October 6, 2010

Joe Sobran, RIP

Here's Ann Coulter's column on Sobran.

145 comments:

Tony T. said...

Not a fan myself. A friend of mine met him and found him to be arrogant and obnoxious. My opinion of him before I heard that story.

Anonymous said...

Joe once said that John Podhoretz looks like a cross between Midge Decter and Norman Podhoretz. The only explanation he could think of for making John editor of Commentary was anti-Semitism.

If you haven't read "How I was fired by Bill Buckley" google it. The whole exchange between the two before they broke deserves its own chapter in the history of the conservative movement for one because it seems more like a pivotal moment now than it did then and two because it is far and away the best public debate about the nature of anti-semitism, what's fair and foul and who gets to decide that postwar America has ever had.

icr said...

Ironically perhaps, I've often used a Sobran observation to explain why I have a greater affinity to Israel than to the Muslim world after 9/11: Watching a death-match fight on Animal Planet once, Joe said he found himself instinctively rooting for the mammal over the reptile.

Coulter is probably alluding to the USS Liberty and the Pollard Affair. And maybe some other stuff that even *we* don't know about.

Anonymous said...

Coulter (and Wikipedia) says that Sobran believed that the true Shakespeare was Edward de Vere. Unorthodox takes on the Shakespeare authorship question (or even interest in the question itself) seem fairly common in certain circles of free-thinkers with which you have at least some familiarity. Lawrence Auster, for instance, believes something like that I think. Why do you think people are drawn to this sort of thing?

Bantam said...

This Joe Sobran's obituary is almost as compassionate as this one, (nice illustration, by the way).

Silver said...

Watching a death-match fight on Animal Planet once, Joe said he found himself instinctively rooting for the mammal over the reptile.


Sure.

But if you learned that the mammal had been stealing and eating the reptile's eggs for years then you might have more sympathy for the reptile.

(But then if you learned that the reptile wasn't going to be content with safeguarding its eggs, it wanted payback against all the mammals, then you might think differently yet again.)

riches said...

ICR said, "... probably alluding to the USS Liberty"

Is this LOL? Like Ms. Coulter has to go back half a century for grist for the mill?

Has to be said...

"Certain circles of free-thinkers."

That's one way to call them.

Harry Baldwin said...

I was fan enough of Sobran to subscribe to his newsletter for a few years, but I eventually got tired of it. I got to the point that I knew everything he was going to say before he said it, and his Shakespeare theories got to be a real bore. He really lost me with his insouciance about the immigration problem.

I was surprised, reading the obits, that he was not really that old (64). He had seemed so crushed in spirit and health for years, and often complained about his finances in his newsletter.

The poor guy had few friends left at the end, and I give Coulter a lot of credit for boldly sticking by him.

Jeremiah Whitmoore said...

I'm shocked that Anne Coulter was a friend of Joe's and even more shocked she wrote one of the finest tributes to him. She's better then most of the paleos.

Rockerbolt said...

When I first discovered Sobran, he struck me as one of the most brilliant writers I'd ever read. It was just too bad he had some crank theory about Shakespeare marring his otherwise spotless genius. As time went on, though... he started going places I couldn't follow. Some kind of fundamental Catholicism, some sort of neo-anarchism, weird denunciations of Darwin... Meanwhile, I was reading more and more about the Shakespeare question and discovering that the dissenters against the orthodox story really did have a case. In Sobran's last years, I had completely reversed my opinion. His Shakespeare material was brilliant and his political work was tired and cranky.

I remember, though, that one of Sobran's lines haunted me for years. He was talking about Joe DiMaggio, who never stopped loving Marilyn Monroe even though hardly anyone really understood why. Sobran's take on it was: "Where others lusted, he cherished." It was a lovely and touching way of putting it, I thought. Sobran may not have even thought Marilyn was worthy of that kind of devotion, but DiMaggio thought so, and that made all the difference.

Robert said...

Harry Baldwin says of Joe Sobran, "The poor guy had few friends left at the end, and I give Coulter a lot of credit for boldly sticking by him."

After Joe ceased to be reachable via E-mail or telephone in 2008, it was very hard for anyone not actually living in Virginia to retain contact with him - though Peter Brimelow, based I believe in Connecticut, tried via snail-mail - so I'm not at all sure about the assertion that he "had few friends left at the end."

Anonymous said...

I never read Joe Sobran's book on de Vere. But I did read this one: http://amzn.to/af0Pre. I challenge anyone to read this and still claim William Shakespeare wrote anything other than his name.

icr said...

Is this LOL? Like Ms. Coulter has to go back half a century for grist for the mill?

A particularly egregious event (34 dead, 171 wounded)- and the insulting denialism and cover-ups still go on. Quite a bit different from say, the Iraq War, which was an open product(see the book the Transparent Cabal) of domestic Jews and their eager non-Jewish collaborators.

Ben Franklin said...

It is a shame what happened to Sobran. Initially, he raised some mild objections to the lunatic Neocon positions on the Mideast and they raised hell about it, and hounded him till he died.


Sobran’s theory of left “alienism” and right-wing “enjoyment” (aka nativism) was a very perceptive way of seeing things, and he saw that way back in the early 1980s. The controversy over his objections to Neocon Israel policy prevented him from tackling the subject of immigration and race relations. He basically pulled his punches on those topics in favor of continuing to oppose the so-called “Israel lobby.” That was likely a strategic mistake.


Sobran was a literary person, not really a political theorist, or at least politics didn’t really interest him. I think he wrote about politics because that was one way to make a living writing, at least while he was at National Review. The behavior of Buckley was cowardly, but he was trying to save his lavish life-style not change the world, having given up on that a long time even before the Sobran controversy in the middle 1980s. Both Buckley and Sobran were defeated men, but Buckley defeated himself while Sobran was defeated by forces far to powerful for any one person to face down alone.

Anonymous said...

A whole bunch of perfect weathervanes have gotten themselves into a circle to point their critical fingers at an imperfect compass. Sobran deserves more praise than he's gotten, I believe, but he also deserves better criticism. Michael Brendan Dougherty's short appreciation of him on the American Conservative's website is the only appreciation I've read of Sobran that discusses his flaws with respect and honesty.

Harry Baldwin said...

Robert said...I'm not at all sure about the assertion that he "had few friends left at the end."

I don't mean to suggest that Sobran had no personal friends, rather that because of some of his non-pc opinions he had few (if any) colleagues who could get him writing work with decent pay or a sinecure in one of those "conservative" foundations.

He could have said, like Rodney Dangerfield, "My problem is that I appeal to everyone that can do me absolutely no good."

Anonymous said...

The authorship question seems like something right up Steve's ally. Joe always said the Shakespeare scholars had too much invested in this myth of some poor obscurity becoming the greatest playwright ever to even admit that it could be an Earl whose life experiences seems to parallel the plays to an uncanny degree. It's the egalitarian ideal realized. Anyway's, Joe's book on Shakespeare is well worth reading just for it delightful prose.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think people are drawn to this sort of thing?

Since I don't have the time [or, yet, the expertise] to do justice to Oxfordian Theory right now, let me instead just point out that Roland Emmerich is making a movie, called Anonymous [Wikipedia, IMDB], which apparently will embrace not only Prince Tudor Theory but in fact Prince Tudor Part II !!!

[BTW, the only reference to Emmerich at iSteve which I could find was by Fred in some hug-a-Jew dispute.]

Anonymous said...

Sobran may not have even thought Marilyn was worthy of that kind of devotion, but DiMaggio thought so, and that made all the difference.

Arthur Miller probably had an IQ twenty points [or more] higher than Monroe, and so looked down upon her as little more than glorified trailer trash, or even just a cheap whore [which is surely how the Kennedy brothers viewed her].

DiMaggio, by contrast, would have had an IQ much closer to Monroe's [in fact, she might have been a little smarter than he], and would have shared a working-class background with her, so that she would have been a much more natural object of his veneration [than she would have been of Miller's or a Kennedy brother's].

Anonymous said...

Is this LOL? Like Ms. Coulter has to go back half a century for grist for the mill?

So you believe that any *ahem* misunderstandings re the USS Liberty have been cleared up to the satisfaction of all parties? Perhaps you could point us to where these misunderstandings have been comprehensively addressed.

Quite a few people believe the matter is actually far from settled and furthermore that someone making comments such as yours is either a deluded fellow traveller or an outright hasbara.

Anonymous said...

"But if you learned that the mammal had been stealing and eating the reptile's eggs for years then you might have more sympathy for the reptile."

No--seems you lack an understanding of nature, sir or madam.

George said...

"Arthur Miller probably had an IQ twenty points [or more] higher than Monroe,"
"DiMaggio, by contrast, would have had an IQ much closer to Monroe's [in fact, she might have been a little smarter than he]"

Yeah, but DiMaggio had a better batting average than either Miller or Monroe.

Svigor said...

Not a fan myself. A friend of mine met him and found him to be arrogant and obnoxious. My opinion of him before I heard that story.

The guy just died for Chrissakes. What kinda shitbird are you?

Svigor said...

Arthur Miller probably had an IQ twenty points [or more] higher than Monroe, and so looked down upon her as little more than glorified trailer trash, or even just a cheap whore [which is surely how the Kennedy brothers viewed her].

The fact that she was a cheap whore might've had something to do with it, too.

James Kabala said...

I've been reluctant to post anything Shakespeare-authorship-related in Sobran threads, out of respect for the dead, but since this thread is being derailed on the subject already, I recommend the site shakespeareauthorship.com. Basically, any mystery or authorship question was made up decades after the fact by people with too much time on their hands.

There is also a small section devoted specifically to Sobran: http://shakespeareauthorship.com/sobran.html

I have a small authorship question of my own: I thought it was Tom Bethell who coined "strange new respect."

James Kabala said...

It is sad to hear what terrible financial straits Sobran was in at the time of his death. May he rest in peace at last. (And Tony T.'s opinion seems nearly unique.)

Anonymous said...

The fact that she was a cheap whore might've had something to do with it, too.

But she wouldn't have seemed that way to DiMaggio - to him, she would have seemed like a working class kid who made it in the big leagues - i.e. she would have reminded him of himself.

Pincher Martin said...

Ben Franklin,

"Sobran’s theory of left “alienism” and right-wing “enjoyment” (aka nativism) was a very perceptive way of seeing things, and he saw that way back in the early 1980s."

That's interesting. Where did Sobran write about this theory?

Matra said...

I still have the National Review editions with Bill Buckley's "In Search of Anti-Semitism" and Joe Sobran's response "In Pursuit of anti-Semitism". At the time I was divided between the conservatism of the mainstream National Review crowd and the paleos. Until then (to my young and naive self) Buckley seemed like a great intellectual who could take on anybody on the Left. Following Sobran's devastating article in reply to Buckley I realised the latter was a complete fraud. Ditto the entire conservative movement.

Darwin's Sh*tlist said...

I suspect that more than a little of the chattering-class vitriol directed at Sobran over the past week comes from people anguished at the certainty that he was a much better writer than they could ever hope to be.

RIP.

Tony T. said...

"The guy just died for Chrissakes. What kinda shitbird are you?"

What kind of shitbird are you svigor? This site is all about being honest. Don't wanna say the same old b.s. like everybody else if that's not the way I feel.

Anonymous said...

He wished the South had won the Civil War, called evolution Darwinism and adopted a snarky attitude about it, and he thought Shakespeare didn't write all those plays and for some reason thought people should care about that.

RIP.

Anonymous said...

Buckley kept taking money from billionaire right winger Roger Milliken even after firing Sobran.

Anonymous said...

Re USS Liberty
Someone pls explain the facts, very slowly.

Anonymous said...

He gave a speech at the IHR, an organization which exists to deny the Holocaust, which it calls the greatest hoax of the 20th century.

I'm pretty far out there to the right, but come on.

Ben Franklin said...

Pincher Martin:


Try this link to Sobran’s greatest essay, from the 30th anniversary issue of National Review (Sobran got the basic idea for this essay from his earlier one in defense of Bernie Goetz, the subway shooter):

National Review; Joseph Sobran; 12/31/1985: Pensees: Notes for the reactionary of tomorrow
http://www.wildwestcycle.com/f_pensees.htm

RKU said...

So you believe that any *ahem* misunderstandings re the USS Liberty have been cleared up to the satisfaction of all parties? Perhaps you could point us to where these misunderstandings have been comprehensively addressed.

Ha, ha---well I suppose the necessary "payback" may have occurred, and I just missed reading about it in the NYT. If not, then it's certainly still due.

Actually, I think the really crucial question is proper rate of interest to charge: treasury rate, mortgage rate, or---ha, ha!---credit card rate. Remember, we're now talking 43 years of compounded interest, and the rate used can really make a pretty important difference. Anyone who checks the calculation can see what I mean.

Who was it again who said that compound interest is the most powerful force in the world?...

Anonymous said...

"Arthur Miller probably had an IQ twenty points [or more] higher than Monroe, and so looked down upon her as little more than glorified trailer trash..."

Seriously, you can't respect someone who has an IQ 20 points lower than yours? Steve... your fans... ugh, erk.

Anonymous said...

I think we might as well face it, Sobran was a good solid writer - and nothing more - who only became famous/infamous because he attacked Israel and got in a flap with WFB.

I too, read some of his stuff post- NR, and when he wasn't discussing the Zionists or Israel and the Jews, he was kinda boring. His writings on immigration was pathetic and his Shakespeare stuff was just weird.

Like many Paleo-conservatives, he seemed to be 20 years older that he was, and resigned to defeat and an early death. Which is why I stopped reading him.

Coulter by her nice column shows she has more balls than all the girly-men at NR put together.

Anonymous said...

Probably Sobran's most important accomplishment was making us realize what a fraud WFB was. Judas Priest, to back-stab Buchanan and Sobran the way he did. With that article Buckley made it clear he was more interested in what the New York Times thought of him than what conservatives did.

But he still got conservatives to donate and subscribe to NR - suckers!

Anonymous said...

"The fact that she was a cheap whore might've had something to do with it, too."

Yeah, so just why did a guy like Miller, who could have had any number of women who weren't whores, decide he wanted to marry her? He could have had this whore w/out marrying her, right?

Anonymous said...

Joe Sobran was 64 years old. Here is how that compares with others of his kind.


Clive Staples Lewis: 29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963: 65 years old.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton: 29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936: 62 years old.

Richard Malcolm Weaver, Jr: March 3, 1910 – April 1, 1963: 53 years old.

Anonymous said...

"I think we might as well face it, Sobran was a good solid writer - and nothing more - who only became famous/infamous because he attacked Israel and got in a flap with WFB."

Well Hugh Kenner called his early work "a mind in exemplary action" and that's a hell of a compliment considering the source. No one to my mind in the last 30 years has written better plain English prose than that collected in his book Single Issues.

Here's a good one:

There are natural limits to our sympathies, limits liberalism can only condemn, never respect. And there is no reason to credit its attitude with ‘idealism.’ A robin that took worms to every nest in the forest would not be an ideal robin; it would only be an odd bird.

Reg Cæsar said...

If Oxford wrote the works published under Shakespeare's name, then who wrote the bilge published under Oxford's?

And how can anyone take seriously the claim that some poor boy from Michigan wrote the great works attributed to Sobran? Any fool could see they could only belong to an educated, urbane upper-class figure, such as... Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.!

Fred said...

I Hadn't heard of Joe Sobran until the obits started popping up on paleo blogs. After what I've read of some of his writings on Jews, I was a little surprised to see Ann Coulter write such a nice obit for him. Coulter has always been pretty scrupulous about not criticizing Jews qua Jews, even though she has no compunction against going after liberals, Jew or Christian.

Maybe that's because she sees Jews first as people -- her neighbors in NYC, at least one of her ex-boyfriends, etc. Or maybe it's because she's a lot savvier about how far she can go and still have hundreds of thousands of fans (many philo-semitic Evangelicals, no doubt, along with some conservative Jews) buying her books and paying to see her at her live appearances.

In any case, Coulter probably figured (rightly, it seems) that Sobran was so obscure she wouldn't get much heat for praising him on his passing.

Anonymous said...

SOBRAN ON ALIENISM VERSUS NATIVISM:


There are two possible basic attitudes toward social reality. One of these, as I say, has many names, but I will call, it, for convenience, Nativism: a prejudice in favor of the native, the normal, and so forth… .


The other attitude I am forced, for lack of a better word--or any word at all--to call Alienism: a prejudice in favor of the alien, the marginal, the dispossessed, the eccentric, reaching an extreme in the attempt to "build a new society" by destroying the basic institutions of the native.


There is no militant Nativism to speak of in America; but there is militant Alienism, and it has power not only in the law but in the current culture propagated by the media and the academy. The very fact that Alienism was nameless until I came along, while there were a dozen words, all invidious, for Nativist attitudes, shows how thoroughly entrenched the Alienist perspective is.

Svigor said...

"The guy just died for Chrissakes. What kinda shitbird are you?"

What kind of shitbird are you svigor? This site is all about being honest. Don't wanna say the same old b.s. like everybody else if that's not the way I feel.


Fuck your feelings. Stuff 'em up your arse.

I read a few of his pieces (and liked them), but I'm certainly not a Sobran partisan or anything. I just don't know why you'd post anything at all (on a thread at a conservative site a couple days after he died) if you didn't like the guy. Let his body get cold before you dig him up and hang him, already.

The title's Joe Sobran, RIP and you show up to shit on his tombstone.

Svigor said...

Hey everybody, my opinion of Tony T is that he's a shitbird with diarrhea of the mouth.

Wouldn't want to hold back or anything.

Svigor said...

Yeah, so just why did a guy like Miller, who could have had any number of women who weren't whores, decide he wanted to marry her? He could have had this whore w/out marrying her, right?

How the hell should I know? Maybe he though she had a heart of gold. Maybe she did. Maybe WGAF?

Anonymous said...

He gave a speech at the IHR, an organization which exists to deny the Holocaust, which it calls the greatest hoax of the 20th century.



What did he say in the speech?

Anonymous said...

Re USS Liberty
Someone pls explain the facts, very slowly.


Here is the USS Liberty Veterans Association website.

Mencius Moldbug said...

James Kabala,

David Kathman's Shakespeare authorship site is best described as a venture in "Oxford denialism."

Oxford denialists (ie, Stratfordians) argue exactly like Holocaust denialists. They are all Johnnie Cochrans - their strategy is to find every nit they can pick, and rest heavily on their occupancy of the default position. "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit."

The denialist always runs from a straight argument; he always fails to address the strongest points of the competition; his work is always thick with invective and innuendo; he never states his own theory squarely (keep finding those real killers, OJ), but spends all his time attacking the competition, often constructing strawmen when no nits are to be found. All of this is plain in the work of Kathman, as in that of any Holocaust denier.

It is the tradition that the Shakespeare plays were written by an actor-producer from Stratford, who no doubt spoke with an incredible brogue and could barely sign his own name, which is an extraordinary claim demanding extraordinary evidence. No such evidence exists or can, just a bogus 18th-century "Barefoot Bard" tradition. Kathman and his ilk would be better off finding some way to bolster their own incredible theory, rather than claiming it is true until proven false, and maintaining their little Johnnie Cochran site.

Anonymous said...

You too, Mencius? I should have known.

Victoria said...

See this wonderful obit on Joe by Paul Gottfried:

The Inspiration of Joe Sobran

And these are Israel Shamir's words:

"Joe Sobran is dead. I have met him a few times in Washington DC and I remember him as a charming person, witty, smart, compassionate Catholic. We shared our love of Chesterton and dislike of the US Jews’ hegemony. He did not feel the Jewish censorship is particularly threatening. He compared it with low-voltage fence which keeps cows corralled in without threatening them: the beasts learn to avoid it easily. But he was not a cow, and he treaded on the fence and was thoroughly electrocuted. Below is a famous piece by Joe, and even further below: some other notes about him. He was a wonderful person, and for sure he is now in the better world, no fear."

mike said...

The claim that Shakespeare could barely sign his name (repeated by Mencius Moldbug above) is based on his surviving signature, which is indeed hard for 21st century Americans to read. One of the first anti-Stratfordians to make this claim was Ignatius Donnelly, who reproduced the shaky Shakespeare scrawl alongside an example of Sir Francis Bacon's fine Italian-style handwriting.

Unfortunately, these claims bely an ignorance of sixteenth-century palaeography. There were two common handwriting systems in use at the time; the old English or Secretary hand (a cursive blackletter) and a newer Italian hand, which came into vogue c. 1580 and gradually began to replace it. Modern readers can read the Italian hand fairly easily, since it does not differ greatly from the italic still taught in some schools today. In contrast, they find the English almost illegible. That does not, however, mean that the Elizabethans did.

Ronald B. Mackerrow's "Introduction to Bibliography" (Oxford University Press, 1928) has a useful discussion in Appendix 8, "A Note on Elizabethan Handwriting," giving examples of all the English-style capital and minuscule letters. This should be read before making any conclusions as to Shakespeare's handwriting. The signature as reproduced by Donnelly is in a typical English or Secretary hand. Since we don't have a large amount of documentable Shakespeare handwriting it is hard to say how good his penmanship really was - but it should be borne in mind that all handwriting of this type is hard to read. As Mackerrow observes:

"When we come to the sixteenth century, and especially to the later years of the century, we ind a much larger number of literary documents which, not being the work of professional scribes, are in cursive hands of various degrees of informality and carelessness, and some of these are by no means easy to read. The only way in which the student can learn to make them out is by practice, and he should be warned that however much he practises he must not expect to be able to read every unfamiliar hand at a glance. The most skilled palaeographer may find the first few lines of a new manuscript somewhat puzzling."

Before condemning Shakespeare as an illiterate lout on the basis of his signature, we ought perhaps to reflect on the illegibility of much modern handwriting. Do you suppose that 400 years from now, a layman unskilled in palaeography would guess, on looking at one of your doctor's prescriptions, that it was written by a person who had completed eleven years of post-secondary education?

Jim O said...

I'm surprised to read that anyone who met Joe Sobran found him arrogant or otherwise unpleasant. I never had the pleasure, but I emailed him a few times about columns he'd written, sometimes saying "amen," sometimes with harsh criticism. He never, ever, failed to reply, and always responded to me at length, with thoughtfulness and good humor. If only everyone I've met during my time on planet Earth were as arrogant as he! I wouldn't be the misanthrope that the world has made of me.

If you think Sobran's belief that DeVere wrote Shakespeare's plays is evidence that he was a crackpot, you're obviously unfamiliar with the subject.

There have been only three public intellectuals in recent years with the guts to say what they really think. He's gone, so only Coulter and Sailer remain.

Mencius Moldbug said...

Reg Caesar,

Here's some "bilge" (ie, juvenilia) by the Earl of Oxford:

What is Desire, which doth approve,
To set on fire each gentle heart ?
A fancy strange, or God of Love,
Whose pining sweet delight doth smart;
In gentle minds his dwelling is.

Is he god of peace or war ?
What be his arms ? What is his might ?
His war is peace, his peace is war;
Each grief of his is but delight;
His bitter ball is sugared bliss.

What be his gifts ? How doth he pay ?
When is he seen ? or how conceived ?
Sweet dreams in sleep, new thoughts in day,
Beholding eyes, in mind received;
A god that rules and yet obeys.


If I could prove that my Mexican gardener had written that, I think I'd have at least a plausible case that my Mexican gardener was the author of the Shakespeare canon.

In fact, attributing said canon to William of Stratford (no doubt unbelievably uncouth, and probably illiterate) is about as plausible, in the context of Elizabethan society, as the theory that my Mexican gardener is actually the author of Mario Vargas Llosa's novels. Surely to the actual people involved, this would have been downright hilarious.

William of Stratford was clearly an actor and probably what would be called in Hollywood today a producer. He seems to have been the man who put on many of Oxford's plays. A modern equivalent might be a screenwriter publishing his screenplays under the name of "Harvey Weinstein." Greene implies that Harvey Weinstein then went around claiming to have actually written these works, which is even funnier if possible.

Mencius Moldbug said...

And how can anyone take seriously the claim that some poor boy from Michigan wrote the great works attributed to Sobran?

This is one of the main reasons no one grasps how incredible the Stratford theory is: they live in an egalitarian society with high social mobility.

Becoming culturally sophisticated enough to understand court society, as the Shakespeare author clearly was, is a task comparable to becoming fluent in Japanese. If the Shakespeare canon included passages in correct Japanese, we would be forced to conclude, lacking evidence to the contrary, that they had been written by a Japanese.

We have extant signatures of William of Stratford. Look at them. They are obviously the signatures of an illiterate man who can barely hold a pen - a man who would have died without any books in his estate, as Stratford did.

This is all the Oxford denialists have. They assign infinite credibility to the conventional wisdom, plus Elizabethan title-page credits - from the golden age of censorship and the literary hoax.
They then proceed to sneer, and keep on sneering. Sailer readers will note that the same people use exactly the same techniques to prove universal human equality.

A good, judicious work on the problems of the Stratford theory, from before Looney's discovery of Oxford, is Sir George Greenwood's The Shakespeare Problem Restated (1908). As you'll see, sneering was not invented yesterday.

Anonymous said...

My Dad was a career USN officer, pretty savvy guy, non-conspiricast, and served in the Med in the 60s. He was of the opinion that the Liberty was hit on purpose. And that opinion was very prevelant in the USN even when I was in, in the 80s.

I was initially intrigued with the possibility, but am now coming more and more to think it unlikely.

I think the Ennis site hurts itself, by touting all evidence (including the weakest and mostly unlikely) together in a sort of kitchen sink support of a position. In addition, some of the testimonials (I think in particular, Moorer and the CO), don't ring very true. These guys were almost dead, before they said what they did. And then, they basically just recited something off of the Ennis site (instead of a conversion, backed with new details for instance). And then they do crap like having an essay contest for kids, where no real new content or analysis is done, just regurgitation of the Ennis site.

As we've seen with Gulf War 1 and 2 and Afghanistan and the Vincennes (and probably more), accidental attacks are common occurences. And the sense of outrage (Canadians, Brits, Afghanis) can be huge, even from an ally.

Also, one would think by this times SOME sort of clear evidence would have come forward. But it hasn't.

Furthermore, the Israilis really are NOT that good at expiditoinary warfare, sea attacks, etc. They only look good fighting Arabs. They use a lot of reservists. They are really nothing like the US, which still maintains something akin to a WW2 type of structure and profesionalism. (and still has accidental attacks and messed up status boards and mislaid messages and blabla.)

So, yeah teh Joos are cheeky bastards. No doubt. [I've had discussions with some, who also are a bit willing to believe in conspiracy of Levantines, but said "you deserved it for spying".] But the more plausible view on the Liberty is the simple story.

RKU said...

He was of the opinion that the Liberty was hit on purpose...I was initially intrigued with the possibility, but am now coming more and more to think it unlikely.

Actually, Israeli jet radio communications pulled down and later analyzed by the NSA apparently nailed the case shut that the attack was absolutely 100% deliberate.

Interestingly enough, during the 1980s some top NSA people (who were "annoyed" that the murder of their colleagues had been shoved down the memory hole by the DC politicians) got around things by using the Liberty NSA intercepts as a historical case-study "training exercise" for incoming classes of military officers. So I suspect that quite a few now relatively high-ranking American military officers have a somewhat more realistic view of the world than ignorant blog commenters who read the NYT and babble about "the joos".

Perhaps at some point this fact may become significant.

Anonymous said...

'Liberty' Author Responds to Readers
(...)
One reader wrote that there are "thousands of cases of friendly fire" yet the Liberty always seems to rise to the top. I think one of the reasons it does is the circumstances of the attack never fit the mold of a typical friendly fire incident. Most such assaults are over in seconds, maybe minutes, and occur at night, in inclement weather and otherwise poor conditions. In contrast, the attack on the Liberty lasted approximately an hour and happened on a clear and sunny afternoon. The attack was exceedingly brutal, leaving 821 shell holes in the ship in addition to a 39-foot torpedo hole. Those facts have made it hard - both in 1967 and today - for many to believe it could have been simply friendly fire.

More importantly, as we now know from declassified Israeli documents, some Israeli personnel in fact knew the Liberty was an American ship. Early in the attack an Israeli pilot radioed in the Liberty's hull number, and that information was passed to the Israeli Navy. Others inside Israel's chain of command also later testified that they were aware of the ship's identity before the torpedo strike. This is unfortunate, because had Israel stopped the attack at that point more than two dozen lives would have been saved. Based on this information, Israel's ambassador to the United States in 1967, Avraham Harman, insisted that some of the attackers be prosecuted and that American journalists be invited to cover the trial, which unfortunately never happened.

A couple of readers said that a thorough American investigation cleared Israel of wrongdoing. The reality is the U.S. Navy conducted a very shallow investigation in 1967, which remains a contentious point among those close to the Liberty story. The court of inquiry tasked to examine the assault lasted only eight days and called only 14 Liberty sailors to testify. Some witnesses were asked as few as a half dozen questions. American investigators never visited Israel, interviewed the attackers or reviewed Israel's military records. The final transcript of testimony of the Navy's investigation was only 158 pages. Compare that to the investigation the Navy conducted in the wake of North Korea's seizure of the spy ship U.S.S. Pueblo seven months later. More than 100 witnesses testified in that probe, generating a transcript that ran more than 3,300 pages.
(...)

Anonymous said...

'Liberty' Author Responds to Readers
(...)
"One reader wrote that there are "thousands of cases of friendly fire" yet the Liberty always seems to rise to the top. I think one of the reasons it does is the circumstances of the attack never fit the mold of a typical friendly fire incident. Most such assaults are over in seconds, maybe minutes, and occur at night, in inclement weather and otherwise poor conditions. In contrast, the attack on the Liberty lasted approximately an hour and happened on a clear and sunny afternoon. The attack was exceedingly brutal, leaving 821 shell holes in the ship in addition to a 39-foot torpedo hole. Those facts have made it hard - both in 1967 and today - for many to believe it could have been simply friendly fire."

"More importantly, as we now know from declassified Israeli documents, some Israeli personnel in fact knew the Liberty was an American ship. Early in the attack an Israeli pilot radioed in the Liberty's hull number, and that information was passed to the Israeli Navy. Others inside Israel's chain of command also later testified that they were aware of the ship's identity before the torpedo strike. This is unfortunate, because had Israel stopped the attack at that point more than two dozen lives would have been saved. Based on this information, Israel's ambassador to the United States in 1967, Avraham Harman, insisted that some of the attackers be prosecuted and that American journalists be invited to cover the trial, which unfortunately never happened."
(...)

Anonymous said...

The fact that the Liberty was deliberately attacked by the Israelis is really a quite open secret.
Here:
As I posted several years ago, The flight leader reported that he had the ship in sight and that it was displaying an American flag. He asked if he was still ordered to attack the ship. The answer was yes. My wife remembers that I mentioned it to her at the time. This was in the winter of 1967-68. I was attending the year long career course for military intelligence officers at the army intelligence school at Ft. Holabird, Maryland. i was taking an elective course in cryptology taught by staff from the nearby national cryptologic school at Ft. Meade. the transcript was in a booklet prepared fby the staff for some other course but used in this one as well. There are lots of old people out there who saw this. pl

Posted by: Patrick Lang | 07 June 2010 at 11:53 PM

the above is in the comments thread

Anonymous said...

yawn, I read that crap a while ago. yes, the Liberty was identified as US. And then later status was misidentified. Cripes, the crap is never new. where's the smoking gun. Where are the pilots of the planes or leaders and organizers of the attack? None of them ever decided to fess up? I don't think you can keep that kind of secret. And there's no good motivation for the attack.


It was a fuckup. not the Israilis first. They're not as good as all the mythology from Raid on Entebe will make you think.

Anonymous said...

Moldbug's quote of deVere's poem proves one thing: the Shakespeare canon was written by... John Donne.

Evidently there was more than one guy in those days who could write good formalist verse with clever manipulations of conceits. So what? It was a "thing" in those days. Did Spenser write Shakespeare? Did a committee of clever schoolboys? My friends and I wrote parodistic stuff like that in high school. So maybe _we_ wrote Shakespeare.

I'm skeptical of the Oxford claims for a variety of reasons, but I'm still prepared to admit that the world is big and weird, so lots of things are possible. Some Oxford claims are mildly persuasive, but I generally find them insufficient and ably if not always decisively countered by Shakespearean claims. So my point is, I think the Oxford camp is wrong, but I don't think they're insane.

Here's a question for them: is there any good evidence that de Vere knew Christopher Marlowe? Because there's a lot of internal evidence that the author of the plays was on friendly terms with Kit.

It's still not a decisive question but I'd like to here them out.

Also, no disrespect to Sobran, may he rest in peace, but after hearing this news (I had not known his work before) I read a few of his Shakespeare essays and found them unpersuasive and kind of naïve considering issues of theater and the English language.

I've not only read Shakespeare at great length, I've directed and performed in the plays, sometimes to acclaim. Doesn't make me a final authority, just something to consider: I'm not an academic, a partisan, or a flake, and I know a lot of things that non-theater people generally don't consider.

For instance, I'd bet that whoever wrote the plays, Will Kemp and Robert Armin pitched in regularly on the clown bits. Who knew those guys better -- a fellow company member, or some visiting aristocrat?

Just sayin'.

Mencius Moldbug said...

As for the Liberty, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Israelis hit it intentionally, though I wouldn't be surprised if it was an accident.

If the Israelis hit it intentionally, by definition, they had a reason to do so. Why does no one I see talking about the Liberty, ever, speculate on this subject? Or do they think Jews will take any opportunity to drink the blood of a Christian, nuff said?

Remember that USG sided with Nasser against the Israelis in '56. In '67 they claimed to be neutral, but were they?

It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Israelis figured out (or even just suspected) that the Liberty was intercepting their signals and USG was leaking the results to Egypt. If so, it was a perfectly legitimate target, and the effort by both governments to cover it up is quite plausible.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Since I don't have the time [or, yet, the expertise] to do justice to Oxfordian Theory right now, let me instead just point out that Roland Emmerich is making a movie, called Anonymous [Wikipedia, IMDB], which apparently will embrace not only Prince Tudor Theory but in fact Prince Tudor Part II !!!"

It's great that someone's making a movie with such an interesting story line. It's too bad that it will be made - and therefore, ruined- by such a lousy director as Emmerich. The best movie he ever made was "The Patriot"....and it wasn't that good.

Fred said...

Another take on the USS Liberty:

"The Israeli attack on the USS Liberty was a grievous error, largely attributable to the fact that it occurred in the midst of the confusion of a full-scale war in 1967. Ten official United States investigations and three official Israeli inquiries have all conclusively established the attack was a tragic mistake.

On June 8, 1967, the fourth day of the Six-Day War, the Israeli high command received reports that Israeli troops in El Arish were being fired upon from the sea, presumably by an Egyptian vessel, as they had a day before. The United States had announced that it had no naval forces within hundreds of miles of the battle front on the floor of the United Nations a few days earlier; however, the USS Liberty, an American intelligence ship under the dual control of the Defense Intelligence Agency/Central Intelligence Agency and the Sixth Fleet, was assigned to monitor the fighting. As a result of a series of United States communication failures, whereby messages directing the ship not to approach within 100 miles were not received by the Liberty, the ship sailed to within 14 miles off the Sinai coast. The Israelis mistakenly thought this was the ship shelling its soldiers and war planes and torpedo boats attacked, killing 34 members of the Liberty's crew and wounding 171. Ships from the Sixth Fleet were directed to launch four attack aircraft with fighter cover to defend the Liberty, but the planes were recalled after a message was received at the White House that the Israelis had admitted they had attacked the ship.

Numerous mistakes were made by both the United States and Israel. For example, the Liberty was first reported — incorrectly, as it turned out — to be cruising at 30 knots (it was later recalculated to be 28 knots). Under Israeli (and U.S.) naval doctrine at the time, a ship proceeding at that speed was presumed to be a warship. The sea was calm and the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry found that the Liberty's flag was very likely drooped and not discernible; moreover, members of the crew, including the Captain, Commander William McGonagle, testified that the flag was knocked down after the first or second assault.

According to Israeli Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin's memoirs, there were standing orders to attack any unidentified vessel near the shore.1 The day fighting began, Israel had asked that American ships be removed from its coast or that it be notified of the precise location of U.S. vessels.2 The Sixth Fleet was moved because President Johnson feared being drawn into a confrontation with the Soviet Union. He also ordered that no aircraft be sent near Sinai."


(...)

Anonymous said...

Signature of another illiterate, Christopher Marlowe.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marlowe-Signature-1585.jpg

Which nobleman wrote his plays?

David said...

>I emailed him a few times about columns he'd written, sometimes saying "amen," sometimes with harsh criticism. He never, ever, failed to reply, and always responded to me at length, with thoughtfulness and good humor.<

Me too. We wrestled over Hitchcock's "Vertigo." He was an extraordinarily charming correspondent.

>"He gave a speech at the IHR"
What did he say in the speech?<

Here (on Sobran's website). Interestingly, Coulter's first long Sobran quote (""I note that my enemies have written a great deal about me, yet" etc.) is from this very speech.

Mencius Moldbug said...

Anonymous, you're unbelievable. That Marlowe signature is obviously that of a literate man with actual handwriting. How could anyone not see the difference?

You're simply making a desperate bet that no one will actually compare the two. It's common for mainstream denialists to try this gambit - brute psychological force, as it were. Sorry. There are probably other fora where your Jedi mind tricks will go over better.

David said...

>Becoming culturally sophisticated enough to understand court society, as the Shakespeare author clearly was, is a task comparable to becoming fluent in Japanese<

Nonsense.

>It is the tradition that the Shakespeare plays were written by an actor-producer from Stratford, who no doubt spoke with an incredible brogue and could barely sign his own name, which is an extraordinary claim demanding extraordinary evidence. No such evidence exists or can, just a bogus 18th-century "Barefoot Bard" tradition.<

How can an actor-producer in any time be illiterate? How do you know Shakespeare "no doubt" had "an incredible brogue," and what is the relevance of this weird assertion? Why do you believe the Shakespeare tradition started in the 1700s, when he was written about in the 1600s? Why do you call him "Barefoot"? And who wrote Lincoln's Gettysburg Address? Surely you can't believe that someone whose school notebook was a shovel could know anything about the law or become President.

Anonymous said...

Mencius Moldbug said...
If the Israelis hit it intentionally, by definition, they had a reason to do so. Why does no one I see talking about the Liberty, ever, speculate on this subject? Or do they think Jews will take any opportunity to drink the blood of a Christian, nuff said?

Why did Israel try to sink a naval vessel of its benefactor and ally? Most likely because 'Liberty's' intercepts flatly contradicted Israel's claim, made at the war's beginning on 5 June, that Egypt had attacked Israel, and that Israel's massive air assault on three Arab nations was in retaliation. In fact, Israel began the war by a devastating, Pearl-Harbor style surprise attack that caught the Arabs in bed and destroyed their entire air forces.

Israel was also preparing to attack Syria to seize its strategic Golan Heights. Washington warned Israel not to invade Syria, which had remained inactive while Israel fought Egypt. Bamford says Israel's offensive against Syria was abruptly postponed when 'Liberty' appeared off Sinai, then launched once it was knocked out of action. Israel's claim that Syria had attacked it could have been disproved by 'Liberty.'

Most significant, 'Liberty's' intercepts may have shown that Israel seized upon sharply rising Arab-Israeli tensions in May-June 1967 to launch a long-planned war to invade and annex the West Bank, Jerusalem, Golan and Sinai.


Lew Rockwell dot com

Mencius Moldbug said...

I've not only read Shakespeare at great length, I've directed and performed in the plays, sometimes to acclaim. Doesn't make me a final authority, just something to consider: I'm not an academic, a partisan, or a flake, and I know a lot of things that non-theater people generally don't consider.

Not only do I have a decent amount of 20th-century verse training (my teacher was one of Pinsky's infinite army of students), my wife is a trained playwright. She was convinced at once by the Oxfordians, once I turned her on to them.

Check out the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition. You'll see some names you recognize - such as, um, Mark Rylance. I'd like to see anyone on this board trump the Artistic Director of the Globe Theatre - at least, when it comes to Shakespeare. Frankly, it's like arguing with James Watson about human genetics.

As for your questions, for a nobleman like Oxford it is very difficult to say who he knew or didn't, because an Oxford would automatically have entry pretty much into any social network short of the Order of the Garter. If he wanted to slum with the clowns and knaves who acted his plays, of course he could. See under: Henry V, Part 1.

My suspicion, again, is that Shaksper was Oxford's producer. Doctors say: when you hear hoofbeats, think horses. An actor-producer in Elizabethan England, especially a "Johannes Factotum" as Shaksper was (ie, a comic character at best on the stage, but excellent behind the box office), is a horse. An rustic actor-playwright, especially for a writer of court plays and court poetry, is a 48-foot-tall zebra. (Other actor-playwrights were figures like Robert Tarlton - compare.)

So the great Elizabethan literary conspiracy is... the producer was given writing credit, to cover up what otherwise would have been a celebrity scandal. Duh. Tricky it may be, but it's not a 48-foot-tall zebra.

The secrecy is also not at all surprising from a historical perspective. If you were no one and you offended someone with Oxford's rank, he could quite plausibly and easily have you killed. Think of aristocratic deference as like political correctness, except with sharper penalties. There's no question but that if he (or his $1000 a year paymistress, QE) wanted a secret kept, it would be kept.

So the Elizabethan equivalent of celebrity gossip was kept reflexively, not spattered all over the tabloids. It was basically as secret as a government secret. Moreover, the whole "beard of Avon" approach considerably muddied the waters, because when you mentioned the producer's name, you might or might not be talking about the writer - eg, if you were Ben Jonson. You might even go back and forth, depending on your audience.

Thus, the best way to attribute the plays is to subtract unreliable public information from the Elizabethan period, and attribute them instead by pure literary evidence, as if they had been written anonymously. Everyone acknowledges that this approach points a blazing line at Oxford. It certainly does not conjure a zebra, like Stratford. We have plenty of evidence for Shakspere as a very normal Elizabethan figure.

Mencius Moldbug said...

I've not only read Shakespeare at great length, I've directed and performed in the plays, sometimes to acclaim. Doesn't make me a final authority, just something to consider: I'm not an academic, a partisan, or a flake, and I know a lot of things that non-theater people generally don't consider.

Not only do I have a decent amount of 20th-century verse training (my teacher was one of Pinsky's infinite army of students), my wife is a trained playwright. She was convinced at once by the Oxfordians, once I turned her on to them.

Check out the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition. You'll see some names you recognize - such as, um, Mark Rylance. I'd like to see anyone on this board trump the Artistic Director of the Globe Theatre - at least, when it comes to Shakespeare. Frankly, it's like arguing with James Watson about human genetics.

As for your questions, for a nobleman like Oxford it is very difficult to say who he knew or didn't, because an Oxford would automatically have entry pretty much into any social network short of the Order of the Garter. If he wanted to slum with the clowns and knaves who acted his plays, of course he could. See under: Henry V, Part 1.

My suspicion, again, is that Shaksper was Oxford's producer. Doctors say: when you hear hoofbeats, think horses. An actor-producer in Elizabethan England, especially a "Johannes Factotum" as Shaksper was (ie, a comic character at best on the stage, but excellent behind the box office), is a horse. An rustic actor-playwright, especially for a writer of court plays and court poetry, is a 48-foot-tall zebra. (Other actor-playwrights were figures like Robert Tarlton - compare.)

[cont]

Mencius Moldbug said...

So the great Elizabethan literary conspiracy is... the producer was given writing credit, to cover up what otherwise would have been a giant celebrity scandal. Tricky it may be, but it's no 48-foot-tall zebra.

The secrecy is also not at all surprising from a historical perspective. If you were no one and you offended someone with Oxford's rank, he could quite plausibly and easily have you killed. Think of aristocratic deference as like political correctness, except with sharper penalties. There's no question but that if he (or his $1000 a year paymistress, QE) wanted a secret kept, it would be kept.

So the Elizabethan equivalent of celebrity gossip was kept reflexively, not spattered all over the tabloids. It was basically as secret as a government secret. Moreover, the whole "beard of Avon" approach considerably muddied the waters, because when you mentioned the producer's name, you might or might not be talking about the writer - eg, if you were Ben Jonson. You might even go back and forth, depending on your audience.

And once the Revolution came in the '30s and '40s, no one gave a crap anyway, because no one gave a crap about Shakespeare's profane and aristocratic plays. The Barefoot Bard was invented in the cloying "Augustan" High Whig atmosphere of the 18th. Hence the strong air of Ossian to the whole bogus Stratfordian mythology.

Thus, the Stratfordian evidence and traditions both being crap, and no other tradition or direct evidence or tradition existing, the best way to attribute the plays is to subtract unreliable public information from the Elizabethan period, and attribute them instead by pure literary evidence, as if they had been written anonymously.

Most everyone acknowledges that this approach points a blazing line at Oxford. It certainly does not conjure a zebra, like the Barefoot Bard.

Thus, the only way anyone can still gin up a controversy is to give Shakspere-Shakespeare, the Stratford zebra, 3 centuries of the benefit of the doubt. All the Stratfordians really have is a gigantic argument ad populum. And they don't wield it lightly, as you can see.

Mencius Moldbug said...

Oh, and that John Donne crack was pretty witty.

The thing is: the supply of poets as good as "Shakespeare" or John Donne, in any era, is extremely limited. And certainly, no one is under the impression that the Earl of Oxford was John Donne.

Also, Wikipedia has an impressive http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Renaissance_theatre#List_of_playwrights. You can amuse yourself clicking through them at random, and trying to find one biography as bizarre as that of Shaksper-Shakespeare.

In general, where anything is known about the playwrights, they were either courtiers, Oxbridge-educated, or both. Also bear in mind the large and increasingly sophisticated London bourgeoisie of the time - Stratford being to London roughly as Kingston, Jamaica is to Manhattan. In addition to his birth as a borderline prole, Shaksper has this tremendous geographic-cultural barrier to leap.

Then look at the actors. How many of them come with a pedigree? Acting and playwriting were simply not professions at the same social level, as they are now. It's like finding a janitor who is also the vice-president of a bank. Nor was the education it took to write "Venus and Adonis" something any butcher's boy from Podunk could pick up in his spare time, from Khan Academy or wherever, while he held horses and swept floors at the theater.

Mencius Moldbug said...

How can an actor-producer in any time be illiterate?

People are frequently called "illiterate" when they can read but can't write. This was a very common condition at the time.

How do you know Shakespeare "no doubt" had "an incredible brogue," and what is the relevance of this weird assertion?

Regional accents of English. These were of course much stronger 400 years ago.

You don't think a man's accent is socially relevant? Imagine Shaksper with a strong Bangladeshi accent - perhaps you'll get the picture.

Why do you believe the Shakespeare tradition started in the 1700s, when he was written about in the 1600s?

He was mentioned in the 1600s. He wasn't lionized until the 1700s.

Why do you call him "Barefoot"?

The Shakespeare myth as we know it is originally due to John Aubrey, who wrote that Shakespeare was a butcher's apprentice and "would skin a deer while making speeches in a high style." Aubrey is completely untrustworthy.

And who wrote Lincoln's Gettysburg Address? Surely you can't believe that someone whose school notebook was a shovel could know anything about the law or become President.

With all due respect, sir, you're a moron. I recommend either Beveridge's biography or Edgar Lee Masters'. Also, perhaps you read what I wrote earlier about sounding like a Holocaust denier.

You might also want to have a look at the Notable Signatories on the Shakespeare Authorship site. They include two Supreme Court Justices, not to mention the directors of both the Globe Theater and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, plus Derek Jacobi and Jeremy Irons. Who are all dicks, I suppose.

Mencius Moldbug said...

Why did Israel try to sink a naval vessel of its benefactor and ally? Most likely because 'Liberty's' intercepts flatly contradicted Israel's claim, made at the war's beginning on 5 June, that Egypt had attacked Israel, and that Israel's massive air assault on three Arab nations was in retaliation.

No offense, dude, but this is nothing short of bizarre. No one then or now has ever denied that the Six-Day war started with a preemptive Israeli attack. So, Israel blew up an American ship to conceal public information?

Moreover, the conflict was anything but a surprise. Wikipedia:

In May of 1967, Nasser received false reports from the Soviet Union that Israel was massing on the Syrian border. In response Nasser began massing his troops in the Sinai Peninsula on Israel's border (May 16), expelled the UNEF force from Gaza and Sinai (May 19) and took up UNEF positions at Sharm el-Sheikh, overlooking the Straits of Tiran.[15][16] Israel reiterated declarations made in 1957 that any closure of the Straits would be considered an act of war, or justification for war.[17][18] Nasser declared the Straits closed to Israeli shipping on May 22–23.

I realize that many people in the 21st century think the "aggressor" (a nonsensical 20th-century term) in a war is always whoever shoots first. This is because, like just about everyone today, you are entirely innocent of classical international law. But believe it or not, as late as 1967 there was still such a thing as an "act of war."

Fred said...

"Why did Israel try to sink a naval vessel of its benefactor and ally? Most likely because 'Liberty's' intercepts flatly contradicted Israel's claim, made at the war's beginning on 5 June, that Egypt had attacked Israel, and that Israel's massive air assault on three Arab nations was in retaliation. In fact, Israel began the war by a devastating, Pearl-Harbor style surprise attack that caught the Arabs in bed and destroyed their entire air forces."

It was no secret that Israel had launched preemptive air strikes on Egypt and Syria, once it became clear that war was inevitable. But some context is useful here:

Egypt committed an act of war the month before by blockading the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. Egypt and Syria also mobilized their forces, and Egypt asked the UN to remove its peacekeepers on its border with Israel. Both countries threatened war. Israel was forced to mobilize too, but with a tiny country and a citizen army, it couldn't afford to stay fully mobilized indefinitely. With every able-bodied man under arms, farms were going untended, etc.

Also, contrary to the claim that Israel launched the preemptive air strikes on Egypt and Syria because it wanted to take over the West Bank, even after those air strikes Israel pleaded with Jordan (which then occupied the West Bank) to stay out of the war. Only when Jordan started shelling Israeli West Jerusalem on June 5th, did Israel retaliate against Jordan and take the West Bank from it in the process.

The Jewish Virtual Library goes into the run-up to the war in more detail here, "The 1967 Six-Day War".

Steve Sailer said...

Shakespeare sounds kind of like Howard Hawks, now often considered the greatest American movie director ever. During his career, though, he was just this guy making money churning out popular entertainment, only getting one Oscar nomination during a long career. He finally got a lifetime achievement Oscar when he was almost 80.

Anonymous said...

Mencius Moldbug: Becoming culturally sophisticated enough to understand court society, as the Shakespeare author clearly was, is a task comparable to becoming fluent in Japanese. If the Shakespeare canon included passages in correct Japanese, we would be forced to conclude, lacking evidence to the contrary, that they had been written by a Japanese.

Steve Sailer: Shakespeare sounds kind of like Howard Hawks, now often considered the greatest American movie director ever. During his career, though, he was just this guy making money churning out popular entertainment, only getting one Oscar nomination during a long career. He finally got a lifetime achievement Oscar when he was almost 80.

Wikipedia: Hawks attended high school in Glendora, and then moved to New Hampshire to attend Phillips Exeter Academy from 1912-1914. After graduation, Hawks moved on to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he majored in mechanical engineering.

I'd say that Hawks's pedigree sounds a little more like de Vere's than it does the Stratford man's.

Although I suppose you could argue that "mechanical engineering" would imply maybe a little less sophistry than Latin or Greek or English Literature.

icr said...

George Ball seems like a better source than Eric Margolis:
Israel destroyed the USS Liberty, OK. But what was the motive?
(...)
Lately I've been reading The Passionate Attachment, by the late former under secretary of State George W. Ball and his son Douglas Ball, and it argues that the Israelis were fearful that the U.S. would report on continued Israeli hostilities at a time when the U.N. had voted for a ceasefire. On June 8, 1967, the fourth day of the war, they say, Israel still wanted to conquer the Golan Heights.

"[T]he United Nations had adopted a cease-fire resolution and they [the Israelis] feared there might not be enough time to accomplish this objective without, as it were, going into overtime.

"The Liberty's presence and function were known to Israel's leaders. They presumably thought it vital that the Liberty be prevented from informing Washington of their intentions to violate any cease-fire before they had completed their occupation of the Golan. Their solution was brutal and direct. Israeli aircraft determined the exact location of the ship and undertook a combined air-naval attack...

[B]y permitting a cover-up of Israel's attack on the Liberty, President Johnson told the Israelis in effect that nothing they did would induce American politicians to refuse their bidding. From that time forth, the Israelis began to act as if they had an inalienable right to American aid and backing.
(...)

The real villain in the Liberty Affair is the execrable LBJ. He should have ordered the destruction of the Israeli naval and air forces in retaliation -instead he wimped out and covered up. Such uncharacteristically resolute action-along with a coherent policy in Vietnam- might have even have had the side effect of derailing the whole Sixties Cultural Revolution.

Anonymous said...

One of the circumstantial arguments for Shakespeare and against de Vere, that I find compelling (although it's not conclusive, as most arguments about this aren't) is the obvious sense of the author's growth as an artist over time.

Look at the thundering pot-bashing style of early stuff like the Henry VI plays. Look how it slowly grows and matures over time. If Moldbug is right and de Vere wrote clever academically polished verse in the "proper" style in his youth, then maybe that actually argues against him.

Early Shakespeare is loud, brazen, theatrical, and pretty crude. Over time he becomes more refined, but he always remains very theatrical. (I speak as a man of the theater and of show-biz in general, I'm the same "Anonymous" who made the John Donne crack.)

Another thing is that to my mind, the author of the plays didn't just know Marlowe, he viewed him as an artistic father figure. (Along with a few others.)

The picture I form of Shakespeare is of an ambitious talented young guy with a decent education (yes, he had one), a bit of a hick's chip on his shoulder, and a few impressive literary/theatrical model figures (Marlowe, Kyd, Greene etc) whom he looked up to and later surpassed. That seems more plausible to me than a weird, secret slummer. I'm a pro, and put simply, I smell a fellow pro.

If Shakespeare and de Vere knew each other, as seems not unlikely, then the facts of de Vere's biography (hanging out in Venice etc) don't impress me all that much. He could just as easily have told all that stuff over drinks to a clever country bloke who was secretly all ears. The broad (and often vulgar) range of source materials suggests a massive omnivore. Whoever wrote those plays obviously kept his ears wiiiide open.

It just sounds more to me like a guy who (we know) made a living this way, more than like a guy who (we speculate) had a weird hobby.

btw, I'm no judge of handwriting, but if Shakespeare's signature looks odd, it might be b/c he had carpal tunnel syndrome. From writing so many plays.

David said...

>I'd like to see anyone on this board trump the Artistic Director of the Globe Theatre - at least, when it comes to Shakespeare. Frankly, it's like arguing with James Watson about human genetics.<

The evidence on which all of us base our theories about Shakespeare is infinitely scantier than that on which geneticists base their theories.

>You don't think a man's accent is socially relevant? Imagine Shaksper with a strong Bangladeshi accent - perhaps you'll get the picture.<

The first fact about accents are that they are eminently changeable. Shakespeare's must have been sufficient to allow him to become a successful actor-producer in the metropolis.

>I recommend either Beveridge's biography or Edgar Lee Masters'.<

You missed the irony in my comment about Lincoln, so I'll spell it out. What was Lincoln's formal education? Which university did he attend? Yet, he became a lawyer (as a good number of people of his general background became) and a fine writer, then POTUS. (That he was a monster is here beside the point.) Based on his education, he could never have done these things. If you're still having trouble with my point, then read any biography of, say, Andrew Jackson and carefully ask yourself how *this* man could have done all *these* things.

Does (formal) education make the mind of the man? If so, then Education must be the solution to the black-white gap. I believe it's sufficiently established that it isn't that. The truth, of course, is that it's the mind of the man that makes the education.

As to class distinctions, anyone who asserts a hard and fast lack of familiarity between the theatrical and the aristocratic worlds in Shakespeare's day simply hasn't read anything about the period.

David said...

cont'd


(It is distinctly odd that people who are broadly in sympathy with the phenomenon of home schooling, which produces fine students rather more often than do the official fonts of pre- and post-secondary book-lairnin', of a sudden deny that anyone in any era can know anything except how to farm and how to stage plays unless he has had the benefit of a university education. One wonders how the Greeks ever got along before Yale.)

In other words, contrary to what you're implying, M. Moldbug, Joseph Sobran was not always right. Though he certainly was right much of the time - and was wonderfully amusing, too, though on purpose.

end

Anonymous said...

He could just as easily have told all that stuff over drinks to a clever country bloke who was secretly all ears.

I also wouldn't rule out the possiblity of a collaboration, like Gilbert & Sullivan, Gershwin & Gerswhin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, or Obama & Ayers.

Ray Sawhill said...

I'm not venturing into the "Who wrote Shakespeare's plays?" waters. But, as someone who's spent a little time hanging out with actors, putting on shows, and doing some dramatic writing, one thing I've found a lot of people are misled about is the way plays are written.

'Way too many civilians think of playwrights as people who sit in a room expressing themselves onto paper and then delivering whole plays to directors and actors to produce. That happens sometimes, but not very often. Playwrights are often much more outgoing than most writers; they often have something of the actor in them. They like winging it, and they like working with other people. Plays are often thrown together out of next-to-nothing, and are often being re-written during rehearsals, often with loads of input from actors, producers and directors. As a playwright you aren't etching your greatness into marble for the ages so much as working in chaotic conditions with a bunch of other daffy oddball talents, hoping that together you'll be putting on a live show that audiences will enjoy. The written-and-published play (if there ever is such a thing) that critics and professors might analyze and make a big deal over is often an after-the-fact record of opening night more than it is something the writer brought to the first rehearsal.

An image I've found helpful: theater-making (and the plays that result) is usually more like running a rock or jazz band than it is like writing poetry.

FWIW, of course.

Anonymous said...

One of the circumstantial arguments for Shakespeare and against de Vere, that I find compelling (although it's not conclusive, as most arguments about this aren't) is the obvious sense of the author's growth as an artist over time. Look at the thundering pot-bashing style of early stuff like the Henry VI plays. Look how it slowly grows and matures over time. If Moldbug is right and de Vere wrote clever academically polished verse in the "proper" style in his youth, then maybe that actually argues against him.

Actually, one of the standard Stratfordian arguments against de Vere is that the juvenalia is simply atrocius.

Also, the "known" de Vere pieces don't stand up well to computer scrutiny [when matched against the "known" works of "Shakespeare"].

By contrast, all the computer programs are in agreement that Ayers wrote Dreams.

Le Sigh said...

Steve Sailer said...

Shakespeare sounds kind of like Howard Hawks, now often considered the greatest American movie director ever.

How to lose all film critic credibility in a single sentence.

Keep it up, Steve. ^_^

James Kabala said...

Steve, I think I wrote a lengthy comment earlier that was lost. Please release it if it is stuck in the queue. In the meantime, here are a few thoughts on Moldbug's subsequent remarks.

1. Received Pronunication as we know it did not develop until the 18th century. Shakespeare may well have had a thick provincial accent by our standards, but there is no guarantee that Oxford would have sounded refined by modern standards either.

2. No one denies (that I know of) that Ben Jonson wrote his own plays, but he was also a professional actor (so much for their inevitable uncouthness) and an ex-bricklayer. Christopher Marlowe was the son of a shoemaker, although he did manage to attend Cambridge on a scholarship. Edmund Spenser's Cambridge attendance was also on scholarship.

3. Actually, both Mencius and Steve are wrong - Shakespeare was consistently the most popular playwright throughout the seventeenth century. Many Elizabethan and Jacobean plays were published anonymously, so it's unclear why Oxford, it he were a secret playwright, would have felt the need to use a pseudonym at all.

4. I can at least understand the idea that Oxford did not want to be associated with the uncouth world of the theater, and of course the sonnets have their alleged homoerotic content, but why did he not claim Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece? Many sixteenth-century courtiers were known poets, although it is true not all were published in their lifetimes: Thomas Wyatt (who may have written about an affair with Anne Boelyn - so much for gossip always being hushed up), Henry Howard (Earl of Surrey), Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Walter Raleigh (who had a thick Devonshire accent, by the way), etc.

5. I find it amusing that Moldbug, possibly the most reactionary man in the whole blogosphere, suddenly values the opinions of John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor. If they can't interpret the Constitution correctly, why should we accept their authority on Shakespeare? (I have heard Antonin Scalia also claimed as an Oxfordian, however.)

6. Moldbug thinks that internal evidence points undoubtedly toward Oxford, yet others (such as nearly all nineteenth-century anti-Stratfordians) saw it as pointing with equal sureness toward Sir Francis Bacon.

7. If Oxford did write Shakespeare's plays, then William Shakespeare the actor-producer was an accomplice in one of the most successful conspiracies of all time, which concealed Oxford's authorship for three hundred years. Why, then, do so many Oxfordians feel the need to hurl abuse at a man that the Earl of Oxford obviously (and justifiably, based on the success of the cover-up) trusted? (I believe Sobran was an exception to this tradition of abuse.)

8. Why does the First Folio, published in 1623 (a mere seven years after Shakespeare's death, but nineteen after Oxford's) display a picture of a man clearly not Oxford, contain a reference to his "Stratford monument," and refer to the author as the "sweet swan of Avon?" Were Heminges, Condell, Digges, and Jonson part of the conspiracy (why, so long after Oxford's death?), or had they themselves had been fooled? And if their colleague Shakespeare the actor was an illiterate hick, how could they have been fooled?

James Kabala said...

Steve, I think I wrote a lengthy comment earlier that was lost. Please release it if it is stuck in the queue. In the meantime, here are a few thoughts on Moldbug's subsequent remarks.

1. Received Pronunication as we know it did not develop until the 18th century. Shakespeare may well have had a thick provincial accent by our standards, but there is no guarantee that Oxford would have sounded refined by modern standards either.

2. No one denies (that I know of) that Ben Jonson wrote his own plays, but he was also a professional actor (so much for their inevitable uncouthness) and an ex-bricklayer. Christopher Marlowe was the son of a shoemaker, although he did manage to attend Cambridge on a scholarship. Edmund Spenser's Cambridge attendance was also on scholarship.

3. Actually, both Mencius and Steve are wrong - Shakespeare was consistently the most popular playwright throughout the seventeenth century. Many Elizabethan and Jacobean plays were published anonymously, so it's unclear why Oxford, it he were a secret playwright, would have felt the need to use a pseudonym at all.

4. I can at least understand the idea that Oxford did not want to be associated with the uncouth world of the theater, and of course the sonnets have their alleged homoerotic content, but why did he not claim Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece? Many sixteenth-century courtiers were known poets, although it is true not all were published in their lifetimes: Thomas Wyatt (who may have written about an affair with Anne Boelyn - so much for gossip always being hushed up), Henry Howard (Earl of Surrey), Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Walter Raleigh (who had a thick Devonshire accent, by the way), etc.

5. I find it amusing that Moldbug, possibly the most reactionary man in the whole blogosphere, suddenly values the opinions of John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor. If they can't interpret the Constitution correctly, why should we accept their authority on Shakespeare? (I have heard Antonin Scalia also claimed as an Oxfordian, however.)

6. Moldbug thinks that internal evidence points undoubtedly toward Oxford, yet others (such as nearly all nineteenth-century anti-Stratfordians) saw it as pointing with equal sureness toward Sir Francis Bacon.

7. If Oxford did write Shakespeare's plays, then William Shakespeare the actor-producer was an accomplice in one of the most successful conspiracies of all time, which concealed Oxford's authorship for three hundred years. Why, then, do so many Oxfordians feel the need to hurl abuse at a man that the Earl of Oxford obviously (and justifiably, based on the success of the cover-up) trusted? (I believe Sobran was an exception to this tradition of abuse.)

8. Why does the First Folio, published in 1623 (a mere seven years after Shakespeare's death, but nineteen after Oxford's) display a picture of a man clearly not Oxford, contain a reference to his "Stratford monument," and refer to the author as the "sweet swan of Avon?" Were Heminges, Condell, Digges, and Jonson part of the conspiracy (why, so long after Oxford's death?), or had they themselves had been fooled? And if their colleague Shakespeare the actor was an illiterate hick, how could they have been fooled?

James Kabala said...

Steve, I think I wrote a lengthy comment earlier that was lost. Please release it if it is stuck in the queue. In the meantime, here are a few thoughts on Moldbug's subsequent remarks.

1. Received Pronunication as we know it did not develop until the 18th century. Shakespeare may well have had a thick provincial accent by our standards, but there is no guarantee that Oxford would have sounded refined by modern standards either.

2. No one denies (that I know of) that Ben Jonson wrote his own plays, but he was also a professional actor (so much for their inevitable uncouthness) and an ex-bricklayer. Christopher Marlowe was the son of a shoemaker, although he did manage to attend Cambridge on a scholarship. Edmund Spenser's Cambridge attendance was also on scholarship.

3. Actually, both Mencius and Steve are wrong - Shakespeare was consistently the most popular playwright throughout the seventeenth century. Many Elizabethan and Jacobean plays were published anonymously, so it's unclear why Oxford, it he were a secret playwright, would have felt the need to use a pseudonym at all.

4. I can at least understand the idea that Oxford did not want to be associated with the uncouth world of the theater, and of course the sonnets have their alleged homoerotic content, but why did he not claim Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece? Many sixteenth-century courtiers were known poets, although it is true not all were published in their lifetimes: Thomas Wyatt (who may have written about an affair with Anne Boelyn - so much for gossip always being hushed up), Henry Howard (Earl of Surrey), Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Walter Raleigh (who had a thick Devonshire accent, by the way), etc.

5. I find it amusing that Moldbug, possibly the most reactionary man in the whole blogosphere, suddenly values the opinions of John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor. If they can't interpret the Constitution correctly, why should we accept their authority on Shakespeare? (I have heard Antonin Scalia also claimed as an Oxfordian, however.)

6. Moldbug thinks that internal evidence points undoubtedly toward Oxford, yet others (such as nearly all nineteenth-century anti-Stratfordians) saw it as pointing with equal sureness toward Sir Francis Bacon.

7. If Oxford did write Shakespeare's plays, then William Shakespeare the actor-producer was an accomplice in one of the most successful conspiracies of all time, which concealed Oxford's authorship for three hundred years. Why, then, do so many Oxfordians feel the need to hurl abuse at a man that the Earl of Oxford obviously (and justifiably, based on the success of the cover-up) trusted? (I believe Sobran was an exception to this tradition of abuse.)

8. Why does the First Folio, published in 1623 (a mere seven years after Shakespeare's death, but nineteen after Oxford's) display a picture of a man clearly not Oxford, contain a reference to his "Stratford monument," and refer to the author as the "sweet swan of Avon?" Were Heminges, Condell, Digges, and Jonson part of the conspiracy (why, so long after Oxford's death?), or had they themselves had been fooled? And if their colleague Shakespeare the actor was an illiterate hick, how could they have been fooled?

Anonymous said...

Mencius is correct that the Elizabethan era was not one of great social mobility. And it is probably also true that Shakespeare had a broad country accent. Many of his detractors tried to portray him as an uncultured man.

The fact remains however that Shakespeare was not some recluse scribbling in an attic. He was enormously successful in his profession. He had his own players company, his own theater. He gave many command performances for the court of Elizabeth and James I and retired to Stratford a wealthy man.

He seems to have known personally all of the great literary figures of his age, not to mention the thousands of other people associated with the London stage. They must have seen him everyday directing his players, revising his scripts, collaborating with other playwrights and discussing the finer points of poetry and stagecraft with a retinue of followers. In short, Shakespeare knew everyone who was anyone in the world of English Theater, and no one of his contemporaries ever suggested that he was not the author of his plays.

So in the end, one has to ask: Which is more improbable--that a man of humble social origins became a great playwright or that a man from such a background--who was also a semi-literate prole--managed to fool everyone into thinking that he was a great playwright? And don't tell me that Elizabethan society was a super-efficient police state capable of suppressing the gossip, backstabbing and rumors that inevitably surround public figures. It clearly was not.

To have risen so high in society--even in the somewhat disreputable world of the theater--Shakespeare must have been a remarkable man. But we needn't wonder at that. The plays tell us as much.

Anonymous said...

I'd say that Hawks's pedigree sounds a little more like de Vere's than it does the Stratford man's.

Sailer didn't mention Hawk's "pedigree". He was talking about the shared commerical reality in which both Shakespeare and Hawks worked.

Anonymous said...

Here is an interesting piece written by Admiral Thomas Moorer originally in Stars and Stripes in January 2004.

Here is an excerpt:

Some distinguished colleagues and I formed an independent commission to investigate the attack on the USS Liberty. After an exhaustive review of previous reports, naval and other military records, including eyewitness testimony from survivors, we recently presented our findings on Capitol Hill. They include:

# Israeli reconnaissance aircraft closely studied the Liberty during an eight-hour period prior to the attack, one flying within 200 feet of the ship. Weather reports confirm the day was clear with unlimited visibility. The Liberty was a clearly marked American ship in international waters, flying an American flag and carrying large U.S. Navy hull letters and numbers on its bow.

# Despite claims by Israeli intelligence that they confused the Liberty with a small Egyptian transport, the Liberty was conspicuously different from any vessel in the Egyptian navy. It was the most sophisticated intelligence ship in the world in 1967. With its massive radio antennae, including a large satellite dish, it looked like a large lobster and was one of the most easily identifiable ships afloat.

# Israel attempted to prevent the Liberty's radio operators from sending a call for help by jamming American emergency radio channels.

# Israeli torpedo boats machine-gunned lifeboats at close range that had been lowered to rescue the most-seriously wounded.

As a result, our commission concluded that:

# There is compelling evidence that Israel's attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew.

# In attacking the USS Liberty, Israel committed acts of murder against U.S. servicemen and an act of war against the United States.

# The White House knowingly covered up the facts of this attack from the American people.

# The truth continues to be concealed to the present day in what can only be termed a national disgrace.

Severn said...

I've never understood the argument over Shakespeare. Does it make the slightest difference who wrote those plays and sonnets? The play's the thing.

Anonymous said...

The real villain in the Liberty Affair is the execrable LBJ. He should have ordered the destruction of the Israeli naval and air forces in retaliation -instead he wimped out and covered up. Such uncharacteristically resolute action-along with a coherent policy in Vietnam- might have even have had the side effect of derailing the whole Sixties Cultural Revolution.

Some context:

"Lyndon Johnson, Friend of the Jews"

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/maoz/21422

"The atmosphere changed almost immediately upon Johnson’s ascendance to the presidency. Johnson–who as Senate Majority Leader in the 1950s had been one of Israel’s strongest backers in Congress–did not share Kennedy’s obsession with the refugee and nuclear issues, and his first budget, for fiscal year 1965, allocated $71 million in aid to Israel–an increase of 75 percent over Kennedy’s final budget. The amount nearly doubled in 1966, to $130 million.

Beyond the numbers, the nature and terms of the aid signaled a dramatic break with past American policy. Development loans and surplus food had constituted the extent of U.S. aid under Eisenhower and Kennedy, and anti-aircraft missiles sold to Israel by the Kennedy administration required a cash payment. Not only did Johnson become the first American president to sell offensive weapons to Israel (the missiles from Kennedy were defensive), he permitted the Israelis to buy American arms with American aid money, which meant no funds would leave Israel’s hard-pressed government coffers.

In the spring of 1967, tied down in Vietnam and wary of Soviet intentions, the administration tried to strike a neutral pose in the buildup to and the initial stages of what would become known as the Six-Day War. But it was no secret–to the Soviets, the Arabs, or anyone else–where Washington’s sympathies lay. When in the course of the war the Israelis attacked a U.S. intelligence ship, killing 34 Americans and wounding nearly 200 others, Johnson accepted Israeli assurances that the assault was a tragic mistake and overruled senior aides–including Clark Clifford, a mainstay in keeping Harry Truman on a pro-Zionist course in 1948–who urged the President to respond with harshly punitive measures.

After the war, Johnson resisted international calls to force Israel into withdrawing from the wide swaths of territory it had just captured.

While it was not widely known during his lifetime, Johnson’s affinity for Jews stemmed from early familial influences; his paternal grandfather and a number of other relatives were Christadelphians–fundamentalist Christians who believed the Jews would return to Palestine and create a new Jewish state. His grandfather would admonish young Lyndon to “Take care of the Jews. . . . Consider them your friends and help them any way you can.”

In 1939, while still a young and inexperienced congressman, Johnson was moved enough by reports of Jewish suffering in Europe to begin pulling whatever strings were necessary–not all of them legal–to save Jews from the Nazis. Over the next few years, hundreds of Jews were issued counterfeit passports and visas and brought to Johnson’s home state of Texas, where they began new lives in the safety and security of America.

Whatever else can be said of Lyndon Johnson, he proved to be a true friend of the Jews and Israel. He proved it as a young lawmaker who did everything he could to get as many Jews as possible out of Europe; as one of Israel’s most important backers in Congress during the Jewish state’s early years; and as president by granting Israel then-unprecedented levels of financial and military aid and by refusing, in marked contrast to Eisenhower’s actions after the Suez crisis of 1956, to force unilateral concessions on Israel following the Six-Day War."

Fred said...

"Lately I've been reading The Passionate Attachment, by the late former under secretary of State George W. Ball and his son Douglas Ball, and it argues that the Israelis were fearful that the U.S. would report on continued Israeli hostilities at a time when the U.N. had voted for a ceasefire. On June 8, 1967, the fourth day of the war, they say, Israel still wanted to conquer the Golan Heights."

Israel wanted to take the Golan Heights because Syria had used those heights to continually shell Israel. As much as it wanted to take the Golan, does deliberately attacking the ship of a superpower seem like a smart risk? The most logical reason for attacking the ship is that it was in a war zone and Israel mistook it for an Egyptian warship.

Mistakes like this happen in wars; that conspiracy theories have blossomed about the Liberty, and not about, say, the Iraqi Exocet attack in 1987 on an American ship in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War that killed 37 Americans, raises questions about underlying motives and obsessions. Without looking it up, how many USS Liberty conspiracy theorists even remember the name of the U.S. ship that was attacked in another Mideast war zone 20 years later?

headache said...

Lotsa Mencius Moldbug posts here, too many in fact.

Steve, why is your blogging so thin lately, or have we been spoiled.

icr said...

Mistakes like this happen in wars; that conspiracy theories have blossomed about the Liberty, and not about, say, the Iraqi Exocet attack in 1987 on an American ship in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War that killed 37 Americans, raises questions about underlying motives and obsessions. Without looking it up, how many USS Liberty conspiracy theorists even remember the name of the U.S. ship that was attacked in another Mideast war zone 20 years later?

Yes. Iraq has always been a close friend and/or ally of the US-just like Israel. And the American-Iraqi Public Affairs Committee has been a major force on Capitol Hill for decades.

Give it up already, this is like small-scale Holocaust Denial.
The fact that the Liberty was deliberately attacked by the Israelis is really a quite open secret.
Again:

As I posted several years ago, The flight leader reported that he had the ship in sight and that it was displaying an American flag. He asked if he was still ordered to attack the ship. The answer was yes. My wife remembers that I mentioned it to her at the time. This was in the winter of 1967-68. I was attending the year long career course for military intelligence officers at the army intelligence school at Ft. Holabird, Maryland. i was taking an elective course in cryptology taught by staff from the nearby national cryptologic school at Ft. Meade. the transcript was in a booklet prepared fby the staff for some other course but used in this one as well. There are lots of old people out there who saw this. pl

Posted by: Patrick Lang | 07 June 2010 at 11:53 PM

Anonymous said...

Israel made a ton of really bone headed mistakes during the 1967 war. To give just one example, Israel's army had a huge column of tanks moving South of Jenin. The tanks were clearly marked with giant stars of david. But the Israeli air force ordered an attack on the tank column, Destroying most of the tanks.

Mistakes are frequently made in war. Israel blew up its own soldiers and tanks. Obviously the USS Liberty was a similar mistake.

"Never attribute to malice what can otherwise be attributed to incompetence"

Anonymous said...

Does it make the slightest difference who wrote those plays and sonnets?

The sonnets are weird.

Really, REALLY weird.

Whoever wrote the sonnets [and whatever they're supposed to mean] - that dude had some serious issues.

PS: Try to get a Stratfordian to make heads or tails of the sonnets - the Stratfordians don't have any earthly clue what the sonnets are supposed to be about.

At least the Oxfordians are trying to make sense of the sonnets.

Anonymous said...

James Kabala: 8. Why does the First Folio, published in 1623 (a mere seven years after Shakespeare's death, but nineteen after Oxford's) display a picture of a man clearly not Oxford, contain a reference to his "Stratford monument," and refer to the author as the "sweet swan of Avon?" Were Heminges, Condell, Digges, and Jonson part of the conspiracy (why, so long after Oxford's death?), or had they themselves had been fooled? And if their colleague Shakespeare the actor was an illiterate hick, how could they have been fooled?

400 years from now, will anyone remember that Profiles in Courage was written by Ted Sorenson?

400 years from now, will anyone remember that It Takes a Village was written by Barbara Feinman?

400 years from now, will anyone remember that Dreams from My Father was written by Bill Ayers?

100 years?

50 years?

25 years?

Heck, even today, how many leg-tingling, creased-pants-admiring commentators are prepared to admit that Ayers wrote Dreams?

Anonymous said...

headache: Steve, why is your blogging so thin lately, or have we been spoiled.

Actually, I kinda liked the idea that maybe Steve was leaving this thread at the top for a few days, out of respect for a fallen colleague [or maybe even an old friend?!?].

Anonymous said...

A few quotes culled from many:
http://www.ussliberty.org/supporters.htm

"...the board of inquiry (concluded) that the Israelis knew exactly what they were doing in attacking the Liberty."
-- CIA Director Richard Helms in his book A Look Over my Shoulder

"It was no accident."
-- CIA Director Richard Helms in interview for Navy Times, 6/26/2002. Asked to say more, Helms remarked that he did not want to spend the rest of his life testifying in court about the attack.


That the attack was deliberate "just wasn't a disputed issue" within the National Security Agency
-- Former NSA Director retired Army Lieutenant General William Odom on 3 March 2003 in an interview for Naval Institute Proceedings

Former NSA/CIA Director Admiral Bobby Inman "flatly rejected" the Cristol/Israeli claims that the attack was an accident
-- 5 March 2003 interview for Naval Institute Proceedings


Of four former NSA/CIA seniors with inside knowledge, none was aware of any agency official who dissented from the position that the attack was deliberate
-- David Walsh, writing in Naval Institute Proceedings

"A nice whitewash for a group of ignorant, stupid and inept [expletive deleted]."
-- Handwritten note of August 26, 1967, by NSA Deputy Director Louis W. Tordella reacting to the Israeli court decision exonerating Israelis of blame for the Liberty attack. Dr. Tordella expressed the view that the attack was deliberate and that the Israeli government attempted to cover it up to authors James Ennes and James Bamford and to Congressman George Mahon (D-Texas), and in an internal memorandum for the record. He noted "a nice whitewash for a group of ignorant, stupid and inept (redacted)" in the margin of the official Israeli excuse for the attack as noted in the NSA Gerhard report 1982)


The attack was clearly deliberate."
-- General Marshall Carter, former director, National Security Agency, in a telephone interview with James Ennes



"I can tell you for an absolute certainty (from intercepted communications) that they knew they were attacking an American ship."
-- Oliver Kirby, former deputy director for operations/production, National Security Agency. Kirby participated in NSA's investigation of the attack and reviewed translations of intercepted communications between pilots and their headquarters which he reports show conclusively that they knew their target was an American ship. Kirby is considered the "Godfather" of the USS Liberty and USS Pueblo intercept programs. (Telephone interviews with James Ennes and David Walsh for Friendless Fire, Proceedings, June 2003)

On the strength of intercept transcripts of pilots' conversations during the attack, the question of the attack's deliberateness "just wasn't a disputed issue" within the agency.
-- Lieutenant General William E. Odom, former director, National Security Agency, interview with David Walsh on March 3, 2003, reported in Naval Institute Proceedings, June, 2003

Ralph Hoppe, Colonel, US Army, retired, reports that dozens of intelligence reports soon after the attack described the attack as deliberate including a "consensus report" which summarized the collective view of the US intelligence community. Soon orders came from Washington to collect and destroy all such reports. Nothing more in official channels described the attack as deliberate.
-- Aerotech News and Review, March 2, 2001, by John Borne, PhD, and conversations with James Ennes

Anonymous said...

A few quotes culled from many:
http://www.ussliberty.org/supporters.htm

"...the board of inquiry (concluded) that the Israelis knew exactly what they were doing in attacking the Liberty."
-- CIA Director Richard Helms in his book A Look Over my Shoulder

"It was no accident."
-- CIA Director Richard Helms in interview for Navy Times, 6/26/2002. Asked to say more, Helms remarked that he did not want to spend the rest of his life testifying in court about the attack.


That the attack was deliberate "just wasn't a disputed issue" within the National Security Agency
-- Former NSA Director retired Army Lieutenant General William Odom on 3 March 2003 in an interview for Naval Institute Proceedings

Former NSA/CIA Director Admiral Bobby Inman "flatly rejected" the Cristol/Israeli claims that the attack was an accident
-- 5 March 2003 interview for Naval Institute Proceedings


Of four former NSA/CIA seniors with inside knowledge, none was aware of any agency official who dissented from the position that the attack was deliberate
-- David Walsh, writing in Naval Institute Proceedings

"A nice whitewash for a group of ignorant, stupid and inept [expletive deleted]."
-- Handwritten note of August 26, 1967, by NSA Deputy Director Louis W. Tordella reacting to the Israeli court decision exonerating Israelis of blame for the Liberty attack. Dr. Tordella expressed the view that the attack was deliberate and that the Israeli government attempted to cover it up to authors James Ennes and James Bamford and to Congressman George Mahon (D-Texas), and in an internal memorandum for the record. He noted "a nice whitewash for a group of ignorant, stupid and inept (redacted)" in the margin of the official Israeli excuse for the attack as noted in the NSA Gerhard report 1982)


The attack was clearly deliberate."
-- General Marshall Carter, former director, National Security Agency, in a telephone interview with James Ennes

"I can tell you for an absolute certainty (from intercepted communications) that they knew they were attacking an American ship."
-- Oliver Kirby, former deputy director for operations/production, National Security Agency. Kirby participated in NSA's investigation of the attack and reviewed translations of intercepted communications between pilots and their headquarters which he reports show conclusively that they knew their target was an American ship. Kirby is considered the "Godfather" of the USS Liberty and USS Pueblo intercept programs. (Telephone interviews with James Ennes and David Walsh for Friendless Fire, Proceedings, June 2003)

On the strength of intercept transcripts of pilots' conversations during the attack, the question of the attack's deliberateness "just wasn't a disputed issue" within the agency.
-- Lieutenant General William E. Odom, former director, National Security Agency, interview with David Walsh on March 3, 2003, reported in Naval Institute Proceedings, June, 2003

Mencius Moldbug said...

He seems to have known personally all of the great literary figures of his age, not to mention the thousands of other people associated with the London stage. They must have seen him everyday directing his players, revising his scripts, collaborating with other playwrights and discussing the finer points of poetry and stagecraft with a retinue of followers. In short, Shakespeare knew everyone who was anyone in the world of English Theater

Dude, there is no evidence for this at all. None. So far as the record shows, William of Stratford was an actor, a shareholder, and a dealer in malt. If you assume he wrote the Shakespeare plays, of course, this picture you paint must be true. But you can't assume what you're trying to prove.

Apocryphal said...

Hadn't read any de Vere until Moldbug cited him here, and I have to say the selection is not indicative of the future talent he supposedly manifested. Comparisons to either The Bard or Donne are tone-deaf.

It sounds like something the lovestruck Malvolio from Twelfth Night would say, were he not written by Shakespeare.

Mencius Moldbug said...

You missed the irony in my comment about Lincoln, so I'll spell it out. What was Lincoln's formal education? Which university did he attend?

Dude, you can't even begin to compare Lincoln's literary cultivation to Shakespeare's. Here is some verse by A. Lincoln:

My childhood's home I see again,
And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There's pleasure in it too.

O Memory! thou midway world
'Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise,

And, freed from all that's earthly vile,
Seem hallowed, pure, and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle
All bathed in liquid light.


'Nuff said. Lincoln was clearly a natural talent in many respects and perhaps could, with a literary education, have become a capable writer. But as for his eloquent political speeches, remember that Lincoln all his career had educated literary aides, from William Herndon to Hay and Nicolay.

The first fact about accents are that they are eminently changeable. Shakespeare's must have been sufficient to allow him to become a successful actor-producer in the metropolis.

A producer could be uncouth as anything. As an actor I suggest Shagsper played clownish bit bumpkin parts.

All this is conjecture, of course. But so is your Bard of Avon. If we construct a picture of Shaxpere from the record, excluding the authorship attribution, we see a very normal Elizabethan horse. Add the plays and poems, and we get a giant zebra.

As to class distinctions, anyone who asserts a hard and fast lack of familiarity between the theatrical and the aristocratic worlds in Shakespeare's day simply hasn't read anything about the period.

Courtiers could slum. Actors couldn't moralize to the Earl of Southampton. Everything in Shakespeare's work, even his lowly characters, is written from an aristo perspective. Moreover, the work is full of reactionary anti-democratic morals.

Mencius Moldbug said...

Received Pronunication as we know it did not develop until the 18th century. Shakespeare may well have had a thick provincial accent by our standards, but there is no guarantee that Oxford would have sounded refined by modern standards either.

No. But he certainly would have sounded refined by Elizabethan London standards.

Actually, both Mencius and Steve are wrong - Shakespeare was consistently the most popular playwright throughout the seventeenth century.

True, but I never contradicted this. What had not developed, however, was the Bardolatry of the 18th - the author's cult of personality.

I can at least understand the idea that Oxford did not want to be associated with the uncouth world of the theater, and of course the sonnets have their alleged homoerotic content, but why did he not claim Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece?

Why would he have? If you're asserting that anonymous/pseudonymous publication is implausible for the period and person, of course you're wrong. If not, the point is of no relevance. As with so much, we'll never know.

Many Elizabethan and Jacobean plays were published anonymously, so it's unclear why Oxford, it he were a secret playwright, would have felt the need to use a pseudonym at all.

Again, who knows? "Willy" seems to be some kind of private nickname - Spenser praises him as such. Also, "Shakespeare" appears first as a poet.

Moldbug thinks that internal evidence points undoubtedly toward Oxford, yet others (such as nearly all nineteenth-century anti-Stratfordians) saw it as pointing with equal sureness toward Sir Francis Bacon.

Oxford was first unearthed by Looney in 1921. Bacon was the best of a bad lot. Note that Greenwood, a reluctant Baconian, became a strong Oxfordian.

Mencius Moldbug said...

Why, then, do so many Oxfordians feel the need to hurl abuse at a man that the Earl of Oxford obviously (and justifiably, based on the success of the cover-up) trusted?

I don't detect any hurling of abuse. Shaksper the actor-producer is simply an ordinary fellow. He was perhaps laughed at a bit in his own time for his clownish pretensions - the purchased title of nobility, Jonson's "Caesar doth never wrong but with just cause," possibly some caricatures in Shakespeare. But Hitler he's not.

I find it amusing that Moldbug, possibly the most reactionary man in the whole blogosphere, suddenly values the opinions of John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor. If they can't interpret the Constitution correctly, why should we accept their authority on Shakespeare? (I have heard Antonin Scalia also claimed as an Oxfordian, however.)

Ha - I'll give you this one. I could call it an admission against interest, though. The fact is that, for the entire 250-year history of Bardolatry, a strong flavor of democratic Whig propaganda is heard throughout.

The court world that gave us Oxford was destroyed in the civil wars 40 years after his death. This, I feel, explains much of our inability to imagine the person who could create these plays - and much of our ability to imagine them being created by an actor from Stratford. Even in the late 17th-century treatments, such as Aubrey's, you see this fabrication of a plebeian saint.

Darwin's Sh*tlist said...

@Severn re: the authorship question.

Shakespeare's authorship of the plays became a point of contention because it has apparently been common to emphasize the fact that the greatest plays in the English language were written by an unschooled peasant (the implication being a supposed self-esteem boost to poorly-schooled peasants of today: You can do it, too!) Sobran was in effect throwing some cold water on this by making the case that in fact it was a well-traveled nobleman who had first-hand experience with palace intrigues, which is much less surprising and politically useful.

But I suspect that the sympathetic Shakespeare-as-commoner meme doesn't get the play it once did. He was, after all, just another white European male, which carries enough privilege in its own right.

Mencius Moldbug said...

So in the end, one has to ask: Which is more improbable--that a man of humble social origins became a great playwright or that a man from such a background--who was also a semi-literate prole--managed to fool everyone into thinking that he was a great playwright?

No, the in-crowd wouldn't have been fooled. The in-crowd would have been "in on the joke." I believe that if you read Greene correctly, he's saying that Shagsper was such a dork that he went around boasting of having written the plays, or at least did so once or twice. For those who got it, of course, this would only have added to the fun.

If Shakespeare was Oxford, surely there were hundreds of people who knew it. But in an era where every publication had to be pre-registered with the authorities - and when an earl could have anyone offed at a whim - who would have printed it? And if no one printed it, how would we know it?

Much of our difficulty in understanding this issue is simply the result of modern arrogance - we think it should be straightforward to reconstruct Elizabethan reality from the mass of printed paper we have. But print and reality are by no means the same thing, even in our own time. Then, the difference was much greater.

Imagine how hard it would be to figure out, from official Soviet sources printed in Stalin's lifetime, that Stalin was a tyrant and a dictator. To penetrate the difference, imagination and judgment are needed.

And certainly, plenty of imagination is deployed in turning William of Stratford into Shakespeare! Mark Twain called the Bard "a Brontosaurus, built from nine bones and six hundred barrels of plaster of Paris." But when the despised aristo is your candidate, suddenly everything must be literal.

Mencius Moldbug said...

In other words, contrary to what you're implying, M. Moldbug, Joseph Sobran was not always right.

Well, he certainly wasn't right about the Jews! But then, I forgive Steve his mild anti-Zionism, so I have to forgive Sobran.

Once again: if Israel whacked the Liberty, you can be sure they had good reasons to spare and plenty. Not that the Liberty's crew was guilty of anything, just the Arabists who used the Liberty to spy on the Israelis on behalf of their pet Mooslims. Sadly, no one in Israel has that kind of balls today.

Glaivester said...

Mistakes like this happen in wars; that conspiracy theories have blossomed about the Liberty, and not about, say, the Iraqi Exocet attack in 1987 on an American ship in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War that killed 37 Americans, raises questions about underlying motives and obsessions. Without looking it up, how many USS Liberty conspiracy theorists even remember the name of the U.S. ship that was attacked in another Mideast war zone 20 years later?

I would suppose that the fact that we attacked Iraq 4 years later, imposed punitive sanctions on it for 12 years, and finally conquered the country in 2003 make the point rather moot. It's not like we stayed great friends with Iraq for years afterward.

Udolpho.com said...

Mistakes happen, but if the British shelled an American ship it would be frontpage news. Don't be disingenuous, you're only contributing to the stereotype.

ben tillman said...

I was initially intrigued with the possibility, but am now coming more and more to think it unlikely.

***

Also, one would think by this times SOME sort of clear evidence would have come forward. But it hasn't.


You can't be serious. The transcripts have been released. We have read what the Israelis were saying to one another while they were attacking the Liberty.

Justthisguy said...

Actually, the whole Six-Day War and the USS Liberty incident are Jerry Pournelle's fault, according to Steve Sailer, who said as much on this here blog.

It seems Jerry and his government friends were trying to arrange some kind of coup d'etat in Romania or Bulgaria or one of those places, and the plan involved staging some military aircraft of dubious provenance through fields in Jordan.

Israeli intelligence noticed that, immediately concluded, "OMG, they're out to get us, we'd better get them first!"

The rest is history, as they say.

Justthisguy said...

@Severn: Didn't you know that the Iliad and the Odyssey were not composed by Homer, but by another Greek with the same name?

Anonymous said...

@"Fred": "Mistakes like this happen in wars; that conspiracy theories have blossomed about the Liberty, and not about, say, the Iraqi Exocet attack in 1987 on an American ship in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War that killed 37 Americans, raises questions about underlying motives and obsessions. Without looking it up, how many USS Liberty conspiracy theorists even remember the name of the U.S. ship that was attacked in another Mideast war zone 20 years later?"

This is absurd. If you can question our motives, we can question yours, Hasbara.

The Iraqi Exocet attack was not remotely comparable. One brief mistaken identity with a long distance weapon (a fire and forget missile where the pilot never even sees his target) is not comparable to long, detailed, up close inspection of a very distinctive and recognizable USN ship, from multiple sources. Israeli pilots recognized the ship as American and reported it as such; they were ordered to attack anyway - this is fact.

Nor did the Iraqis machine gun the survivors in their life rafts. Israelis did this, up close where they could see that the ship was obviously American. They butchered Americans in cold blood, deliberately and with full knowledge of what they were doing, and you know it.

You aren't fooling anyone, and your continued attempts to excuse the inexcusable and deny the undeniable do Israel and Jews more harm than good, in the long run.

l said...

Shorter Moldbug: Who cares if the Israelis deliberately shot up the USS Liberty? The fact that they did it proves they had good reason.

SFG said...

"An image I've found helpful: theater-making (and the plays that result) is usually more like running a rock or jazz band than it is like writing poetry."

Thanks for the insight, Ray. I know nothing about the world of the arts, and had always assumed playwrights were like writers. Not so, it seems. The divide between the creative and performing arts is not so clear as one might think. :)

I have to say, with the two competing threads on this post, I am beginning to wonder if perhaps Shakespeare was actually a secret Jew and wrote The Merchant of Venice's 'hath not a Jew eyes?' speech as a hidden plea for tolerance. :)

David said...

>They like winging it, and they like working with other people. Plays are often thrown together out of next-to-nothing, and are often being re-written during rehearsals, often with loads of input from actors, producers and directors. [...] working in chaotic conditions with a bunch of other daffy oddball talents, hoping that together you'll be putting on a live show<

Ray, this is a terrible way to work and the majority of professionals don't do it this way; in fact, they steer very wide of the people who do.

James Kabala said...

Can Moldbug provide any actual example of people being "offed by an earl on a whim" in Elizabethan England? I suppose there might be somebody, but how about anyone still afraid of an earl's wrath nineteen years after his death?

Shakespeare's entire company was questioned after a command performance of Richard II shortly before the Earl of Essex's rebellion. After questioning, they were let go. As a Catholic, I am no fan of Elizabeth, but her kingdom was not a totalitarian state.

James Kabala said...

As for the sonnets, one of the few clear things about them is that the author several times puns on his own name as being "Will."

Pentheus said...

I have a question for all you USS Liberty enthusiasts: What is your point?

Let us stipulate for argument’s sake here that Israel hit the Liberty with full knowledge and intent, as you say.

Therefore, what? Therefore Israel is our enemy? And therefore Israel’s enemies are our friends?

OK, so:

The British burned down the White House. Therefore . . .

Japan bombed Pearl Harbor etc. Therefore . . .

Germany . . . . Therefore . . .

Mencius Moldbug said...

Shorter Moldbug: Who cares if the Israelis deliberately shot up the USS Liberty? The fact that they did it proves they had good reason.

That's an excellent summary, actually. I don't see what's inherently impossible or objectionable about it.

Remember, the Liberty is under the ultimate command of... LBJ. Are you a big LBJ fan?

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

(reposting better composed comment)

>Dude, you can't even begin to compare Lincoln's literary cultivation to Shakespeare's.<

The point is that both accomplished things not necessarily predictable from their formal educations.

Are you implying that Lincoln, had he the benefit of Oxford's education, would have been the equal of Shakespeare? If not, then the essential difference here between L and S had something to do with innate brain power apart from formal (or other) education. And if we admit the existence of different mental amperage sans schooling and class, the game is up: the mainstay of anti-Stratfordian theorizing collapses into dust as thoroughly as the USS Liberty sank beneath the Israeli onslaught.

Anonymous said...

Remember, the Liberty is under the ultimate command of... LBJ. Are you a big LBJ fan?

Read the article mentioned above:

"Lyndon Johnson, Friend of the Jews"

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/maoz/21422

l said...

Mencius Moldbug said...
[...]
Remember, the Liberty is under the ultimate command of... LBJ. Are you a big LBJ fan?

No. Just a US Army veteran who feels his fellow vets are kin, and is loyal to the US. Foreign concepts for you, I know.

Fred said...

"I would suppose that the fact that we attacked Iraq 4 years later, imposed punitive sanctions on it for 12 years, and finally conquered the country in 2003 make the point rather moot.".

You would be supposing wrong. Our subsequent wars with Iraq had 0 to do with its accidental attack on the USS Stark.

Tom V said...

Pentheus:

The British burned down the White House. Therefore . . .

Japan bombed Pearl Harbor etc. Therefore . . .

Germany . . . . Therefore . . .


We beat the crap out of them?

It's a little late to do that on account of the Liberty, I'm afraid, but surely presidential candidates can at least stop genuflecting at AIPAC and pledging allegiance to Israel.

MQ said...

But then, I forgive Steve his mild anti-Zionism, so I have to forgive Sobran.

There's a huge difference between anti-zionism and anti-semitism. (I for one think we could use a little more anti-zionism but find anti-semitism very noxious). Sobran was a pretty serious anti-semite -- his writing imply that the Jewish people are engaged in a some kind of organized conspiracy to undermine Western civilization, that they were and are a dangerous alien presence in any society they dwelled in, that Jews had collective responsibility for Bolshevism/communism, etc. Those are the classic anti-semitic beliefs that led directly to the Holocaust.

MQ said...

Lincoln was clearly a natural talent in many respects and perhaps could, with a literary education, have become a capable writer. But as for his eloquent political speeches, remember that Lincoln all his career had educated literary aides, from William Herndon to Hay and Nicolay.

The notion that Lincoln's greatest writing was done by his "educated literary aides" is ridiculous. The first inauguaral was heavily edited by Lincoln off a first draft by another writer, but other than that Lincoln wrote the work that made him celebrated. The fact that he jotted down the Gettysburg address on the way to the ceremony is well known. He wrote the Second Inauguaral himself, easily the greatest speech in American political history. And we have an record of his extemporized speech in the Lincoln-Douglas debates, which are superb.

The Lincoln/Shakespeare comparison is a very good one -- certainly at his very best Lincoln reaches Shakespearean heights of rhetoric.

Severn said...

Shakespeare's authorship of the plays became a point of contention because it has apparently been common to emphasize the fact that the greatest plays in the English language were written by an unschooled peasant




It can't have been that common. I fancy myself well read, and was even educated in Britain, yet I had never until now heard Shakespeare described as "an unschooled peasant".

But perhaps this is part of the American obsession with finding important historical personages who were what the PC age regards as "marginalized". No doubt old Will was also a homosexual black Jew.

Anonymous said...

certainly at his very best Lincoln reaches Shakespearean heights of rhetoric

What's with the Lincolnolatry on a paleo board?

We have standards to uphold here, Steve.

Anonymous said...

The Art and Poetry of Marilyn Monroe
Vera H-C Chan
Mon Oct 11 2010, 1:01 PM PDT
omg.yahoo.com

That Marilyn Monroe studied under America's great acting coaches (Lee Strasberg) and counted a classic playwright (Arthur Miller) as an ex-husband is well-known. Less known is that the '50s screen goddess penned her own poetic musings.

Strasberg's widow surfaced the discovery of Monroe's journals and jottings, some of them exercises from her psychoanalytic sessions. What Vanity Fair calls a "sensational archive" has been stitched together into a 250-page book, Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters...

...Her poems range from sweet and impish to despairing. The "Today" show recited a ditty called "On Hospital Gowns: My bare derriere/is out in the air/when I'm not aware." Not all are so light, and even her loving words, penned in the early days of her marriage to Miller, begin with affection, then turns [sic] macabre:

my love sleeps besides me -
in the faint light - I see his manly jaw
give way - and the mouth of his
boyhood returns
with a softness softer
its sensitiveness trembling
in stillness
his eyes must have look [sic] out
wonderously [sic] from the cave of the little
boy - when the things he did not understand - he forgot...

...but will he look like this when he is dead
oh unbearable fact inevitable
yet sooner would I rather his love die
than/or him?


She later described her third husband as a "peaceful monster" after she found his diary entry that she was an embarrassment to him...

Mencius Moldbug said...

Can Moldbug provide any actual example of people being "offed by an earl on a whim" in Elizabethan England? I suppose there might be somebody, but how about anyone still afraid of an earl's wrath nineteen years after his death?

Oxford killed a man himself in a swordfight. Dude, this was a world in which you didn't piss off the powerful. Perhaps drug dealers in Mexico are a better example. As for "after his death," he had a family and friends, you know.

Shakespeare's entire company was questioned after a command performance of Richard II shortly before the Earl of Essex's rebellion. After questioning, they were let go. As a Catholic, I am no fan of Elizabeth, but her kingdom was not a totalitarian state.

Many features of Tudor England, examined from a strictly legal and political standpoint, would strike us as totalitarian. Certainly, official control of public opinion and the public mind was a reality. The greatest difference between the Tudors and Stalin was simply that the Tudors were not Stalin - a legitimate monarchy, not a paranoid dictator.

As for the sonnets, one of the few clear things about them is that the author several times puns on his own name as being "Will."

Or his pen name. Or his nickname. Spenser addresses another court poet, identity unknown, as "Willy."

The point is that both [Shakespeare and Lincoln] accomplished things not necessarily predictable from their formal educations.

Sure. One of them climbed Everest. The other walked up Capitol Hill. Do you seriously consider the Gettysburg Address a great work of literature, like Obama's Jeremiah Wright speech? Come on. I'll admit that it's gramatically correct and uses a lot of big words.

Mencius Moldbug said...

No. Just a US Army veteran who feels his fellow vets are kin, and is loyal to the US. Foreign concepts for you, I know.

I feel quite loyal to the US. USG is a different matter. You don't think LBJ could betray his country and his military? Does the word "Vietnam" mean anything to you?

Anonymous said...

You don't think LBJ could betray his country and his military?

We don't have to "think" anything.

We know it:

"Lyndon Johnson, Friend of the Jews"

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/maoz/21422

Claverhouse said...

James Kabala said:

Can Moldbug provide any actual example of people being "offed by an earl on a whim" in Elizabethan England? I suppose there might be somebody, but how about anyone still afraid of an earl's wrath nineteen years after his death?

Shakespeare's entire company was questioned after a command performance of Richard II shortly before the Earl of Essex's rebellion. After questioning, they were let go. As a Catholic, I am no fan of Elizabeth, but her kingdom was not a totalitarian state.



As an Englishman, a cavalier and jacobite --- which means a slight appreciation of modes of thought back then --- I find the suggestion curious. Whilst no doubt the powerful could have the weak secretly murdered, which is possible anywhere, if any noble openly killed a commoner the legal process would have got involved ( just as in Stalin's USSR or Hitler's Germany for unauthorized private murder ). Even if inexpedient to execute a noble ( as occurred with Elizabeth Bathory ), there still would have been punishment; and frankly, in the 16th century the Tudors had no compunction in executing the rich and powerful and were generally grateful for the most tenuous excuse to do so.

The best era to murder anyone was, in my opinion, Republican Rome. Not only was there great latitude in killing or maiming anyone over whom one had authority, like family; but prosecution rested upon family, and the state was as weak, minimal and corruptable as any Paleo/Libertarian could wish.

Dregs said...

Matthew Scully has a very long and very good obit / remembrance of Joe Sobran at NRO. For those of us (I very much include myself in this category) who are not that familiar with Sobran's writings and don't quite get the "greatest writer of his generation" encomia that seem very common among people who admire Sobran, Scully's article is more helpful and persuasive in digging up quotes from Sobran's work that at least allow you to glimpse what a clever writer and stylist he could be. Coulter's piece for instance, repeatedly insists that Sobran was a great writer but almost all the samples and quotes she provides (to this reader, anyway) fall flat.

Scully's piece also made me realize that Sobran must have been a model and inspiration of another writer I frequently read on the web but whose name is escaping me right now. Surfer? Skier? Anyway, a name that sounds something like a water sport.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/249937/bard-right-matthew-scully?page=1