Louis Ferdinand Celine

what questions?
Questions of why very intelligent men wrote the way they did .. writing them off as 'young and dumb' or as 'bigots' or as simpletons who were influenced by contemporary pamphlets the way some redneck might be influenced by Fox News .. is all very unsatisfying. But saying anything other than that is taboo.

So maybe I mispoke, maybe it's not a shame we can't discuss it honestly .. it's a shame we can't discuss it truthfully, objectively.
 

mjp

Founding member
But saying anything other than that is taboo.
No one is stopping you from saying anything here.

If you have beliefs that are so unpopular and reprehensible that you're hesitant to talk about them anywhere, that's one thing. Saying you aren't allowed to talk about them is something else.

You're bemoaning political correctness in the wrong venue.
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
Questions of why very intelligent men wrote the way they did .. writing them off as 'young and dumb' or as 'bigots' or as simpletons who were influenced by contemporary pamphlets the way some redneck might be influenced by Fox News .. is all very unsatisfying. But saying anything other than that is taboo.

So maybe I mispoke, maybe it's not a shame we can't discuss it honestly .. it's a shame we can't discuss it truthfully, objectively.

Look, I spent years of my life studying and reading Celine and that's what I came up with, distilled down of course into a format that fits on a discussion forum. I'm not sure what other explanation would be so taboo that we can't discuss it here. I'm always interested in hearing alternative theories. You, however, sound more interested in whining about how you're not allowed to say what you think, rather than putting something out there and defending it.

Edited to add: sorry if you find it silencing or whatever, but it is factually true that Celine was influenced by right-wing propaganda - evidenced by the fact that he repeated claims from anti-semitic newspapers verbatim in his pamphlets. That's not really something that's open to alternative interpretations. You could question what drove him to be influenced by those pieces of propaganda, but that's well-documented as well in interviews with Celine (his extreme pacifism leading him to hate Jews because he thought they were trying to bring about another war). But I'm sure you also have a very well-researched viewpoint to lay down if only we were less PC around here.
 
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his pamphlets are weird. [...] they're stylistically very interesting, but i've only read snippets, because devouring them cover-to-cover would be a thankless chore.

Look, I spent years of my life studying and reading Celine and that's what I came up with, distilled down of course into a format that fits on a discussion forum. I'm not sure what other explanation would be so taboo that we can't discuss it here.

excuse me sir, but your chutzpah is showing
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
You got me. I don't know what I'm talking about. Celine wasn't racist or anti Semitic, and I'm just a PC social justice warrior. Fuck you.
 

mjp

Founding member
I didn't stop you from saying anything. You said it, right? Got it off your chest? Then I removed it. Seems like a win/win to me. You should be thanking me and sending money and frozen steaks.
 
I wasn't bemoaning the political correctness of this forum at all. This is a great forum - my reference to 'taboo' was much broader. The holocaust is used as a basic reference of evilness in our society, especially in academic philosophy but elsewhere too. Clearly rounding people up and murdering them is evil - but sadly there was much more evil to world war two than just the concentration camps.

I suppose one thing I was nudging towards but struggling to find the right words for is the problem of nepotism through the Jewish religion in Europe, especially entering the 20th century. One of the main reasons antisemitism caught on was that a lot of Jews WERE in positions of financial power - and a lot of positions of financial power were held by Jews (far more than would have been proportional to the population). Certainly propagandists took this fact, which would have been fairly evident to all european citizens at that time, and spun it to make it seem that Jewish people were inherently greedy or inherently morally suspect. This, just as clearly, is where people who followed such propaganda were led astray. Rather than seeing the negative changes that were happening as institutional problems they saw them as 'racial character flaw' problems.

Sadly, propagandists and patriots and imperialists of all stripes have been pushing this racial inferiority agenda since time immemorial to justify getting everyday people on board with their stupid schemes.

Having said that, racism is in my opinion never reasonable and always idiotic. But criticizing groups or institutions for things like nepotism is important. The difference between saying thay 'jewish people are greedy and morally corrupt' and saying that 'high paying jobs seemed to circulate mich more freely amog jews than among other segments of the citizenry' is enormous.

I guess the point is that wariness of jews was reasonable at that time, even though racism was not. Celine was a product of his times to some degree and the racism is a sad legacy and undeniable so as far as that goes I totally agree with Jordan.

The related issue that I was getting at has more to do with how historians have written world war two, and how it has come to be (mis)understood by the general public - namely as largely a simple issue of some guy (Hitler) who is presumably basically just acting alone as a charismatic embodiment of evil rounds up huge piles of jews into concentration camps and the allies storm across the channel (and the ocean) and save the day. The reality of the dynamics and interests at play is a lot more complex than that. And even if we don't acknowledge that the 'official figures' of how many Jews perished are exorbitantly inflated (which they are if we pause and just think about how small concentration camps actually were and how few people could logistically have been shuffled through there) .. even if we accept the official figures, loss of life of germans and russians is MUCH more dramatic. Not only that but really the whole life-WAY of rural Europeans was destroyed - village life was largely self-reliant pre-ww2, families all had their little cows and chickens and plots of arable land.

After ww2 and the marshall plan and the loss of strapping young males, a lot changed. The money economy became a much larger function of peoples' daily lives, old folk medicinal traditions were largely killed off, farming became large tractor-cultivated monocultures (marshall plan money was largely earmarked either for buying tractors from certain industrialists or for importing agriculural products from the new world - which of course benefitted international shipping and financial interests enormously). Along with all of this, the foodways changed as well, sugar for example became a much larger portion of peoples diets, as did wheat and dairy.

Not that all was rosy before ww2 for the landed peasantry of the old world, but a lot did change in a very short time.

Another interesting offshoot of ww2 (there are many!) is the opening of the floodgates of the labor market. The high death tolls and the fact that so many men were inscripted meant that women were yanked out of the home and into the workforce en masse. this was of course justified by the concurrent emergence out of certain academic circles of what we now call feminism.

Another interesting event through ww2 was the massive rise in institutionalization of men especially, via fraternal organizations like the Masons who counted somewhere jn the neighborhood of 20 million American men among their ranks in the 50s. This happened as a direct result of the military culture.

Sorry, long digression. Racism is bad, ww2 was a shitshow, yada yada
 
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