The Tim: Dumb

“Tim Blair” (which is Australian for “dumbfuck”) accuses Lindsay of anti-semitism for reading Günter Grass.

Perhaps now, through Pajamas Media osmosis, she’ll be added to the list of self-loathers. Man, for the second time in as many days, I’m forced to ask Abe Foxman to clarify what he meant with his condemnation of the trivalization of historical Jewish suffering.

If you accuse people of anti-semitism just because they admire art created by a Nazi conscript (and not, pointedly and emphatically, anti-semitic art), what do you have left to call a real anti-semite?

Well you certainly don’t call them “born-again Christians” — because they are 100 percent supportive of Israel and Dear Leader, which is what really counts, no matter that they think Jews are Christ-killers; therefore, for wingnuts, real anti-semitism is excused on the grounds of political necessity, but bullshit “anti-semitism” is played up as a smear. Wingnuts don’t give a shit about real anti-semitism; this Grass thing is just something else for them to use, especially against Leftwing Jews, whom they consider traitors.

But TBOGG is right, too: this is also about philistinism.

This sort of thing is Roy’s specialty, but as he’s not chimed-in yet, I’ll take a stab.

The past and personality of the artist is fair game for understanding art, but not for determining its value. Josh at Fagistan gets it mostly right when he says that Grass has underminded his moral authority. And so he has. But Josh also says that Grass’s art remains authoritative. And so it does. But this is all that mattered in the first place: art is its own moral authority. What moral authority the artist has stems from his art, not vice-versa.

Roy is fond of the Celine example (a proto-fascist who made good art) in these situations. The sentiment is echoed in Auden’s elegy of Yeats:

Time that is intolerant
Of the brave and the innocent,
And indifferent in a week
To a beautiful physique,

Worships language and forgives
Everyone by whom it lives;
Pardons cowardice, conceit,
Lays its honours at their feet.

Time that with this strange excuse
Pardoned Kipling and his views,
And will pardon Paul Claudel,
Pardons him for writing well.

The principle works for all art. Philip Johnson was the most bumpkin sort of American fascist in his youth. He was a Nazi symp. But it doesn’t discredit his buildings.

Yet there is a limit. It’s called bad art, and it is often propagandic. Remember when Zero Mostel’s character in The Producers took off the Nazi armband and threw it in the trash, then spat on it in contempt? That’s because “Springtime for Hitler” was bad art for him (which he had to be associated with, to keep up his and Wilder’s scheme), even if for us, the audience, “Springtime for Hitler” has comedic value as a travesty. On the flip-side, D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation is politically abominable. Unlike Grass’s art, the contents are objectionable. Still, it is valuable and worthy as art.

But if you ask wingnuts, most of them being Zhdanovian hacks of the first order, what matters is if the artist loves Dear Leader. Yes or no and answer quickly! If no, then art and artist must be put on a list, which is checked more than twice. Fans of this art then must be smeared and shunned. If, on the other hand, the answer is yes, then art and artist are masters, and we can look forward to the glorious day when we all watch Mel Gibson movies which star Ron Silver, with soundtrack provided by Lee Greenwood and Pat Boone, and won’t that be a glorious day indeed, comrades?!

Some of the Zhdanovian hacks are getting creative. Patrick Bateman returns from his long tanning bed sojourn to predict that the Lefties who excuse Grass now will in 60 years time spit on Iraq War veterans. Meanwhile, Perfesser Corncob of the Knoxville Commissariat approvingly subscribes to Comrade Blair’s hackery, then maybe thinks better of it now that Comrade Goldberg has decided to be more generous to Grass:

Grass was just a teenager when he joined Hitler’s killing machine. Shaw, Heidegger and a shocking number of the Western left’s intellectual heroes were grown ups when they became enamored with Hitler. Gertrude Stein — a Jew! — led an effort to award Hitler the Nobel Peace Prize in 1938.

Ahh well done Comrade Goldberg! Liberals are Nazis! Can’t get too bogged down in this Gunther Grass thing — after all, he’s old and but one person — the multitude of his art’s admirers is what matters! Remember, it’s not just the man on trial, it’s his fellow-travellers too. Comrade Corncob takes his cue and cheerfully offers the following:

Judging by some more recent Peace Prize awardees, I’d say he was a suitable candidate.

Could he be talking about Henry Kissinger, collaborator in the murder of millions of Indochinese and in his youth a bit too diffident to the Nazis as well? No, of course not. Comrade Corncob speaks of course of Jimmy Carter who is apparently a Nazi-lover and holocaust-enthusiast, da!


Comments: 64


“Tim Blair� (which is Australian for “dumbfuck�) accuses Lindsay of anti-semitism for reading Gunther Grass.

First of all, no he doesn’t. You obviously can’t read, twerp.

Secondly, Tim has a wit sharper than a scalpel, and you would do well to steer clear of him unless you crave embarrassment.

Or maybe just “assment”.




“Retardo Montalban” is a play on the name “Ricardo Montalban” of Fantasy Island/Wrath of Khan/Rich Corinthian Leather fame.

You guys are soooo clever!!




Get a load of Blair’s weaselling in Beyerstein’s comments. What a disingenuous sack of santorum he is.


Hey I like this. Maybe we’ll get some trolls better than Pasty’s goons.


That all you got, kc?


Mheh. This is gonna be too easy.


“Maybe we’ll get some trolls better than Pasty’s goons.”

Actually, I’m running a 2-for-1 special today!

How d’ya like them apples, Retardo?

“Retardo”. Jeez, you guys crack me up!


jake = Pablo on meth.


“jake = Pablo on meth”

Much better, kc. Tho Pablo would probably take exception to the comparison.


Well, Jake, I made the mistake of reading some Tim Blair recently. If you find him to have a sharp wit, maybe it’s just by contrast to your own.


Jake, you comes off as either even dumber than Tim, or, at the very least, ignorant of some of the fundamental principles of propaganda and smear campaigns. And yes, Jake, this place is “major-league.” Well, major-league enough to not need all-caps as a rhetorical tool. It lends your “razor-sharp wit” comment all the authority of a Paris Hilton treatise on loop quantum gravity.

It also helps if you actually make sense. Being both wrong and incoherent is not a good thing.

Do try harder next time. And note: Dropping a misspelled “meh” doesn’t count as a stinging comeback. Tsk tsk.


I’m tired of moron conservatives like Blair. Didn’t the Republicans used to be the smart kids? The grownups? The ones who insisted on evidence and proper accounting and being polite?

These days, the entire movement seems to have devolved into idiocy and childish contrarianism. “Brain injuries are liberal myths — I’ll prove it by hitting myself with this frying pan! (BLANG! BLANG! BLANG!) I never shaid anyshing about fwying pansh, and shome liberal asshhole schneaked up and hit me.”


“Jake, you comes off as either even dumber than Tim, or, at the very least, ignorant of some of the fundamental principles of propaganda and smear campaigns.”



Sometimes the best way to illustrate someone’s absurdity is by being absurd.

8000 visits/day is major-league? Hardly.


If the argument wasn’t some iteration of the National Socialists = Regular Socialists reactionary piffle that got beaten to death in AOL chatrooms in 1996, maybe it would be more interesting.

But I do like the updates. “I’m going to resist enjoying the imagery of One Hundred Years of Solitude with the knowledge that Garcia Marquez likes dictators!” What a fun way to read.

Two magical realists down, Salman Rushdie to go!


Where this conversation becomes really interesting, rather than obvious to anyone who isn’t a wingnut, is where the objectionable politics informs the art but the art still has value. Griffiths is one example of this, but not the best, as what makes Griffiths films valuable isn’t anything inspired by his politics but rather his technical innovations. The most famous example is Riefenstahl, whose films are undeniably propaganda, but extremely well made propaganda. Coming from the other direction, there’s Eisenstein. A less-Godwinny example would be the Italian futurists, who had deeply unpleasant politics, and whose art was an explicit manifestation of that deeply unpleasant politics and yet is for the most part extraordinarily beautiful.


First of all, no he doesn’t. You obviously can’t read, twerp.

Headline of his post:


In which the only member of ‘THE LEFT’ named was Lindsey. You WERE saying something about reading…..when do you plan on getting that skill?


“Tim Blair� (which is Australian for “dumbfuck�) accuses Lindsay of anti-semitism for reading Gunther Grass.

First of all, no he doesn’t. You obviously can’t read, twerp.

Remedial reading exercise:

Go back to Tim’s post. What is its title? Feel free to sound it out if you like.

If you guessed “Yet Another Vague Link Between the Left and Anti-Semitism,” you’re correct.

That “vague link” is apparently the fact that Grass holds leftist political views.

Beyerstein comes in in an update, tagged “Lefty Lindsay Beyerstein stands by her man.”

If you’re trying to claim that the intent of all this isn’t to draw a straight line from Beyerstein, through Grass, straight to Adolf Fucking Hitler, you’re just being obtuse and there’s no reason to listen to you.


Guh. I did fuck-up one thing good. Typed “Racine” when I meant “Celine”. Fixed it though. Obviously this proves everything Pablo Jr. says.


First of all, no he doesn’t. You obviously can’t read, twerp.

I guess “LINK BETWEEN THE LEFT AND ANTI-SEMITISM” was too subtle for Jake.

I made the mistake of reading some Tim Blair recently. If you find him to have a sharp wit, maybe it’s just by contrast to your own.



‘Or maybe just “assmentâ€?.’

What kind of bizarre little projection is that?


Who is Tim Blair? And how does one find any wit in his blogging?

I had written a defense of my position. You know what? They can go ahead under the delusion that the left loves them some Nazis. We aren’t the ones continuing the legacy, ideology & pogroms of the Nazis. And I don’t have to address why the leap from hating Bush, Blair, etc. equals hatred of Jews. It doesn’t and jake & Tim Blair & Goldberg are idiots.

curious foreigner

I’m tired of moron conservatives like Blair. Didn’t the Republicans used to be the smart kids? The grownups? The ones who insisted on evidence and proper accounting and being polite?

I always hear that and I always wonder, when? In the 50s, when the Republicans first started polishing their “stronger on national security” credentials through red-baiting? In the 30s and 40s when they still insisted Social Security was socialism? It certainly hasn’t been the case for the last, say, thirty years, since the Republicans figured out how to draw southern votes by pandering to racists and religious maniacs.


Godwin sure takes a beating these days. You know what I’d like to see? I’d like to see some conservative explain to me exactly what aspect of fascism the GOP doesn’t support. And substituting an urge to destroy Muslims instead of Jews is not actually a substantive moral difference.


Has anyone mentioned that Ezra Pound was a fascist, but still one of the best poets of the last 200 years? If they haven’t yet, then I just did. That is all.


If they consistently applied this principle, that any author is tainted who ever evidenced a fascist tendency, they’d have to throw over, not just Eliot and Pound and Ransom (all of whom they could plausibly disavow, if at the expense of their cultural heritage), but thinkers much closer to their hearts like Edmund Burke (it’s only two hops from Burke’s ideal of an organic society to Wagner to Hitler), Teddy Roosevelt (totally the racist social Darwinist uber-menschist) and H.L Mencken (ditto).

But they don’t apply the principle consistently, because they are, to a man, lying bastards.


This post has inspired me to do a mixed-media portrait of Pam Oshry, primarily in elephant dung and dipped in piss.


Gosh, if wanting to read “the Tin Drum” brands someone as a Nazi, then what are we to make of George Bush’s summer reading list including Albert Camus’ “L’Etranger”?

I’m sure Tim will be right on that one.


The fact is Bush reading propaganda from effete, godless surrender-monkeys means he’s a far-left pedophilic Islamofascist, which in turn guarantees the Democrat Party’s defeat in November.

curious foreigner

Ezra Pound was a fascist, but still one of the best poets of the last 200 years

De gustibus, etc. But point taken. In the same connection, let’s note Marinetti, who really knew how to write a fun manifesto, and Wyndham Lewis, whose writing isn’t much fun, although his technical achievement is obvious. Eliot, the leading American poet in the world in the 50s and 60s, was sympathetic to fascism in the 30s, although he never made the political mistakes his friend Pound did; the same is true for Waugh.


Neil Peart may be a libertarian, but he is also a kickass drummer. So we forgive him, right guys?



Rush will never be forgiven–not after “The Trees”


not to take away from Retardo’s post, but isn’t it even more insidious that Lindsay was just saying that she still wanted to read The Tin Drum? So Tim B. thinks that not only can one not defend a work that one has read, but that one shouldn’t even read it in the first place. That sounds so …. what is the word I am looking for? Maybe Jake can help me, since he is so clever and all. (Jake as he types: “I am so smart. S – M – R – T”)

also “the Tim: Dumb” is awesome.


All I want to know is, are we still allowed to listen to Wagner?

I mean, they even play his music in Israel these days.


I don’t think he’s a fascist, and I love his work, but V.S. Naipaul can sometimes read like an apologia for British imperialism.

Mary: Yeah, huh? It’s annoying. Yet: Musically, I love the song, and then there’s the definite silliness factor going on between Geddy’s interesting voice and his chosen allegorical botanicals. There’s no cool way to pronounce “trees” in a rock song; just ask Chuck Billy.


Quiet, or we’ll all be kept equal with hammer, axe, and saw!


. There’s no cool way to pronounce “trees�

Fat Bob Smith says otherwise, my friend, and I tend to agree with him.

As for Neil Peart, I’ve defended him. Talk to TBOGG and Teh Editors!


no matter that they think Jews are Christ-killers;

You’d think the Xtians would be grateful. If J-man hadn’t gotten nailed to those planks they would still be worshipping Odin. The religion has a lot less appeal if Jesus “lived an long, healthy, and carfree life…for your sins”.


Guys? Has anyone read anything by Grass besides The Tin Drum? I read Dog Years, Local Anaesthetic, some essays, etc., blah blah. And it seems to me I remember (and quoted in something I wrote long ago) a line by Grass to the effect of, “at age 17 I wanted to kill my father with my Hitler Youth knife.”

Anyone? This is why I’m so confused! Why is this news?


Eliot was an antisemite in life. Pound a particularly flaming fascist. H. L. Mencken was a bigot to anyone not German or German-American. Some people even allege that Dickens and Shakespeare are right out because of antisemitism. Philip Larkin was a nasty reactionary and in life a racist asshole. Some idiots insist on removing Mark Twain from school libraries on the grounds of “Nigger Jim”.

I dislike these purges from Left or Right. But it must be said that the Left does it out of misguidedness, while the wingnuts do it out of cynicism.


…And that’s before we get round to Joseph Conrad.

Pardon the digression, but…

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

I’ve been led to believe that Yeats meant ‘the Bolsheviks’ when referring to the ‘the worst’, but I think a click around the web or half an hour in front of the news might reveal how art can remain relevant in unexpected ways.

In fact, a look at the beginning of this thread confirms my suspicions. Still paying attention, Jake?


Wonderboy; it’s largely a matter of degrees. Membership of the Hitler Jugend was very widespread, in some environments almost compulsory, and is often seen as just as innocent as serving in the German army during the War (eg. Pope Benny did both).

Although you could get conscripted into the Waffen SS (as Grass was) in later stages of the War, there’s still a sentiment (in part because of conflation with the SS proper, I guess) that service in the Waffen SS implies a more explicit pro-nazism stance. That’s what I gather, anyway, though modern history isn’t really my strong suit.

And the debate isn’t just about Grass’ war service, but also about why he, one of Germany’s most prominent left wing pundits and an outspoken critic of nazism and fascism, chose to keep his war record a secret for 60 years.


Big Time jake has turned up mysteriously absent. Perhaps he’s soliciting wit infusions from every corner of the Internet Toughgy Rightosphere.

All we’re going to do is laugh at you, jake. Because you gots no skills, B.


(I dropped a ‘u’ up there. Look for Big Time to hone in on that omission and call it back to turn the tip for my maximum pwnage. That’s how the professionals do it. They Git ‘R Done!)


Alright you punk kids! If us old farts are going to be branded forever by what we did in the 1970s no one will ever find peace. Leave Neal Peart alone!

And, “Spirit of Radio” is a fine anti-capitalist song. It definitely makes up for “The Trees.”

Damn kids! Now get off my lawn!


I just wanted to say, the fact that you’re including the original quotes by Goldberg, Reynolds, et. al. is nice because then readers can easily see how greatly you’re mischaracterizing what they’re saying.


Glodberg, Reynolds, et al need mischaracterization not to sound like drooling Mussolinis. The original quotes speak quite nicely for themselves. They require little enough comment.


then readers can easily see how greatly you’re mischaracterizing what they’re saying.

Yeah, man! How dare you judge the writings of Reynolds, et al, literally?


The original quotes speak quite nicely for themselves.

Yes they do.

Dobby – is that some kind of meta-sarcasm? Because I don’t understand it.



If you want to make these people understand just how wrong they are, you’re going to have to patiently explain what the various quotes are saying, and in turn how they have been mischaracterized. These knuckle-draggers are clearly too dense to figure it out for themselves.


robotslave – I don’t think anyone here’s a knuckle-dragger, and I suspect you don’t either. It does seem to me, however, that many people here, including you, have somewhat of a reflexive love for sarcasm, to the point where it’s hard to figure out what anyone actually believes.



My apologies, I assumed you were prepared to back up your strong assertions with well-reasoned argument. It seems, however, that you are the sort of otherwise right-thinking patriot whose cowardice (and blog-cowardice, at that!) shames the Republican party.

I suppose you could also be a moderate to lefty trying to inject a bit of controversy into the discussion, but if you were so determined, I’m quite sure you would have been happy to take the argument and run with it.


So has Tim Blair’s razor- oops, I mean scalpel sharp wit shown up yet? No? Oh man, Retardo, you dodged a bullet there, bro.

Blair’s wit is so sharp that his comments are heavily policed by harpy Andrea Harris. Any deviation from wingnut thought is purged by the hard-but-fair mistress. They wouldn’t want anyone getting hurt, you see.


Well…Blair WAS smart enough to jump over the side the Pajamas Media editorial board before they discovered salmonella in the buffet salad bar.

Blair’s devoted readers/commenters are at least six times dumber than Blair ever will be.


robotslave: I’m sure you think your super-smug irony is amusing to someone. Let me quote to you this blog’s title…


“are you being sarcastic?”

“I don’t even know anymore!”


What seems to be missed in all of this is the fact that the left does, in fact, feel compelled to hold every view of every author we’ve ever read, and also feel a need to copy their lives. I study Nietzsche, and current scholarship suggests that instead of syphillus he actually had a very slow growing eye tumor. To cover my bases I’ve caught syphillus and spend two hours a day with a home xray device pointed at my right eye.
I’m not sure why some on the right seem to think reading something means you subscribe to the author’s views, but I suspect it has something to do with the Bible. It makes no sense to me. I’ve read Mein Kampf and Ann Coulter’s Treason, and I’m not about to declare war on jews, liberals, communists, and the Clintons.


I’ve read Mein Kampf and Ann Coulter’s Treason, and I’m not about to declare war on jews, liberals, communists, and the Clintons.

Then you didn’t read them right.



Aw, man, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. Come back out and play, we’ll let you play infield this time, and I promise everyone will be very, very serious. We’ll even discuss this regrettable lapse in seriousness at the next blogger ethics panel.

Oh, and you still haven’t added any explanation to your brave assertion that Retardo is mischaracterizing the material he quotes. Do try to remedy that, once you’ve unclenched your little fists and wiped the tears away— it will show everyone you’re a good sport, and provide a much-needed voice of moderation to the proceedings, I’m sure.


Actually Philip Johnson wasn’t a “bumpkin” of any sort. His early enthusiasm for fascism was based on his misreading of Nietzsche. And I’m sorry, but bumpkins don’t read Nietzsche. And don’t call me stupid. 🙂


I’m a bumpkin and I’ve read Nietzsche. Actually I was thinking of Johnson’s admiration of Father Coughlin when I typed that.

a different brad

It’s possible I didn’t read Treason right. I don’t think books are meant to be read in 15 minute intervals interrupted by flinging the book at the wall and kicking it a few times.


Ahh well done Comrade Goldberg! Liberals are Nazis!

When does Lazy Pantload’s book come out again?


Yeah, Johnson may not be a bumpkin, but his buildings are hit or miss.

Glass House? Genius.
AT&T Building? Ironic hackwork pastiche.

But he’s always had an unfortunate fondness for autocratic dogmaticism, whether political or capitalist.

And he wears funny glasses.


“Has anyone read anything by Grass besides The Tin Drum?”

I read “The Flounder.” Loved it.


My favorite part of Tim’s post was the part where he segued into Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s love for Fidel Castro with “lefty writers sure do love tyrants.” At first, I read it poorly and it seemed that he was implying Grass was a “tyrant” but now I realized that despite fifty years of writing novels attacking Germany’s fascist past, it merely means that Grass, who was drafted into the SS, loved Hitler. As if everyone drafted into WWII loved Roosevelt, everyone drafted to Vietnam loved LBJ and Nixon and everyone drafted to the fight for the Union in the Civil War was an abolitionist.

Listen, I have a lot of problems with Grass’s revelation — and I’m a very strong supporter of Grass’s fiction and his political activism. But to insinuate that he was a Nazi, which he wasn’t, or an anti-semite, which he isn’t, is completely idiotic.

And, incidentally, literati left and right have always continued to read Ezra Pound (Nazi-lover) and Knut Hamsun (gave his Nobel Prize to Goebbels) and vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger (invited a bona fide war criminal to his wedding.)

The entire point of Grass’s insistence on collective guilt and in “coming to terms with the past” is to confront the millions of ways fascism lures people in and destroys everything decent in them. I think he’d be the first to admit that fascism destroyed something decent in him. Yes, he should have told us this in 1959, but at least he told us.

While the Pope still maintains that all he did was “help” German soldiers load artillery. As if that makes him innocent.


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