Thursday, July 08, 2004


John Kerry - Soft on Communism

Or at least that's what the reliably irritating Andrew Sullivan seems to be saying.

It's always something of a tricky subject as to whether an artist's work is undermined, or indeed wholly discredited, by their political views. This poem is political in content - does that mean it shouldn't be cited approvingly because of the (Stalinist) politics of the poet, even though the poem itself is a perfectly respectable (and I think quite moving) evocation of socialist ideals of human freedom and justice?

I presume Sullivan disapproves of quoting Yeats (flirted with Fascism towards the end), Heidegger (actually joined Nazi Party at one stage), Sartre (claimed there was free speech in Soviet Union), Shaw (denied there was famine in same) or indeed, to make things more interesting, Kipling and other incorrigibly racist imperialists ("Your new-caught, sullen peoples,/
Half-devil and half-child" etc.).

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