Monday, May 28, 2018

There Is No Reason To Lie For And Every Reason To Tell The Truth About Those Dear Old Commies Of Fable

She  [Muriel Gardiner] speaks slowly, choosing her words with precision

Got a lot of sleep yesterday so, back a day early

Simple Simps apparently didn't take my long weekend off to stop peddling lies about me at Eschaton, cluelessly citing one of his heroes, one of the more proven liars on the pseudo-left, Lillian Hellman, as a weapon.  Specifically and cluelessly using her book "Scoundrel Time" which apart from me being quite confident he never read, was as full of self-serving lies as her more read book of lying memoirs, "Penimento" from which Hollywood romantically and as dishonestly extracted her totally and quite easily proven false yarn about "Julia" to make into a movie.  Movies are probably the third easiest way to peddle lies, TV and hate-talk radio being more effective.*   My primary criticisms of Lillian Hellman aren't that she was a communist, something which the ever stupid Simps doesn't realize Hellman, herself, denied being, with her typical self-serving display, it's that she was a massive liar and a hypocrite and all around sleaze who successfully sold herself to the gullible, research-phobic play-left through  personally created public image. 

You don't have to take my word for it.  As I've noted before people who knew her, people who were used by her,  and people who researched her and fact checked Hellman's claims did that, both before and after Hellman, the heroine of "free speech" sued my distant cousin Mary McCarthy for telling the truth about the fact that Hellman was all liar.

Here's one, Phyllis Jacobson, writing in the independent socialist forum New Politics.

Her memoirs, particularly Scoundrel Time, published in 1976, Mellen writes,

"rained upon Lillian Hellman torrents of incredulity. In this account of her travail under McCarthyism she seemed unregenerate in her Stalinism. Nor would she even now admit that she and Hammett were Communists. Fighting back, she accused liberal anti-Communists of attacking "radicals" rather than capitalists and imperialists. But she was at last being held accountable and it stung."

Hellman's publisher, Little Brown, backed out of its contract with Diana Trilling to publish a collection of her essays in which Trilling replied to Hellman's charges against her and her husband, Lionel. Hellman, the ultimate civil libertarian, demanded that Trilling agree to have her remarks about her edited. When Trilling refused, Hellman persuaded Little Brown not to publish her book. It was later published by Harcourt.

But worse was yet to come in the person of Mary McCarthy who had said publicly, "I think every word she writes is false, including 'and' and 'but'," a statement she repeated on the Dick Cavett show. In a rage, Hellman contacted her lawyer, noted civil libertarian Ephraim London, and demanded that he institute a suit against the Educational Broadcasting Company and Mary McCarthy. Despite warning her that she would lose, Hellman insisted that he proceed. She, after all, was a millionaire and could easily stand the cost of a lawsuit while McCarthy had no money to speak of.

McCarthy started producing evidence of some of Hellman's lies, including her statements indicating that she knew nothing about the Moscow Trials. Hellman had, she pointed out, signed statements applauding the guilty verdict. But then she produced the most damaging of all Hellman's lies, the chapter in Pentimento, the second volume of her memoirs (later made into the film, Julia with Jane Fonda playing Hellman (Julia) to Vanessa Redgrave's anti-fascist activist), in which Hellman portrays herself heroically carrying money into Nazi Germany for her socialist activist friend. A complete fabrication. Hellman had appropriated the life of Muriel Gardiner who later told her own story in Code Name Mary, a story Hellman had learned from their mutual friend, lawyer Wolf Schwabacher. Told by London that she would have to produce evidence of the real Julia to proceed with her case against McCarthy, Hellman was frantic and became tangled in a web of additional lies. She actually had the chutzpah to plan to visit Muriel Gardiner to ask Gardiner to say that she was not Julia, a meeting that never came off. Hellman still hadn't thought her way out of her dilemma when McCarthy's attorneys' motion to have the case dismissed on the basis that Hellman was a public figure was denied. The case was scheduled to proceed. But it never did. Hellman died before that could happen.

Lillian hellman was not only a liar but, despite her disclaimers, an unregenerate Stalinist. In Scoundrel Time she wrote

"Communist-haters, particularly among intellectuals, wrote and talked a good deal about the violence they could suffer at the hands of American Communists ... but I think that was a very doubtful charge. About foreign gunmen I know only what I have read, but the American radicals I met were not violent men."

It is hard to believe, for example, that anybody could have thought of V. J. Jerome, the theoretician of the Party, as a man with a bomb or a gun.

To be sure, when Hellman wrote of "radicals" she didn't mean radicals at all. She meant the likes of V. J. Jerome, among others. Why should she have found it "hard to believe" that he could be thought of "as a man with a bomb or a gun"? Hellman admired his European counterparts, after all, and they not only used bombs and guns but were responsible for mass murder in those countries -- the Soviet Union, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland -- where they had power. They were totalitarian ideologues dependent on violence for the retention of power. Why should we believe that the difference between them and V. J. Jerome was anything more than an accident of geography?

Hellman said that "radicals" like herself had done no harm. She was mistaken. By promoting a totalitarian movement in the name of socialism, she and they had done enormous harm. They had impeded the development of an authentic socialist movement by distorting the basic concepts of socialism, promulgating the idea that a society based on the destruction of working class independence, on terror and the liquidation of millions was socialist. They not only distorted history but made a mockery of the American radical tradition.

There were many others who fact-checked Hellman's lies and exposed the truth that  Hellman's romantically peddled mythology, which is all that Simps knows about her, was a series of lies.  One was Martha Gellhorn who wrote a scathing article in Paris Review which minutely dissected only some of the lies of Hellman, especially those told in "Pentimento" unfortunately most of it behind a paywall which I can't afford to cross, though I read it at the time and it has been much cited.  Another is no less than Muriel Gardiner whose real story as part of the anti-Nazi underground was certainly used by Lillian Hellman to write herself  into a simulation of history as a heroine.  A real story that she stole after just about certainly being told about  by a mutual acquaintance of Gardiner and herself, Wolf Schwabacher.  Even While the, by then,  litigious liar, Lillian Hellman,  was still alive and that one great lie of hers was being exposed, Muriel Gardiner pretty well proved that's what happened.

In the introduction to her book, Gardiner writes, "Soon after Lillian Hellman's book 'Pentimento' appeared in 1973, friends and acquaintances of mine began telephoning me, saying, 'Muriel, you must be 'Julia. ' I was indeed struck by the many similarities between my life and her heroine's. On my next visit to Vienna, I asked Dr. Herbert Steiner, director of the Documentation Archives of the Austrian Resistance, what other American women he knew of who had been deeply involved in the Austrian anti-Fascist or anti-Nazi underground. He knew of none."

Perhaps not wishing to be sued by the millionaire Hellman who was spitefully ruining Mary McCarthy, Gardiner apparently didn't feel free to state the obvious truth, that Hellman had used her story to write a self-glorifying fable, as seen in a major Hollywood movie.

Does Muriel Gardiner believe she is "Julia"?

"I don't know," she says, sitting in the sunny living room of her 23-acre farm. "I cannot prove that I am or that I am not."

She speaks slowly, choosing her words with precision. "Only since speaking with Dr. Herbert Steiner, who said he couldn't locate any other American woman, even through the memories of many resistance workers who are still alive, did it make me think that maybe I am 'Julia.' "

She pauses. "I would never claim to be, unless some other completely new evidence comes up."

Others are less uncertain. Lillian Hellman has repeatedly said that Gardiner is not "Julia." In a 1979 edition of "Pentimento," she wrote that she could not reveal the dead woman's true identity for legal and personal reasons. In a telephone interview last week from her home on Martha's Vineyard, Hellman said she is "disturbed" by the suggestions that she may have borrowed her story from Gardiner's life. "She Gardiner is not 'Julia,' and I will not tell you any more than that. If I have to reveal 'Julia's' name, it won't be to a newspaper."

What is pretty certain, now that her yarn has been fact checked, including having everything from Hellman's claimed time-line for the story having happened to her reporting on seeing a production of Hamlet in Russia which can be documented to have not happened,  is that she lied it up to make herself a heroine to the gullible who are still willingly gulled by her lies.

As to me despising Hellman for being a communist, something she denied being, I don't feel the slightest reluctance to point out that communism is an anti-democratic ideology whose adherents deserve criticism on that, alone.  Then there is the fact that Hellman was not only a communist, though she didn't have the guts to join the party, she was a Stalinist at the height of Stalinism who claimed she signed on to support of his infamous show-trials, complete with mass executions, torture, etc. because she didn't pay much attention to the widely known and documented coverage of them in the press of the time.  As were such crimes as the planned famine in Ukraine which murdered millions, as were Stalin's other mass murders.

There is no less of a reason to slam someone who enjoyed the freedom of the United States and Western democracy who supported a brutal, mass murdering dictator who called himself a "communist" than one who called himself a Nazi. I gave up that game of pseudo-leftism of pretending that "our" mass murderer was the nice kind of mass murderer.   Communism is as much an attack on democracy as its kissing cousins, fascism and Nazism.  The American, British, French, etc. communists and Communists did, as Phyllis Jacobson pointed out, prove to be damaging to the real, egalitarian-democratic left because they latched onto the real left like a hagfish, sucking the life out of it through both discrediting it and distorting its politics through distracting it into futile cul-de-sacs such as defending pampered Hollywood commies and such further lies as the claimed innocence of the Rosenbergs.

I despise communism and especially Communism just as I despise fascism and Nazism and for exactly the same reasons.  The additional reasons I gave in the last paragraph only add to why, today, I despise them even more.   I really despise the kind of American communists and Communists who signed onto things like that 1938 letter supporting Stalin's show trial-torture-murders.  They really were the equivalent of the German American Bund, as so many of them would prove when they did the Moscow ordered U-turn to support peace with Hitler during the brief period of the Stalin-Hitler pact, shortly afterwards.

As late as 1983, the real heroine, the real anti-Nazi spy might have had to carefully, precisely, choose her words to avoid being sued by Lillian Hellman, the hypocritical liar who stole her story to make herself a phony heroine.  But, that wicked old witch is dead,we only need to be careful to tell the truth.

There is no reason to continue lying to prop up the false-front, movie-set myth of the likes of Lillian Hellman in 2018, there never was.  They never produced anything but lies and damage to the real left and its only real reason to exist, egalitarian democracy.   It is one of the stupidest things that, on the basis of the massive mythologizing of the anti-anti-communists of show biz and Hollywood to maintain the tired old lies of the pseudo-left into a new generation.  Those myths, from dozens of movies and TV shows do everything to damage the real left and its only hope for success.  After seventy-years of pushing that mythology, the American People, the effective, electoral majority, will never buy it.  Nor should they.  It's well past time for what passes as an intelligentsia to face that hard fact and throw their cherished myths onto the ol' ash heap of phony history.

Which reminds me, I haven't looked to see what the absurdity, the Left Forum, is putting together as a program next week.

* The extent to which the lie that Hollywood is liberal might be taken as a reason that the play-left is more ineffective at propaganda than the right.   For every iconic Hollywood lefty movie, The Front, Trumbo, etc. which romanticized and lied about the nobility of the show-biz commies which were sucked up by the "left" the more effective propaganda vehicles of TV and radio were dominated by the fascists, with the help of the lefty supported "civil liberties" industry which paved the way for fascist lying with total impunity, which damaged, mostly, the common enemy of the commie-left and the fascists, traditional American liberalism. 

It was the real American left who, not supporting the idiocy of communism, had a chance of winning elections who were most damaged by lies.  Truth serves that real left even as it is the enemy of communism and fascism.  The freedom to lie only benefited those who would benefit from lying.   Many, perhaps all of the founders of what developed into the "civil liberties" industry were Marxists and communist sympathizers.   That is until people like Roger Baldwin and others at the ACLU found it more convenient to turn from defenders of Soviet dictatorship into anti-communists and so many others joined the overt American fascists.  I don't think those who remained fervent Stalinists and, later, Maoists are in any way less deserving of disdain than the ones who joined up with American fascism.

It might be news to Simps but I have no problem with despising all of them.  Which side are you on, might have made a good song for Pete Seeger to sing but any side that requires lying to maintain it is no side to be on, ever. 

Ironically, the other day he also claimed that I could get a job at FOX, a network I said should be sued into extinction and its owner deported if not imprisoned for collusion to subvert democracy.  What's most ironic is that Simels periodically brags about having worked for one of Rupert Murdoch's sons.   I've never worked for anyone from the Murdoch clan nor would I because I don't trust any of them. 

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