Saturday, January 9, 2010

* Proust's Grotesque Taxidermy

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans (the "singing cowboy/girl") in front of Roy's horse , Trigger, which he had stuffed by a taxidermist.

History is a groteque taxidermy: All skin and no flesh and blood, just sawdust. A recent exchange with a poster on a Yale Daily News column brings this to mind:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 10:35 a.m.
Iran names Yale among blacklisted organizations

Iran's Ministry of Intelligence named Yale one of 60 "subversive" international organizations accused of creating unrest in Iran after the country's June elections,
the Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site Monday.
Citing two Iranian news agencies, the L.A. Times said an unnamed Iranian deputy minister of intelligence for foreign affairs made the announcement at a news conference Monday. The minister reportedly said Iranians should have no contact with the 60 organizations, which were accused of being part of an anti-Iran plot backed by the United States, Great Britain and Israel.
"Having any relation, signing any contract with them or receiving any facilities from individuals or legal entities affiliated to those institutions and foundations are illegal and forbidden," the minister reportedly said, adding that it is illegal for Iranian political groups to receive "cash and non-cash assistance" from the named organizations.
According to a report from the Islamic Republic News Agency, linked to by the L.A. Times, other blacklisted organizations include the Hoover Institution, Stanford University's public policy research center; the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank; Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental organization that has recorded human rights abuses of Iranian dissidents; multiple American organizations that promote democracy abroad; and several international, Persian-language news outlets, including BBC Persian and Voice of America.

#12 By Helen Li 4:51a.m. on January 9, 2010
Yale: A world-class university with fifth-rate moral and ethical leadership.

#13 By YDN frightened or cautious? 10:10a.m. on January 9, 2010

Wait a minute.

Yale does SOME things right.

Didn't it divest itself of South African stocks when Bishop Moore was on the Corporation? Didn't it have the first African American Ph.D. (Physics, I think)?

Didn't it give birth (albeit traumatically) to Doonesbury?

Didn't it NOT FIRE William Sloane Coffin as Chaplain during the Civil Rights/Viet Nam era?

Give credit where credit is due.

BTW---I notice the latest Westerfeld article (about his attempted murder) has been removed from your web-edition. (At least, I am unable to locate it) Is that caution or did the debate over the definition of the term "Islamists" actually frighten you?

Paul Keane
M.Div. '80

#15 By YC07 8:00p.m. on January 9, 2010


Could you explain why the firing of William Sloane Coffin is a correct move? Are you implying that his involvement in the anti-war & civil rights movements is morally indefensible?

#17 By (Signed version) Proust's grotesque taxidermy 10:23p.m. on January 9, 2010

# 13:

(I say this respectfully, perhaps with envy):
Maybe you're too young to remember Yale circa 1960-75.

It was a super-REPUBLICAN conservative bastion of moneyed-alumni who abhorred Coffin's activism, Henry Luce and William F. Buckley to name only two among many.

In fact, back then, activism was equated with communism in Republican minds. When the Kent State students were shot in 1970 many people said they should have shot MORE of the students: And they didn't mean just in Ohio.

It is impossible to recreate with words the polarizing hatred and fear which existed in the country during those days between activists (long-haired hippies) and what Nixon would later succesfully name and exploit as The Silent Majority.(This was brilliantly satirized by Archie Bunker and Meathead in All in the Family, early '70s)

A former YDN editor, Henry Luce and his magazine empire (Time/Life) didn't help much to diminish this polarization. Quite the contrary.

The older I get the more I see how history is a kind of grotesque taxidermy.
In recherche du temps perdu becomes the futility of futilities.

Paul Keane
M.Div' 80

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