Ezra Pound: Antisemitism and Personality

Ezra Pound, Venice, 1960’s

First commenter: Ezra Pound is an outstanding poet and does not get the literary credit he deserves.

Second commenter: First commenter: NO he deserves NOTHING he was a damn Nazi.

Third commenter: He was more a sympathizer of Italian Fascism; they are distinct, I believe. And Mussolini refused to meet Pound after Pound wrote a half dozen letters offering his ideas about usury and social credit. Mussolini also thought Pound was mad.

Of course. He was one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. The Cantos are awesome.

He’s also known as an antisemite, but guess who else was? TS Eliot. George Orwell. And Voltaire. It only became proscribed here in the West very recently, and it’s reportedly back in the ring for another round as we speak. But at the same time antisemitism was much more common in Europe circa 1920 then it is today. In certain places like Germany or Austria it was basically normal to be an antisemite. You were odd if you were not one.

He is said to have recanted his antisemitism late in life. He met Allen Ginsberg in Venice in 1967 and told Ginsberg,

The one thing I regret was falling prey to that middle class vice, antisemitism.

This has been questioned by a Nazi who met him at St. Elizabeth’s and said he was completely unrepentant, but he left St. Elizabeth’s in 1958, so perhaps he did change.

I don’t care about his politics. They were deplorable, but so what? I’m not aware that he killed anyone.

Celine was an antisemite and a Nazi who also produced Nazi propaganda. Celine was also a great writer but a rather deplorable man. But he continued to treat his poor patients for free until he died. And he never killed anyone either.

Face it, a lot of writers are lousy people!

Shakespeare was a miser, a rich man who refused to help his neighbors during a famine winter when many of them died. He was a tightwad who hounded his poor neighbors for the smallest debts. Shall we stop reading him too?

Pound was already a morally dubious person back in 1922 in Paris. He already an antisemite as he came to antisemitism quite early in life. He was a womanizer who like to run 2-3 women at once at any given time. He was incapable of monogamy. Not that I consider those bad qualities because I lived like that myself for a while.

And to the feminists reading this, he was indeed a misogynist like Henry Miller, another misogynistic womanizer. He was quite intemperate, an elitist snob who hated the average man. He had an ego the size of a small planet, and I believe he could also be a bit of an asshole.

Official psychiatric diagnosis: Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

He also got very depressed toward the end of his life. Diagnosis late in life, near death: Bipolar Disorder.

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5 thoughts on “Ezra Pound: Antisemitism and Personality”

  1. One is perfectly entitled to prefer certain cultures over others and to dislike certain religions more than others. Why is it that disliking Judaic things should always be a mortal sin, but hating Hindu things like you do, and righteously so, should be somewhat more acceptable?

    One can tour Egypt to see the hieroglyphs, but frankly I would add that one can hardly put up with the Muslim atmosphere. In the same manner, how the Hell can one visit Galilee to get an idea of what Jesus’ life might have been like or go to Haifa to meet the Baha’i’s, who have their most monumental place there, and put up with the way modern Judaism is managing the place?

    First of all, I can no longer bear the mention of “God” or anything related like “spiritual, prayer, blessings…” and Israel (or anything belonging) in the same sentence. When people of whatever shade of opinion asks me to pray for Jerusalem or to think about my soul when I speak of Gaza or Silwan (an Arabic village just under El Aqsa), I now answer:

    The day there remains nobody praying in or for Jerusalem, that will be the hell of a great day.

    One is not obligated to liking Jews preaching any more than any other kind of venal TV preacher. I am not preaching here for antisemitism, which Herzl liked as a most positive force for the development of his enterprise; I am making a case for Jewish fatigue which is something quite else, especially when they do show up more and more in fatigues.

    There used to be a time when an antisemite was someone obsessed with disliking Jews, very often as per the dogma of another religion classifying them as heretics; now an antisemite is somebody Jews are obsessed with disliking, or anybody heretical as per one of their multitudinous mainstream dogmas.

    I cannot hear the expression “Judeo-Christian”.

    It had always been virtually absent (outside very select chapels of theological thought from one century earlier no further back) from the general discourse before the 1970’s as far as I can recall, and it appeared so as to mean to late hippies that their fashion craze was over and that the time had come for them to shave and get haircut as the make-work jobs or everlasting students’ tenures they depended for their minimal comfort were about to come to an end as Milton Friedman’s homilies rang louder and louder.

    Anyway saying “Judeo-Christian” when speaking of values or morals really sounds as weird as saying “indigo yellow” when about to paint a house or choose a casual wear suit. Try to mix both Swedish colors, you’ll get a weird inorganic, plastic-like green rather reminding of oil-sponsored Islam or of Greta Thunberg’s own version of what should be a Lutheran neoliberal social-democratic ecological lifestyle.

    Both colors go together tolerably well on the same flag or Ikea furniture or porcelain set as long as they are clearly separate.

    Why is “Judeo-Christian” as oxymoronic as “indigo gold”? You will say because Jesus came to the Jewish people and presented them a religion of grace and mercy diametrically opposite to theirs which was a way of never forgetting and never forgiving.

    Alas for you, that doesn’t hold neither. The fact is that Jesus never said a single word, as far as one can go back to the Semitic substratum of what is reported about him in Greek or other like languages, that wasn’t part and parcel of the treasury of sacred quotes and popular proverbs he was heir to.

    He said no sentence that he could sign as his original creation. Those who tried to convict him for heresy had an especially hard time as he said nothing anybody wasn’t supposed to say among the flock. He had no original message of his own. If anything, he cared not to have any.

    Even such an exotic expression as “The Son of Man” just means Ben-Adam: a member of the human species as Ben both in Aramaic and Arabic means not only “child of” but far more frequently the very same thing as the English suffix of belonging -an. Ben-Adam means hum(ground)-an. The expression “The Son of Man” sounds like it sounds only owing to a very word-for-word translation into Koine Greek. When they say “The son of Man shall…” it is meant “it is up to every human being to…”

    Even the “turn the other cheek” was part and parcel of the lore he inherited from. It meant that among people of the same group no grudge may translate into acts if you don’t want to be destroyed by those from outside the fold. Loving one’s enemies (aphiloi, inimici) means your unfriended ones, not the foes (hostes) beyond the frontier or the religious or political divide.

    And lo, as Christianity made its very first appearance in the immediate wake of Jesus’ talked-about resurrection, the group, though heavily endangered and persecuted, though not yet clearly distinguished from other Jews, was already busiest fighting heretics as well as false Jews.

    Make no mistake about it: Christianity is no religion of love (most objects of love, even generous love, are presented as wrong). It is one of discourse (logos). Make no mistake about it: even though Greek has about two dozens of verbs to denote loving, the Semitic substratum the Gospels are translated from had one big general word for loving which is Hubb or Hovet (Habibi…) like French aimer or Spanish querer, it doesn’t even have the nuance between like and love of English.

    Agape was chosen as the translation word into Greek not because it denotes the most noble and egoless form of affection (that is an academic legend, like the legend that the ancient Greeks didn’t see or mentally distinguished the color blue since they seemed to have no usual word for it: they were since the dawn of times the most expert at dyeing everything in blue as they have remained up to now) but just it is the most general verb for all kinds of positive human affections, only the other ones having more specialized uses.

    It is not sexual as such but it never excludes that neither. Anyway Christianity did not define as a religion of love but of discourse most essentially, it namely meant that you had to renounce to your own opinions and thoughts to listen only to that of the Church as imparted to you. Freedom of thought was that they were at war against in top priority.

    The reproach ascribed to Jesus against the current Judaic religious practice of its time was not its lack of universalism but, on the very contrary, its tendency to overreach, its lack of discrimination against the unworthy: he wanted a smaller, poorer if need be, but better-chosen people.

    One may argue that Jesus or Paul wanted a less racial and ethnic and more intellectual identity since chasing heresies was already a big time sport…but there was absolutely no denunciation of any ethnic or racial prejudices of the kind then most current, nor of slavery, being understood that certain races as well as individuals were born for it; quite the contrary the most racist proverbs, like all Cretans being natural-born liars, were vindicated at the first degree.

    There was not the the slightest hint of political correctness of any modern sense in that nascent scheme of thought.

    Earliest Pauline Christianity (Paul was the first leader who wrote anything: the apostles proper wrote only after and too little) was clearly anti-humanistic (it considered the species as a whole as the great spiritual unwashed not to care about) quite contrary to Judaism which despite its overpowering snobbishness posed itself as the vanguard of the great marching humanity as the system that was bound to encompass everybody in the world to come.

    But…that kind of Judaic faith and culture that characterized the incipient Roman imperial period was about to die, which it did definitively as Titus conquered and destroyed Jerusalem. But even before it had been dying under various kinds of assaults from within and from without. Jesus was kind of last of the Mohicans. His philosophy was not a new one but “if there is to remain only one, I shall be that one”.

    Judaism as we know it today is an altogether different religion and ethnic construction that appeared as such only about together with Islam. The Talmud which is its main sacred work of reference was compiled only about year 600 and came to be imposed to all Jewry as the only and obligatory study about year 800. Let that sink in.

    At about the same time Hinduism experienced a kind of “Renaissance” in India to the point it had ended up for strange political events with the presence of Buddhism, which had for other strange political events vanquished old Vedic Hinduism into utter oblivion for one good millennium, to the point we now don’t know what soma was as a mind-altering substance.

    But it is clear that the Hinduism that had come back had but very little to do with the Vedic religion proper. Hinduism is a religion enjoying a 99% spurious reputation for antiquity. Comparing it to Vedic lore is like comparing Washington DC’s neoclassical architecture with Roman architecture, or Neo-Tudor style at the Ivy league Universities with Gothic architecture.

    The distance between what was the Jewish world in year zero and what is has been since the first heydays of Western civilization is even far greater.

    Talmudic Judaism is a religion that formed quite long after Christianity (after much conflict from within and from without: the insuperable rift between Christianity and Judaism took time to morph into a new red sea: there remained many churches and ethnic groups of ambiguous status between both that were for the most part to be subsumed by Islam) as an all-out reaction against Christianity first and foremost, as well as against Greek philosophy (caricatured as “epicurism”, and humanism more generally).

    Modern Judaism is a religion whose two foundational currents, Talmudism and Kabbalah, approve highly of magic and see the who universe as governed by the laws of magic and witchcraft.

    To my sense it is the main unhealthy side of Talmud, not the “satanic” verses against Jesus or against non-Jews which are a very tiny few compared to the bulk of the text which is only about the magical power of obedience to Jewish law, or compared to the Jihad verses of the Quran, whereas the Judaic world that existed up to year zero was characterized first and foremost, in great contrast to all other religions, by its condemnation of all magic.

    Judaism is a recent religion. In particular the Talmud came to be its actual pedagogy and method of transmission only after Quran and Hadith did in Islam. Even the teaching of Hebrew was modeled after that of Arabic, as Hebrew itself as we learn it now, strangely enough, looks like a late corruption and creolization of Classical Arabic quite like Dutch compared to High German.

    Arabic like German has declensions and full subjunctive mood, Hebrew no longer, Arabic like German allows regular derivation patterns, no longer Hebrew. Modern Hebrew has aura of fake antiquity about it which cannot be explained except as a long-brewed rejection of Christianity.

    This is similar to Hinduism which is essentially a late rejection of Buddhism and of its own universalist creed (in a language pretending to the highest antiquity but was clearly elaborated as a kind of Esperanto borrowing terms from Vedic texts but not at all the same language).

  2. American Christianity draws from the Judaic idea of chosenness. White Europeans are basically the Chosen Israelites. Then the other tribes God didn’t choose are the different races. Christianity as practiced in the Americas was a colonizing religion. I think pure Christianity is not but it was twisted. So I’ve heard.

    1. I would amend that to say “White European Americans” are basically the Chosen Israelites. I don’t think our ancestors in this land credited the Whites back in our as Chosen and anyway, people didn’t really think racially so much back then. A White man in the US would probably be unlikely to see other European Whites as some sort of racial brethren. The biological view of race came to Western man only quite recently.

      1. True, they saw themselves as French, English, German, etc. early on. White indentured servants were treated worse than Black slaves for a awhile. Though I believe things looked up for Whites after Bacon’s rebellion.

  3. Japanese IP doesn’t even allow Chinese or Koreans. In a way they’re continuing the legacy of Old White Europeans. White IP doesn’t allow East Asians to their discredit. I actually believe the White and East Asian unit should be bigger. Chinese nationalists and pro-Whites alone dwarf any Oriental/European unity.

    White males love of East Asian women upsets many White women. Some WN’s engage in Orientalism, however, Chinese nationalism is decidedly not Europhilic at all. White women seem to be soft on Blacks but jealous of races (East Asians especially) that threaten their dominance. It’s mostly about self-interest but I believe even the pro-White end of Whites is multi-cultural in nature deep down inside.

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