Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Some individuals want to stifle the CIA-Paris Review matter not only to protect the reputation of the magazine and that of connected folks, but also because the threads attached to the matter could lead anywhere.

An example: www.cia-on-campus.org/columbia.edu/columbia.html,
a 1970 report which shows the massive extent to which the CIA had infiltrated one American university.

(Note the mention of Francis T.P. Plimpton, George's father.)

The question is whether the CIA ended these associations, or if they continue. Do massive bureaucracies voluntarily give up the scope of their reach and power?

The question is to what extent the CIA, Homeland Security, et.al., are embedded in American universities NOW.

Unfortunately, unlike in 1970, no one is looking into the matter.


jimmy grace said...

"Into one of the most sordid episodes in Russian literary history, the Soviets' persecution of Boris Pasternak, author of "Doctor Zhivago," a Russian historian has injected a belated piece of intrigue: the CIA as covert financier of a Russian-language edition of the epic novel.

[..]"Pasternak's novel became a tool that was used by the United States to teach the Soviet Union a lesson," (author Ivan) Tolstoy said in a telephone interview from Prague, where he works as a Russian commentator for the U.S. government-funded radio stations. The novelist knew nothing of the CIA's action, according to Tolstoy and the writer's family.

[..]A CIA role in printing a Russian-language edition has been rumored for years. Tolstoy offers the first detailed account of what would rank as perhaps the crowning episode of a long cultural Cold War, in which the agency secretly financed literary magazines and seminars in Europe in an effort to cultivate anti-Soviet sentiment among intellectuals.

[..]Soviet-era documents published in 2001 show that even in unpublished manuscript form it was hardly ignored. "Boris Pasternak's novel is a malicious libel of the USSR," wrote Soviet Foreign Minister Dmitry Shepilov in an August 1956 memo to members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. In a memo of its own, the KGB offered the opinion that "a typical feature of his work is estrangement from Soviet life and a celebration of individualism."

From the Washington Post (I found it on http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/02/06/dr-zhivago-as-a-psyops-campaign/#more-14144)

People in power have always sponsored art that is friendly to them, from Homer to Shakespeare to Tolstoy to the bigwigs today. True artists, like those I just mentioned, find ways to expose that power while using it.

I'm not a reader of the Paris Review other than very, very occasionally. But this site has shown no evidence that anything the Review has published has advanced CIA agendas. All they've claimed is that the CIA gave people money. This is an old story, as others have pointed out, and it's also unsurprising. Hence there's nothing really to say except "Yep, people are corrupt."

From my view this looks like just another example of King's tactics in which he harrasses bigwigs via blog, letter and crashing readings. He claims he's making coherent arguments but the arguments are basically "You guys suck." If he's ignored then he claims that there's eerie silence. If people argue with him he claims that his dissent isn't tolerated, and he shuts down comments and alleges that he's getting a bunch of angry e-mails that he can't quite show us.

Then he claims all he wants is debate, but he immediately calls anyone who disagrees with him a phony who the CIA is paying to give blowjobs to Rick Moody and Lemony Snickett. Apparently all he wants is someone to say, "Here here!" and bang their beer bottle on the bar. This, apparently, constitutes revolution. Well, I had a great night making art - which he calls irrelevant - so I'm feeling cheerful this morning. As a gesture of goodwill, allow me to say:

Here here!

There, now the revolution has begun.

James Joyce Is the Greatest Writer... Ever said...

The government has been funding arts for awhile now. I see little difference between what the CIA did in the past and what government grants do now. Artists clamor for government grants, and liberals love government to solve problems.

Also, I believe the CIA ceased all this awhile ago. I'm sure they do something similar in the mid-east, but I have yet to see a relevant periodical involved (a la NYT or the New Yorker) those two magazines affect affairs (See Bush Administration Shrill Judy Miller)

King said...

A solid post of disinformation, "Grace."
I've pointed out many times the ULA's detailed, coherent arguments-- such as about the corruption of the grants funding process.
Can criticizing these grants of real money really be characterized as "You guys suck"??
What's striking about this debate isn't the fact that people in power support art catering to their interests-- but that nobody wants to know about it.
"Don't tell us anything" is the prevalent attitude.
As for Grace-as-Phony. That's a fact as long as you post here under a phony identity. Until we know that we have no way of knowing who you're friends with etc.
Most apparent to me is that YOU won't confront detailed arguments, point-by-point, whether the discussion on this blog in 2005 about the fake letter; about the grants issue; about CLMP.
I'm curious why you're threatened by us. Do you truly believe the literary process today is fair and open, or that "literature" is not dominated by the well-connected and the affluent?
Do you truly believe that who the CIA is funding in the intellectual community doesn't matter?
Are you saying we shouldn't even look into this issue? That no one should?

jimmy grace said...

Gosh, King, I thought you wanted to talk about the CIA. I posted excerpts from a new wrinkle in the story as well as my take on it. Now you claim I'm avoiding debate on other issues. I guess there's no way to win.

The attitude isn't "Don't tell us anything." The attitude is "Don't tell me anything I don't already know." The sponsorship of art by people in power is an old, old story, as I described, point by point, in a comment to a post on the CIA.

If you'd rather talk about the "fake" letter, I don't believe you. I believe you confronted a bigwig in the usual ULA style, as you've bragged about on many occasions.

If you'd rather talk about grants or CMLP, see my opinions about the sponsorship of art by power. The pointing this out is not revolution. It is not a threat. It is an obvious statement to the handful of people who already know about it, and everybody else DOES NOT GIVE A SHIT.

Finally, I've said all I will on my identity. My name's Jimmy. I make art under the name Jimmy Grace. I'm part of Arms Akimbo. I live in Oakland. I just got back from touring with a queer arts festival that continues to tour and do good work you find "irrelevant." You don't know my friends and they don't know you, although you have something of a reputation.

jimmy grace said...

(I'll wait now for cries of "You're a fraud! You're Dave Eggers! You're terrified of my fierce truths!")

fdw said...

K G B C I A M O U S E (S)

And "Doctor Zhivago" would have never been pubished in the USA if it were written in the here, especailly in the present mileau and Pasternak would have been a memeber of the ULA.
Sorta like King Wenclas?

Jeff Potter said...

JG, I recently read that Zhivago story, too. Someone here earlier mentioned that the CIA-intrigue concept was getting some traction and linked to it.

"But this site has shown no evidence that anything the Review has published has advanced CIA agendas."

The Momas blog I linked to mentioned a big, Europe-wide CIA program to boost abstract art, atonal music, and NONPOLITICAL INTERIORIZED literature back in the day.

Offhand it seems like that program is still paying dividends in PR and literary trends in general as that's still the orientation.

And, like KW suggests, who knows what programs really have ended or what has been started since then.

It seems like the CIA mission of pushing irrelevant art WORKED.

Back then it was cool for connected East Coast fancy lads to do a little adventuring in the CIA. Maybe today it doesn't have the public cachet but perhaps big money has learned to play closer to the vest.

I would think, like KW, that the CIA has greatly increased its activities in most areas. There's a war on! It's global! ---And that's only the latest rationale. Its values still seem to be in the lit world but, who knows, maybe its cash is, too.

You can know for sure that the CIA isn't in the Zeen Scene!

jimmy grace said...

Nonpolitical art like Dr. Zhivago? Huh?

Or do you mean all the nonpolitical art in the Paris Review, like (pasted from WIkipedia):

American authors interviewed include Nelson Algren, James Baldwin, Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Bowles, Christopher Browne, William Burroughs, Truman Capote, Raymond Carver, Ralph Ellison, Allen Ginsberg, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Malcolm Lowry, Norman Mailer, Mary McCarthy, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, Adrienne Rich, Philip Roth, Terry Southern, Kurt Vonnegut, Eugene Walter and John Edgar Wideman.

Yeah, Baldwin, Burroughs, Ellison, Ginsberg, Vonnegut...all CIA stooges fer sure.

The ULA has a fantasy that unreadable literary tripe has a strangehold on the public imagination. That Rick Moody's novels are the dominant force in the culture...when really...say it with me now...

(And now I'll be attacked for defending him, when I just called him "unreadable.")

Jeff Potter said...

JG, well, there are exceptions and it's good to remember them all and their conditions and what happened to them. There is indeed some numbing uniformity but thankfully art hasn't been totally prevented. It's suffered more in the past 30 years, no? Your list is of oldtimers, of course.

Say, here's something about the Handler prank: we asked him if he could give us info about the letter, how it was typed, how he got it, what was the POSTMARK. He said it came to him without an envelope. That's too bad. I emailed his publishers. They told me they never relay a letter to an author without its envelope (that's their property, too, and postmarks are important). So there's that.


jimmy grace said...

Yeah, my list has old-timers...you know, from when the CIA money was pouring in. Hmmm. I basically think the Paris Review sucks, but I don't see a CIA agenda in its contents.

And gosh, Handler didn't cooperate with someone who sent him hate mail. Suh prize suh prize. Handler's as lame as the Paris Review, but once again, I don't think he's a threat, and I don't think the ULA hating him constitutes revolution.

Wimps. I'm off to a bar, where people raise toasts against all sorts of assholes, but we're not deluding ourselves into thinking that counts for shit.

fdw said...

Yea, DG, you're claiming here that there is intention, but there's always another way of seeing it, especially when there's a hidden agend-- say, this is their "motive".
Like seeing APR embracing publishing Bukowski at the end and after the fact, when they wouldn't touch him before.
The old Freudian defense mechanism: "assimilating the threat" and you given what you revealed here yesterday should understand that more than most people?

jimmy grace said...

Oh, I see. So when the Paris Review publishes lameass writers, it's part of the plot to keep the people down through nonpolitical art. And when they publish political writers, it's to assimilate the threat, and keep people down through that method. (That's why the CIA published Dr. Zhivago in Russia, right?) And after 50 years of this plan, now they have a journal filled with crap that nobody reads. How diabolical!

That's one theory. Here's mine: rich people with lousy taste got money from their friends to make crappy art to amuse themselves.

Which theory sounds like something Handler would do? Moody? Franzen?

King said...

Yes, too many rich people are getting artistic grants and million-dollar advances for producing weak art. We can agree on that.
Does everybody already know about CIA influence on the American intellectual community over the years? I don't think so.
(Btw, check the main www.cia-on-campus.org site for more articles.)
Think about this: Without the small radical journal Ramparts looking into these questions in the Sixties, much of the story would STILL be unknown.
Do we know the extent of CIA influence today? Not really.
The point "Grace" and others are making is that we shouldn't look into this matter, because nobody cares. (If he doesn't care, why is he here posting every day?)
But he's actually wrong. You see, I care about the issue. That's why I'm pursuing it.
Regarding Paris Review.
I cited this report on Columbia because of the mention of Plimpton's father, who was a long-time foreign policy insider, playing many roles, and was in continual contact with the CIA.
I'm pointing out that the notion that George himself didn't know Peter Matthiessen, his good friend, worked for the CIA, is absurd. It's ridiculous to the nth degree. George lived in a CIA milieu and was steeped in their attitudes. To think this didn't influence the goals and tenor of the magazine is fairly ridiculous also.
Re Paris Review: One can scoff at its significance, but it remains a focal point of a network of money and power in the literary world.
To Grace: You're playing the role of a reactionary. If in fact all you cared about is "making art," then why do you post so much here, arguing against the only truly radical and outspoken literary organization in this society?
Indirectly, unintentionally or not, you're backing some corrupt, mendacious people. When you defend the status quo, you're getting in bed with superwealthy elitists who control this nation's literature. You're being used, in other words.
But I think you already know this.

jimmy grace said...

I post here because I'm bored at my day job. I'd make art during this time but I look busier at a computer. And, yeah, you tick me off. If the Paris Review ticks you off, go ahead and investigate - nobody's stopping you. (Oh, except for those hundreds of e-mailers who don't tolerate your dissent.) I was making the point that there's no evidence that the content of the Paris Review reflects CIA agendas. Another poster said, well that's because it's all nonpolitical. That's bullshit, as their own list shows - not to mention the Zhivago story. Then the point was made that, OK, they publish political art, but it's all just to co-opt it. To which I say: bullshit.

To which you now reply: George Plimpton is a liar and a rich asshole. To which I reply: No fucking kidding. You say: saying this on a blog is bringing on a literary revolution. I say: Um, no. It's complaining about rich assholes.

Lastly, you say that I'm part of the problem too, because I support that status quo. To which I say: find a single quote from me defending any hotshot. Quote me praising a bigwig writer, or saying the Paris Review is a great rag. Back up your charges. That's called debate.

King said...

You're a phony from the word go, "Grace." And you know it.
Yes, you're a reactionary, through and through. Here you are arguing that nobody cares about such issues as the CIA-in-literature story. You're arguing, implicitly if not explicitly, against us looking into such matters. You're defending the status quo-- as you are when you defend already-shown-to-be-false canards such as the fake letter.
If one follows your path here on this blog, one sees that you've appeared just when I am discussing such individuals as Rick Moody you claim not to support.
Do you now agree that Moody should never have received the Guggenheim grant-- that he could still give it back-- and that he should never have been appointed to subsequent grants panels making decisions about who receives arts monies? May as well get you on the record about that.

jimmy grace said...

"If not explicitly," you crack me up. Find a quote from me backing the bigwigs or shut the fuck up about it.

Then, cite something that indicates that the Paris Review has published anything that advances the CIA's agenda...you know, the topic you claim you really want to discuss.

My "on-the-record" position about the Guggenheim is that they're a bunch of rich guys giving money to (mostly) lame art they like. And you can quote me on that.

King said...

"Shut the fuck up"???
Sorry, not going to happen.
The best is yet to come.

chilly charlie said...

King, come on. Jimmy Grace is Tim Hall. Just systematically delete him each and every time and speed up his suicide.

Dean Haspiel: you support Tim Hall. No career for you!