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Books as Weapons – John Hench

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This topic contains 36 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Church 7 years ago.

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  • #16830

    Judy__
    Member

    How government pays book publishers to circulate certain books to spread propaganda.

    His interview on C-Span’s Book-TV:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERYcy1DlXcQ&feature=youtube_gdata

    #16831

    Can’t get it to play… all I get is this:

    STARSHIPSOFA » PAGE NOT FOUND!
    Page not found!

    I’m sorry, but there is nothing at this URL.

    #16832

    Judy__
    Member

    Same here. Hmmmm, it was OK this AM.

    Try this:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/BookTV — oops that just got taken down.

    IT still works here:
    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/id/222522

    Maybe somebody doesn’t like what he said. ???

    #16833

    alllie
    Member

    Interesting interview.

    I’m kinda ambivalent about it because, while the program Hench describes ended pretty soon after the end of WWII, the OSS/CIA took over propaganda around the world soon after. It promulgated, not the idea of freedom and democracy, but the idea that capitalism was equivalent to freedom and democracy, thus pushing law of the jungle capitalism globally. This resulted in further enrichment of the American plutocracy.

    It is now known that the CIA commissioned books and articles around the world (and probably still does). It also undertook censorship in the US after the Republican Eisenhower took office. Through the use of the blacklist and all, the capitalist plutocracy was able to punish those who had anti-capitalist or leftist ideas. People who had those ideas were fired from their jobs, even government jobs, and screw freedom of speech. Someone with communist or socialist beliefs could not keep a job and books that advocated those systems, or whose authors did, were blocked from being published or removed from libraries. Some of these books were quite mild, like Howard Fast’s Spartacus. They didn’t burn the books in front of cameras the way the Nazis did but the effect was the same, or worse. Through the use of propaganda communism and socialism came to be viewed as “terrorism” is today, at least in the US.

    But anyway, thanks for the link. I can’t decide if I should get the book or not. It does reinforce my belief in the importance of books.

    I really miss BookTV. Cursed comcast took it off basic cable.

    #16834

    Judy__
    Member

    Book-TV has a vodcast – which is how I keep up with it.

    Yes, Hench didn’t mention the books/authors the CIA pushed subsequently. But at least Hench documents the basic process governments use and how/why publishers may be complicit. A similar book about movies would be interesting.

    And so it goes.

    #16835

    Fredosphere
    Member

    Allie, do you really think this forum is the place for partisan assertions? You’re command of the facts is highly selective and that’s harshing our mellow.

    #16836

    Church
    Member

    Fredosphere said:
    Allie, do you really think this forum is the place for partisan assertions? You’re command of the facts is highly selective and that’s harshing our mellow.

    Some assertions can’t help but being partisan. If you have counter-arguments, offer them up.

    #16837

    Judy__
    Member

    BTW, I figured out what to do when a YouTube link won’t play. Cursor over the picture and click with the alternate mouse button – select “Play on YouTube” and voila…it plays. There must be some problem with scripting between SSS and YouTube.

    The government subsidy does explain why Hemingway is such a big deal for English teachers and commentators. Does anyone really like his stories?

    #16838

    alllie
    Member

    Fredosphere said:
    Allie, do you really think this forum is the place for partisan assertions? You’re command of the facts is highly selective and that’s harshing our mellow.

    Maybe you’re right. Though I hope not. I consider science fiction, not some trivial diversion, but as something very important and which, for me, is related to politics, as almost everything is. Or so I think. I think when literature, when art, becomes divorced from politics and/or religion, it becomes trivial and unimportant entertainment.

    #16839

    Fredosphere
    Member

    alllie said:
    Maybe you’re right. Though I hope not. I consider science fiction, not some trivial diversion, but as something very important and which, for me, is related to politics, as almost everything is. Or so I think. I think when literature, when art, becomes divorced from politics and/or religion, it becomes trivial and unimportant entertainment.

    I agree with you there. What I’m saying is, argumentative politics are not really in the mission statement of the SSS forum. I guess my problem, Allie, is that your comments tend to be high-level summaries or idiosyncratic anecdotes, and loaded with provocative labels. It irritates me because I have to decide whether to let is slide, and let you control what the political assumptions are, or get into a anecdote-counter anecdote battle that is typically off-topic and not very interesting for those seeking out discussions of sci-fi. In other words, it looks like you’re being provocative (although maybe you don’t intend to).

    In the above, you lose me at “capitalist plutocracy”. In fact, re-reading the above right now, it’s mostly factual. It’s sprinkled with loaded phrases, but without them, I would find it interesting. You’ve got a lot of knowledge of history; keep it coming.

    #16840

    Church
    Member

    For what it’s worth, I have less problems with Allie than with the counter-arguments offered. (Mostly because she doesn’t have editorial control of the site.)

    Hell, I’m sure I’ve held forth with much weirder stuff than she could (and yes, that’s a challenge.)

    #16841

    LarrySantoro
    Member

    Judy__ said:
    The government subsidy does explain why Hemingway is such a big deal for English teachers and commentators. Does anyone really like his stories?

    Yes. Very much.

    #16842

    Judy__
    Member

    May I ask why?

    #16843

    alllie
    Member

    Judy__ said:
    The government subsidy does explain why Hemingway is such a big deal for English teachers and commentators. Does anyone really like his stories?

    I know when I was a teen Hemingway was frequently promoted in magazines and newspapers. Later I came to think that was because he had a sexy persona and because his style was just a modification of the journalistic style, no adjectives, no judgments. Hemingway was what every journalist of that age wanted to be. Since I didn’t come from a family that read novels I was very influenced by these journalistic recommendations and read a lot, maybe all, of his books. While I admire the politics shown in most of them, even though the politics were very obscure, as decades past I never thought about them or reread them again. But I have reread a lot of scifi books and short stories. That may say more about me than Hemingway.

    I guess a hundred years will have to pass and then readers will make their final judgment by continuing to read his books or not. Like Jane Austin and the Brontes fell out of favor, were rarely read, then rediscovered and became part of the classic canon. I wonder if that will happen with Hemingway.

    #16844

    LarrySantoro
    Member

    I reread Hemingway every few years. I particularly like his short fiction. Few writers of that generation — one just before mine — were able to encapsulate the process of growing, coming to terms with and embrace a world that is both violent and beautiful.

    I reread — and love — his work, finally, because he shows me how to be a better writer.

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