The intellectual, freedom’s friend!

Lovely line in La Vanguardia, discovered lazing on top of an article re bullfighting:

Bullfights fracture the allergy of intellectuals to proscription.

And, continues the article,

The generation of May 68 postulated a tolerant and flexible society to the unanimous cry of “It is forbidden to forbid”.

This is one of the most important, most persistent lies fuelling the tired old ideological whores who double as LaVa columnists. Here are a couple of excerpts from an article in Al-Ahram:

“May ’68 was about a generation claiming the right to make history, to become part of it — but collectively,” writer Serge July said in the French daily Libération. Its ominous background: nine years of a murderous war in French Indochina (Vietnam, 1945-54), eight years of attempting to suppress Algerian independence (1954-1962), the epic militant strikes of French miners in 1993, the US-Vietnam war and the explosion of Southern liberation movements all over Africa in the 1950s and 1960s.


Recollecting the movement’s aspirations, July wrote: “History-in-process could only have one name: revolution. Revolution, a magic word which encompassed very different visions and desires: nationalist revolutions for countries of the South, a cultural revolution in China, and especially cultural revolution in the North.” He added: “Finally, the political revolution would shatter the world’s order, catapulting the working class to the space occupied by those who monopolise all power — and this revolution would express and synthesise all the others.”

Hence the May ’68 slogans were replete with the vociferous chants and banners promoting the political heroes of the day: Ernesto Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and the Cuban guerrillas, Mao Tse Tung, Ho Chi Minh. Intellectuals and cultural ideologues co-existed with the revolutionaries: Franz Fanon, author of The Wretched of the Earth, a classic on colonial domination and exploitation, philosopher Jacques Derrida who had already laid the groundwork for his theory of literary deconstruction.

Revolutionary pop culture also became part and parcel of the youth jargon. The students appropriated and reiterated John Lennon’s phrase: “Those who do not profoundly hate the present cannot really love it.”

May 68 wasn’t about forbidding forbidding. It was about promoting a new forbidding, dissent against which was to be punished by torture, murder, genocide. Some intellectuals like that kind of thing; some don’t.

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  1. I feel sorry for the sad losers who go on and on about May 1968. Their whole life after that month has been one big anti-climax. Imagine their disappointment when they woke up on June 1 with a thirty-six year hangover. Hey, never mind, they should look on the bright side. They could have been Chinese and tortured, crippled or murdered during the “Cultural” “Revolution”. Andy Warhol never made silk-screen prints of dead Tibetans either.

    And what did Fidel Castro do in 1968? IIRC He was the first non-Warsaw Pact leader to congratulate the USSR for crushing the Prague Spring. At least he was well rewarded for his pains. So a good time was had by all.

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