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Old 05-01-2012, 02:37 PM
Eve Eve is offline
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Gertrude Stein: "Nazi is a Nazi is a Nazi."

Jeez, I knew that bitch Coco Chanel was a Nazi whore, but Gertie was a surprise to me:
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The Met exhibit, which runs until June 3, details the history of the collection. But thereís one problem: It makes no clear mention of the reason this American-Jewish writer/collector, who remained in France during World War II, evaded Vichy violence, Nazi plunder and anti-Semitic laws: Gertrude Stein was what the French call une collabo ó that is, a collaborator . . . Like several other American modernists, Stein was a vocally harsh critic of FDR and the New Deal. But she also flirted with fascism, becoming a great fan of Spainís fascist Francisco Franco and of Franceís Marshal Philippe Petain, the World War I hero who became the Vichy puppet leader of Occupied France and, ultimately, an ally of Adolf Hitler. Stein even became a Vichy propagandist, translating Petainís speeches into English, then submitting them for publication in New York, to which the publisher Bennett Cerf reportedly responded, ďOver my dead body!Ē

Stein chose to collaborate to support her political beliefs ó but also to safeguard herself, her life partner, Alice B. Toklas, and their property in wartime France. Although Steinís own works were barred from distribution under Vichy/Nazi censorship, she and Toklas were otherwise protected. They were never put on any police lists of Jews in France and ignored American diplomatic warnings to flee to Switzerland . . . Worst of all, she lobbied for the nomination of Hitler for the 1938 Nobel Peace Prize. By that time, the Nuremberg Laws that so harassed Jews were some three years old; there is no way she didnít know what kind of man she was offering up for world acclaim.
OK, she was not exactly marching around in knee-high boots turning Jews over to the SS, but I found this kinda surprising.
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:50 PM
kaylasdad99 kaylasdad99 is offline
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Very surprising.

I'm certain it was an oversight on your part, but here's the source for the quoted material.

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 05-01-2012 at 02:53 PM..
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:53 PM
Eve Eve is offline
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nm

Last edited by Eve; 05-01-2012 at 02:54 PM..
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:00 PM
Craz3d117 Craz3d117 is offline
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Surprising indeed, especially considering her affiliation with Hemingway.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:43 PM
Lantern Lantern is online now
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I happened to read an article on this very topic, which was linked on the Arts and Letters Daily. The writer has also written a book on Stein and Vichy.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:40 PM
NDP NDP is offline
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Originally Posted by FTA
Although Stein’s own works were barred from distribution under Vichy/Nazi censorship, she and Toklas were otherwise protected. They were never put on any police lists of Jews in France and ignored American diplomatic warnings to flee to Switzerland . . . Worst of all, she lobbied for the nomination of Hitler for the 1938 Nobel Peace Prize. By that time, the Nuremberg Laws that so harassed Jews were some three years old; there is no way she didn’t know what kind of man she was offering up for world acclaim.
Was Stein ever known as a self-hating Jew? That would be another reason that could explain her conduct during WWII. If so, that could also possibly explain why the Nazis and their French collaborators chose to ignore her. She was a public figure who could be used to spread propaganda defending their virulently anti-Semitic policies.

I know I'm indulging in some dime-store psychology with that theory but I really don't otherwise understand how someone could agree with--let alone make even a tacit alliance with--people who not only hate you for being what you are but will also kill you and all other people like yourself without hesitation.
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:20 PM
ZenBeam ZenBeam is offline
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Lantern's link was broken. Here's a fixed version.
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:42 PM
koeeoaddi koeeoaddi is offline
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I had no idea.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:26 PM
Eve Eve is offline
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Originally Posted by koeeoaddi View Post


I had no idea.
Me neither! I know very little about her, as I find her writing so annoying. But she struck me as a nice person; smart, funny. I may have to read a bio of her, as long as it does not quote her "poetry."

I did recently read a new bio of Chanel that really details her collaboration, and even I was shocked--I knew she lived with a Nazi officer, sold to Nazis, and tried to screw her Jewish partners out of the firm--but it turns out she was actually a paid SS agent, and if Churchill had not saved her bacon, she might have been hanged after the war!
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:45 PM
Slithy Tove Slithy Tove is offline
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Please excuse the hijack, but close by the topic of Chanel and the Nazis (or was that just Goebbels in drag?): to anyone further interested I'd like to recommend Broken Threads: The Destruction of the Jewish Fashion Industry in Germany and Austria, by (my former fiber arts instructor) Roberta Kremer. Thank you for letting me make the plug.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:00 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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I can't even recall why I'm supposed to know who she is, though I do remember her name. Voting rights or something?

Could Jews vote in France?
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:18 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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Are you asking about Stein? She was a writer and art collector. I don't know much more about her except that according to Lynne Truss, you can find a quote from her hating on just about every punctuation mark except the period. Explains a lot, in my opinion.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:23 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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Yes, I am asking about Stein. Why is (or was) she famous?
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:28 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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For being a writer and an art collector.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:29 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
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Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
I can't even recall why I'm supposed to know who she is, though I do remember her name. Voting rights or something?

Could Jews vote in France?
Stein and her brother Leo discovered Picasso and collected art in Paris during the early 20th century. They had lots of artists over and promoted the careers of a lot of great artists from when they were unknowns. They had a falling apart after Leo confessed that he hated Gertrude's writing style. She was a self-proclaimed genius as a writer and lots of people agree with her. She was a genius at picking out up and coming artists.

The Steins were born in the SF Bay Area and their family owned one of the many San Francisco street car companies, from which they got the wealth necessary to leave Oakland ("there is no there, there" is a famous G.S. quote re Oakland) and live in Paris and collect art.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:02 PM
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is offline
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Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
Yes, I am asking about Stein. Why is (or was) she famous?
Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.

Pigeons on the grass alas.
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  #17  
Old 05-01-2012, 10:09 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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In Spanish it's "Arroz es arroz es arroz."
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:30 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Also, while she was never "out" in the way we think of it today, she's one of the few unambiguously gay figures from her era, making her an early icon in gay culture.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:51 AM
Nava Nava is online now
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In Spanish it's "Arroz es arroz es arroz."
BUt only if you're one of those people who pronounce any S as a Z.
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:02 AM
njtt njtt is online now
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Is this so uncommon amongst the modernist writers of that era? Ezra Pound was an overt fascist and Nazi collaborator; there is some quite blatant anti-semitism in some of T.S. Eliot's poems from the 1920s; and that is just the Americans that spring to mind. The poet D'Annunzio (I think he counts as modernist in the same sense as Stein) effectively kickstarted the fascist takeover of Italy.
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:42 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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I would prefer to remember Gertrude Stein for deathless prose like "Papa dozes mama blows her noses".

Last edited by Jackmannii; 05-03-2012 at 07:42 AM..
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:48 AM
grude grude is offline
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Is this so uncommon amongst the modernist writers of that era? Ezra Pound was an overt fascist and Nazi collaborator; there is some quite blatant anti-semitism in some of T.S. Eliot's poems from the 1920s; and that is just the Americans that spring to mind. The poet D'Annunzio (I think he counts as modernist in the same sense as Stein) effectively kickstarted the fascist takeover of Italy.
Shit there was a brief resurgence of nazi/fascism chic among new wave and post-punk musicians, off the top of my head people who flirted with this crap include David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, I know there were a few more too. Were they being provacative? Really believed it? Who knows.
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  #23  
Old 05-03-2012, 10:05 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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P.G. Wodehouse had some Nazi issues, too: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=348621
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:00 AM
njtt njtt is online now
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Shit there was a brief resurgence of nazi/fascism chic among new wave and post-punk musicians, off the top of my head people who flirted with this crap include David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, I know there were a few more too. Were they being provacative? Really believed it? Who knows.
I am pretty sure that was ironic. In Britain, at any rate, the whole punk and post-punk thing (and, indeed, most of the serious rock - as opposed to pop - music scene) was very much on the political left, even the far left. If a rock musician so much as supported Margaret Thatcher, he would probably have been careful to keep quiet about it. Punk concerts were often promoted by organizations with names like Rock Against Racism. Both Bowie and Ferry (both of whom, incidentally, were major stars well before the rise of punk) were smart enough to know that if anyone took them for actual fascists, their fan base would have evaporated in seconds. However, they were also smart enough to know, and to know their fans would know, that they could play with some of that symbolism without anyone believing they really were Nazis. There were some neo-Nazi punk bands, but their following was minuscule.

The fascism of some of the 1920s and 1930s modernists, by contrast, was quite as sincere as the Communism of some of the others, although they (Fascists and Communists alike) varied a lot in their degree of commitment. Eliot is only overtly anti-Semitic in about three poems, all published before 1920, I think, and eventually turned himself (a boy from St Louis, MO) into an English Anglo-Catholic high Tory (plenty right-wing, but not fascist). By contrast, his friend Ezra Pound (the man who turned Eliotís Waste Land from an incoherent mess of fragments into the poetic expression of a generational zeitgeist) went to Italy and offered his services to Mussolini, and worked enthusiastically through World War II as a Fascist propagandist and anti-Semitic provocateur. Stein, by the sound of it, was somewhere in between.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:07 AM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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Perhaps it something to do with the fact that both Fascism and Modernism were at their core Romantic movements.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:08 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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I am pretty sure that was ironic.
In the cases grude mentioned, I'm sure it was. In some places in the punk scene, it apparently wasn't just chic and was not ironic at all. My only cite is "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" by the Dead Kennedys.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:19 PM
njtt njtt is online now
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In the cases grude mentioned, I'm sure it was. In some places in the punk scene, it apparently wasn't just chic and was not ironic at all. My only cite is "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" by the Dead Kennedys.
Well, if you had read to the end of the paragraph:
Quote:
There were some neo-Nazi punk bands, but their following was minuscule.
Anyway, I was explicitly talking about the British scene, where punk was very entangled with leftist politics. The Dead Kennedys were American, and things may have been different there (not that your cite really implies that Nazis loomed large in the American punk movement anyway). My impression is that it was less politicized than British punk (but still probably tended to lean left).
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:33 PM
njtt njtt is online now
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Perhaps it something to do with the fact that both Fascism and Modernism were at their core Romantic movements.
Oh, absolutely, but what cultural movement, since Romanticism, hasn't had a large dash or Romanticism at its core? You can't really get away from it (and some of the Modernists were trying to, quite hard).

The thing is, it is easy for us, now, to see that Naziism (and by extension, anti-Semitism in general) is evil. We know about Auschwitz. It was a lot less obvious in the 1920s and '30s, when no-one had seen the more horrific consequences.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:46 PM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
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Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
Yes, I am asking about Stein. Why is (or was) she famous?
She was an important figure in the Paris art and literary scene in the 20s, being friends with Hemingway and Fitzgerald among others. She also coined the name Lost Generation for those who had served in WWI.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:04 PM
NDP NDP is offline
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The fascism of some of the 1920s and 1930s modernists, by contrast, was quite as sincere as the Communism of some of the others, although they (Fascists and Communists alike) varied a lot in their degree of commitment. Eliot is only overtly anti-Semitic in about three poems, all published before 1920, I think, and eventually turned himself (a boy from St Louis, MO) into an English Anglo-Catholic high Tory (plenty right-wing, but not fascist). By contrast, his friend Ezra Pound (the man who turned Eliotís Waste Land from an incoherent mess of fragments into the poetic expression of a generational zeitgeist) went to Italy and offered his services to Mussolini, and worked enthusiastically through World War II as a Fascist propagandist and anti-Semitic provocateur. Stein, by the sound of it, was somewhere in between.
Stein's support may not have been as open and enthusiastic as Pound's but it's still considerably more puzzling. You can't just attribute it to being under the duress of occupation because Stein was an ardent supporter of Hitler before WWII began even though virulent anti-Semitism was one of the main principles of Nazism. As I said in my previous post, unless someone has deep-seated psychological problems, I can't imagine why anyone would ally herself and support a movement that openly calls for the ultimate extinction of you and everyone like yourself.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:08 PM
Eve Eve is offline
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Stein's support may not have been as open and enthusiastic as Pound's but it's still considerably more puzzling. You can't just attribute it to being under the duress of occupation because Stein was an ardent supporter of Hitler before WWII began even though virulent anti-Semitism was one of the main principles of Nazism. As I said in my previous post, unless someone has deep-seated psychological problems, I can't imagine why anyone would ally herself and support a movement that openly calls for the ultimate extinction of you and everyone like yourself.
I know very little about her, really--was she religious at all? Self-hating Jew, maybe?
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:18 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Perhaps it something to do with the fact that both Fascism and Modernism were at their core Romantic movements.
Well, Mussolini did know how to woo the ladies!
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:45 PM
cmkeller cmkeller is offline
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I'll bet he was never late for dates. At least not if he used the trains.
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  #34  
Old 05-03-2012, 05:22 PM
NDP NDP is offline
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I know very little about her, really--was she religious at all? Self-hating Jew, maybe?
I know something about her and, until I read something stating otherwise, I'm fairly sure she wasn't religious. Of course, if you were Jewish, the Nazis didn't care if you were devout, an atheist, or a Christian convert. Your ancestry was enough to condemn you.

As for Stein being self-hating, that was a possibility I addressed in my previous post in this thread. Perhaps someone who knows more about Stein can fill us in on this subject. It's certainly curious to say the least.
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:17 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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