Letters to the Editor
Hello Southern Cross,
I wish to express my appreciation for Robert Freeman's article. He brought together some interesting parallels between the two eras, which I feel are fully justified, especially on the psychological level of the German people of the 1920s, and the (white male) American citizen of today. Which of course is the level that counts: how a people perceive themselves and who is to blame for their current condition. I particularly note Freeman's observation of the common cause that corporations and Republicans have found in their support of each other.
There are some other points that I feel that Freeman might have added. The sense of betrayal, loss of prestige and authority is particularly felt among white males. This loss was already in the making at least 20 years with the advent of the women's liberation movement. This threatened all tradition-minded white males who felt at the center of their little worlds--especially in the South, but moreover, given the loss of the USA's manufacturing base, the white tradesman and the factory worker who in the 50s, 60s, and 70s could look forward to earning a comfortable standard of living has been losing purchasing power (and job security) since then. Naturally they blame the immigrants (as the Nazi's blamed the Jews) for their hardship. I don't see the same lust for political revenge among the majority of women voters, nor those of minorities.
While Freeman justly chides the right-wingers and Republicans for the bankruptcy of their ideas, he really should have added a section accusing the Democrats of the same fault. Certainly since Bill Clinton, one sees the Democrats only focused on winning elections (by becoming Republican lites), not in creating a vision for 21th century America. Democrats have no ideas and no ideals. They are the same as the Repubs on foreign policy (Irag war and now Obama's Afghan war), free trade, support of corporate pharma, banking, oil, etc. Demos voted for both Patriot Acts, Military Commissions and always fold up when it comes time to defend civil liberties (immunity for tele-com companies). Although they raised a little fuss about George Bush's expansion of the powers of the presidency (to the detriment of Congress), even during the last election Clinton and Obama made no statement saying that the president needs to be more accountable to Congress and the people. President Obama, since election, has clearly demonstrated that he is in favor of endless war, government secrecy, and an unfettered national security state. There is no liberal party left to defend the Constitution against the American fascist. We still have elections, and lots of debate on TV (on a narrowly restricted, Washington-centric range of topics), so it appears we have democracy. But just wait for the next crisis and the fascists will easily bring all the Demos into their camp (with a call for bi-partisanship!) for the easy quick fix. What is dying is the ideal that government exists for the people, for a well-informed citizenry who know what's best for themselves, and value civil liberties which by protecting any of us, protects all of us.
But just as we Americans seem bereft of ideas and ideals with which we could find common cause in working together to solve our problems (which have been decades in the making), when I look to Europe, I find no country in a better condition. In the year 2003, a strong majority of the populations in UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain were against invading Iraq, but their "democratically elected" governments did not respond to their own people but instead deferred to the wishes of the Bush regime (I'll ignore Schroeder's very weak protest as he still allowed war material and troops to use German soil for their staging, and of course the Christian parties there soundly thumped Schroeder for his failing to fully back the USA). As free-trade advocates in those respective countries continue to erode the earning power of the ordinary citizen there, I see no ideas arising that advocate for local economies, for enhancing the economic security of individual countries and regions. Instead, we have pro-corporate, pro-globalization policies of Berlusconi, Merkel, and Sarkozy, and the media-controlled debate that occurs at the national level ("respectable" opinion) that only demands more unfettered markets and corporate power. And their liberal opposition parties have nothing to say that's different. European democracy seems to me to be as moribund as here in the USA.
I suppose that including the above would have expanded Freeman's article to book length, so I am not really criticizing their omission. I am grateful that Freeman expressed his ideas so succinctly on a very timely topic.
A beautiful article. I had read something about Pessoa before, but not about his occult interests. Thanks for writing this, Gary [Lachman], and for publishing it, Frank.
That was a terrific story, and I enjoyed the way it was told—thanks, Frank.
The staff leaning against the wall is still a dead giveaway.
Re: On the Marionette Theatre
Thanks for the von Kleist Marionette translation!
As your readers may know, contemporary, post-modern 'practice' in photography has demonstrated a fascination with mass produced figurines and dolls in particular. I've always felt that there's a certain amount of baloney attached to all of this, especially since the pioneering work in this subject area was already scoped out by Hans Bellmer in the mid 30's. Bellmer's investigations connect this subject matter to the larger issues of gender, politics and repression without limiting their aesthetic arena to the feminist issues perceived in the work of Cindy Sherman, for example. He has received little acknowledgement for this work.
I only recently became aware of the Kleist essay, however, and, as a person with no German, I despaired of ever reading it. It clearly places the aesthetics of these works in the milieu of romanticism and belies their newness & the evolutionary aspects of post-modernism. Kleist had already located our alienated souls in the elbow of a marionette.
LewThat translation appeared in SCR some time ago, so when I looked for it I was surprised to find that it has been accessed 54,097 times. For that reason, it's repeated in the current issue. Thanks, Lew [Ed.]
Wonderful book, wonderful writer...please please please (I beg you) line-edit your pieces.. You write: "Asher" for "Archer", as in "Timothy Archer", the title of the book(!) more than once.
Keep up the good work and always edit carefully.
Thanks for the latest Southern Cross Review. Just a wee spot of proofreading, in your review of PKD's The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, a few times you mistakenly refer to Archer as "Asher". (Herb Asher is of course the protagonist in The Divine Invasion.)
I always enjoy your compilations (and yes, Rudolf Steiner is uber-cool) -- thanks again,
The Divine Invasion is the second volume of the trilogy. [Ed.]
Thanks for another interesting issue and for the “Transmigration” review. I have been a real fan of fantasy and science fiction writing but had largely given up trying to find something worth spending my limited time on. This looks like a real, viable candidate.
FYI. I think there’s a minor typo in the last paragraph of the review: “…Horselover Fat. Strange name for a hero, for even and anti-hero?” This, I suspect, should be “for even an anti-hero?”
Thanks. Always grateful for readers’ corrections. [Ed.]