Monday, October 22, 2007

Just Concentrate on the Beard

The Siren had sworn off this sport for a while, but some things are too good to pass up and besides, Lance started it. TCM is showing The Life of Emile Zola tonight.

MS Encarta on Zola: "He had come to be known as a champion of the innocent, an upholder of justice, and a defender of the downtrodden. As novelist Anatole France declared in his eulogy, Zola had become 'the conscience of mankind.'"

Libertas says: "Whatever you may think of Zola’s politics, don’t let it diminish your enjoyment of Muni’s masterful performance in a perfectly realized film."


Bob said...

"Whatever you think of Zola's politics"? Zola's still controversial for Libertas readers? I know they're far right...but are they far right for the 19th century, too? (Don't answer.)

Okay, I'm no expert on Zola's politics (and the Wikipedia entry on him isn't too forthcoming, except re: the Dreyfus affair), but this has to give a guy pause, given as he's best known for fighting antisemitism, which I think even Libertas readers mostly decry, and unchecked government/military power...oh, yeah, now it makes sense.

Campaspe said...

had no freaking idea what he meant, which is why this is the single funniest entry I have ever seen on Libertas. In all fairness I do NOT think the anti-antisemitism is what caused the problem. It's been a while since I read up on M. Zola and all I could come up with was Zola's anticlericalism, and maybe the blogger guy didn't like the strike in Germinal. Perhaps Libertas yearns for the good old days of the Second Empire?

Bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob said...

Yes. Just so there's no confusion, I wasn't even beginning to impute in a sarcastic way any anti-semitism to the gang at Libertas, I was less sure about a possible lust for unchecked authority, however.

However, feeling a bit ignorant (how long ago was AP European History?), I did just take a look at the Wikipedia entry on the Second French Republic. Some of it has a familiar ring.

Lance Mannion said...

Sometimes they just make it too easy, don't they?

My guess is that Libertas means exactly what Encarta describes but would put it in Republican speak---from their point of view Zola would be a socialist. And it's been a long time since I've seen the movie but I'd bet it makes Zola something of a New Deal Democrat.

But you can never be sure with the Right. Remember these are people who've convinced themselves that Bobby Kennedy and John Lennon would be Republicans if they were alive today. It's possible that Libertas was talking to you, Siren, and any other liberals straying in; having convinced themselves that Zola's defense of Dreyfus makes him a proto-neo-con, they're assuming liberals would think badly of his politics.

Now, what impressed me is that the same guy was able to praise Kirk Douglas' performance in Lust for Life without mentioning his politics.

Campaspe said...

Bob, I knew you weren't -- I just didn't want any Libertas/Siren readers (and there are a few) to think *I* was unjustly implying they had a problem with Zola's role in the Dreyfus affair. It is still pretty darn head-scratching though, as Lance points out. Zola was a crusading journalist and a socialist in a 19th-century sense. But the Muni film is entirely about Dreyfus, and who would have a problem with that? Other than the general in Costa-Gavras' Z, who gets one of the Siren's all-time favorite ripostes. Confronted by a reporter who asks him if he is a victim of a miscarriage of justice, like Dreyfus, the general snaps back "Dreyfus was guilty!"

Alex said...

"I know they're far right...but are they far right for the 19th century, too?"

Yes. Worldwide, politics is (and has been) basically been the same debate since capitalism and it's attendant critique arose (which has it's base in Rousseau).

The extremely inflated social turmoil caused by capitalism tends to cause "conservatives" to artificially worship those institutions that remain outside of capitalism - the armed forces, religion, the rural countryside.

Thus, not only would today's "conservatives" be anti-Dreyfusards (to support the military - the eternal noble army of France), they've generally repeated anti-Dreyfus tactics currently. Any criticism whatsoever of the US military command is treasonous, in their opinion.

Campaspe said...

"Any criticism whatsoever of the US military command is treasonous, in their opinion." --