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Christmas presents come in many forms

Christmas… I am gorged with all the bounty that western civilisation has to offer and rejoicing as I ponder the gifts bestowed by my friends. But I must say my favourite gift today was learning that Harold Pinter, a loathsome apologist for oh so many of the most vile mass murderers of modern times has finally dropped dead.

Good riddance and a pox on anyone who mourns his passing.

For me Christmas just got even merrier.

51 comments to Christmas presents come in many forms

  • RAB

    Good.
    I always liked his pauses best.

    There’s a real long one coming now, eh Harold?

  • Touche RABuncular one! Touche sir! I noted the old Stalinist’s passing.

  • re. the Pinter article: I would like to know wherein lies the value of being sincerely attached to the people you like, as Billington says Pinter was. WTF- this makes you “a great” (a phrase his wife stupidly uses)?
    I believe there is a verse in the new testament regarding the loyalty of thieves for one another.
    And honestly, “a fighter in the field of politics”…..whinewhinewhine…..all leftists are such fighters. BFD.

    Here is a more honest way to state it all:
    “He had convenient views during a time when it was convenient and popular to have such views. He was attached to people who reinforced his views. He pandered to the media, who returned the favour and pandered back.”
    And honestly, what a picture – he looks sardonic and evil.

  • grace the collie

    It’s fitting that he died on the day that Nicolae CeauŠŸescu and his old lady got justice, if only lady Atonia Fraser (if that is her name) could join him.

  • lukas

    Is this where I get to ask Santa for Gore Vidal’s head?

  • JAWolf

    lukas, which one?

  • michael farris

    Rats, Eartha Kitt just died : (

  • Pierre Glendinning

    Regardless of his politics, and despite being a longtime reader of this blog, I find this in rather poor taste.

    Your choice to post it — my choice to see it as somewhat vulgar.

  • Eartha Kitt

    Holy Obituaries Batman !!

    She was the greatest Catwoman of them all

  • Regardless of his politics, and despite being a longtime reader of this blog, I find this in rather poor taste. Your choice to post it — my choice to see it as somewhat vulgar.

    I simply could not stand by and let the fawning praise for that vermin currently filling the media go un-challenged. My loathing for the man was profound, in part for what his treatment by polite society reveals about modern Britain. In a more worthy civilisation this later day Lord Haw Haw would have been a pariah. I think my remarks are not vulgar enough by half.

  • I saw/met Miss Kitt at a public appearance/album signing at the Borders Book Store in Downtown Boston about a decade ago. Someone asked the former lefty/commie (the FBI had an extensive file on her in the 1960s) about current political events and she let go with a denunciation of Washington worthy of the most right-wing Republican! Honestly, she sounded like she was reading from a Newt Gingrich speech! She denounced the the federal income tax and captial gains taxes. I loved it!

  • Corsair09

    I will not celebrate the passing of another human being..

    No mattter how much I dissagreed with them in life, their death means they will never get to realize just how WRONG they were…

  • Laura G. Brown

    We have adages such as “Don’t speak ill of the dead” for a reason. I agree with Pierre.

  • asommer

    No mattter how much I dissagreed with them in life, their death means they will never get to realize just how WRONG they were…

    Life isn’t a debate.

  • Corsair: that was the first thing I felt. But: didn’t you “celebrate” (by which I don’t mean opening the bottle of whatever finest, but simply saying “good riddance”) when, say, Pol Pot or Saddam died? Now, obviously the difference would be that Pinter was a mere apologist for such people, but is such difference all that material? After all, being an apologist in such cases pretty much amounts to being a collaborator, does it not?

  • Thon Brocket

    De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

    Bow your head as the bin-wagon passes, and let nobody see your delighted grin.

  • Vercingetorix

    Pinter supported the Free Slobodan movement.

    Not the “Slobodan is innocent and I know this fair trial for genocide will prove his innocence and clear his good name” movement, the “Free this architect of mass murder, cuz, um, we said so.”

    In my mind, that is obstruction of justice, even collaboration, in mass murder.

    Today, thousands of people died, good people, people that made a difference and brought light into the dark spaces in the world.

    Pinter was not one of them.

    I won’t celebrate, but I will not mourn this immoral monster.

  • Clive Davis

    Does anyone have anything for pox?

    I liked the work of this man that I have seen on stage and screen.

    Or are we being just a ickle bit melodramatic ?

    Besides, the finest insult for any artist is just indifference.
    Q.E.D. This Old Man did his job well

  • Alisa,
    Being an apologist is perhaps worse. It’s hypocritical. Mr Pinter was happy as a clam to take the riches thrown at him by the decadent west… He was either a hypocrite or just lacked the balls to go with his true ideals. I mean why didn’t he fuck-off years ago to some socialist paradise. Perhaps because he might write something a comissar wouldn’t like? An absolute turd in human form.

    You are dead right about the difference between “celebration” and “good riddance”. I felt it about Yasser Arafat and the aforementioned Romanian dictator. It’s more a feeling of relief than juilation.

  • Clive: what is melodramatic about separating a person’s ability to excel in what he does for a living, from his views on things that have nothing to do with his trade? He could have just as well been a excellent baker or nuclear physicist – so what?

  • joe

    I was overjoyed yesterday when my wife, brother and sister in law all said “Who?” when they heard the vile shit had died. I laughed to think that his putrid posturing had not impacted them at all.
    It made me wonder how many other people had never even been aware of him – hahaha stupid shit wasn’t as famous or influential as he thought.

  • Clive Davis

    Dear Alisa

    I think the line

    “Good riddance and a pox on anyone who mourns his passing”

    is a touch melodramatic.

    I believe wishing me pox for missing the artist’s future contributions to the arts is unfair to me.

    Can I simply agree that he may well have been an arsehole, but Sleuth was brilliant.

    I defend your right to wish me pox.

  • I now see your point, Clive: I missed the part where Perry wishes pox on anyone who might mourn Pinter’s passing. If it makes you feel any better, I do not share this wish of his:-)

  • I believe wishing me pox for missing the artist’s future contributions to the arts is unfair to me.

    Let me explain why I think his ‘contributions to the arts’ are irrelevant dross. His monstrous advocacy of Slobodan Milosevic should have placed him beyond the pale in much the way being one of Mosley’s fascists in 1946, after we all knew what fascism has in fact wrought, were beyond the pale. To remember Pinter’s “contributions to the arts” is a bit like hearing Hitler has died and responding “Ah, the man was very good to animals and loved his dog”. I think it is a breathtaking measure of modern Britain’s social decadence as it implies being an apologist for well documented mass murderous evil can be counter balanced by a talent for deft word construction.

    Most of the obituaries say Pinter was a “tireless and outspoken political advocate” and leave it at that… well so was Joseph Goebbels and he too had a way with words.

  • Millie Woods

    The reason vile people are celebrated by the media today is because so many of the current practitioners of the informational arts have an advanced case of nostalgie de la boue.

  • Pierre Glendinning

    Perry — I agree with you — the man’s politics were vile. I just see such gloating as on a moral equvalent with all those sad little socialists who plan on dancing on Thatcher’s grave the moment she passes away.

    I prefer to think of it as a terrible shame that the man passed away before he had time to recant his ridiculous views. He may have lived to be 78, but he still held the political views of a small child…

    …right now I’d like to see a post or two attacking the BBC for lionizing him. The tribute I watched on News 24 yesterday presented his demagogic views practically as fact. Sickening stuff. Then again, I suppose that’s hardly surprising. Stuff the telly tax, etc…

  • In Pinter nostalgie de la boue would have been an improvement, nostalgie de la gulag was more his style.

  • lukas

    JAWolf, Eww. Happy Kwanzaa to everyone!

  • “We have adages such as “Don’t speak ill of the dead” for a reason.”

    Tell me what it is, because every time a commie like Pinter dies, I naturally rejoice.

    To hell with him.

  • Clive Dasvis

    Dear Perry

    To remember Pinter’s “contributions to the arts” is a bit like hearing Hitler has died and responding “Ah, the man was very good to animals and loved his dog”.

    Not quite acurate enough for me. However, if it where possible that Mr Hitler had been very kind to many peoples cats particulary mine rather than just his own pets, this might be a better analogy. – To which I would remain consistant and exlaim, it’s probably for the best but, my cats and I do miss his visits.

    Happy New Year Perry x

  • David

    Oh nonsense, though a political idiot, Pinter was a very very good playwright. Excellent craftsman of character, plot and text. I remember going through The Dumbwaiter a few years back and just being impressed with how well done the play was.

    As a cheap parting shot, I should remind you all that summing up an artwork/artist through the lens of his politics is a particularly Marxist thing to do.
    Are we all Marxists now in this regard?

  • JohnarhN Pearce

    Like some of the other commenters, I am relieved that an evil, silly old man has gone, but I am afraid that I’d rather focus on celebrating the good people out there instead of celebrating a man’s death. Earlier this year, I mentioned the remarkable political shift of US playwright David Mamet. Let’s celebrate such folk and encourage them all the more in their efforts. That is how political/philosophical movements can actually win.

    As to the merits of Pinter’s plays, his stuff leaves me cold. Give me a box-set DVD of Babylon 5 any day.

  • Vercingetorix

    As a cheap parting shot, I should remind you all that summing up an artwork/artist through the lens of his politics is a particularly Marxist thing to do.
    Are we all Marxists now in this regard?

    You know what else is Marxist? Breathing. Every Marxist that has ever lived has at one time or another breathed.

    We’re all Marxists now!

    Give me a break.

  • Oh nonsense, though a political idiot, Pinter was a very very good playwright

    So fucking what? I am just doing my little bit to help make sure he is not just remembered for “literary merits” but for the fact he wanted to free Slobodan Milosevic whilst people were still being found in the mass graves in the former Yugoslavia that his buddy was responsible for filling. So that is nonsense eh? David presents a fine example of moral decadence.

  • I do not understand the “reverence” for the death of those who lived happily and fed hungrily off of publicity.

    We all know, at our age, that death will happen to us. I don’t care if some people are glad when I die (and there will doubtless be some). So what? What matters is how people who loved me feel.

    Our disgust with Pinter does not touch him nor those who love him. It matters not if he is alive or dead, regarding our discussion of him.

    He made himself a VERY public person and, alive or dead, he will get a very public wake. Too bad…that is the way of things. If you don’t want people rejoicing in your demise, then stay the hell out of the public eye.
    If he was a sanctimonious spokesman for the pop-marxism of his day, then it is tough luck for him if people are pleased that his voice is finally silenced by the great silencer of all men, wise and foolish.

    We are human. We are sad when our heros fall, and glad when our enemies meet the same fate.

  • J

    What intrigues me is that Perry seems much happier now that Harold has died, than he did when Slobodan himself died. I’d go so far as to suggest that he seems to dislike the politically inane playwright more than the genocidal dictator himself. I think what really winds people up is not that Pinter was particularly evil, and certainly not that he did much harm, but that no-one ever called him on his idiotic political views.

    We see a similar situation on the left, with people hating Bush and calling him a murder (which he obviously isn’t), not because they really think Bush is more evil than, say, Saddam, but because so many other people laud his every halfwitted utterance.

    The difference, of course, is that at least Pinter wrote a bunch of excellent plays, only some of which are tainted by his politics.

    Personally, I’ve never had any problem separating the work of the great many geniuses who seem attracted to insane political stances, from their political utterances. This goes for Chomsky, Pinter, Miller (Frank, not Arthur), Wagner, Heinlein, Magritte, Riefenstahl, etc.

  • steve

    My hope is that they turned up the temperture in Hell to welcome him.

  • David

    Vercingetorix

    As far as I know Marx didn’t have a theory of breathing. He did have a theory of art.

    Perry

    My proposition is that I can enjoy and appreciate art regardless of the surrounding political morass.

    As for being a moral decadent, what do you mean by that exactly?

  • that summing up an artwork/artist through the lens of his politics is a particularly Marxist thing to do.

    As far as I can see, the original post made no attempt at summing up his artwork. In fact, his artwork was not even mentioned.

  • Vercingetorix

    What intrigues me is that Perry seems much happier now that Harold has died, than he did when Slobodan himself died. I’d go so far as to suggest that he seems to dislike the politically inane playwright more than the genocidal dictator himself.

    Why? Milosovich was in the dock for the rest of his life – his evil was manacled to a European jail cell.

    The only absolution we have from the vocal apologists for evil and the enemy of individual freedom is the grave.

    I neither cede the conjecture (that Perry views the two evils as equal, or shifted towards Pinter) for this is not my view (though I am already halfway to making that case) nor concede that the propositions are equivalent in any way. The death of an impotent convict is not the same thing as the death of a loose demagogue.

    As far as I know Marx didn’t have a theory of breathing. He did have a theory of art.

    Simply because Marx spouted off on something does not mean that it belongs to him forever. Reminds me of Kerouac: “Sexual Intercourse began in 1969.” Well, then, thank God for the sixties! But somebody might want to check the math on that.

    Likewise, Plato’s The Republic shares with the edicts of Lycurgus and then passes on to some of Marx’s stuff. History did not begin with the Manifesto and mankind is not his pet. To say otherwise seems – I don’t know – a bit, um, McCarthyesque, no?

    But back to the point: Pinter was at very least a fellow traveler. If Marx thought all art was political and Pinter being a good Marxist imbued his art with politics, that does not make his critics Marxist. Marx had a theory of education too but critics stalwartly opposing the indoctrination of youth in ethnic study programs are not Marxists for opposing the politicization of education.

    Marx himself was a fairly eloquent poet of apocalypse. Forgive me if I do not mourn his death. I fear he lived entirely too long. My same sentiment goes along with Pinter, a man who may have had great potential – even skill – but was dead to me well before his heart stopped.

    Try again.

  • What intrigues me is that Perry seems much happier now that Harold has died, than he did when Slobodan himself died.

    Actually I attended a party to celebrate the passing of that particular tyrant with some Croatian friends of mine, so I am not sure where you go that idea from.

    I have never seen any of Pinter’s plays and frankly could not care less if he was a crap wordsmith or the best in all of Christendom, as that pales into nothing compared to the wickedness he gave advocacy for… however I did see a fair old chunk of the war in Croatia and Bosnia first hand over several years, and I know a great many people whose lives were horribly twisted by that ghastly war. I saw the consequences of Slobodan Milosevic and his Nationalist Socialist ideology. The smells even more than the sights have a way of fixing things in one’s memory. This may explain why I so utterly detest any of Milosevic’s apologists as that particular instance of evil is not very abstract for me. To me there was no difference between Pinter and David Irving as repulsive collaborators with evil ideologies and evil people.

  • As for being a moral decadent, what do you mean by that exactly?

    To think a man’s art somehow outweighs his support for a mass murdering ethno-fascist monster… To think something as trivial as a few plays gives such a person a free pass… that is moral decadence.

    When Leni Riefenstahl died, many obits praised her ground breaking cinematography, but very few (as in none I ever read) glossed over her Nazi past and ‘unfortunate’ beliefs. Yet Pinter supported the people who gave us the term ‘ethnic cleansing’ and but is described as “an impassioned political advocate”. Well as I said before, so was Joseph Goebbels, yet one rarely reads a description without a negative judgement attached.

  • Mr T

    Clive Davis

    I agree with you about “Sleuth” – it was brilliant. And it was written by Anthony Shaffer.

  • It made Christmas all the more sweet for me. And God knows we needed something to cheer us up with the way that Pinto’s mates in Nu-Labour are f***ing up this country – turning us into bloody Argentina… without the beef, wine or dancing.

    Let’s hope Fidel, Chavez and Morales join Pinto in Hell asap. :-) Now that would really make me happy…

    And if Gordon Brown dies, I would jump up and down in delight until I was sick!

  • Clive

    You’re right. I’m an idiot. A nice idiot that doesn’t rejoice in anyone’s death. I have no excuse.

  • Paul Marks

    Warning – shameless boasting by Paul Marks to follow.

    A day or so before Harold Pinter died Bernard Crick died.

    I remember this man, not so much for pushing in “Citizenship” as a subject in Britain, but for the one real victory I ever had in academia.

    Many years ago I was a first year Politics (among other subjects) student at the University of Leicester and Bernard Crick’s “In Defence of Politics” was our introductory text.

    I wrote an essay pointing out some of the absurdities and contradictions of the text (even from a leftist point of view) and,wonder of wonders, the academics were actually impressed – and had a different work for the following year’s students.

    I never had such a victory again (beginners luck possibly), so I have always felt kindly towards Bernard Crick.

    Oddly enough I also am well disposed towads the late Harold Pinter.

    What I fear is the leftist who seems nice – who convinced people of reasonableness.

    The hatred that Harold Pinter felt was obvious – he hated not just the United States, but the West generally. And he could not resist the temptation to tell wild lies when modest distortions would have served his cause better.

    I was glad that he was a leading figure of the left – because he helped discredit them. And I am sad he is gone.

  • MHG

    I began this thread prepared to dispute Perry’s views, but after following it through to the end I find myself in complete agreement. Writing brilliant plays does not, in any way, excuse someone for supporting a genocidal tyrant.

    It would be interesting to compare this with Guenther Grass, who managed to be on both extremes of the question.

  • MHG

    I began this thread prepared to dispute Perry’s views, but after following it through to the end I find myself in complete agreement. Writing brilliant plays does not, in any way, excuse someone for supporting a genocidal tyrant.

    It would be interesting to compare this with Guenther Grass, who managed to be on both extremes of the question.