Saturday, January 30, 2010

HOLDEN CAULFIELD: DEFIANT TO THE BITTER END AND - ZINN NO MORE.

America and I suppose the world lost two giants over the last couple of days. By far the most famous of the two was JD Salinger author of one of the most popular books ever written ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ with this book he created one of literature’s greatest heroes Holden Caulfield: the original mixed up teenager who seemed to speak for every angst ridden stumbling: fumbling! would be young lothario of the second half of the 19 00’s. like most young men who read the book in those heady rebellious days "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!" ( Wordswoth, OK calm down) I found that it had wormed it’s way into my consciousness in a way that I would never be able to shake off: here I am some 45 years later and I still feel that I know him.

Salinger was of course "loosely wrapped" which made him even more 'the man' a famous recluse and: whether he did this deliberately or not: I don’t know but: his famous hermit life style and his sometimes violent and aggressive contempt for the media as well as his general eccentric behaviour made him even more famous, a kind of literary Howard Hughes or Greta Garbo if you will. The world now waits to find out what he was doing over all these years because he published very little after ‘Catcher’ stories abound that he has 15/16 unpublished manuscripts: we wait as well to find out just how eccentric he was and what kind of life he led over all that time when he refused to be seen or spoken to by the media or the public: a fascinating situation.
The second person I refer to was Howard Zinn: an American giant in the true sense: I have been conscious of his dignified and gracious presence against the backdrop of most of the struggles of the same second half of the 19 00’s. The marginalised and voiceless people of the USA and the world, the underdogs and the poor had Howard Zinn by their side in every struggle that they fought. He was part of a bomber crew in the war over Europe; an experience which made him question the conventions which governed American society. He went to college after the war and went on to have a magnificent career as a radical voice of the left and an American historian: spoken of in the same breath as Noam Chomski who was his great friend.
Zinn can be found in the reports of the struggles for women’s rights: the desegregation of the South: the Anti Vietnam war and every other progressive issue which people campaigned for through that turbulent period. He could fill any hall he agreed to speak at right up to his death at 87 just 2 days ago: he never stopped campaigning and never gave up the fight he was an inspiration to all those who seek justice and peace: he was vehemently anti war but never a pacifist: he never sought the easy way.

Luckily: unlike Salinger: Zinn does not leave us wondering if there is more to come. His output was prolific: books; essays: fiction as well as copious recordings in print: radio and television of him debating: lecturing and teaching: a charismatic intelligent passionate human being: a tribute to his great country: he represented the kind of America that I hope we will someday see: I urge you to take the time and make the effort to learn about this great man: a genuinely great American: Google and U Tube are good places to start.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

An endorsement from Chomsky means little, he supported the Khmer Rouge. He wants a top down left -one that is murderous if need be. Not a genuine grassroots left. A deeply suspect individual.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 31/01/10
I think it is more accurate to say that Chomsky tried to bring rational thought to the debate about the Khmer Rouge at a time when they were being demonised by Americans: most of whom were not even aware of America’s culpability in the destruction of Cambodian society.

He is a light shining on America’s and Capitalism’s darkest and most cruel adventures.

Byeck said...

Councillor, you say the Khmer Rouge were demonised by the Americans!

Can we have your views on Pol Pot?

The received wisdom is that,like Stalin, he was a murderous psychopath,but seems your view is that the Killing Fields never happened and any suggestion that Uncle Pol shot Bambi's mother is a vile slander on a loveable rogue.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Byeck) 16:02
I simply make the point that the Khmer Rouge could never become so prominent if America had not dropped more bombs on Cambodia than were dropped in the second world war by all sides: while of course denying they were doing it and of course no western media outlets including Britain was reporting it: maybe they couldn’t hear the bangs going off.

Now let me see Pol Pot was a bad guy for killing all those people right? was Nixon a good guy for bombing Cambodia and killing hundreds of thousands of Cambodian people or does he get away with it?

Byeck said...

Councillor,
You defended the Pol Pot regime.I did not defend Nixon.

But since you brought Nixon into the equation, while he had a leaning towards burglary, I dont think he murdered his own people, an unfortunate habit your heros all seem to share.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Byeck)
Killing hundreds of thousands of Cambodians is not really that bad is it?

Byeck said...

Pol Pot certainly thought killing hundreds of thousands of Cambodians was no big deal..I assume that's what you meant?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Byeck) 15:57
No I didn’t but it’s quite obvious that Pol Pot and Cambodia is another subject that you know nothing about.

Anonymous said...

"Now let me see Pol Pot was a bad guy for killing all those people right? was Nixon a good guy for bombing Cambodia and killing hundreds of thousands of Cambodian people or does he get away with it?"

Nixon was a loathsome, excuse for a human being, so was Pol Pot. I find anyone who supported either of them deeply suspect.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 17:34
“I find anyone who supported either of them deeply suspect”
Me too but I don’t let that stop me from trying to find out why such things happen: some argue that no Nixon would have meant no Pol Pot and there is a certain logic to that.

Anonymous said...

Terry, can you point me in the direction of those who postulate 'No Nixon, no Pol Pot.'

It's an argument I haven't heard before and as a keen student of US involvement in SE Asia, would like to study it.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 03/02/10
“as a keen student of US involvement in SE Asia”
If you have never come across ‘no Nixon no Pol Pot’ you are clearly not a keen student of US involvement in SE Asia.

bbcc1234aa said...

Councillor Kelly said: "Nixon a good guy for *bombing Cambodia and killing hundreds of thousands of Cambodian people*"

Can you provide your source for that claim.


Councillor Kelly said: "some argue that no Nixon would have meant no Pol Pot and there is a certain logic to that"

Some argue that - as Marxist ideology inexorably leads to genocide, mass crimes against humanity and murderous Communist tyranny - no Marx and Engles would have meant no Pol Pot and no Stalin, Mao, Kim Il Sung, Lenin, Castro et al and there is more than just a certain logic to that.


As I'm not a keen student of US involvement in SE Asia and obviously don't have your superior knowkedge of the subject can you point me in the direction of those who postulate 'No Nixon, no Pol Pot.' Thanks in advance.

Of course you could always carry on ignoring or avoiding every question that is asked of you and confirm the suspicions most readers of this blog have that you are nothing more than a bumbling blatherskite

Anonymous said...

'No Nixon' no Pol Pot.'

Terry, you're Being less than helpful on this.

Will you please reference the quote/article for me?

Jimmy Kerr, West End, Paisley. said...

Interesting to see the comments here.

I had no idea that you Terry were a Howard Zinn reader, or a Chomsky reader. I must say, I am suitably impressed

I wouldn't worry about the unnamed baboons and their comments.

Libellous comments about the Khmer Rouge, or Shining Path or other murderers are always thrown around by lower primates anytime someone tries to have a sensible conversation about the US imperial system.

Half of Z Mags writers, including Chomsky, have all suffered at the hands of these stupid creatures

Zinn was a collossus, he talked about ordinary people and saw history from their perspective in a kind of archaeology of popular social movements, uncovering, digging up, unearthing truths and insights like precious artifacts.

He was passionately anti-war and looked at conventional wisdom with a clear eyed analysis that can only be described as heroic and a lot of people wouldn't be able to make sense of this century, this new kind of empire, without Howard Zinn.

I note that the worst comments against Zinn, were posted anonymously. How cowardly, what a disgrace.

Some people have no shame at all.

I suspect that the person is too embarrassed to reveal themselves

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 04/02/10
Why do I have to give you a reference? Nixon dropped more bombs on Cambodia than was dropped by all sides in the Second World War thus creating the situation in where the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot flourished; no Nixon no Pol Pot, no mass deaths and destruction no bombs no Pol Pot, tackle that: do you think Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge appeared from nowhere: did they just kind of happen! are you the self declared keen student of the US IN S east Asia? keen student?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Councillor Kelly said: "Nixon a good guy for *bombing Cambodia and killing hundreds of thousands of Cambodian people*"

I would have thought that the context that that statement was made as a reply to “Byeck” would have been rather obvious: in fact so bloody obvious that I can only conclude that you don’t do irony!

No Marx & Engels – No Soviet Union and victory to Hitler – no female emancipation – no votes – women and children continue to work down mines and 18 hour days in factories – no workers rights – no trade unions – no Labour Party – no NHS – no education for all etc. etc.

Do you think the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot just suddenly appeared? You’re not a keen student of US involvement in SE Asia right enough are you.

Nixon bombed the Cambodians back to the stone age and killed hundreds of thousands of people: and then along came Pol Pot, is it possible there might have been a connection?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Jimmy: what can I say? you read Chomsky and Howard Zinn: I too am suitably impressed.

Anonymous said...

So, really,the 'No Nixon, no POl Pot' quote, is attributable solely to Councillor Kelly!

Wonderful, the man who didn't know where or what the Falklands were in 1982,is now an expert on US foreign policy in the early '70's!!

Kelly for Foreign Sec and watch out Hilary Clinton, is what I say!

Anonymous said...

I think Jimmy is taking the piss. Unless of course you agree that people who take a different point of view are lower life forms. Personally I see nothing wrong with loathing Nixon and Pol Pot.
Can't understand why that makes me a chimpanzee.

bbcc1234aa said...

Councillor Kelly, You say Nixon killed hundreds of thousands of Cambodians and then along came Pol Pot and killed another 3 million; and you think there is a connection? I could see the logic in that if the three million slaughtered by Pol Pot had been Americans.

Councillor Kelly, for the third time, will you give me the source of your claim that Nixon killed hundreds of thousands of Cambodian people - and while you're at it inform us of those others who postulate 'No Nixon no Pol Pot'.

Terry Kelly said:

"No Marx & Engels – no female emancipation – no votes"


Mr Kelly, I think women managed to emancipate themseleves by their own endeavours and would

have done so without assistance from Marx and Engles - Your comment is not only chauvinistic

it is an insult to Hannah Woolley, Mary Wollstonecraft, Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht,

Catherine Macaulay and in fact every woman who fought (and are still fighting today in some

societies) for equality.

In Soviet Russia almost every woman was forced to work, they were discriminated against in

the work place, they were paid substantially less than men and few held positions of prestige particularly within the Communist Party. In the home Soviet women faired no better they were still expected to do all the housework, manage finances, see to their man's needs and take sole responsibility for their children. There was also a large increase in prostitution. So much for you Marx and Engles.



"No Marx & Engels – No Soviet Union and victory to Hitler"

You are of course assuming that the Russian Empire would not have played an equally

significant role in defeating Hitler. However no America and the Soviet Bloc would have expanded throughout Europe - And I'd now be sitting here in the dark waiting for the knock-on-the-door from the state secret police for daring to express opinions that differ from those of Comrade Kelly.


"No Marx & Engels no NHS"


Hmmmm the origins of the NHS owe more to Jesus & Tolstoy than to Marx & Engels. No Jesus no

Tolstoy no Fellowship of the New Life no Fabian Society (and probably no Labour Party) no

Beveridge.
I don't think Bismarck - the first to implement Health Insurance, workers accident

compensation, disability Insurance and a Retirement Pension - was influenced by Marx &

Engels.

"No Marx & Engels women and children continue to work down mines and 18 hour days in

factories – no workers rights"

So, for example, you are saying that Marx and Engles were responsible for the Health and

Morals of Apprenticies act - 1802 - prohibiting employers in the textile industry from

forcing children to work more than a 12 hour day?


Terry Kelly said:

"Do you think the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot just suddenly appeared? You’re not a keen student

of US involvement in SE Asia right enough are you."

No I don't think the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot just suddenly appeared, that is what you are claiming.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 05/02/10
Anyone who does not think that the American bombing of Cambodia had nothing to do with what happened under Pol Pot is an idiot is what I say.!

Anyone who thinks that the Falklands is comparable to the American involvement in Cambodia and Vietnam is an even bigger idiot is what I say!

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 05/02/10
Jimmy’s phrase was just a general insult I’ve probably said things as bad myself: he was not referring to Nixon and Pol Pot he was referring to the anonymous critic of the late great Howard Zinn.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(bbcc1234aa) 06/02/10
You are saying that the American bombing of Cambodia which killed 800,000 people had nothing to do with the rise of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot: I say it did: it is a common enough hypothesis notably argued by Noam Chomsky.

Looking at the rest of the nonsense that you have written here it’s apparent that I will have to be much clearer and not make the assumption that you are able to grasp the general point so: with that in mind I will simplify it for you as follows :- no Marx & Engels = no progress.

If you are going to persist in writing write you had better show a little discipline and make it much shorter: there is absolutely nothing enlightening: interesting or unpredictable in anything you have sent so far.

bbcc1234aa said...

Councillor Terry Kelly said:

"if America had not dropped more bombs on Cambodia than were dropped in the second world war by all sides"

Can you provide your source for this claim please.

bbcc1234aa said...

Councillor Terry Kelly said:

"American bombing of Cambodia which killed 800,000 people"

Can you also provide your source for this claim.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(bbcc1234aa) 08/02/10
“Can you provide your source for this claim please”

Yes but I don’t regard this as a serious question.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(bbcc1234aa) 08/02/10
Yes but I’m not going to: see previous answer.

bbcc1234aa said...

Councillor Kelly said:

"no Marx & Engels = no progress."

What utter nonsense. Unless of course you class the murder of 150,000,000 progress


Councillor Kelly said:

"Yes but I don’t regard this as a serious question"

I assure you they are serious requests - perhaps you think everyone who makes such outlandish claims should do so without providing their source should they be asked. Your hero Chomsky would probably agree with you.

During the Cambodian genocide at a time Khmer Rouge bloodlust was at its highest Chomsky, having rejected evidence to the contrary from such sources as the testimonies of thousands of Cambodian refugees, wrote:

"executions have numbered at most in the thousands; that these were localized in areas of limited Khmer Rouge influence and unusual peasant discontent, where brutal revenge killings were aggravated by the threat of starvation"

In his defence of Pol Pot not only did Chomsky deny the extent of the executions being carried out by the Khmer Rouge (over one million executed) but also his denial was made while those executions were still taking place.

You didn't say the US (Nixon) shared some responsibility you said "No Nixon = no Pol Pot" - in your quest to blame America for all the worlds ills you ignore the fact that it was North Vietnam who first took the war into Cambodia and it was North Vietnam who were almost single handedly responsible for the creation of the Khmer Rouge.


As you now know my intent is serious perhaps you can provide the source (as you said you can) for your claim that: "American bombing of Cambodia killed 800,000 people" and a reference to those who have also stated that "No Nixon = no Pol Pot"





Is that short enough?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(bbcc1234aa) 08/02/10

"no Marx & Engels = no progress."
What utter nonsense

Oh no it’s not!

“I assure you they are serious requests”

Oh no they are not!

“you said "No Nixon = no Pol Pot"

Oh no I didn’t!

“Is that short enough?”

No it’s overlong pompous and repetitive.

Anonymous said...

Provide sources, you lying Toerag!

Is that short enough?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 12/02/10
I don’t think it’s necessary to provide sources in this case.