Wednesday, July 08, 2009

All the things I don't like are responsible for the Holocaust.

This here Signet Classics edition of Winesburg, Ohio has an introductory piece by Irving Howe. And why not? The copyright page tells us that this introduction is from 1993, which must make it one of the last things Howe ever wrote. Fair enough! The man was certainly a Noted Scholar!

But apparently that wasn't putting asses in seats with sufficient zest, because there is also an AFTERWARD, dating from 2005, this by noted hack Dean Koontz. Shit, I thought, when seeing that this was the case. Am I going to have to revise my opinion of the guy upwards? I hate having my preconceived notions disturbed! Egads!

Not so much, it turns out. In substance, it isn't much; in fact, bits of factual information appear to have been cribbed from the introduction to make Koontz look more knowledgeable. This could be an unfounded supposition, but that's how it appears to me. Also, he quotes from one of his own novels. I wasn't perhaps as impressed as some are with Anderson, but that's still some pretty impressive chutzpah.

The main theme is "Oh noes! Teh modernist ideals iz destroying our morals!" Darwin, Nietzsche, and Marx are all cited, and it culminates in this sentence, which is positively Goldbergian in its historically-deficient, willfully clueless, pseudo-intellectualism:

Anderson died in 1941, as the more bitter fruits of Darwinism, Marxism, and Freudianism were realized in the Third Reich, a regime founded on eugenics, evolutionary ethics, racism, a belief that the human mind is driven by animal self-interest, and faith in the absolute righteousness of the state.

Historical comprehension FAIL (I have to admit, though, even from the perspective of the wingnut negaverse, I find it impossible to fathom what "Freudianism" has to do with anything). Hardly surprising, though--I mean, the man donated money to Mitt Romney. How bright could he possibly be?


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