Monday, March 07, 2005

Monday Report

I have this week's Monday Report. I hope it doesn't throw too many folks. It offers a different take on the assumed nature of events-- is a reminder that U.S. imperialism was promoted first by liberals.

The question is whether, in a free country, people have the right to be different-- or even to be wrong.

Most people don't know that some very good writers-- J.F. Powers and Kenneth Rexroth to name two-- we're Conscientious Objectors during the Second World War, and endured many indignities as a result. There is also the controversial matter of Ezra Pound, who was put in a small cage like an animal after the war, then locked away for years in a psychiatric hospital.

When one starts examining the actual history of events, more questions are raised than one might think-- things aren't always according to the accepted record. I wanted to raise some questions with my essay. (I'll have more about the matter this week on this blog.)


- Leopold said...

since no one else is commenting, i'll put in my 6 cents worth.

I enjoyed your Monday Report. I don't know enough about Lindberg to do a proper critique of your argument, but I appreciate you punching holes in Roth's inane book concept.

I think the fact that 'we' won WWII has a lot to do with how we justify that war. One of the things that drives me nuts is how the war is now sold as a liberation of the Jewish people. This in no way denies the horribleness of what happened over there, but saving the jews was not high on anybody's priority list in going into that war. It was almost a happy accident when they finally strolled into Germany to find out that, unlike WWI, there might have been a justification for waging this war. 'Help save the Jews' wasn't on any propaganda posters. It's good that it was stopped (although a bit late) but I don't think we deserve much credit for that happening.

So WWII has become this war that was justified and good for society and now people ignore the fact that it was really just an offshoot of WWI and, ultimately, a bunch of imperialist powers (UK, France) getting upset when Germany tried to join in the game. Of course, America, Africa, Asia and the middle east was taken, so Germany started with it's smaller neighbours. It's the same as the UK, US, Israel, France etc... telling third world nations not to develop nuclear weapons. The end result of WWII continued the problems - a clash of imperialists leading to the rise of two new ones - the US and Russia.

Although it's probably a good thing that the US entered the war and that Germany/Japan were stopped (let's face it, their imperialism was no nicer than any that preceded it) everyone likes to portray WWII as a war that everyone tried to stop by being too nice, but just had to put their food down eventually - is pretty innaccurate. Germany didn't start the war, it's the same war in a different flux that was started by imperialist powers long before and still goes on today.

Anyway, I liked a lot of things FDR did as president, but he always did seem like kind of a hawk to me. I remember they taught this 'wise' FDR quote in school: He said 'Speak softly and carry a big stick'. This was supposed to be really stoic advice but I always remembing thinking "that sounds like something an asshole would say."

- Leopold said...

er...i meant 'put their foot down' in that second last paragraph. Although, putting down their food is also a pretty valid criticism. ha ha.

King Wenclas said...

You're right, Leopold. Hitler, and the Soviet Union, were the result of World War One-- undoubtedly the dumbest war in history.

Anonymous said...

A book by a highly acclaimed American novelist about U.S. aggression and oppression against people who differ from the U.S. rulers and much of its populace by ethnicity and religion? It must be a dramatic, blistering portrayal of the money-burning and criminal U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, which as I've noted elsewhere, "has been judged to be illegal by the head of the U.N. and legal experts across the U.S. and the globe, and has had the predicted effect of increasing the likelihood of attack against the U.S., and was based on fraud as known in advance, and meanwhile has killed over a thousand U.S. troops, and wounded or debilitated tens of thousands, and has killed upwards of 100,000 Iraqis and maimed countless others while destroying their country." It must be a novel that illuminates life today and around the world, that helps people understand it, a novel that matters now for people virtually everywhere and for the future of the globe itself.

No surprise, it's not, and has no intention of being so, as Roth himself has pointed out.

Haven't read Roth's novel, so don't know what he does to history, speculative or otherwise, but plenty of the historical take in the monday report is flawed, which anyone reading this can easily look up, if interested.

Anonymous said...

You're Canadian so we forgive you, but that quote about speaking softly and carrying a big stick is Theodore Roosevelt's big line. He was FDR's cousin, older, and an earlier president (they also belonged to different political parties though both cousins were at least marginally progressive--reportedly they didn't care for one another much either). To be honest I don't know why Roth bothered, as it's unlikely he could top Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here, another novel about a fascist takeover of America and published in 1938?, about the time Roth sets his novel in. It's up there with 1984 but not taught in American schools often because it hits a bit too close to home.

- Leopold said...

Actually, as I was posting that message i figured i might have misquoted but I was sure it was Roosevelt. Forgot there was two. Like I said, I'm not too clear on that era, particularly on the also-rans in a foreign country in a contest nearly a century ago. Thanks for the correction. I stand by what I think about the line, though!