your life because of a key decision you made, for instance, doesn’t have high enough stakes, because, hey, you still have your butler?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    “prostitute dying of consumption in a garret”

    I go to one of those stories every December for my birthday.

    https://www.danesuarez.com/schedule/pop-boheme-december-8-16

    , @AM

    itzgerald, Wharton, and James, weren’t very angsty. .
     
    Those are authors are all melonchology, romantic types. They just don't push it 100% into stereotypes that are universal recognized as angsty dreck is all. They got lucky and some academics called their books "important" It's like Jackson Pollack being held up as some amazing painter, right up there with Michelangelo. It's hard to see the classifications as sane once you start looking at specifics.

    He makes it so that his main characters aren’t compelled to make decisions out of material necessity. Then he’s free to focus on other motivations, ones that interest him.
     
    Yes, this is how a wealthy person approaches those questions because they're not comfortable with them because they've never had to do it.

    n the other hand, we get to see how the father chooses to treat her without ultimate power over or sole responsibility for her livelihood. The result is they come oit with their hatred and disavow one another.
     
    As a general rule of thumb, when someone tells you it's not about the money, it's about the money. ;)

    James stories are plenty uncomfortable. Not physically, but morally and emotionally.
     
    Oh lord, fetch me the smell salts. They are emotional yes, but the attempt to make money not matter, for the most part sucks any of the morality out of it. People aren't making choices that matter then.

    Living alone for the rest of your life because of a key decision you made, for instance, doesn’t have high enough stakes, because, hey, you still have your butler?
     
    Yes, actually. IRL, living alone for the rest of your life for most of history has meant physical poverty as well. Noone to help take care of you and sometimes right down to begging for food.

    When you have a lot of choices, that, if given the right attitudes are reasonable and pleasant, it is artificial drama. It's the drama of people pathologically unable to see what they've been given in life is pretty nice. It wears thin very quickly.

  244. @guest
    "Most of the angsty angst"

    The authors mentioned above: Fitzgerald, Wharton, and James, weren't very angsty. I find angsty-angst stories more often to be of the "prostitute dying of consumption in a garret" variety. Or the better off if they're melancholy romantic types like Hamlet or Werther, but they were no Gatsbies.

    "Pretending that money and material goods don't exist"

    He doesn't do that. He makes it so that his main characters aren't compelled to make decisions out of material necessity. Then he's free to focus on other motivations, ones that interest him.

    But that doesn't go for all his characters. Take Washington Square. The center of the story is a conflict between father and daughter. The father is a well-off physician. The daughter stands not only to inherit her father's fortune, but has an independent income from her dead mother. She doesn't have to kowtow to daddy, though she's lived most of her life in his shadow. We get to see how her character shows without the constraining factor of having to worry about his patronage. On the other hand, we get to see how the father chooses to treat her without ultimate power over or sole responsibility for her livelihood. The result is they come oit with their hatred and disavow one another.

    That being said, there's another character, the daughter's suitor, who has no income. He has wasted an inheritance from his family and is heiress-hunting. He comes between father and daughter, seduces the latter, and intends to elope with her. Then he discovers her father has disinherited her, so he jilts her.

    Money certainly matters to that character. He turns downright mercenary when he returns after some time as a common laborer and, learning she never married, tries to reseduce her. She's free to take or leave him, and decides to crush his hopes because she can't forgive, and thus consigns herself to spinsterhood.

    Material goods exist in this world. The point is that we see some characters--some, not all--making decisions and bearing the responsibility for them free of material concerns. That's James seeking to reduce the complications of reality so as to focus in up on what interests him. It's not pretending complicating factors don't exist.

    This is not done to stay comfortable. James stories are plenty uncomfortable. Not physically, but morally and emotionally.

    I don't know about this "edgy" and "new approach" stuff. James was not particularly avant guarde.

    "in favor of artificial, 'safe' drama"

    What do you mean, "safe?" Like, there's no real drama unless the characters might starve to death? Living alone for the rest of your life because of a key decision you made, for instance, doesn't have high enough stakes, because, hey, you still have your butler?

    “prostitute dying of consumption in a garret”

    I go to one of those stories every December for my birthday.

    https://www.danesuarez.com/schedule/pop-boheme-december-8-16

    • LOL: AM
  245. @Jack D
    Here is the narrator's description of Wolfsheim:

    "A small,flat nosed Jew raised his large head and regarded me with two fine growths of hair which luxuriated in either nostril. After a moment, I discovered his tiny eyes in the half darkness.."

    I suppose you are right - if Fitzgerald was anti-Semitic he would have given Meyer a hook nose instead of a flat one. :-)

    Well, he does give Wolfsheim a large head, so there is some credit where credit is due.

  246. @guest
    Just because you kill all the lawyers at the start of your revolution doesn't mean you have to go without lawyers forever. You can get better ones.

    By the way, I don't think not understanding Shakespeare's context is a problem. Does anyone actually think that was a serious proposal? Maybe Lenin.

    Kill all the lawyers, yeah, sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Can't possibly be a joke or anything.

    Dick the Butcher is suggesting murdering all the lawyers to facilitate a bloody coup and disorder in society – perhaps as a joke, but only in the way criminals joke about robbing and killing people. A criminal who jokes of killing all the police in the world may not be making a serious proposal, but it is for want of means, not desire (likewise, perhaps ironically, with Lenin of his enemies, just as you suggest). In the event, Shakespeare’s point remains that lawyers are a bulwark of civilisation.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    One theory is that young Shakespeare's day job before he got his theater career going in London was as a law clerk. Seems like a plausible way for a bright young provincial to learn about life in the big city.
    , @guest
    I wasn't referring to whether the character was joking. Don't you think it possible that giving him that line was Shakespeare's way of letting us know we needn't take him seriously? As someone with sound ideas capable of governing, I mean. As a violent madman is another matter.

    My guess is that about 0% percent of readers think, "Yeah, Dick, that's a good idea. Lawyers indeed deserve to die." More like, "Ha-ha, good one. Lawyers are bastards."

    I imagine the line was intended to be taken along the lines of, "Thank God for the sober jurists holding the line against maniacs like this." And if we lost that meaning, so much the worse. But on the other hand, no one's takes the suggestion seriously. Unless they're revolutionaries anyway, and few of us are.
  247. @Autochthon
    Dick the Butcher is suggesting murdering all the lawyers to facilitate a bloody coup and disorder in society – perhaps as a joke, but only in the way criminals joke about robbing and killing people. A criminal who jokes of killing all the police in the world may not be making a serious proposal, but it is for want of means, not desire (likewise, perhaps ironically, with Lenin of his enemies, just as you suggest). In the event, Shakespeare's point remains that lawyers are a bulwark of civilisation.

    One theory is that young Shakespeare’s day job before he got his theater career going in London was as a law clerk. Seems like a plausible way for a bright young provincial to learn about life in the big city.

    • Agree: Autochthon
  248. @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Uh oh. Unz has allowed us basic emojis, an LOL button, and Twitter and YouTube direct embedding. But taking advantage with reaction GIFs… whoever, that’s a bridge too far. ;)

    (⌒▽⌒)

  249. AM says:
    @SimpleSong

    So let’s broaden the question. If you don’t want to die for Tesla or Adam Smith, what are you willing to die for, then?
     
    LOL, is this a serious question, or are you just trolling me? If the latter, well done, sir. If the former, might I suggest that you've taken a wrong turn on the intertubes--I believe you're looking for the Cato Institute's donation page, or perhaps David Brook's column?

    Anyway, since I have to spell it out: the same thing that the Russians died for at Stalingrad, or the Vietnamese died for at Dien Bien Phu, or the Texans died for at the Alamo, or the Spartans at Thermopylae, or the French at Verdun or any one of a billion examples: Blood. and. soil. My kids. My posterity. The only thing that any non-lunatic should be willing to die for. My countrymen, with whom I share bonds of blood an history, centuries of toil and sacrifice to build a nation. Not "Americans", with whom I share a blue passport and the obligation to file a 1040 by April 15th of each year, and certainly not "The American Way", whatever that means. This is why we haven't won a war in 65 years: we fight for fluffy half-baked values, the other side fights for blood and soil.

    If your people aren't enough for you, if you need some abstract idealistic flim-flam to motivate you, I don't know what to tell you. That's the sort of foolishness that birthed the Children's Crusade and the Second Gulf War.

    My posterity. The only thing that any non-lunatic should be willing to die for.

    People don’t seem to willing to die though, for their specific children alone, especially after the meeting the real, flawed versions of them. Mothers are more willing to do that, generally speaking, than fathers.

    Today’s preference to help the “noble” stranger (immigrant/minority) is due in part to the perception they are more worthy and pure than whining brats we have to raise in front of us.

    If your people aren’t enough for you, if you need some abstract idealistic flim-flam to motivate you, I don’t know what to tell you.

    In a lot of ways, what you’re talking about is idealistic, abstract, flim-flam. It only holds up if you think your flesh and blood kids are worth fighting for.

    It appears when people do fight, it is with the idea that they are fighting some sort of evil on behalf of others, including their children.

    If society has thoroughly disposed of the idea of evil (that old thing!) of in favor of “Everyone is the same” (a pre-condition for socialism), who and what is left to fight for, exactly?

    This is why we haven’t won a war in 65 years: we fight for fluffy half-baked values, the other side fights for blood and soil.

    Isn’t it odd that almost simultaneously as we adopted socialistic like attitudes and actual socialism that we fight hobby wars with no real care if win them or not?

    Hmm…

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Much of what you are onto here stems from what Freud deemed "the narcissism of minor differences." (Much if not most of Freud's ideas are nonsense, but I submit this one is useful.) The phenomenon leads to pathologies such as you identify, and it is a rampant problem in what used to be the U.S.A. and other suicidal societies.

    “I think each village was meant to feel pity for its own sick and poor whom it can help and I doubt if it is the duty of any private person to fix his mind on ills which he cannot help. This may even become an escape from the works of charity we really can do to those we know. God may call any one of us to respond to some far away problem or support those who have been so called. But we are finite and he will not call us everywhere or to support every worthy cause. And real needs are not far from us.” –Clive Staples Lewis
     
  250. @syonredux

    Odd. You’re the first Jane Austen fan that I’ve met who doesn’t like Edith Wharton…..

    I also like Agatha Christie, if that means anything.
     
    Doubly odd, then, seeing as how Christie's tales are so blatantly artificial.....

    Doubly odd, then, seeing as how Christie’s tales are so blatantly artificial…..

    You missed everything important about Christie then. Oh, well, your loss. 🙂

  251. AM says:
    @guest
    "Most of the angsty angst"

    The authors mentioned above: Fitzgerald, Wharton, and James, weren't very angsty. I find angsty-angst stories more often to be of the "prostitute dying of consumption in a garret" variety. Or the better off if they're melancholy romantic types like Hamlet or Werther, but they were no Gatsbies.

    "Pretending that money and material goods don't exist"

    He doesn't do that. He makes it so that his main characters aren't compelled to make decisions out of material necessity. Then he's free to focus on other motivations, ones that interest him.

    But that doesn't go for all his characters. Take Washington Square. The center of the story is a conflict between father and daughter. The father is a well-off physician. The daughter stands not only to inherit her father's fortune, but has an independent income from her dead mother. She doesn't have to kowtow to daddy, though she's lived most of her life in his shadow. We get to see how her character shows without the constraining factor of having to worry about his patronage. On the other hand, we get to see how the father chooses to treat her without ultimate power over or sole responsibility for her livelihood. The result is they come oit with their hatred and disavow one another.

    That being said, there's another character, the daughter's suitor, who has no income. He has wasted an inheritance from his family and is heiress-hunting. He comes between father and daughter, seduces the latter, and intends to elope with her. Then he discovers her father has disinherited her, so he jilts her.

    Money certainly matters to that character. He turns downright mercenary when he returns after some time as a common laborer and, learning she never married, tries to reseduce her. She's free to take or leave him, and decides to crush his hopes because she can't forgive, and thus consigns herself to spinsterhood.

    Material goods exist in this world. The point is that we see some characters--some, not all--making decisions and bearing the responsibility for them free of material concerns. That's James seeking to reduce the complications of reality so as to focus in up on what interests him. It's not pretending complicating factors don't exist.

    This is not done to stay comfortable. James stories are plenty uncomfortable. Not physically, but morally and emotionally.

    I don't know about this "edgy" and "new approach" stuff. James was not particularly avant guarde.

    "in favor of artificial, 'safe' drama"

    What do you mean, "safe?" Like, there's no real drama unless the characters might starve to death? Living alone for the rest of your life because of a key decision you made, for instance, doesn't have high enough stakes, because, hey, you still have your butler?

    itzgerald, Wharton, and James, weren’t very angsty. .

    Those are authors are all melonchology, romantic types. They just don’t push it 100% into stereotypes that are universal recognized as angsty dreck is all. They got lucky and some academics called their books “important” It’s like Jackson Pollack being held up as some amazing painter, right up there with Michelangelo. It’s hard to see the classifications as sane once you start looking at specifics.

    He makes it so that his main characters aren’t compelled to make decisions out of material necessity. Then he’s free to focus on other motivations, ones that interest him.

    Yes, this is how a wealthy person approaches those questions because they’re not comfortable with them because they’ve never had to do it.

    n the other hand, we get to see how the father chooses to treat her without ultimate power over or sole responsibility for her livelihood. The result is they come oit with their hatred and disavow one another.

    As a general rule of thumb, when someone tells you it’s not about the money, it’s about the money. 😉

    James stories are plenty uncomfortable. Not physically, but morally and emotionally.

    Oh lord, fetch me the smell salts. They are emotional yes, but the attempt to make money not matter, for the most part sucks any of the morality out of it. People aren’t making choices that matter then.

    Living alone for the rest of your life because of a key decision you made, for instance, doesn’t have high enough stakes, because, hey, you still have your butler?

    Yes, actually. IRL, living alone for the rest of your life for most of history has meant physical poverty as well. Noone to help take care of you and sometimes right down to begging for food.

    When you have a lot of choices, that, if given the right attitudes are reasonable and pleasant, it is artificial drama. It’s the drama of people pathologically unable to see what they’ve been given in life is pretty nice. It wears thin very quickly.

    • Replies: @guest
    "Those authors are melanchology, romantic types"

    Okay, though you're just as likely to hear them described as Realistic, psychological, ironic, etc. But let's say they're romantics and melancholy, up to a point. Romanticism lasted an awful long time. May not be your cup of tea, but there must be something to it.

    As for melancholia, that doesn't mean anything to me one way or another. Hamlet is melancholy, and I've heard tell that's a successful play.

    "It's like Jackson Pollack being help up as some amazing painter"

    I don't get this comparison at all. Maybe it relates back to your "amazing new approach" point, which I also don't get. You could call them all modern or proto-modern, but all of them are pretty firmly within novelistic convention, and compared to thorough moderns like Joyce positively old-fashioned. The most you can say is that James was "impressionistic" with his Psychological Realism, or Wharton had a detached irony, or Fitzgerald was lyrical and symbolic, or whatever.

    Nothing like Pollack, who was destructive of convention and comes off as a conman and his works a put-on. Promoted in the Painted Word tradition of requiring physical paintings to illustrate crackpot theories that give critics a name.

    On the other hand, regular people actually bought, read, and enjoyed the above mentioned authors. It wasn't just something Life magazine informed them the Art World had already approved as meaningful.

    I won't deny that critics, the authors themselves, or people promoting them might often have talked of their daring new styles, or whatever. But that sort of hyperbole is common, and if not an aspect of salesmanship, even the ones you assume are in a position to know are often talking out of their butts.

    "Yes, this is how a wealthy person approaches those questions because they're not comfortable with them because they've never had to do it"

    This appears to be one of your pet theories, and I won't try to contradict it in the case of James, who came from money, or Wharton, whose family I believe is the origin of the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." But Fitzgerald? Come on. His entire adult life, aside perhaps from immediately after the original success of This Side of Paradise, he was behind the eight-ball. Constantly in debt.

    That's because he and his wife lived improvidently. But whatever the reason, he had to write for his bread, which caused him to spend time away from "serious" work on novels by cranking out commercially short stories. He'd save enough up to spend the summer in France or Italy writing Gatsby or Tender Is the Night, but never got ahead. Alcoholism didn't help.

    "As a general rule of thumb, when someone tells you it's not about the money it's about the money"

    You miss the point. James stories are very often about money. But the protagonists are in a position where their choices don't have to be about money. The daughter has a guaranteed income either way. She may choose to do what father says in order to get an even bigger income, but she doesn't have to. She'll live in style without it.

    "but the attempt to make money not matter"

    Are you listening to me? I described in the above post how much money matters in Washington Square. Money doesn't dictate her actions, is the point.

    "for the most part sucks any of the morality out of it"

    I wonder if you know what the word "morality" means.

    "People aren't making choices that matter then"

    Nothing the leisure class does matters? If you believe that, then I agree you shouldn't be reading these books.

    "When you have a lot of choices, that, if given the right attitudes are reasonable and pleasant, it is artificial drama"

    Living in poverty can be reasonably pleasant given the right attitude.

    I begin to understand your position better, given your line about the right attitude. If everything in a plot could be fixed by thinking, "Oh, well, nevermind all that. I'll go ride a pony instead," indeed that would appear to be artificial drama. You can't make hunger or an invading army disappear by adjusting your attitude.

    Then again, people aren't easy like that. They can't flip switches in their minds and suddenly not care whom they marry, for instance. It's not artificial to them, those who go through these things. They don't think of themselves as lucky even to be eating, yachting and not worrying about having to work a day in their lives.

    , @guest
    "because they're not comfortable with them"

    What is the idea, here? That naturally if they were serious they'd delve into uncomfortable subjects, and uncomfortable subjects are as a rule things like a shopgirl getting a guy friend to steal a few bucks so she can pay for the abortion without which her family shall cast her out?

    What's comfortable to you about Gatsby, for instance? I mean, aside from the fact that he lives a life of comfort, as the saying goes. Up until he gets shot, that is.

    If James had worked his way up from boot-black to literary man, he wouldn't be writing about middle-class ladies of leisure, who are such a comfortable subject that he may as well have been masturbating instead of writing. He'd write about Real Life, like labor strikes. Because no one's interested in the leisure class, except the countless many who obviously are.

    It's the idea that the thoughts, feelings, and actions of rich people are somehow less real that I don't get. Plus, the idea that somehow physical discomfort is important artistically. If you want to be a real artist, you write Les Miserables over and over again?

    , @guest
    "this is how a wealthy person approaches those questions because they're not comfortable with them because they've never had to do it"

    About this again, forget James for a moment, who was unique in the single-mindedness with which he removed material necessity. Forget also Fitzgerald, who was middle-class and went to Princeton, though he was nowhere near of independent means. Forget every writer whose parents ever had enough money to send them to the Ivies or subsidize a trip to Europe.

    That leaves countless writers who wrote about the artificial dramas of the idle rich. What are they to you? Class traitors?

  252. AM says:
    @syonredux

    Faulkner on the other hand, clearly (to me) used complex vocabulary to hide rather lackluster writing. There was no need to wade through syllables I was wading through.
     
    Huh. I never thought that Faulkner's vocabulary was terribly recondite, at least not when compared to someone like Updike.....

    And I found Absalom, Absalom! quite gripping when I read it as a teenager....Finished the whole thing in one day....

    Huh. I never thought that Faulkner’s vocabulary was terribly recondite, at least not when compared to someone like Updike…..

    And I found Absalom, Absalom! quite gripping when I read it as a teenager….Finished the whole thing in one day….

    Yeah, not impressed. I’m getting “Worship me, I have a large vocabulary and I’m not afraid to use it” vibes.
    Tell me something interesting and worth my time with that vocabulary and then we’ll talk.

    And I’m sorry that you couldn’t figure out who did it Agatha Christie. If it helps, I couldn’t either. 😉

  253. @AM

    The breadth of her experience is neither greater nor lesser than that of any other small-town six year old (though less inundated by media than people a generation younger).
     
    It turns out she's very woke, aka advanced for a 6 old, but her young age makes the constricted worldview of the book plausible. That makes the book fun and easy to read, and easy and fun to teach in high school.

    I find most novelists are quite romantic when they try to see from a child's POV. Children understand far less of what's going on than writers give them credit for.

    A story told from a legitimate 6 year old POV would be interesting only to 6 year olds.

    While we’re at it, the character Tom Robinson is not retarded. He has a crippled arm.
     
    Oops, my bad. It's been a long time since I've read it. Thanks for the correction. Nice plot device, that. Imagine how less meaningful the ending would have been if he been completely healthy. You might have even though he was capable of rape, although one crippled arm wouldn't actually hold back an adult black very much.

    the questions and conflicts in the story don’t have much to do with latter-day racial discourse (except for the bilge peddled by the worst sort of black-nationalist hucksters).
     
    LOL! Of course To Kill a Mockingbird has everything to do with latter day racial discourse. It is our racial conversation right now, even told from Scout's POV.

    Sheltered girl child with pretensions to tomboy, via the shelter of painfully idyllic surroundings, through 3rd/4th hand information and her own positive interactions with blacks comes to think justice has been miscarried because Papa couldn't get the poor crippled black guy out of jail. We have no idea what Dad actually knew about Tom Robinson or if justice might well have been served by putting him in jail.

    We are all Scout now. Going beyond those simple child like questions is to support an awful "honor culture" ...or something.

    That's why liberal love the book. All of it's questions about morality and justice are seen by eliminating massive amounts of information and then processed through a childlike mind. Simple and so much easier to think about. Phew!

    It turns out she’s very woke,

    Repeating yourself and adding extraneous verbiage doesn’t make an idiot anachronism something other than an idiot anachronism.

    • Replies: @AM

    Repeating yourself and adding extraneous verbiage doesn’t make an idiot anachronism something other than an idiot anachronism.
     
    Woke, woke, woke. There, now I'm just repeating myself, rather than adding extra. :)

    Thanks for filling in the details of the story I was clearly only half remembering. It really helped fill in the gaps of why I though Scout was a woke 6 year old and why the story appears to be defining how we talk about the races right now.
  254. @Autochthon
    I stand corrected on the point of her being barren, but it only underscores her irresponsibility in breaking her marriage vows and depriving her child of a proper family. (Apparently some speculate her husband beat her, but she's not confirmed it, and, based upon both her own wrongheaded attitudes about morality and the social order, along with the statistics of women destroying marriages via frivorce, I will maintain my view until at the very least she herself offers some justification – and there are very few! – for leaving her husband.)

    (Having an undergraduate degree hardly indicates one is particularly well educated.)

    I stand corrected on the point of her being barren, but it only underscores her irresponsibility in breaking her marriage vows and depriving her child of a proper family.

    Strange as it may seem to you, sometimes women are the defendants in divorce proceedings and sometimes husbands whore around or just cut and run. Doesn’t usually work that way, but about a quarter of the time it does.

    (Having an undergraduate degree hardly indicates one is particularly well educated.)

    She doesn’t read Sallust in the original. Who does? When you figure out where you want the goalpost, let me know.

    • Replies: @Autochthon

    [W]omen are the defendants in divorce proceedings.... [It] [d]oesn't usually work that way, but about a quarter of the time it does.
     
    Hence my citation of the statistical probability and my statement that I chose to rely upon it absent further information.

    When you figure out where you want the goalpost, let me know.
     
    The goalposts, as it were, involve a comparison of the talents and works of J.K. Rowling with those of J.R.R. Tolkien.* This comparison could not possibly be clearer to anyone who read my original comment (itself based upon the same comparison made by Steve's piece); Rowling is obviously not being compared to some abstract, Protean standard, and the intimation otherwise is insupportable.

    *Not sure about his qualifications and achievements? Here is a primer.

    , @guest
    "She doesn't read Sallust in the original. Who does?"

    That's a strange point to make, considering the root of this conversation compares Rowling to Tolkien. I believe Tolkien could read Latin, along with like 14 others. Not counting various dialects and artificial languages created by himself.
  255. @AM

    The breadth of her experience is neither greater nor lesser than that of any other small-town six year old (though less inundated by media than people a generation younger).
     
    It turns out she's very woke, aka advanced for a 6 old, but her young age makes the constricted worldview of the book plausible. That makes the book fun and easy to read, and easy and fun to teach in high school.

    I find most novelists are quite romantic when they try to see from a child's POV. Children understand far less of what's going on than writers give them credit for.

    A story told from a legitimate 6 year old POV would be interesting only to 6 year olds.

    While we’re at it, the character Tom Robinson is not retarded. He has a crippled arm.
     
    Oops, my bad. It's been a long time since I've read it. Thanks for the correction. Nice plot device, that. Imagine how less meaningful the ending would have been if he been completely healthy. You might have even though he was capable of rape, although one crippled arm wouldn't actually hold back an adult black very much.

    the questions and conflicts in the story don’t have much to do with latter-day racial discourse (except for the bilge peddled by the worst sort of black-nationalist hucksters).
     
    LOL! Of course To Kill a Mockingbird has everything to do with latter day racial discourse. It is our racial conversation right now, even told from Scout's POV.

    Sheltered girl child with pretensions to tomboy, via the shelter of painfully idyllic surroundings, through 3rd/4th hand information and her own positive interactions with blacks comes to think justice has been miscarried because Papa couldn't get the poor crippled black guy out of jail. We have no idea what Dad actually knew about Tom Robinson or if justice might well have been served by putting him in jail.

    We are all Scout now. Going beyond those simple child like questions is to support an awful "honor culture" ...or something.

    That's why liberal love the book. All of it's questions about morality and justice are seen by eliminating massive amounts of information and then processed through a childlike mind. Simple and so much easier to think about. Phew!

    Sheltered girl child with pretensions to tomboy, via the shelter of painfully idyllic surroundings, through 3rd/4th hand information and her own positive interactions with blacks comes to think justice has been miscarried because Papa couldn’t get the poor crippled black guy out of jail. We have no idea what Dad actually knew about Tom Robinson or if justice might well have been served by putting him in jail.

    You didn’t read the book did you? It’s her brother, a good deal more than her, who is undone by the case. The reason is Tom Robinson was convicted on perjured testimony, and you know the testimony is perjured because of the forensic evidence. His supposed victim was beaten by her attacker. All of her bruises are on the right side of her face, administered by someone using his left hand exclusively. The defendant’s left hand and arm is crippled and immobile, and this is made manifest to the jury; the left arm is half the length of the right arm and has to be manipulated in order to be placed on the Bible to swear the defendant in when he testifies (and slides off the Bible anyway). The accuser’s father, known in the community as a drunk with a vicious temper, is left-handed, and this is demonstrated at trial. Not only does Scout know Tom Robinson is not guilty, the defense counsel knows it, the judge knows it, the Sheriff knows it, the local newspaper editor knows it, the two largest local landowners know it, and the defense counsel’s sister and neighbors know it. All of this is explicit in the narrative. A aspect of the story is the two children trying to sort out the inconsistent dispositions of the people they know. Even though Tom Robinson is convicted (and dies in prison), the accuser’s father has a vendetta against the defense counsel and the judge in the case because he was shunned as ever after the trial and both had humiliated him while he was lying his tuchus off on the stand. (His last act is attempting to kill the defense counsel’s children).

    • Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome
    That story sounds a lot like the Leo Frank trial. Maybe it was based on that.
  256. AM says:

    You didn’t read the book did you? It’s her brother, a good deal more than her, who is undone by the case.

    I did a long time ago now. I admit my details are sketchy compared to someone who is has obviously worn out the pages on his copy. Another high school read that was underwhelming but it was easy.

    The reason is Tom Robinson was convicted on perjured testimony, and you know the testimony is perjured because of the forensic evidence.

    Yes, it’s quite the morality play.

    .

    Not only does Scout know Tom Robinson is not guilty, the defense counsel knows it, the judge knows it, the Sheriff knows it, the local newspaper editor knows it, the two largest local landowners know it, and the defense counsel’s sister and neighbors know it. All of this is explicit in the narrative.

    Convenient that, no? Justice is always so easy like this. Everyone in the whole town knows the truth because it so darn obvious. And they’ve totally proved he didn’t do it because there’s exactly one other angry left handed dude who in town who is conveniently her Dad. Clearly, it’s completely outside the realm of possibility that Tom Robinson back handed her with his good arm. No way that could have happened. Even Scout knows that. ahem

    It’s funny, with you filling the details of the stuff I’m obviously not remembering, you’ve only increased the impression of it being a 20th century morality play. It is our Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

    If you love the book, there’s nothing wrong with it. Reading is good hobby. But To Kill a Mockingbird is not high literature and I’m sure will be displaced when the next Uncle Tom’s Cabin comes along. Meanwhile, we’re all trapped in Scout’s world, everyone knows the truth cause it’s “obvious” and obviously we can’t believe the white trash girl who got beat up and raped.

  257. AM says:
    @Art Deco
    It turns out she’s very woke,

    Repeating yourself and adding extraneous verbiage doesn't make an idiot anachronism something other than an idiot anachronism.

    Repeating yourself and adding extraneous verbiage doesn’t make an idiot anachronism something other than an idiot anachronism.

    Woke, woke, woke. There, now I’m just repeating myself, rather than adding extra. 🙂

    Thanks for filling in the details of the story I was clearly only half remembering. It really helped fill in the gaps of why I though Scout was a woke 6 year old and why the story appears to be defining how we talk about the races right now.

  258. @Art Deco
    I stand corrected on the point of her being barren, but it only underscores her irresponsibility in breaking her marriage vows and depriving her child of a proper family.

    Strange as it may seem to you, sometimes women are the defendants in divorce proceedings and sometimes husbands whore around or just cut and run. Doesn't usually work that way, but about a quarter of the time it does.

    (Having an undergraduate degree hardly indicates one is particularly well educated.)

    She doesn't read Sallust in the original. Who does? When you figure out where you want the goalpost, let me know.

    [W]omen are the defendants in divorce proceedings…. [It] [d]oesn’t usually work that way, but about a quarter of the time it does.

    Hence my citation of the statistical probability and my statement that I chose to rely upon it absent further information.

    When you figure out where you want the goalpost, let me know.

    The goalposts, as it were, involve a comparison of the talents and works of J.K. Rowling with those of J.R.R. Tolkien.* This comparison could not possibly be clearer to anyone who read my original comment (itself based upon the same comparison made by Steve’s piece); Rowling is obviously not being compared to some abstract, Protean standard, and the intimation otherwise is insupportable.

    *Not sure about his qualifications and achievements? Here is a primer.

  259. @Autochthon
    Dick the Butcher is suggesting murdering all the lawyers to facilitate a bloody coup and disorder in society – perhaps as a joke, but only in the way criminals joke about robbing and killing people. A criminal who jokes of killing all the police in the world may not be making a serious proposal, but it is for want of means, not desire (likewise, perhaps ironically, with Lenin of his enemies, just as you suggest). In the event, Shakespeare's point remains that lawyers are a bulwark of civilisation.

    I wasn’t referring to whether the character was joking. Don’t you think it possible that giving him that line was Shakespeare’s way of letting us know we needn’t take him seriously? As someone with sound ideas capable of governing, I mean. As a violent madman is another matter.

    My guess is that about 0% percent of readers think, “Yeah, Dick, that’s a good idea. Lawyers indeed deserve to die.” More like, “Ha-ha, good one. Lawyers are bastards.”

    I imagine the line was intended to be taken along the lines of, “Thank God for the sober jurists holding the line against maniacs like this.” And if we lost that meaning, so much the worse. But on the other hand, no one’s takes the suggestion seriously. Unless they’re revolutionaries anyway, and few of us are.

  260. @Art Deco
    I stand corrected on the point of her being barren, but it only underscores her irresponsibility in breaking her marriage vows and depriving her child of a proper family.

    Strange as it may seem to you, sometimes women are the defendants in divorce proceedings and sometimes husbands whore around or just cut and run. Doesn't usually work that way, but about a quarter of the time it does.

    (Having an undergraduate degree hardly indicates one is particularly well educated.)

    She doesn't read Sallust in the original. Who does? When you figure out where you want the goalpost, let me know.

    “She doesn’t read Sallust in the original. Who does?”

    That’s a strange point to make, considering the root of this conversation compares Rowling to Tolkien. I believe Tolkien could read Latin, along with like 14 others. Not counting various dialects and artificial languages created by himself.

  261. @AM

    My posterity. The only thing that any non-lunatic should be willing to die for.
     
    People don't seem to willing to die though, for their specific children alone, especially after the meeting the real, flawed versions of them. Mothers are more willing to do that, generally speaking, than fathers.

    Today's preference to help the "noble" stranger (immigrant/minority) is due in part to the perception they are more worthy and pure than whining brats we have to raise in front of us.

    If your people aren’t enough for you, if you need some abstract idealistic flim-flam to motivate you, I don’t know what to tell you.
     
    In a lot of ways, what you're talking about is idealistic, abstract, flim-flam. It only holds up if you think your flesh and blood kids are worth fighting for.

    It appears when people do fight, it is with the idea that they are fighting some sort of evil on behalf of others, including their children.

    If society has thoroughly disposed of the idea of evil (that old thing!) of in favor of "Everyone is the same" (a pre-condition for socialism), who and what is left to fight for, exactly?

    This is why we haven’t won a war in 65 years: we fight for fluffy half-baked values, the other side fights for blood and soil.
     
    Isn't it odd that almost simultaneously as we adopted socialistic like attitudes and actual socialism that we fight hobby wars with no real care if win them or not?

    Hmm...

    Much of what you are onto here stems from what Freud deemed “the narcissism of minor differences.” (Much if not most of Freud’s ideas are nonsense, but I submit this one is useful.) The phenomenon leads to pathologies such as you identify, and it is a rampant problem in what used to be the U.S.A. and other suicidal societies.

    “I think each village was meant to feel pity for its own sick and poor whom it can help and I doubt if it is the duty of any private person to fix his mind on ills which he cannot help. This may even become an escape from the works of charity we really can do to those we know. God may call any one of us to respond to some far away problem or support those who have been so called. But we are finite and he will not call us everywhere or to support every worthy cause. And real needs are not far from us.” –Clive Staples Lewis

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    Thanks for this excellent quotation from Lewis. His uncanny prescience draws me back to his writings again and again. Here he saw the advent of the 'leapfrogging charity' Steve as has discussed at length (although give a hat tip to Dickens on this, too, with Mrs Jellyby); in The Abolition of Man he predicted the corrosive effects of then-nascent postmodern aesthetic and moral reasoning, and on and on.
    , @AM
    Thanks also for the quote. I have to agree with The Last Real Calvinist that CS Lewis was amazing in seeing what he was seeing at the time.
  262. @AM

    itzgerald, Wharton, and James, weren’t very angsty. .
     
    Those are authors are all melonchology, romantic types. They just don't push it 100% into stereotypes that are universal recognized as angsty dreck is all. They got lucky and some academics called their books "important" It's like Jackson Pollack being held up as some amazing painter, right up there with Michelangelo. It's hard to see the classifications as sane once you start looking at specifics.

    He makes it so that his main characters aren’t compelled to make decisions out of material necessity. Then he’s free to focus on other motivations, ones that interest him.
     
    Yes, this is how a wealthy person approaches those questions because they're not comfortable with them because they've never had to do it.

    n the other hand, we get to see how the father chooses to treat her without ultimate power over or sole responsibility for her livelihood. The result is they come oit with their hatred and disavow one another.
     
    As a general rule of thumb, when someone tells you it's not about the money, it's about the money. ;)

    James stories are plenty uncomfortable. Not physically, but morally and emotionally.
     
    Oh lord, fetch me the smell salts. They are emotional yes, but the attempt to make money not matter, for the most part sucks any of the morality out of it. People aren't making choices that matter then.

    Living alone for the rest of your life because of a key decision you made, for instance, doesn’t have high enough stakes, because, hey, you still have your butler?
     
    Yes, actually. IRL, living alone for the rest of your life for most of history has meant physical poverty as well. Noone to help take care of you and sometimes right down to begging for food.

    When you have a lot of choices, that, if given the right attitudes are reasonable and pleasant, it is artificial drama. It's the drama of people pathologically unable to see what they've been given in life is pretty nice. It wears thin very quickly.

    “Those authors are melanchology, romantic types”

    Okay, though you’re just as likely to hear them described as Realistic, psychological, ironic, etc. But let’s say they’re romantics and melancholy, up to a point. Romanticism lasted an awful long time. May not be your cup of tea, but there must be something to it.

    As for melancholia, that doesn’t mean anything to me one way or another. Hamlet is melancholy, and I’ve heard tell that’s a successful play.

    “It’s like Jackson Pollack being help up as some amazing painter”

    I don’t get this comparison at all. Maybe it relates back to your “amazing new approach” point, which I also don’t get. You could call them all modern or proto-modern, but all of them are pretty firmly within novelistic convention, and compared to thorough moderns like Joyce positively old-fashioned. The most you can say is that James was “impressionistic” with his Psychological Realism, or Wharton had a detached irony, or Fitzgerald was lyrical and symbolic, or whatever.

    Nothing like Pollack, who was destructive of convention and comes off as a conman and his works a put-on. Promoted in the Painted Word tradition of requiring physical paintings to illustrate crackpot theories that give critics a name.

    On the other hand, regular people actually bought, read, and enjoyed the above mentioned authors. It wasn’t just something Life magazine informed them the Art World had already approved as meaningful.

    I won’t deny that critics, the authors themselves, or people promoting them might often have talked of their daring new styles, or whatever. But that sort of hyperbole is common, and if not an aspect of salesmanship, even the ones you assume are in a position to know are often talking out of their butts.

    “Yes, this is how a wealthy person approaches those questions because they’re not comfortable with them because they’ve never had to do it”

    This appears to be one of your pet theories, and I won’t try to contradict it in the case of James, who came from money, or Wharton, whose family I believe is the origin of the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses.” But Fitzgerald? Come on. His entire adult life, aside perhaps from immediately after the original success of This Side of Paradise, he was behind the eight-ball. Constantly in debt.

    That’s because he and his wife lived improvidently. But whatever the reason, he had to write for his bread, which caused him to spend time away from “serious” work on novels by cranking out commercially short stories. He’d save enough up to spend the summer in France or Italy writing Gatsby or Tender Is the Night, but never got ahead. Alcoholism didn’t help.

    “As a general rule of thumb, when someone tells you it’s not about the money it’s about the money”

    You miss the point. James stories are very often about money. But the protagonists are in a position where their choices don’t have to be about money. The daughter has a guaranteed income either way. She may choose to do what father says in order to get an even bigger income, but she doesn’t have to. She’ll live in style without it.

    “but the attempt to make money not matter”

    Are you listening to me? I described in the above post how much money matters in Washington Square. Money doesn’t dictate her actions, is the point.

    “for the most part sucks any of the morality out of it”

    I wonder if you know what the word “morality” means.

    “People aren’t making choices that matter then”

    Nothing the leisure class does matters? If you believe that, then I agree you shouldn’t be reading these books.

    “When you have a lot of choices, that, if given the right attitudes are reasonable and pleasant, it is artificial drama”

    Living in poverty can be reasonably pleasant given the right attitude.

    I begin to understand your position better, given your line about the right attitude. If everything in a plot could be fixed by thinking, “Oh, well, nevermind all that. I’ll go ride a pony instead,” indeed that would appear to be artificial drama. You can’t make hunger or an invading army disappear by adjusting your attitude.

    Then again, people aren’t easy like that. They can’t flip switches in their minds and suddenly not care whom they marry, for instance. It’s not artificial to them, those who go through these things. They don’t think of themselves as lucky even to be eating, yachting and not worrying about having to work a day in their lives.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    This miniature essay makes important points masterfully. I especially applaud your taking to task Pollack's nonsense and differentiating it from actual art. The cloest thing I can think of to Pollackian literature, as it were, would be a book of photographs of those magnetic decals with words upon them, each page in this book a photograph of the decals arbitrarily arranged upon a refrigerator's door.

    I also would add the rejection of literature focused upon wealthy men's problems is bizarre. By those lights nearly all of the antient and medieval canon, and much of modern literature up until at best the twentieth century, is right out. Writers have always written much more of the powerful and wealthy than the powerless and weak, for the reason that the life of a general ir a king is far more likely to be compelling than that of a janitor or a bootblack.

    The uninteresting and unmoving dilemmas of the rich are the focus of:

    Oedipus Rex
    Ivanhoe
    The Iliad
    Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Cæsar, etc.
    Persuasion
    La Chanson de Roland
    • Most of The Holy Bible

    And so on....

  263. @AM

    itzgerald, Wharton, and James, weren’t very angsty. .
     
    Those are authors are all melonchology, romantic types. They just don't push it 100% into stereotypes that are universal recognized as angsty dreck is all. They got lucky and some academics called their books "important" It's like Jackson Pollack being held up as some amazing painter, right up there with Michelangelo. It's hard to see the classifications as sane once you start looking at specifics.

    He makes it so that his main characters aren’t compelled to make decisions out of material necessity. Then he’s free to focus on other motivations, ones that interest him.
     
    Yes, this is how a wealthy person approaches those questions because they're not comfortable with them because they've never had to do it.

    n the other hand, we get to see how the father chooses to treat her without ultimate power over or sole responsibility for her livelihood. The result is they come oit with their hatred and disavow one another.
     
    As a general rule of thumb, when someone tells you it's not about the money, it's about the money. ;)

    James stories are plenty uncomfortable. Not physically, but morally and emotionally.
     
    Oh lord, fetch me the smell salts. They are emotional yes, but the attempt to make money not matter, for the most part sucks any of the morality out of it. People aren't making choices that matter then.

    Living alone for the rest of your life because of a key decision you made, for instance, doesn’t have high enough stakes, because, hey, you still have your butler?
     
    Yes, actually. IRL, living alone for the rest of your life for most of history has meant physical poverty as well. Noone to help take care of you and sometimes right down to begging for food.

    When you have a lot of choices, that, if given the right attitudes are reasonable and pleasant, it is artificial drama. It's the drama of people pathologically unable to see what they've been given in life is pretty nice. It wears thin very quickly.

    “because they’re not comfortable with them”

    What is the idea, here? That naturally if they were serious they’d delve into uncomfortable subjects, and uncomfortable subjects are as a rule things like a shopgirl getting a guy friend to steal a few bucks so she can pay for the abortion without which her family shall cast her out?

    What’s comfortable to you about Gatsby, for instance? I mean, aside from the fact that he lives a life of comfort, as the saying goes. Up until he gets shot, that is.

    If James had worked his way up from boot-black to literary man, he wouldn’t be writing about middle-class ladies of leisure, who are such a comfortable subject that he may as well have been masturbating instead of writing. He’d write about Real Life, like labor strikes. Because no one’s interested in the leisure class, except the countless many who obviously are.

    It’s the idea that the thoughts, feelings, and actions of rich people are somehow less real that I don’t get. Plus, the idea that somehow physical discomfort is important artistically. If you want to be a real artist, you write Les Miserables over and over again?

    • Replies: @AM

    What’s comfortable to you about Gatsby, for instance? I mean, aside from the fact that he lives a life of comfort, as the saying goes. Up until he gets shot, that is.
     
    Gatsby is a highly flawed man obsessed. (Which makes best selling angsty novels, by the way.) As the author notes, it takes 2 bad drivers to make a car crash. He was part of that ending.

    It's quite possible that it's mass appeal at the time came from watching an angsty rich dude get his comupance. Just because Fitzgerald saw him as sympathetic doesn't mean you or any reader has to.


    If you want to be a real artist, you write Les Miserables over and over again?
     
    Les Mis is another exercise in anti-depressants and pats on the back for not indulging in over the top,vulgar emotions while indulging in vulgar, over the top emotions. Although the music is pretty good. :)

    If you want to be a real writer, you try to write Shakespeare or Austen again. You tackle life as it is to the best of your ability to observe it, not as you wish it to be and not by avoiding uncomfortable areas.

    I'm going to stop here, because obviously you're not "getting" what I'm saying and rather choosing to take offense.

    If you like your books, then you like them. You don't need to explain it to me. Knock yourself out and enjoy. :)

  264. @Dave Shanken
    My literary lens to the modern world is the works of H.P. Lovecraft, especially the Cthulhoid stories.

    Cthulhu for President! This time, why settle for a lesser evil!

    I too love Lovecraft’s work, especially The Call of Cthulhu, The Shadow Out of Time, and At the Mountains of Madness. Somebody needs to force Guillermo del Toro to get off his ass and finally make his film adaptation of the latter.

  265. @Steve Sailer
    To Kill a Mockingbird benefited from the fortuitous coincidence that Harper Lee grew up next door to Truman Capote, who had become a huge celebrity by the time the book was published. The young Capote shows up as a character in the book and movie.

    It's kind of like if Robert Louis Stevenson had grown up next door to Oscar Wilde.

    Any truth to the persistent rumor that Capote to some degree ghost-wrote To Kill a Mockingbird?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    A not implausible theory, but not much evidence for it has emerged in recent years. Capote doesn't seem like the kind of guy not to gossip about it if he did. But maybe he did it as a favor and kept his mouth completely shut about it for the rest of his life. If so, good for him.

    But the likeliest theory is Capote didn't do any more for To Kill a Mockingbird, than, say, Heinlein did for Niven & Pournelle's The Mote in God's Eye (i.e, read the manuscript and write a 20 page letter of advice). Nobody says Heinlein wrote Mote, just that it's a book that's a step forward in the tradition of Heinlein and that it benefited from Heinlein's old pro advice (e.g., Heinlein convinced N&P to drop the initial 100 pages of backstory of the next 600 years and cut right to starting with the action: the aliens arrive).

  266. @AM

    itzgerald, Wharton, and James, weren’t very angsty. .
     
    Those are authors are all melonchology, romantic types. They just don't push it 100% into stereotypes that are universal recognized as angsty dreck is all. They got lucky and some academics called their books "important" It's like Jackson Pollack being held up as some amazing painter, right up there with Michelangelo. It's hard to see the classifications as sane once you start looking at specifics.

    He makes it so that his main characters aren’t compelled to make decisions out of material necessity. Then he’s free to focus on other motivations, ones that interest him.
     
    Yes, this is how a wealthy person approaches those questions because they're not comfortable with them because they've never had to do it.

    n the other hand, we get to see how the father chooses to treat her without ultimate power over or sole responsibility for her livelihood. The result is they come oit with their hatred and disavow one another.
     
    As a general rule of thumb, when someone tells you it's not about the money, it's about the money. ;)

    James stories are plenty uncomfortable. Not physically, but morally and emotionally.
     
    Oh lord, fetch me the smell salts. They are emotional yes, but the attempt to make money not matter, for the most part sucks any of the morality out of it. People aren't making choices that matter then.

    Living alone for the rest of your life because of a key decision you made, for instance, doesn’t have high enough stakes, because, hey, you still have your butler?
     
    Yes, actually. IRL, living alone for the rest of your life for most of history has meant physical poverty as well. Noone to help take care of you and sometimes right down to begging for food.

    When you have a lot of choices, that, if given the right attitudes are reasonable and pleasant, it is artificial drama. It's the drama of people pathologically unable to see what they've been given in life is pretty nice. It wears thin very quickly.

    “this is how a wealthy person approaches those questions because they’re not comfortable with them because they’ve never had to do it”

    About this again, forget James for a moment, who was unique in the single-mindedness with which he removed material necessity. Forget also Fitzgerald, who was middle-class and went to Princeton, though he was nowhere near of independent means. Forget every writer whose parents ever had enough money to send them to the Ivies or subsidize a trip to Europe.

    That leaves countless writers who wrote about the artificial dramas of the idle rich. What are they to you? Class traitors?

    • Replies: @AM

    About this again, forget James for a moment, who was unique in the single-mindedness with which he removed material necessity. Forget also Fitzgerald, who was middle-class and went to Princeton, though he was nowhere near of independent means.

     

    James wasn't actually unique on that point.

    Also, attending Princeton in the early 20th century put you firmly in the social class of Gatsby, even if you weren't over the top wealthy. My own middle class grandparents on one side never finished high school, on the the other they never went to college despite my grandfather being a civil engineer and making it into the upper middle classes. (My Mom had a pony, really!)


    That leaves countless writers who wrote about the artificial dramas of the idle rich. What are they to you? Class traitors?
     
    Nothing in particular. They wrote angsty with artificial drama paperbacks for mass consumption. It's a living. If they made a living or even got very wealthy, good for them. It's difficult to do.

    I only ask that angsty paperbacks that generally go for $4.99 US or $5.99 CA not be present as literature. Some angty paperbacks, like Gatsby are worth knowing or reading quickly simply because they're popular to be part of what people have read. But beyond that, it's wise to find literature with some meat on the bones if that's what people actually are looking for out of their reading.

  267. @cthulhu
    Any truth to the persistent rumor that Capote to some degree ghost-wrote To Kill a Mockingbird?

    A not implausible theory, but not much evidence for it has emerged in recent years. Capote doesn’t seem like the kind of guy not to gossip about it if he did. But maybe he did it as a favor and kept his mouth completely shut about it for the rest of his life. If so, good for him.

    But the likeliest theory is Capote didn’t do any more for To Kill a Mockingbird, than, say, Heinlein did for Niven & Pournelle’s The Mote in God’s Eye (i.e, read the manuscript and write a 20 page letter of advice). Nobody says Heinlein wrote Mote, just that it’s a book that’s a step forward in the tradition of Heinlein and that it benefited from Heinlein’s old pro advice (e.g., Heinlein convinced N&P to drop the initial 100 pages of backstory of the next 600 years and cut right to starting with the action: the aliens arrive).

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    You're serious about comparing Niven and Pournelle, two guys with more than a bit of literary output, both together and singly, to the one-hit wonder Lee?
  268. AM says:
    @guest
    "this is how a wealthy person approaches those questions because they're not comfortable with them because they've never had to do it"

    About this again, forget James for a moment, who was unique in the single-mindedness with which he removed material necessity. Forget also Fitzgerald, who was middle-class and went to Princeton, though he was nowhere near of independent means. Forget every writer whose parents ever had enough money to send them to the Ivies or subsidize a trip to Europe.

    That leaves countless writers who wrote about the artificial dramas of the idle rich. What are they to you? Class traitors?

    About this again, forget James for a moment, who was unique in the single-mindedness with which he removed material necessity. Forget also Fitzgerald, who was middle-class and went to Princeton, though he was nowhere near of independent means.

    James wasn’t actually unique on that point.

    Also, attending Princeton in the early 20th century put you firmly in the social class of Gatsby, even if you weren’t over the top wealthy. My own middle class grandparents on one side never finished high school, on the the other they never went to college despite my grandfather being a civil engineer and making it into the upper middle classes. (My Mom had a pony, really!)

    That leaves countless writers who wrote about the artificial dramas of the idle rich. What are they to you? Class traitors?

    Nothing in particular. They wrote angsty with artificial drama paperbacks for mass consumption. It’s a living. If they made a living or even got very wealthy, good for them. It’s difficult to do.

    I only ask that angsty paperbacks that generally go for $4.99 US or $5.99 CA not be present as literature. Some angty paperbacks, like Gatsby are worth knowing or reading quickly simply because they’re popular to be part of what people have read. But beyond that, it’s wise to find literature with some meat on the bones if that’s what people actually are looking for out of their reading.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    I'm not sure I understand your obsession with angst as something preclusive of great literature (or indeed what precisely you mean by the term); angst is internal conflict, and it is actually difficult to write compelling literature without internal conflict within the characters.

    The Iliad is all about the wrath of Achilles, a fellow as angsty as they come. Is it then dreck? Hamlet has already been cited for the melancholy you disapprove, but if you seek a poster-child for angst, look to the whining Prince of Denmark. Jean Valjean suffers much angst; is Les Miserables then not worth reading? The Sorrows of Young Werther, and indeed every thing Goethe wrote, and every Bildungsroman, from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is right out.

    I'm not just taking the piss; I genuinely want to understand what is so objectionable about angst, and how you reconcile the objection with works such as those I cite (or perhaps you deplore these works as well...). Indeed perhaps this question leads to the more helpful one: Just what do you consider worthy literature?

  269. AM says:
    @guest
    "because they're not comfortable with them"

    What is the idea, here? That naturally if they were serious they'd delve into uncomfortable subjects, and uncomfortable subjects are as a rule things like a shopgirl getting a guy friend to steal a few bucks so she can pay for the abortion without which her family shall cast her out?

    What's comfortable to you about Gatsby, for instance? I mean, aside from the fact that he lives a life of comfort, as the saying goes. Up until he gets shot, that is.

    If James had worked his way up from boot-black to literary man, he wouldn't be writing about middle-class ladies of leisure, who are such a comfortable subject that he may as well have been masturbating instead of writing. He'd write about Real Life, like labor strikes. Because no one's interested in the leisure class, except the countless many who obviously are.

    It's the idea that the thoughts, feelings, and actions of rich people are somehow less real that I don't get. Plus, the idea that somehow physical discomfort is important artistically. If you want to be a real artist, you write Les Miserables over and over again?

    What’s comfortable to you about Gatsby, for instance? I mean, aside from the fact that he lives a life of comfort, as the saying goes. Up until he gets shot, that is.

    Gatsby is a highly flawed man obsessed. (Which makes best selling angsty novels, by the way.) As the author notes, it takes 2 bad drivers to make a car crash. He was part of that ending.

    It’s quite possible that it’s mass appeal at the time came from watching an angsty rich dude get his comupance. Just because Fitzgerald saw him as sympathetic doesn’t mean you or any reader has to.

    If you want to be a real artist, you write Les Miserables over and over again?

    Les Mis is another exercise in anti-depressants and pats on the back for not indulging in over the top,vulgar emotions while indulging in vulgar, over the top emotions. Although the music is pretty good. 🙂

    If you want to be a real writer, you try to write Shakespeare or Austen again. You tackle life as it is to the best of your ability to observe it, not as you wish it to be and not by avoiding uncomfortable areas.

    I’m going to stop here, because obviously you’re not “getting” what I’m saying and rather choosing to take offense.

    If you like your books, then you like them. You don’t need to explain it to me. Knock yourself out and enjoy. 🙂

  270. @Art Deco
    Sheltered girl child with pretensions to tomboy, via the shelter of painfully idyllic surroundings, through 3rd/4th hand information and her own positive interactions with blacks comes to think justice has been miscarried because Papa couldn’t get the poor crippled black guy out of jail. We have no idea what Dad actually knew about Tom Robinson or if justice might well have been served by putting him in jail.

    You didn't read the book did you? It's her brother, a good deal more than her, who is undone by the case. The reason is Tom Robinson was convicted on perjured testimony, and you know the testimony is perjured because of the forensic evidence. His supposed victim was beaten by her attacker. All of her bruises are on the right side of her face, administered by someone using his left hand exclusively. The defendant's left hand and arm is crippled and immobile, and this is made manifest to the jury; the left arm is half the length of the right arm and has to be manipulated in order to be placed on the Bible to swear the defendant in when he testifies (and slides off the Bible anyway). The accuser's father, known in the community as a drunk with a vicious temper, is left-handed, and this is demonstrated at trial. Not only does Scout know Tom Robinson is not guilty, the defense counsel knows it, the judge knows it, the Sheriff knows it, the local newspaper editor knows it, the two largest local landowners know it, and the defense counsel's sister and neighbors know it. All of this is explicit in the narrative. A aspect of the story is the two children trying to sort out the inconsistent dispositions of the people they know. Even though Tom Robinson is convicted (and dies in prison), the accuser's father has a vendetta against the defense counsel and the judge in the case because he was shunned as ever after the trial and both had humiliated him while he was lying his tuchus off on the stand. (His last act is attempting to kill the defense counsel's children).

    That story sounds a lot like the Leo Frank trial. Maybe it was based on that.

    • Replies: @guest
    "That story sounds a lot like the Leo Frank trial"

    No it doesn't. For one thing, there was a black suspect giftwrapped and waiting for them that the racists white racists passed over.

    For another thing, Frank was guilty.
    , @AM
    To Kill a Mockingbird is probably based on an event that really happened, which makes it such a popular read. Most writers are not creative in the direction of creating plot lines completely out of thin air. Shakespeare's plays are almost all reboots.

    Harper Lee was a tomboy, her father was indeed a lawyer (and owned part of the local paper - interesting), and her Mother appears to have kept to her room.

    So if Scout is Harper Lee, then I would hazard that it's either the Leo Frank trial or one of her father's cases.

    If so, I'm going to suggest that maybe the story was changed to protect the guilty, which is what people do IRL. All speculation from here on in, but what if dear old Dad was not the best of men? What if, at some point in his defense work, he smeared an innocent white man in a failed attempt to protect a guilty black one?

    Change just few of the facts, write in the Dad you wish you had, and you've got a nice straightforward and compelling morality play. It feels believable, because it was mostly real, but make it so the only bad guy was the innocent white man who would later come to resent and maybe threaten the entire family.

    Again, all speculation, but that's plausible source of the story to me. It would also help explain why Lee was sort of a one hit wonder.
  271. @Hippopotamusdrome
    That story sounds a lot like the Leo Frank trial. Maybe it was based on that.

    “That story sounds a lot like the Leo Frank trial”

    No it doesn’t. For one thing, there was a black suspect giftwrapped and waiting for them that the racists white racists passed over.

    For another thing, Frank was guilty.

  272. @Autochthon
    Much of what you are onto here stems from what Freud deemed "the narcissism of minor differences." (Much if not most of Freud's ideas are nonsense, but I submit this one is useful.) The phenomenon leads to pathologies such as you identify, and it is a rampant problem in what used to be the U.S.A. and other suicidal societies.

    “I think each village was meant to feel pity for its own sick and poor whom it can help and I doubt if it is the duty of any private person to fix his mind on ills which he cannot help. This may even become an escape from the works of charity we really can do to those we know. God may call any one of us to respond to some far away problem or support those who have been so called. But we are finite and he will not call us everywhere or to support every worthy cause. And real needs are not far from us.” –Clive Staples Lewis
     

    Thanks for this excellent quotation from Lewis. His uncanny prescience draws me back to his writings again and again. Here he saw the advent of the ‘leapfrogging charity’ Steve as has discussed at length (although give a hat tip to Dickens on this, too, with Mrs Jellyby); in The Abolition of Man he predicted the corrosive effects of then-nascent postmodern aesthetic and moral reasoning, and on and on.

  273. @Steve Sailer
    A not implausible theory, but not much evidence for it has emerged in recent years. Capote doesn't seem like the kind of guy not to gossip about it if he did. But maybe he did it as a favor and kept his mouth completely shut about it for the rest of his life. If so, good for him.

    But the likeliest theory is Capote didn't do any more for To Kill a Mockingbird, than, say, Heinlein did for Niven & Pournelle's The Mote in God's Eye (i.e, read the manuscript and write a 20 page letter of advice). Nobody says Heinlein wrote Mote, just that it's a book that's a step forward in the tradition of Heinlein and that it benefited from Heinlein's old pro advice (e.g., Heinlein convinced N&P to drop the initial 100 pages of backstory of the next 600 years and cut right to starting with the action: the aliens arrive).

    You’re serious about comparing Niven and Pournelle, two guys with more than a bit of literary output, both together and singly, to the one-hit wonder Lee?

  274. @guest
    "Those authors are melanchology, romantic types"

    Okay, though you're just as likely to hear them described as Realistic, psychological, ironic, etc. But let's say they're romantics and melancholy, up to a point. Romanticism lasted an awful long time. May not be your cup of tea, but there must be something to it.

    As for melancholia, that doesn't mean anything to me one way or another. Hamlet is melancholy, and I've heard tell that's a successful play.

    "It's like Jackson Pollack being help up as some amazing painter"

    I don't get this comparison at all. Maybe it relates back to your "amazing new approach" point, which I also don't get. You could call them all modern or proto-modern, but all of them are pretty firmly within novelistic convention, and compared to thorough moderns like Joyce positively old-fashioned. The most you can say is that James was "impressionistic" with his Psychological Realism, or Wharton had a detached irony, or Fitzgerald was lyrical and symbolic, or whatever.

    Nothing like Pollack, who was destructive of convention and comes off as a conman and his works a put-on. Promoted in the Painted Word tradition of requiring physical paintings to illustrate crackpot theories that give critics a name.

    On the other hand, regular people actually bought, read, and enjoyed the above mentioned authors. It wasn't just something Life magazine informed them the Art World had already approved as meaningful.

    I won't deny that critics, the authors themselves, or people promoting them might often have talked of their daring new styles, or whatever. But that sort of hyperbole is common, and if not an aspect of salesmanship, even the ones you assume are in a position to know are often talking out of their butts.

    "Yes, this is how a wealthy person approaches those questions because they're not comfortable with them because they've never had to do it"

    This appears to be one of your pet theories, and I won't try to contradict it in the case of James, who came from money, or Wharton, whose family I believe is the origin of the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." But Fitzgerald? Come on. His entire adult life, aside perhaps from immediately after the original success of This Side of Paradise, he was behind the eight-ball. Constantly in debt.

    That's because he and his wife lived improvidently. But whatever the reason, he had to write for his bread, which caused him to spend time away from "serious" work on novels by cranking out commercially short stories. He'd save enough up to spend the summer in France or Italy writing Gatsby or Tender Is the Night, but never got ahead. Alcoholism didn't help.

    "As a general rule of thumb, when someone tells you it's not about the money it's about the money"

    You miss the point. James stories are very often about money. But the protagonists are in a position where their choices don't have to be about money. The daughter has a guaranteed income either way. She may choose to do what father says in order to get an even bigger income, but she doesn't have to. She'll live in style without it.

    "but the attempt to make money not matter"

    Are you listening to me? I described in the above post how much money matters in Washington Square. Money doesn't dictate her actions, is the point.

    "for the most part sucks any of the morality out of it"

    I wonder if you know what the word "morality" means.

    "People aren't making choices that matter then"

    Nothing the leisure class does matters? If you believe that, then I agree you shouldn't be reading these books.

    "When you have a lot of choices, that, if given the right attitudes are reasonable and pleasant, it is artificial drama"

    Living in poverty can be reasonably pleasant given the right attitude.

    I begin to understand your position better, given your line about the right attitude. If everything in a plot could be fixed by thinking, "Oh, well, nevermind all that. I'll go ride a pony instead," indeed that would appear to be artificial drama. You can't make hunger or an invading army disappear by adjusting your attitude.

    Then again, people aren't easy like that. They can't flip switches in their minds and suddenly not care whom they marry, for instance. It's not artificial to them, those who go through these things. They don't think of themselves as lucky even to be eating, yachting and not worrying about having to work a day in their lives.

    This miniature essay makes important points masterfully. I especially applaud your taking to task Pollack’s nonsense and differentiating it from actual art. The cloest thing I can think of to Pollackian literature, as it were, would be a book of photographs of those magnetic decals with words upon them, each page in this book a photograph of the decals arbitrarily arranged upon a refrigerator’s door.

    I also would add the rejection of literature focused upon wealthy men’s problems is bizarre. By those lights nearly all of the antient and medieval canon, and much of modern literature up until at best the twentieth century, is right out. Writers have always written much more of the powerful and wealthy than the powerless and weak, for the reason that the life of a general ir a king is far more likely to be compelling than that of a janitor or a bootblack.

    The uninteresting and unmoving dilemmas of the rich are the focus of:

    Oedipus Rex
    Ivanhoe
    The Iliad
    Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Cæsar, etc.
    Persuasion
    La Chanson de Roland
    • Most of The Holy Bible

    And so on….

  275. @AM

    About this again, forget James for a moment, who was unique in the single-mindedness with which he removed material necessity. Forget also Fitzgerald, who was middle-class and went to Princeton, though he was nowhere near of independent means.

     

    James wasn't actually unique on that point.

    Also, attending Princeton in the early 20th century put you firmly in the social class of Gatsby, even if you weren't over the top wealthy. My own middle class grandparents on one side never finished high school, on the the other they never went to college despite my grandfather being a civil engineer and making it into the upper middle classes. (My Mom had a pony, really!)


    That leaves countless writers who wrote about the artificial dramas of the idle rich. What are they to you? Class traitors?
     
    Nothing in particular. They wrote angsty with artificial drama paperbacks for mass consumption. It's a living. If they made a living or even got very wealthy, good for them. It's difficult to do.

    I only ask that angsty paperbacks that generally go for $4.99 US or $5.99 CA not be present as literature. Some angty paperbacks, like Gatsby are worth knowing or reading quickly simply because they're popular to be part of what people have read. But beyond that, it's wise to find literature with some meat on the bones if that's what people actually are looking for out of their reading.

    I’m not sure I understand your obsession with angst as something preclusive of great literature (or indeed what precisely you mean by the term); angst is internal conflict, and it is actually difficult to write compelling literature without internal conflict within the characters.

    The Iliad is all about the wrath of Achilles, a fellow as angsty as they come. Is it then dreck? Hamlet has already been cited for the melancholy you disapprove, but if you seek a poster-child for angst, look to the whining Prince of Denmark. Jean Valjean suffers much angst; is Les Miserables then not worth reading? The Sorrows of Young Werther, and indeed every thing Goethe wrote, and every Bildungsroman, from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is right out.

    I’m not just taking the piss; I genuinely want to understand what is so objectionable about angst, and how you reconcile the objection with works such as those I cite (or perhaps you deplore these works as well…). Indeed perhaps this question leads to the more helpful one: Just what do you consider worthy literature?

    • Replies: @AM

    I’m not sure I understand your obsession with angst as something preclusive of great literature (or indeed what precisely you mean by the term); angst is internal conflict, and it is actually difficult to write compelling literature without internal conflict within the characters.
     
    I mean I've read enough cheap novels to know when when artificial drama is being used like frosting to cover over a very stale cake. :)

    I don't mind if the people are wealthy. Pride and Prejudice does in fact deal with wealth and it's implications, as with all of better stories that you mention in your bullet list.

    What I want is a degree of realism and skill out of my literature, just as I do out of my art.

    Jackson Pollack doesn't impress me because a bunch of idiots are using his paintings as a sign of how wealthy they are, no matter how many useful idiots in academia back them up.


    I have read The Great Gatsby. Okay, everyone is wealthy. They are also, to a person intensely unilikable and flat, as another poster puts it. The wealth is there it appears to add some bling and some drama to otherwise an uncompelling story. It's like Dickens (a generally better writer) with his rather obvious gravitation to the other end of the economic spectrum.

    Fitergerald and lessor extent James (in fairness I have never read him, I'm going on the descriptions by "guest") are or sound like relatively poor writers that have fallen back on some pretty cheap tricks. If they hadn't been lucky, just like Pollack, they'd be 0.01 on Amazon, if that much. That's why I call them "angtsy" books, because it highlights the point. They are dime novels that flatter a certain group of either aspiring or have made it to middle class into feeling like their middle class/money problems are extremely difficult to deal with, with all the pretense of being "academic".

    It's mostly modern writers are guilty of that because writing goes through fads and fashions. You'll notice the vast majority of your bullet list has has stood for more than 100 years. Time does do a great job of sorting through things like that.

    Angsty books are what they are. Like I said, I don't care what people read, only that they not ask me to treat the upper class equivalent of romance novels as great art.

    , @AM

    Jean Valjean suffers much angst; is Les Miserables then not worth reading? The Sorrows of Young Werther, and indeed every thing Goethe wrote, and every Bildungsroman, from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is right out.
     
    I haven't read most of those, so let me give you two examples I am familiar with to see if I can flesh this out a bit more.

    In Hamlet, what you've got is a young man just back from college being asked to do take on some pretty heavy responsibilities that he's unprepared for. While the angst does drag on, there's a country family, death, and murder involved. It might take me some time, too, to decide.

    Not only that, the play makes it clear that melancholy and indecision has a price. Agnonised suffering doesn't magically produce what it is you want. In fact, you may kill some people by refusing to act.

    Shakespeare doesn't cheat,in other words, with his drama and his angst.

    Now let's contrast that that with Les Miserable. Possibly the only soap situation it doesn't have is amnesia. If it were daytime television, you'd recognize it for exactly what is - a tear soaked melodrama about people shooting themselves in the foot because they're aiming for both feet with an AK-15 and they keep asking for more ammo all the time.

    It's a "respectable" soap opera, that's all. The protagonist should suffer because he's lieing, cheating moron. It's not okay to lie. It's not okay to steal, even the guy feels bad about it and has a hard life and society is harsh.

    Hamlet is worth the time. Les Miserable benefits from being about the French Revolution and the support of the same academics who like probably like Jackson Pollack and really don't want moral rules to apply to them or least people they think of as poor and victims, which seems rather arbitrary in the Les Mis world. Les Mis is not worth the time, unless the goal is to pull out the hankies and/or get people to embrace moral relativism.
  276. AM says:
    @Hippopotamusdrome
    That story sounds a lot like the Leo Frank trial. Maybe it was based on that.

    To Kill a Mockingbird is probably based on an event that really happened, which makes it such a popular read. Most writers are not creative in the direction of creating plot lines completely out of thin air. Shakespeare’s plays are almost all reboots.

    Harper Lee was a tomboy, her father was indeed a lawyer (and owned part of the local paper – interesting), and her Mother appears to have kept to her room.

    So if Scout is Harper Lee, then I would hazard that it’s either the Leo Frank trial or one of her father’s cases.

    If so, I’m going to suggest that maybe the story was changed to protect the guilty, which is what people do IRL. All speculation from here on in, but what if dear old Dad was not the best of men? What if, at some point in his defense work, he smeared an innocent white man in a failed attempt to protect a guilty black one?

    Change just few of the facts, write in the Dad you wish you had, and you’ve got a nice straightforward and compelling morality play. It feels believable, because it was mostly real, but make it so the only bad guy was the innocent white man who would later come to resent and maybe threaten the entire family.

    Again, all speculation, but that’s plausible source of the story to me. It would also help explain why Lee was sort of a one hit wonder.

  277. @Autochthon
    Much of what you are onto here stems from what Freud deemed "the narcissism of minor differences." (Much if not most of Freud's ideas are nonsense, but I submit this one is useful.) The phenomenon leads to pathologies such as you identify, and it is a rampant problem in what used to be the U.S.A. and other suicidal societies.

    “I think each village was meant to feel pity for its own sick and poor whom it can help and I doubt if it is the duty of any private person to fix his mind on ills which he cannot help. This may even become an escape from the works of charity we really can do to those we know. God may call any one of us to respond to some far away problem or support those who have been so called. But we are finite and he will not call us everywhere or to support every worthy cause. And real needs are not far from us.” –Clive Staples Lewis
     

    Thanks also for the quote. I have to agree with The Last Real Calvinist that CS Lewis was amazing in seeing what he was seeing at the time.

  278. @guest
    It occurs to me there is one aspect of Gatsby that appeals specifically to Jews. They like to think of white gentile modern civilization as being a big show that's merely a thin veneer covering dark secrets. You can find that line of thought in Freud and a million other sources.

    In this case, Gatsby's lavish parties in the elite WASP ground-zero of Long Island are funded by black market racketeering and put on by a jumped-up farmboy who doesn't even read his books!

    Not that this Civilization and Its Discontents angle is necessary to interpreting Gatsby. But I can see how it would appeal to a certain type.

    They like to think of white gentile modern civilization as being a big show that’s merely a thin veneer covering dark secrets. You can find that line of thought in Freud and a million other sources.

    To steal from Freud, that’s really just Jewish projection. Jewish communities are rife with the kind of Twin Peaks-esque secrets: molestation, adultery, incest, backstabbing, etc. Jewish communities, however, are very insular and have a strict “keep Jewish problems from the goyim” mentality.

  279. @Steve Sailer
    Books that go unrecognized in their own times almost never become classics,

    It's more accurate to say that artists that go unrecognized within, say, 6o or 70 years of their birth are seldom rediscovered. (E.g., Van Gogh would have lived to enjoy fame if he'd lived his three score and ten.) However, which art work by the celebrity artist becomes the favorite of the future is less certain. Leonardo was just about the first celebrity painter in post-Roman history, but despite his enormous fame, the "Mona Lisa" didn't ascend to its current status until the later 19th Century.

    I would just like to point out that my criticizing The Great Gatsby has given me more replies than I’ve received in months.

    I like how filmmakers call the book “unfilmable” despite their being a number of adaptations. I think its really because the book isn’t that good, and so when they try to adapt it to real, talking characters with serious issues it falls flat. That said, the Redford and DiCaprio versions are pretty good once you get past the 2-D aspects of the people involved.

    • Agree: AM
    • Replies: @guest
    I despise Baz Luhrmann's directorial style, so I could barely stand the first two-thirds or so of the Leo version. Gradually it forgot it was a Baz Luhrmann movie, and then it was enjoyable.

    The Robert Redford version would've been okay, but they horribly miscast Tom Buchanan.

    , @Anon
    Most really good books are "unfilmable", even Waugh, perhaps the most cinematic (literary) writer who ever lived. Great films ("Gone with the Wind", for example) tend to be made out of fair-to-middling books, on the high end of mediocre.

    Even "The Godfather" had to be heavily reworked for the screen, and I think the result is better than Puzo's book.
  280. AM says:
    @Autochthon
    I'm not sure I understand your obsession with angst as something preclusive of great literature (or indeed what precisely you mean by the term); angst is internal conflict, and it is actually difficult to write compelling literature without internal conflict within the characters.

    The Iliad is all about the wrath of Achilles, a fellow as angsty as they come. Is it then dreck? Hamlet has already been cited for the melancholy you disapprove, but if you seek a poster-child for angst, look to the whining Prince of Denmark. Jean Valjean suffers much angst; is Les Miserables then not worth reading? The Sorrows of Young Werther, and indeed every thing Goethe wrote, and every Bildungsroman, from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is right out.

    I'm not just taking the piss; I genuinely want to understand what is so objectionable about angst, and how you reconcile the objection with works such as those I cite (or perhaps you deplore these works as well...). Indeed perhaps this question leads to the more helpful one: Just what do you consider worthy literature?

    I’m not sure I understand your obsession with angst as something preclusive of great literature (or indeed what precisely you mean by the term); angst is internal conflict, and it is actually difficult to write compelling literature without internal conflict within the characters.

    I mean I’ve read enough cheap novels to know when when artificial drama is being used like frosting to cover over a very stale cake. 🙂

    I don’t mind if the people are wealthy. Pride and Prejudice does in fact deal with wealth and it’s implications, as with all of better stories that you mention in your bullet list.

    What I want is a degree of realism and skill out of my literature, just as I do out of my art.

    Jackson Pollack doesn’t impress me because a bunch of idiots are using his paintings as a sign of how wealthy they are, no matter how many useful idiots in academia back them up.

    I have read The Great Gatsby. Okay, everyone is wealthy. They are also, to a person intensely unilikable and flat, as another poster puts it. The wealth is there it appears to add some bling and some drama to otherwise an uncompelling story. It’s like Dickens (a generally better writer) with his rather obvious gravitation to the other end of the economic spectrum.

    Fitergerald and lessor extent James (in fairness I have never read him, I’m going on the descriptions by “guest”) are or sound like relatively poor writers that have fallen back on some pretty cheap tricks. If they hadn’t been lucky, just like Pollack, they’d be 0.01 on Amazon, if that much. That’s why I call them “angtsy” books, because it highlights the point. They are dime novels that flatter a certain group of either aspiring or have made it to middle class into feeling like their middle class/money problems are extremely difficult to deal with, with all the pretense of being “academic”.

    It’s mostly modern writers are guilty of that because writing goes through fads and fashions. You’ll notice the vast majority of your bullet list has has stood for more than 100 years. Time does do a great job of sorting through things like that.

    Angsty books are what they are. Like I said, I don’t care what people read, only that they not ask me to treat the upper class equivalent of romance novels as great art.

  281. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “…I’m going to suggest that maybe the story was changed to protect the guilty, which is what people do IRL. All speculation from here on in, but what if dear old Dad was not the best of men?…”

    You may have missed a recent literary event. It appears the first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird was very different than the final draft. It sounds like the publisher wanted to go with The Narrative, though, so things changed.

    “Go Set a Watchman”, Harper Lee, 2015:

    Go Set a Watchman is a novel by Harper Lee published on July 14, 2015… Although written before her first and only other published novel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird—and initially promoted by its publisher as a sequel—it is now more widely accepted as being a first draft of the famous novel.

    …During a discussion with his daughter, Atticus argues that the blacks of the South are not ready for full civil rights, and the Supreme Court’s decision was unconstitutional and irresponsible…

    …Uncle… Jack says that Atticus hasn’t suddenly become racist but is trying to slow federal government intervention into state politics. Her uncle lectures her on the complexity of history, race, and politics in the South…

    …During a discussion with his daughter, Atticus argues that the blacks of the South are not ready for full civil rights, and the Supreme Court’s decision was unconstitutional and irresponsible…

    …Lee’s editor, Tay Hohoff… “during the next couple of years, Hohoff led Lee from one draft to the next until the book finally achieved its finished form and was retitled To Kill a Mockingbird”…

    …In terms of the initial characterization of Atticus as a segregationist, an element to his character that was dropped…

    …How did a lumpy tale about a young woman’s grief over her discovery of her father’s bigoted views evolve into a classic coming-of-age story about two children and their devoted widower father?… How did a distressing narrative filled with characters spouting hate speech… mutate into a redemptive novel associated with the civil rights movement…

    …The New York Times described Atticus’ characterization as “shocking”, as he “has been affiliating with raving anti-integration, anti-black crazies…”

    • Replies: @AM
    Thanks for this info. That's good to know. Like I said, my post was speculation. It's gratifying that at least part of it - the book has been changed to fit an idealized story was right.
  282. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Along the lines of To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Tell a Watchman, reading Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton, might be worth reading in conjunction with the short piece by his wife in 1998: “Why I’m fleeing South Africa”, London Sunday Times, 18 Nov 1998:

    “I am leaving South Africa. I have lived here for 35 years, and I shall leave with anguish. My home and my friends are here, but I am terrified…

    …Fifty years ago he wrote Cry, The Beloved Country…

    …He campaigned for Nelson Mandelaʼs release from prison and he worked all his life for black majority rule…

    … I am glad he is not alive now. He would have been so distressed to see what has happened to his beloved country…

    …I cannot live here anymore. I can no longer live slung about with panic buttons and gear locks. I am tired of driving with my car windows closed and the doors locked, tired of being afraid of stopping at red lights. I am tired of being constantly on the alert, having that sudden frisson of fear at the sight of a shadow by the gate, of a group of youths approaching—although nine times out of 10 they are innocent of harmful intent…

    …I know of nine people who have been murdered in the past four years…

    …it is so often an inside job—the gardener who comes back and does you in…

    …I have been hijacked, mugged and terrorised. A few years ago my car was taken from me at gunpoint. I was forced into the passenger seat. I sat there frozen…

    …I was mugged in my home at three in the afternoon…

    …I was threatened with my own knife (Girl Guide issue from long ago) and told: “If you make a sound, you die.” My hands were tied tightly behind my back and I was thrown into the guest room…

    …The last straw came a few weeks ago, shortly before my 71st birthday… two men were breaking in…

    …They kept coming, in broad daylight, while the alarm was going. They knew that there had to be a time lag of a few minutes before help arrived… let… off for lack of evidence…

    …others say: “You are lucky not to have been raped or murdered.” What kind of a society is this where one is considered “lucky” not to have been raped or murdered—yet?…

    …A lot of people who were convinced that everything would be all right are disillusioned, though they donʼt want to admit it…”

    Sounds like the altruistic guy did his wife no favor.

  283. AM says:
    @Autochthon
    I'm not sure I understand your obsession with angst as something preclusive of great literature (or indeed what precisely you mean by the term); angst is internal conflict, and it is actually difficult to write compelling literature without internal conflict within the characters.

    The Iliad is all about the wrath of Achilles, a fellow as angsty as they come. Is it then dreck? Hamlet has already been cited for the melancholy you disapprove, but if you seek a poster-child for angst, look to the whining Prince of Denmark. Jean Valjean suffers much angst; is Les Miserables then not worth reading? The Sorrows of Young Werther, and indeed every thing Goethe wrote, and every Bildungsroman, from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is right out.

    I'm not just taking the piss; I genuinely want to understand what is so objectionable about angst, and how you reconcile the objection with works such as those I cite (or perhaps you deplore these works as well...). Indeed perhaps this question leads to the more helpful one: Just what do you consider worthy literature?

    Jean Valjean suffers much angst; is Les Miserables then not worth reading? The Sorrows of Young Werther, and indeed every thing Goethe wrote, and every Bildungsroman, from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is right out.

    I haven’t read most of those, so let me give you two examples I am familiar with to see if I can flesh this out a bit more.

    In Hamlet, what you’ve got is a young man just back from college being asked to do take on some pretty heavy responsibilities that he’s unprepared for. While the angst does drag on, there’s a country family, death, and murder involved. It might take me some time, too, to decide.

    Not only that, the play makes it clear that melancholy and indecision has a price. Agnonised suffering doesn’t magically produce what it is you want. In fact, you may kill some people by refusing to act.

    Shakespeare doesn’t cheat,in other words, with his drama and his angst.

    Now let’s contrast that that with Les Miserable. Possibly the only soap situation it doesn’t have is amnesia. If it were daytime television, you’d recognize it for exactly what is – a tear soaked melodrama about people shooting themselves in the foot because they’re aiming for both feet with an AK-15 and they keep asking for more ammo all the time.

    It’s a “respectable” soap opera, that’s all. The protagonist should suffer because he’s lieing, cheating moron. It’s not okay to lie. It’s not okay to steal, even the guy feels bad about it and has a hard life and society is harsh.

    Hamlet is worth the time. Les Miserable benefits from being about the French Revolution and the support of the same academics who like probably like Jackson Pollack and really don’t want moral rules to apply to them or least people they think of as poor and victims, which seems rather arbitrary in the Les Mis world. Les Mis is not worth the time, unless the goal is to pull out the hankies and/or get people to embrace moral relativism.

  284. Both Les Misersbles and Tender is the Night changed my life and taught me lessons about the human condition I cannot quite put into words – the one about the indifference of the universe, the cruelty of man, and the remote chance to find meaning all the same in worthwhile selflessness for the deserving; the other about the tragic powerlessness we have to save the ones we love from themselves, and the self-destructiveness inherent in trying.

    We are very different people who I suppose must agree to disagree about great literature. Thank you for explaining your position.

    • Replies: @AM

    Both Les Misersbles and Tender is the Night changed my life and taught me lessons about the human condition I cannot quite put into words – the one about the indifference of the universe, the cruelty of man, and the remote chance to find meaning all the same in worthwhile selflessness for the deserving; the other about the tragic powerlessness we have to save the ones we love from themselves, and the self-destructiveness inherent in trying.
     
    So were those lessons worth learning? What you learned was nihilism. I got there without Les Miserables. ;)

    You're not arguing with me about the nature of the Les Mis world or that maybe the protagonist had a quite a few problems that he brought on himself. Or that Hamlet's angst was far more worthy, brought on by problems he did not create, in a situation of high moral stakes. You're only pointing out that Les Mis managed to excite a lot of feelings in you, which was my point in the beginning. grin

    The Les Miserables world is built exactly on the assumptions that you pulled out of it: you're a powerless, empty shell and nothing matters, so go ahead steal, lie, sleep around, and generally just act like a jerk and hope random events bring peace. Okay.

    I will give Victor Hugo bonus points for building a world where that's almost believable, assuming that you really believe that people get 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread. (Hankies from Chapter 1). But it's not a book that's worth it. If anything it marks the decline in French thinking and art to the last Giant Red gaseous stage before it's modern collapse.

  285. @whorefinder
    I would just like to point out that my criticizing The Great Gatsby has given me more replies than I've received in months.

    I like how filmmakers call the book "unfilmable" despite their being a number of adaptations. I think its really because the book isn't that good, and so when they try to adapt it to real, talking characters with serious issues it falls flat. That said, the Redford and DiCaprio versions are pretty good once you get past the 2-D aspects of the people involved.

    I despise Baz Luhrmann’s directorial style, so I could barely stand the first two-thirds or so of the Leo version. Gradually it forgot it was a Baz Luhrmann movie, and then it was enjoyable.

    The Robert Redford version would’ve been okay, but they horribly miscast Tom Buchanan.

  286. AM says:
    @Autochthon
    Both Les Misersbles and Tender is the Night changed my life and taught me lessons about the human condition I cannot quite put into words – the one about the indifference of the universe, the cruelty of man, and the remote chance to find meaning all the same in worthwhile selflessness for the deserving; the other about the tragic powerlessness we have to save the ones we love from themselves, and the self-destructiveness inherent in trying.

    We are very different people who I suppose must agree to disagree about great literature. Thank you for explaining your position.

    Both Les Misersbles and Tender is the Night changed my life and taught me lessons about the human condition I cannot quite put into words – the one about the indifference of the universe, the cruelty of man, and the remote chance to find meaning all the same in worthwhile selflessness for the deserving; the other about the tragic powerlessness we have to save the ones we love from themselves, and the self-destructiveness inherent in trying.

    So were those lessons worth learning? What you learned was nihilism. I got there without Les Miserables. 😉

    You’re not arguing with me about the nature of the Les Mis world or that maybe the protagonist had a quite a few problems that he brought on himself. Or that Hamlet’s angst was far more worthy, brought on by problems he did not create, in a situation of high moral stakes. You’re only pointing out that Les Mis managed to excite a lot of feelings in you, which was my point in the beginning. grin

    The Les Miserables world is built exactly on the assumptions that you pulled out of it: you’re a powerless, empty shell and nothing matters, so go ahead steal, lie, sleep around, and generally just act like a jerk and hope random events bring peace. Okay.

    I will give Victor Hugo bonus points for building a world where that’s almost believable, assuming that you really believe that people get 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread. (Hankies from Chapter 1). But it’s not a book that’s worth it. If anything it marks the decline in French thinking and art to the last Giant Red gaseous stage before it’s modern collapse.

    • Replies: @Autochthon

    Les Misérables benefits from being about the French Revolution....
     
    The French Revolution began with the storming of the Bastille in 1789. The principal events of Les Misérablesi take place in 1832. You had might as well write that The Red Badge of Courage is about the War of 1812.

    Nor is your dismissal of the protagonist's sentence merited; an anonymous historian elaborates better than I could:


    Jean Valjean was not sentenced to nineteen years of hard labor for stealing a loaf of bread – technically, he spent five years for the bread and then subsequent time for attempts to escape while at the dreaded Bagne of Toulon. The fictional Jean Valjean managed to survive those years, unlike, for example, the real man François Caillé, arrested in the departement of Poitou-Charentes in 1798 (around the same time as Valjean) for stealing six francs (more than the price of a loaf of bread, but still a piddling sum) or, for that matter, around three-quarters of the men who were sent to the galleys.

    Actually, England during this period was worse. This was the heyday of the so-called Bloody Code, a name given to statutes enumerating approximately two hundred offenses potentially meriting the death penalty. Theft of goods more than twelve pence (about one twentieth the daily wage of a skilled labourer) could merit death. While this minimum was higher than the price of a loaf of bread, men, women and children continued to be arrested and sentenced to hard labor through the early Victorian era for the crime of “stealing a loaf of bread.”
     

    Understanding history helps one appreciate historical novels.

    Les Misérables is built exactly on the assumptions that you pulled out of it: you’re a powerless, empty shell and nothing matters, so go ahead steal, lie, sleep around, and generally just act like a jerk and hope random events bring peace.
     
    These are not the lessons I took from Les Misérables; I find it hard to believe these are the lessons any serious person takes from it. You had might as well say the messages of Exodus is that one can betray and defy one's adoptive grandfather, condone massive infanticide, wander around the desert like a jackass for forty years, and still expect to be a hailed as a divinely exalted leader.

    Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

    You who suffer because you love, love still more. To die of love, is to live by it.
     

    Hardly nihilism.

    In the event, as I wrote, we are very different people, with very different ideas about literature, and that's okay.

  287. @anonymous
    "...I’m going to suggest that maybe the story was changed to protect the guilty, which is what people do IRL. All speculation from here on in, but what if dear old Dad was not the best of men?..."

    You may have missed a recent literary event. It appears the first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird was very different than the final draft. It sounds like the publisher wanted to go with The Narrative, though, so things changed.

    "Go Set a Watchman", Harper Lee, 2015:


    "Go Set a Watchman is a novel by Harper Lee published on July 14, 2015... Although written before her first and only other published novel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird—and initially promoted by its publisher as a sequel—it is now more widely accepted as being a first draft of the famous novel....

    ...During a discussion with his daughter, Atticus argues that the blacks of the South are not ready for full civil rights, and the Supreme Court's decision was unconstitutional and irresponsible...

    ...Uncle... Jack says that Atticus hasn't suddenly become racist but is trying to slow federal government intervention into state politics. Her uncle lectures her on the complexity of history, race, and politics in the South...

    ...During a discussion with his daughter, Atticus argues that the blacks of the South are not ready for full civil rights, and the Supreme Court's decision was unconstitutional and irresponsible...

    ...Lee's editor, Tay Hohoff... "during the next couple of years, Hohoff led Lee from one draft to the next until the book finally achieved its finished form and was retitled To Kill a Mockingbird"...

    ...In terms of the initial characterization of Atticus as a segregationist, an element to his character that was dropped...

    ...How did a lumpy tale about a young woman's grief over her discovery of her father’s bigoted views evolve into a classic coming-of-age story about two children and their devoted widower father?... How did a distressing narrative filled with characters spouting hate speech... mutate into a redemptive novel associated with the civil rights movement...

    ...The New York Times described Atticus' characterization as "shocking", as he "has been affiliating with raving anti-integration, anti-black crazies..."

     

    Thanks for this info. That’s good to know. Like I said, my post was speculation. It’s gratifying that at least part of it – the book has been changed to fit an idealized story was right.

  288. @AM

    Both Les Misersbles and Tender is the Night changed my life and taught me lessons about the human condition I cannot quite put into words – the one about the indifference of the universe, the cruelty of man, and the remote chance to find meaning all the same in worthwhile selflessness for the deserving; the other about the tragic powerlessness we have to save the ones we love from themselves, and the self-destructiveness inherent in trying.
     
    So were those lessons worth learning? What you learned was nihilism. I got there without Les Miserables. ;)

    You're not arguing with me about the nature of the Les Mis world or that maybe the protagonist had a quite a few problems that he brought on himself. Or that Hamlet's angst was far more worthy, brought on by problems he did not create, in a situation of high moral stakes. You're only pointing out that Les Mis managed to excite a lot of feelings in you, which was my point in the beginning. grin

    The Les Miserables world is built exactly on the assumptions that you pulled out of it: you're a powerless, empty shell and nothing matters, so go ahead steal, lie, sleep around, and generally just act like a jerk and hope random events bring peace. Okay.

    I will give Victor Hugo bonus points for building a world where that's almost believable, assuming that you really believe that people get 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread. (Hankies from Chapter 1). But it's not a book that's worth it. If anything it marks the decline in French thinking and art to the last Giant Red gaseous stage before it's modern collapse.

    Les Misérables benefits from being about the French Revolution….

    The French Revolution began with the storming of the Bastille in 1789. The principal events of Les Misérablesi take place in 1832. You had might as well write that The Red Badge of Courage is about the War of 1812.

    Nor is your dismissal of the protagonist’s sentence merited; an anonymous historian elaborates better than I could:

    Jean Valjean was not sentenced to nineteen years of hard labor for stealing a loaf of bread – technically, he spent five years for the bread and then subsequent time for attempts to escape while at the dreaded Bagne of Toulon. The fictional Jean Valjean managed to survive those years, unlike, for example, the real man François Caillé, arrested in the departement of Poitou-Charentes in 1798 (around the same time as Valjean) for stealing six francs (more than the price of a loaf of bread, but still a piddling sum) or, for that matter, around three-quarters of the men who were sent to the galleys.

    Actually, England during this period was worse. This was the heyday of the so-called Bloody Code, a name given to statutes enumerating approximately two hundred offenses potentially meriting the death penalty. Theft of goods more than twelve pence (about one twentieth the daily wage of a skilled labourer) could merit death. While this minimum was higher than the price of a loaf of bread, men, women and children continued to be arrested and sentenced to hard labor through the early Victorian era for the crime of “stealing a loaf of bread.”

    Understanding history helps one appreciate historical novels.

    Les Misérables is built exactly on the assumptions that you pulled out of it: you’re a powerless, empty shell and nothing matters, so go ahead steal, lie, sleep around, and generally just act like a jerk and hope random events bring peace.

    These are not the lessons I took from Les Misérables; I find it hard to believe these are the lessons any serious person takes from it. You had might as well say the messages of Exodus is that one can betray and defy one’s adoptive grandfather, condone massive infanticide, wander around the desert like a jackass for forty years, and still expect to be a hailed as a divinely exalted leader.

    Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

    You who suffer because you love, love still more. To die of love, is to live by it.

    Hardly nihilism.

    In the event, as I wrote, we are very different people, with very different ideas about literature, and that’s okay.

    • Replies: @AM

    arrested in the departement of Poitou-Charentes in 1798 (around the same time as Valjean) for stealing six francs (more than the price of a loaf of bread, but still a piddling sum) or, for that matter, around three-quarters of the men who were sent to the galleys.

     

    So..did any of these theives have a history? I'm willing to bet you that they did. Today when people get arrested for felony drug possession quite often they've been convicted of several misdemeanors. The police even now down't have the resources to track down every drug possession or petty crime and must focus on repeat trouble makers.

    Another point is that even when zero tolerance thinking is at it's height, the church was always around, as was just honest begging for money to by food. Theft is still a choice, even when things look grim and justice is harsh.

    While this minimum was higher than the price of a loaf of bread, men, women and children continued to be arrested and sentenced to hard labor through the early Victorian era for the crime of “stealing a loaf of bread.”
     
    So is unlikely that 5 years of jail time happened for a loaf of bread and some hard labor was much more likely. And that's from what you posted to me.

    Think about it. What criminal justice system really has the resources to the keep a man alive for almost 2 decades for 1 petty crime?

    Well, none, including in our era.

    I don't care how "arbritarily cruel' modern historians would like to make earlier eras out to be. They had resource limits worse than ours.

    Our man most likely at most would have gotten some hard labor to repay his debts and discourage their repeat. Or honestly, if they were that bent on uber justice, executed him, as in England's codes. It' much cheaper. But the first is much more likely.

    Victor Hugo was not stupid. He set his lieing, cheating, and stealing protagonist in rather horrendous era precisely to get everyone's brains to shut off. It worked. All the anonymous historians in the world will never make 19 years for stealing a loaf bread and subsequent escape attempts pass the realism test.

    But Hugo needed a way for you to mentally and emotionally overlook the first theft and the ones right after getting him out of jail. That worked, too.

    These are not the lessons I took from Les Misérables; I find it hard to believe these are the lessons any serious person takes from it.
     
    I was reacting to what you felt about it and what had felt you had learned. "It's pointless to struggle" (paraphrased) is nihilism. And you were quite right to take it from the text. That was the point of the Les Mis world because otherwise you'd notice that most of the characters are struggling thanks to staggeringly bad decision making and not "The Man".

    Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

    You who suffer because you love, love still more. To die of love, is to live by it.
     
    These quotes are hardly inspirational. What agency has any human been given?

    The first line, restated is: well when bad luck happens so does good luck. Okay. It's optimistic I guess, but there's no human decision making involved with that. Just hang on the fates will throw you a bone. (I note here, the fates seem to be kinder when you are honest and don't steal things, but let's not get into it. :) )


    The 2nd line is just sensationalism, literally. I've parsed in my head several times now and basically he's just making an assertion that only sounds appealing if you're in love with emotions. Heck, can you even tell me what that means, in the context of loving flawed people?

    When people head towards nihilism, they tend to feel powerless and get overly wrapped up their emotions. That quote is a very good example of that.

    In the event, as I wrote, we are very different people, with very different ideas about literature, and that’s okay.
     
    Sure, except Les Mis isn't literature. It's a soap opera with a better than average writer. I've read romance novels with more realistic plot lines. It made a good musical, so that's good. :)
  289. AM says:
    @Autochthon

    Les Misérables benefits from being about the French Revolution....
     
    The French Revolution began with the storming of the Bastille in 1789. The principal events of Les Misérablesi take place in 1832. You had might as well write that The Red Badge of Courage is about the War of 1812.

    Nor is your dismissal of the protagonist's sentence merited; an anonymous historian elaborates better than I could:


    Jean Valjean was not sentenced to nineteen years of hard labor for stealing a loaf of bread – technically, he spent five years for the bread and then subsequent time for attempts to escape while at the dreaded Bagne of Toulon. The fictional Jean Valjean managed to survive those years, unlike, for example, the real man François Caillé, arrested in the departement of Poitou-Charentes in 1798 (around the same time as Valjean) for stealing six francs (more than the price of a loaf of bread, but still a piddling sum) or, for that matter, around three-quarters of the men who were sent to the galleys.

    Actually, England during this period was worse. This was the heyday of the so-called Bloody Code, a name given to statutes enumerating approximately two hundred offenses potentially meriting the death penalty. Theft of goods more than twelve pence (about one twentieth the daily wage of a skilled labourer) could merit death. While this minimum was higher than the price of a loaf of bread, men, women and children continued to be arrested and sentenced to hard labor through the early Victorian era for the crime of “stealing a loaf of bread.”
     

    Understanding history helps one appreciate historical novels.

    Les Misérables is built exactly on the assumptions that you pulled out of it: you’re a powerless, empty shell and nothing matters, so go ahead steal, lie, sleep around, and generally just act like a jerk and hope random events bring peace.
     
    These are not the lessons I took from Les Misérables; I find it hard to believe these are the lessons any serious person takes from it. You had might as well say the messages of Exodus is that one can betray and defy one's adoptive grandfather, condone massive infanticide, wander around the desert like a jackass for forty years, and still expect to be a hailed as a divinely exalted leader.

    Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

    You who suffer because you love, love still more. To die of love, is to live by it.
     

    Hardly nihilism.

    In the event, as I wrote, we are very different people, with very different ideas about literature, and that's okay.

    arrested in the departement of Poitou-Charentes in 1798 (around the same time as Valjean) for stealing six francs (more than the price of a loaf of bread, but still a piddling sum) or, for that matter, around three-quarters of the men who were sent to the galleys.

    So..did any of these theives have a history? I’m willing to bet you that they did. Today when people get arrested for felony drug possession quite often they’ve been convicted of several misdemeanors. The police even now down’t have the resources to track down every drug possession or petty crime and must focus on repeat trouble makers.

    Another point is that even when zero tolerance thinking is at it’s height, the church was always around, as was just honest begging for money to by food. Theft is still a choice, even when things look grim and justice is harsh.

    While this minimum was higher than the price of a loaf of bread, men, women and children continued to be arrested and sentenced to hard labor through the early Victorian era for the crime of “stealing a loaf of bread.”

    So is unlikely that 5 years of jail time happened for a loaf of bread and some hard labor was much more likely. And that’s from what you posted to me.

    Think about it. What criminal justice system really has the resources to the keep a man alive for almost 2 decades for 1 petty crime?

    Well, none, including in our era.

    I don’t care how “arbritarily cruel’ modern historians would like to make earlier eras out to be. They had resource limits worse than ours.

    Our man most likely at most would have gotten some hard labor to repay his debts and discourage their repeat. Or honestly, if they were that bent on uber justice, executed him, as in England’s codes. It’ much cheaper. But the first is much more likely.

    Victor Hugo was not stupid. He set his lieing, cheating, and stealing protagonist in rather horrendous era precisely to get everyone’s brains to shut off. It worked. All the anonymous historians in the world will never make 19 years for stealing a loaf bread and subsequent escape attempts pass the realism test.

    But Hugo needed a way for you to mentally and emotionally overlook the first theft and the ones right after getting him out of jail. That worked, too.

    These are not the lessons I took from Les Misérables; I find it hard to believe these are the lessons any serious person takes from it.

    I was reacting to what you felt about it and what had felt you had learned. “It’s pointless to struggle” (paraphrased) is nihilism. And you were quite right to take it from the text. That was the point of the Les Mis world because otherwise you’d notice that most of the characters are struggling thanks to staggeringly bad decision making and not “The Man”.

    Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

    You who suffer because you love, love still more. To die of love, is to live by it.

    These quotes are hardly inspirational. What agency has any human been given?

    The first line, restated is: well when bad luck happens so does good luck. Okay. It’s optimistic I guess, but there’s no human decision making involved with that. Just hang on the fates will throw you a bone. (I note here, the fates seem to be kinder when you are honest and don’t steal things, but let’s not get into it. 🙂 )

    The 2nd line is just sensationalism, literally. I’ve parsed in my head several times now and basically he’s just making an assertion that only sounds appealing if you’re in love with emotions. Heck, can you even tell me what that means, in the context of loving flawed people?

    When people head towards nihilism, they tend to feel powerless and get overly wrapped up their emotions. That quote is a very good example of that.

    In the event, as I wrote, we are very different people, with very different ideas about literature, and that’s okay.

    Sure, except Les Mis isn’t literature. It’s a soap opera with a better than average writer. I’ve read romance novels with more realistic plot lines. It made a good musical, so that’s good. 🙂

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Your discursion about your incredulity regarding criminal justice in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as your apparent contempt for Hugo's masterpiece are your own prerogative. Hell, lots of people think the planet is not overpopulated. To paraphrase Marge Simpson, "People do all kinds of crazy things ... like eat at Arby's."

    If you're interested in reconciling bravery and effort in despite of, and indeed motivated by and important precisely because of, a cold, indifferent universe – or even the futility of a fated doom – I cannot recommend enough the Eddas and the Kalewala, or indeed any of the antient Germanic (especially Norse) or Finnish canon. If you favour more modern expositions of the ideas, I recommend the works of Tolkien, especially The Silmarillion. If you go in for literary analysis* (which may be useful for you, but which your demeanor suggests you hold in even greater contempt than literature itself, here is an excellent dissertation on the latter.

    *In candor, I am no fan of it myself, but it can be helpful if otherwise one is missing important themes, just as I prefer to explore museums independently, but I certainly don't begrudge the placards and the docents if a question does arise.
  290. @AM

    arrested in the departement of Poitou-Charentes in 1798 (around the same time as Valjean) for stealing six francs (more than the price of a loaf of bread, but still a piddling sum) or, for that matter, around three-quarters of the men who were sent to the galleys.

     

    So..did any of these theives have a history? I'm willing to bet you that they did. Today when people get arrested for felony drug possession quite often they've been convicted of several misdemeanors. The police even now down't have the resources to track down every drug possession or petty crime and must focus on repeat trouble makers.

    Another point is that even when zero tolerance thinking is at it's height, the church was always around, as was just honest begging for money to by food. Theft is still a choice, even when things look grim and justice is harsh.

    While this minimum was higher than the price of a loaf of bread, men, women and children continued to be arrested and sentenced to hard labor through the early Victorian era for the crime of “stealing a loaf of bread.”
     
    So is unlikely that 5 years of jail time happened for a loaf of bread and some hard labor was much more likely. And that's from what you posted to me.

    Think about it. What criminal justice system really has the resources to the keep a man alive for almost 2 decades for 1 petty crime?

    Well, none, including in our era.

    I don't care how "arbritarily cruel' modern historians would like to make earlier eras out to be. They had resource limits worse than ours.

    Our man most likely at most would have gotten some hard labor to repay his debts and discourage their repeat. Or honestly, if they were that bent on uber justice, executed him, as in England's codes. It' much cheaper. But the first is much more likely.

    Victor Hugo was not stupid. He set his lieing, cheating, and stealing protagonist in rather horrendous era precisely to get everyone's brains to shut off. It worked. All the anonymous historians in the world will never make 19 years for stealing a loaf bread and subsequent escape attempts pass the realism test.

    But Hugo needed a way for you to mentally and emotionally overlook the first theft and the ones right after getting him out of jail. That worked, too.

    These are not the lessons I took from Les Misérables; I find it hard to believe these are the lessons any serious person takes from it.
     
    I was reacting to what you felt about it and what had felt you had learned. "It's pointless to struggle" (paraphrased) is nihilism. And you were quite right to take it from the text. That was the point of the Les Mis world because otherwise you'd notice that most of the characters are struggling thanks to staggeringly bad decision making and not "The Man".

    Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

    You who suffer because you love, love still more. To die of love, is to live by it.
     
    These quotes are hardly inspirational. What agency has any human been given?

    The first line, restated is: well when bad luck happens so does good luck. Okay. It's optimistic I guess, but there's no human decision making involved with that. Just hang on the fates will throw you a bone. (I note here, the fates seem to be kinder when you are honest and don't steal things, but let's not get into it. :) )


    The 2nd line is just sensationalism, literally. I've parsed in my head several times now and basically he's just making an assertion that only sounds appealing if you're in love with emotions. Heck, can you even tell me what that means, in the context of loving flawed people?

    When people head towards nihilism, they tend to feel powerless and get overly wrapped up their emotions. That quote is a very good example of that.

    In the event, as I wrote, we are very different people, with very different ideas about literature, and that’s okay.
     
    Sure, except Les Mis isn't literature. It's a soap opera with a better than average writer. I've read romance novels with more realistic plot lines. It made a good musical, so that's good. :)

    Your discursion about your incredulity regarding criminal justice in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as your apparent contempt for Hugo’s masterpiece are your own prerogative. Hell, lots of people think the planet is not overpopulated. To paraphrase Marge Simpson, “People do all kinds of crazy things … like eat at Arby’s.”

    If you’re interested in reconciling bravery and effort in despite of, and indeed motivated by and important precisely because of, a cold, indifferent universe – or even the futility of a fated doom – I cannot recommend enough the Eddas and the Kalewala, or indeed any of the antient Germanic (especially Norse) or Finnish canon. If you favour more modern expositions of the ideas, I recommend the works of Tolkien, especially The Silmarillion. If you go in for literary analysis* (which may be useful for you, but which your demeanor suggests you hold in even greater contempt than literature itself, here is an excellent dissertation on the latter.

    *In candor, I am no fan of it myself, but it can be helpful if otherwise one is missing important themes, just as I prefer to explore museums independently, but I certainly don’t begrudge the placards and the docents if a question does arise.

  291. @AM

    One reason a lot of girls might like HP is that Hermoine is by far the smartest person in the book, almost at Mary-Sue levels of competence. Harry is impressive, but Hermoine is a genius who’s keeping s couple years ahead of her classmates by independently reading and studying stuff.
     
    Hermoine is the girl that many girls wish they could be somehow. Rowling is a good enough writer to not let that be perfection and let the natural neurositism of such a situation shine through.

    On the other hand, by the end of the series, Harry is so flat as a character, the interesting people are actually Ron and Hermoine. It seems like Rowling was shooting for everyman in Harry and got it in spades to the point that he's a little... boring and Ken dollish.

    Meanwhile the ending of the series has a got feminized touch to it. Harry has to be willing to die to save everyone, but like a video game it turns out he's got 2nd life. Huzzah! I don't think many authors can really pull off the that off and have it ring true for everyone, especially the boys. She might have gotten the boys back if Harry actually died and we cut to a ghost scene or something. Or get a real warrior who puts off marriage until well into his 30's after kicking more hiney for a decade or two.

    But instead of that, we get Harry as normal suburban Dad, making sure Hogwarts, a school, is the center of the the universe. Huzzah again (for the girls)! Yeah, by the end it was a romance novel, not an adventure/thriller.

    If you actually read thousands of pages of “Harry Potter” you don’t get to complain about Fielding or Sterne being too long.

    Now, the “Grand Cyrus” of Scuderi, on the other hand…

  292. @AM

    Odd. You’re the first Jane Austen fan that I’ve met who doesn’t like Edith Wharton…..
     
    I also like Agatha Christie, if that means anything. :)

    What about Father (later Msgr.) Ronald Knox?

  293. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @whorefinder
    I would just like to point out that my criticizing The Great Gatsby has given me more replies than I've received in months.

    I like how filmmakers call the book "unfilmable" despite their being a number of adaptations. I think its really because the book isn't that good, and so when they try to adapt it to real, talking characters with serious issues it falls flat. That said, the Redford and DiCaprio versions are pretty good once you get past the 2-D aspects of the people involved.

    Most really good books are “unfilmable”, even Waugh, perhaps the most cinematic (literary) writer who ever lived. Great films (“Gone with the Wind”, for example) tend to be made out of fair-to-middling books, on the high end of mediocre.

    Even “The Godfather” had to be heavily reworked for the screen, and I think the result is better than Puzo’s book.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    John Huston's first draft of The Maltese Falcon screenplay was literally cut and pasted from two copies of the book.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    The main reworking of The Godfather was that the Don's origin story was left out. It was then added to The Godfather II. Otherwise, the movie was pretty faithful to the novel.

    And Waugh has been filmed.

  294. @Anon
    Most really good books are "unfilmable", even Waugh, perhaps the most cinematic (literary) writer who ever lived. Great films ("Gone with the Wind", for example) tend to be made out of fair-to-middling books, on the high end of mediocre.

    Even "The Godfather" had to be heavily reworked for the screen, and I think the result is better than Puzo's book.

    John Huston’s first draft of The Maltese Falcon screenplay was literally cut and pasted from two copies of the book.

  295. @Anon
    Most really good books are "unfilmable", even Waugh, perhaps the most cinematic (literary) writer who ever lived. Great films ("Gone with the Wind", for example) tend to be made out of fair-to-middling books, on the high end of mediocre.

    Even "The Godfather" had to be heavily reworked for the screen, and I think the result is better than Puzo's book.

    The main reworking of The Godfather was that the Don’s origin story was left out. It was then added to The Godfather II. Otherwise, the movie was pretty faithful to the novel.

    And Waugh has been filmed.

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