Sunday, January 29, 2006


Scott Eric Kaufman has a post on The Valve critiquing the New Left, in which the following passage appears:

"While the New Right hunkered down in positions of power, the New Left waged a public relations war against the idea of power in all its various guises: 'The System,' 'The Man,' 'Them.' Capitalize one letter of Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff‘s famous diatribe and you capture the attitude perfectly:

"I don’t know what They have to say
It makes no difference anyway
Whatever it is, I’m against it.
No matter what it is or who commenced it,
I’m against it!

"Your proposition may be good
But let’s have one thing understood:
Whatever it is, I’m against it.
And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it,
I’m against it!

"Like Dr. Wagstaff, the New Left favored performance over complicity in the system. (The resurgent popularity of the Marx Brothers in the ‘60s wasn’t an accident.)"

Whatever the accuracy of this as a characterization of the New Left as a whole (or of Horsefeathers), it captures the political perspective of Gravity's Rainbow to a T.

(For Dan Green's benefit, I'll hasten to add that the deficiencies of Gravity's Rainbow's politics have no bearing on its value as literature.)

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