from the movie and some kaffafel in the media.
In France and Germany they did... on public TV in the best broadcasting slot.
Heinrich Boell: "State Directed"
From Momus we find discussion of a documentary by Hans-Rüdiger Minow regarding the CIA sponsorship of the Avante-garde in Post-war Europe as a stand against the Soviets. Blame the CIA for Abstract Expressionism. As Gunter Grass put it "The ideology of the CIA was that the West had to be the most modern of the modern". Interesting to say the least. I'm hoping we can see an English language version sometime.
The CIA calls the tune and the tune is called freedom
On November 29th Arte television aired When the CIA Infiltrated Culture, a documentary based on three years of research into a secret, highly ambitious "Marshall Plan of culture": the CIA's efforts to promote "the freedom of individual choice" in postwar Europe by... subsidizing the arts.
Using front organizations like the Farfield Foundation and the Congress for Cultural Freedom, the CIA channelled millions of dollars into the European cultural scene during the 1950s and 60s in an attempt to alter the intellectual DNA of the continent. If you wanted the CIA on your side, paradoxes abounded: "no ideology" had to become your ideology. You had to banish politics from your work for entirely political reasons. You were free to be anything except critical of "freedom", and you could pick any individual stance except a pro-collective individual stance. What's more, your anti-government, pro-market position had to be bankrolled by the government and protected from the market.
Since the aesthetic favoured by pro-Soviets in Europe tended to include stuff like political commitment, realism, melody, and representation -- the communists deplored "decadent formalism" above all -- the CIA (somewhat incredibly, to our eyes) threw its weight behind atonal music and Abstract Expressionism. Concerts and exhibitions of the most inaccessible, anti-populist, non-commercial avant garde artists flourished. "The ideology of the CIA was that the West had to be the most modern of the modern," says Gunter Grass, interviewed for the documentary. "The result was a sort of Kandinsky kitsch."
One direct result of the CIA's efforts was a series of literary journals which attacked European intellectuals who aligned themselves with communism. There was, it seems, one in each major European country. There was Preuves in France, Encounter in the UK, Tempo Presente in Italy and Der Monat in Germany. Presided over by impressive intellectuals like Heinrich Boll, Arthur Koestler, Solzenitsyn, Raymond Aron, Isiah Berlin, Ignazione Silone and Steven Spender, these journals regularly attacked even more impressive intellectuals who also happened to be leftists -- Jean-Paul Sartre, Charlie Chaplin, Arthur Miller, Pablo Neruda and even Thomas Mann. In the campaign against Neruda's writing, the CIA stressed that the magazine shouldn't attack him on political grounds, but "on the quality of his writing". The mud didn't stick; Neruda won the Nobel Prize in 1971.
Meanwhile, in France Preuves competed head-to-head with Sartre's journal Les Temps Modernes. Raymond Aron, the editor of Preuves, had clashed with Sartre at the Ecole Normale Superieure, so it was very much a personal as well as an ideological battle for him. But Aron had American taxpayer's money giving his magazine immunity to market imperatives (ironically enough) and allowing him to pay his writers better. CIA money was also secretly buoying up -- and altering -- such venerable cultural institutions as the ICA in London and the Musee Nationale D'Art Moderne in Paris.
"We wanted to unite all the people who were writers, artists, composers, to demonstrate that the West and the USA would give opportunities for intellectual achievement without anyone dictating to them what they had to say and think, which was what was going on in the Soviet Union," says Tom Braden, the patrician CIA officer who was chief of the International Organizations Division of the Directorate of Plans, the office that ran the Congress for Cultural Freedom and Encounter magazine. The CIA did, however, dictate what the recipients of its money could say and think. A negative article on America by Dwight Macdonald for Encounter was vetoed by the bosses in Paris. "The Congress for Cultural Freedom believed in all freedoms except the freedom to criticize the United States," remarked one cynic.
The CIA renounced its role as a patron of the arts only when the Vietnam war polarized politics, breaking up the middle ground and shattering the illusion that something as indirect as art could foment gentle, benign political swings. As Michael Rogin wrote in The Nation:
"With the exposure of CIA secret influence and with the divisions over the war in Vietnam, the utility of the non-Communist left in the cultural cold war had come to an end. When some of the same faces resurfaced a decade later, first in the Committee on the Present Danger (the group of intellectuals and politicians instrumental in heating up the cold war) and then in the Reagan regime, they would speak as neoconservatives."
Regarding the CIA/culture tampering connection,
coincidentally, I've been reading James Campbell's
Exiled in Paris about the expat literary scene there
in the 50s and 60s and there's mention of a possible CIA
connection to George Plimpton's and Peter Matthiessen's
own journal The Paris Review in the 50s. What next?
Mother Jones' secret editor-at-large revealed to be
I always suspected old George Whitman at Shakespeare and Co. in Paris was an agent! Sniff around his store and you can smell the CIA money.
"In later probes he [Lutz Dammbeck]takes up alliances between European postwar intellectuals from Norbert Wiener to Heinz von Foerster and their anti-fascist beliefs; delving momentarily into a document published by the Frankfurt School on the “totalitarian personality” and its curious influences on a secret history of research known as the Macy Conferences. Designed to study the workings of the human mind and its authoritarian social psychology, these Conferences invited Margaret Mead, Norbert Wiener and psychologist Kurt Lewin, among others and later, avant-garde artists such as John Brockmann, Stuart Brand, John Cage, and Buckminster Fuller to exchange views on hippy generation concepts such as “mind expansion”, open systems and human consciousness. These Macy undertakings wound up influencing a period of psyop testings most notably performed by Dr. Henry A. Murray at Harvard University on Ted Kaczynski – elsewise known as “the Unabomber” – as well as the CIA’s MK Ultra project."
There was an Australian equivalent as well, Quadrant, funded by the CIA via the Congress For Cultural Freedom. Full story here:
CIA as Culture Vultures
‘In spite of all that can be said against our age, what a moment it is to be alive in! What an epoch for a magazine to emerge in!’
THESE are unexpected sentiments from poet James McAuley in 1956. No-one in Australia had done more to deplore the monstrous condition of the age, yet he offered this exultant assessment in his new role as the editor of the quarterly cultural journal, Quadrant. It was a role which gave him the opportunity to combine his two greats passions: poetry and anti-communism.
Quadrant was the brainchild of Richard Krygier, the founding secretary of the Australian branch of the Congress for Cultural Freedom which was established by the CIA in 1950 as a key element in their strategy to combat Soviet propaganda. Michael Josselson, chief of the Agency’s Berlin Office for Covert Action, was the executive director of the Paris Secretariat. He was later joined by another agent, John Hunt, and by the late fifties there were five CIA operatives working in the Secretariat. In its first year the CIA outlay on the Congress for Cultural Freedom was $200,000, close to 2 million dollars in 1999 [Australian dollar] terms. Later they set up the Fairfield Foundation as a front; one of any number of private foundations used to launder CIA money, of which the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation were especially prominent.
Richard Krygier had approached Josselson in 1951 and offered his services as Cultural Freedom’s antipodean representative. Josselson asked Krygier to distribute Congress publications in Australia, for which he would receive a retainer. Josselson later agreed, without enthusiasm, that Krygier set up an Australian committee and publish a bulletin.
Krygier chose the retired Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir John Latham, as the president of the Australian committee and together they invited like-minded individuals to join the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom. There was no membership fee. Financial support from Paris enabled them to publish a newsletter and run an office with Richard Krygier as administrative secretary. The initial grant from the Paris office was $84,000 in 1998/99 dollars.*
*All the amounts have been converted into 1998/99 Australian dollars according to the Consumer Price Index following the ABS catalogue 6401.0. The funding information comes from the Quadrant papers ML MSS 3570
Josselson was not happy with the make-up of the Australian committee since the CIA strategy was to court intellectuals of the non-communist left, not fund a bunch of zealous anti-communists. Alarmed by Josselson’s dissatisfaction, Krygier sought the advice of the editor of Encounter, Irving Kristol, who suggested that Krygier ask Josselson for money for an Australian literary quarterly, along the lines of Encounter. Kristol gave Krygier to understand that Encounter was an independent magazine subsidised by the Congress, though in reality Encounter was set up and funded as a joint operation by British Intelligence and the CIA.
Clem Christesen, the editor of Meanjin, was well aware of the hostility toward him from the new journal and deeply suspicious of its financial backing. In 1954 he claimed in a Meanjin editorial that the Congress for Cultural Freedom was funded by the CIA, a view he had privately expressed in concerned letters to Sir John Latham. Outraged Krygier intensified his determination to destroy Meanjin. On Krygier’s behalf Bill Wentworth made persistent requests of ASIO [the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation] for the file on Christesen during 1955, and demanded that ASIO do an analysis of Meanjin’s contributors to assess their left-wing connections. In Krygier’s report to Josselson in July 1956, he passed on documents which Colonel Spry from ASIO had pushed under his door one night, naming communists and fellow-travellers at Melbourne University, notably Christesen and his wife, Nina.
James McAuley (left) and Roman Catholic Cardinal James Freeman
Even as they continued to shell out the money, the CIA paymasters remained unhappy with the Quadrant’s refusal to court left-liberal intellectuals. The whole point of the covert operation was subtlety; to win over the left-leaning intellectuals to the American position, not further alienate them. The fierce prosecution of the US position in Vietnam was disturbing to both Josselson and Hunt. Like many in the CIA, they were appalled by the US engagement in Vietnam and wished to keep the Congress for Cultural Freedom clear of this political minefield. A difference of opinion between the Paris office and the Krygier about Vietnam was a complication in getting the funding to establish a South East Asian Institute. The greater complication was an exposé in the New York Times in April 1966 which pinpointed a funding link between the CIA and the Congress for Cultural Freedom.
The magazine itself still exists (and is still a playground for right-wing intellectuals):
It all began with a recommendation to watch a movie called Das Netz by Lutz Dammbeck about the Unabomber..“What is it that hippies, LSD, and computers have in common?”
papers were found warning: lyndon larouche alert relating to the Josiah Macy Jr Foundation and their attempts to socially engineer phases of cybernetic change which would erode resistance to centralised domination -
what is sometimes called the "culture of invisible censorship" we have today
As I browsed an article from Westminster's Hypermedia Studies about the "Californian Ideology" of Wired magazine, a response from Mark Stahlman of new Media Associates challenged the West Coast aspect and laid the blame on a particularly English/British infiltration of the mediatech elite hegemony...in his riposte he confirms the cybernetic lineage of the Macy papers...
So..I ordered a copy of "Acid Dreams : The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, The Sixties and Beyond" by Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain
The Farfield Foundation, a now defunct CIA front, acted as a philanthropic foundation. The CIA used it as a vehicle for their covert funding of groups and persons that were believed to be effective weapons in a culture war against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
CIA's Direction of Cultural Warfare
CIA employee Tom Braden, who had been the MoMA's managing director from 1947 to 1949 before he began working for the CIA, was initially in charge of the CIA section that oversaw the culure cold war. The section was called the International Organisations Division (IOD). The IOD indirectly, via their fronts and agreeable Foundations, funded prestigous journals, organized conferences, music competitions and art exhibitions.
The rationale behind this covert philanthropy was that American avant-garde culture that was both leftist and anti-communist could be an effective foil against Stalinist Communism's rise in Western Europe, post World War II. It was not just the CIA that directed the flow of money, it was also some very influential and wealthy Americans with names that included Rockefeller, Ford, and Dodge. Although they were not CIA fronts, many other foundations have been implicated as having received CIA monies.
The primary beneficiary of the Farfield Foundation's philanthropy was another CIA front, the Congress for Cultural Freedom, and its US Chapter, the American Committee for Cultural Freedom, which in turn funded groups and individuals through themselves. Even early neoconservative thinkers received funding from covert CIA sources for journals and freelance authorship.
The need for secrecy was as much for domestic reasons as foreign. The McCarthy-era federal politicians distrusted modern culture and viewed it as destructive of American Ideals; it is highly unlikely that Norman Rockwell paintings and evangelical-styled Christian missionaries would have been successful in holding Communism's cultural allure at bay in Post-WWII Western Europe.
What's wrong with the CIA covertly funding the export of American Expressionism? It is a true art form. It is a product of America that many have felt an affinity to. Artists have usually required patrons supporting both their physical sustenance, and their psychological well being in a positive recognition of their creative worth. Historically, artists' sponsorship has often been government or religious officials. Communism's spread was viewed as a positive force, or in muted fatalism, an inevitability, amongst many of Western Europe's Post WWII cultural elite. The unbridled individualism of expressionism offered an effective contrast, as well as viable alternative to the stark bleakness of Soviet Realism's portrayal of grayscaled existence within the Stalinist sphere of influence. The Soviet Government had their own arsenal of covert actions too. It would be a great stretch of logic to view the funding of musicians who were virtuosi of Jazz's improvisional spontaneity in the 50's on working trips to Europe as the acts of an evil empire. There is an aura of comical irony swirling about an effective usage of the frequently apolitical lords of American Abstract Art and the drop out Icons of the Beat Generation as the USA's secret Cold War arsenal in cultural warfare. Both American politicians and their Soviet analogs viewed them as part of an American degeneracy that was infecting their country, and causing a decline in domestic morality. Soviet politicians perceived it as an effect of capitalism's excesses, while American politicians viewed it as a creeping red menace.
What is condemnable isn't the act of funding artists in an ideological cultural war, it is the unseen hands of manipulative elitists, who believe they are acting for the greater common good, secretly affecting the World's societies. The overuse of and dependence upon a methodology of opaque actions, and an unyielding faith in the propriety of the use of stealth within an open democratic society is where the malevolence lies. The same mechanisms used for covertly funding and secretly manipulating culture to fight communism were also used to covertly aid undemocratic-but-anti-communist regimes around the world. Instead of just listening to Coltrane, Byrd, Gillespie or Brubeck, while contemplating the artworks of Motherwell, Pollock, Rothko or Kline; reflect also upon "Papa Doc" and "Baby Doc" Duvalier of Haiti, Anastasios Somoza of Nicuragua, Augusto Pinochet of Chile, General Suharto of Indonesia, Hugo Banzer of Bolivia, Jonas Savimbi of South Africa, Lon Nol of Cambodia, Manuel Noriega of Panama, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, Raoul Cedras of the Raboteau massacre, Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran, Roberto D'Aubuisson of El Salvador, and do not forget Saddam Hussein. Secrecy surrounding government's foreign policy is all too often used to obfuscate foreign policy that is a destructive force on the receiving end. The target country's citizenry ends up taking the brunt of the force, and the seeds of their democratic will are sown into the wind. Covert action is also used to hide governmental practices that would be viewed negatively by the majority of American citizens if it were not kept secret. It ends up being an antidemocratic government action, ostensibly engaged upon for protecting and expanding liberty and democracy world-wide. This hypocrisy causes the onset of anti-Americanism, leads to blowback, as well as being a primary cause for the disbelieving naiveté Americans often express when confronted with the storm of antagonism resultant from the hidden actions, having awakened just in time to reap its whirlwind.
CIA Funded Foundations
(abridged list alphabetized by first letter in name)
- Aaron E. Norman Fund, Inc.
- American Society of African Culture
- Appalachian Fund
- Asia Foundation
- Beacon Fund
- Borden Trust
- Catherwood Foundation
- Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation
- Committee of Correspondence
- Congress for Cultural Freedom
- David, Josephine and Winfield Baird Foundation, Inc.
- Edsel Fund
- Edward John Noble Foundation
- Farfield Foundation
- Ford Foundation
- Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs of New York City
- Free Europe Committee
- Independence Foundation
- Independent Research Service
- International Development Foundation
- J. Frederick Brown Foundation
- J.M. Kaplan Fund, Inc.
- Kentfield Fund
- Lucius N. Littauer Foundation
- Museum of Modern Art
- Operations and Policy Research Incorporated
- Price Fund
- Rockefeller Foundation
- Rubicon Foundation
- San Jacinto Foundation
- Sidney and Esther Rabb Charitable Foundation of Boston
- Tower Fund
- W. Alton Jones Foundation
- William Benton Foundation
Related SourceWatch Resources
- covert operations
- follow the money
- front groups
- George Soros
- intelligence community
- outposts of tyranny
- regime change
- Shadow Government
- Frances Stonor Saunders, "Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War ", Hardcover, Granta Books, 1999, ISBN 1862070296, Paperback, Granta Books, 2000, ISBN 1862073279.
- London Review of Books (LRB), letters to the editor.
- Michael Dirda, "The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters by Frances Stonor Saunders", (book review), Washington Post, April 2, 2000.
- Lenni Brenner, "The Emperor's New Art: The CIA as Art Patron", Counterpunch, January 11, 2003; review of "Who Paid the Piper?"
- Jeff Sharlet, "Tinker, Writer, Artist, Spy: Intellectuals During the Cold War", The Chronicle of Higher Learning, March 31, 2000; review of "Who Paid the Piper?"
- Alan Johnson, "The Cultural Cold War: Faust Not the Pied Piper", New Politics Issue 31, Summer 2001; review of "Who Paid the Piper?"
- G. William Domhoff, "The Higher Circles", Random House, 1970, ISBN 039471671X
- Serge Guibault, "How New York stole the idea of modern art", The University of Chicago Press. 1983 , ISBN 0226310388
- Terry Cooney, "The rise of the New York Intellectuals, Partisan Review and its circle", University of Wisconsion press, ISBN 0299107108
Journals and Organization Studies
- Harald Fricke, "The Rise of Abstract Art and the Cold War era", Deutsche Bank Art Magazine, March, 2004; (auf Deutsch: "Mythos MoMA: Abstrakte Kunst und Kalter Krieg").
- John Playford, "Political scientists and the C.I.A.", Australian Left Review, April-May 1968 (Agitprop reprint).
- James Petras, "The Ford Foundation and the CIA: A documented case of philanthropic collaboration with the Secret Police", Rebelión, December 15, 2001.
- Manfred J. Holler, "The Artist as a Secret Agent: Liberalism Against Populism"-(pdf file), German Institute for Economic Research (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung), December 12, 2003.
- John Laughland, "An invisible government", Sanders Research Associates, January 26, 2004.
- Denis Boneau, "Cold War to dominate thinking: The New York Intellectuals and the invention of neoconservatism", Voltaire Network, January 20, 2005; (the Voltaire Network may have credibility issues; use a grain of salt).
Articles & Commentary
- Nick Mamatas, "jackson pollock: cia stooge?", Disinfo, July 28, 2002.
- Bob Feldman, "Alternative Media Censorship: Sponsored by CIA's Ford Foundation?" Part 3: "The Nation Institute / Radio Nation / The Nation Magazine," March 2003.
- Richard Cummings, "Swine Before Perle - 'The National Review' Attack on LRC", Lew Rockwell dot com, March 24, 2003.
- Richard Dudman, “The Mongers Return”, The Nation, January 23,1967
- Sol Stern, “NSA and the CIA”, Ramparts, March 1967
- Todd Gitlin and Bob Ross, “The CIA at College: Into Twilight and Back”, The Village Voice, July 6, 1967
- Michael Holcomb, "Student Exchanges Serve U.S. Policy", The Guardian, January 20, 1968
- Michael Holcomb, "The Pass-Through: How the CIA Bankrolled Private Projects", Newsweek, March 6, 1967
- Thomas Braden, "I'm Glad the CIA Is 'Immoral'" Saturday Evening Post, May 20, 1967
- Jason Epstein, "The CIA and the Intellectuals", The New York Review of Books, April 30, 1967
- Stuart H. Loory, "How CIA Became Involved in NSA", San Francisco Chronicle, February 28, 1967
Intelligence Bibliographical Database
- J. Ransom Clark-Editor, "The Literature of Intelligence: A Bibliography of Materials, with Essays, Reviews, and Comments, Clark is a long term former CIA employee, a former political science professor and currently Vice President for Administration, Muskingum College, New Concord, Ohio
CIA on Campus
The online reference: The CIA on Campus, a project of Public Information Research, Inc., offers a wealth of information. The following links are from a data-scrape (7-2005) of the site arranged semi-chronologically:
- Scholars perfect psychological warfare techniques (1945-1955)
- CIA and the American Anthropological Association (1951)
- How to start a war (1954)
- Gloria Steinem spies on students for the CIA (1961)
- The Ramparts article that started the controversy (1966)
- Another Ramparts scoop: NSA is funded by the CIA (1967)
- Research by the student strikers (1968)
- CIA document on how to co-opt academia (1968)
- Columbia University and the U.S. Intelligence Community (1968)
- Spooky funding started this entire field (Ramparts, 1969)
- MIT, Berkeley, Harvard, Cornell, Syracuse, U.Kentucky help Ford/CIA overthrow Sukarno (1970)
- Operation CHAOS: Spying on the student movement (1975)
- Excerpts from the Church Committee on the CIA in academia (1976)
- Scholars target Africa for the CIA (1976)
- MKULTRA and such: CIA's behavior caper (1977)
- A leaflet on the career of USC trustee John McCone (1977)
- CIA skips Church -- Harvard and all the rest can go to hell (1979)
- Dulles papers reveal CIA consulting network (1980)
- By the way, class, that term paper you did was for the CIA (1984)
- Students counter spies (1985)
- Arrested protesters put CIA on trial - and win! (1987)
- Another general overview of CIA on campus (1989)
- Brown-nosing the spooks (1990)
- "The Agency has a wide range of contacts with academics..." (1991)
- Harvard in service to the national security state (1991)
- CIA destabilizes Ramparts, plus more on the NSA scandal (1991)
- Is RIT a CIA subsidiary? (1991)
- UCLA asks CIA for affirmative action funds (1992)
- CIA cold warrior woos UTSA students (1994)
- An article from Lingua Franca on the state of the CIA-on-campus issue in year 2000
- Officer-in-Residence Program (2001)
- Los Angeles Times op-ed, January 2001: "Academics and Spies: The Silence that Roars"
- CounterPunch, 2003-04-07: "The CIA is Back on Campus"
- A short list of history scholars who worked for the OSS
- From Project Camelot to the coup in Chile: An unbroken thread
- Doug Henwood reviews Robin Winks' Cloak and Gown
Hi all... I chanced on this blog while googling the Paris Review CIA thing. I'm Jeff Potter, with the ULA (Underground Literary Alliance). We pushed the news about Matthiessen over a year ago, courtesy of the ignored R. Cummings. Our report was ignored just like this story still is being rather well ignored.
Anyway, what's this about people being slow *IN THE PAST* about unread literary efforts being surprisingly well funded. Good grief: no one reads or buys any novels, chaps or journals produced by the hundreds of well-funded MFA departments in the USA today. It's all *STILLLLLL* a scam! Funded by whom for what? It might as well be the CIA! What's the point of lit today: atmosphere, style, detail... Ah yes.
The parallel of today's lit to the BBC music/orchestra situation is hilarious. (People producing bad work that a boss figure will like.) Maybe this is how the "fancy" arts have always worked? Posing foisted from on high. When has it been different? ---Except in the underground.
The ULA first broke the CIA/PR/PM story. Check us out at http://literaryrevolution.com. We're the only literary activist group out there, banding together to get our voices some impact. We promote nonacademized writers from the nonNYC hinterlands who have actual fans and followings and who think relevance is still relevant. We expose the hidden workings of the MFA machine. We dare establishment flacks to debate both ideas and real-world projects.
Politics is too particular for these issues. But I don't mind the larger sense of populism.
A certain amount of unpop should be funded, sure. But so should some indy lit. That's what's being denied today, not the unpop stuff.
It's interesting seeing the notion above that the CIA impact on art ended with Vietnam. Maybe the overt support is over (but why should we think that?). But it seems like their mission of turning art away from everyday life (social issues, relevancy...even politics) has succeeded and is still in place. Especially in literature. It maybe doesn't even need overt funding. The style is the rule. No, it needs funding: people wouldn't write that crap if they didn't want the money.
The indy music and film scenes seem to be thriving. Not so indy lit...yet.
The solution is easy: go to the true indy writers who've been getting the job done all along, if in obscure populist penury of the sort that funding was intended to relieve. Funny stuff.
It's amazing how both the Soviet and CIA systems resulted in credentialism. Both included with upperclass elites, too. And it's amazing the impact of their lameness. Their actual operations are always botched, but enough money does the trick.
We in the ULA have been exposing the inevitable disasters of elitist/credentialism. We gave a strong hint that it related to the CIA (by breaking that story first), but the dynamic duo of elitist/credentialism gives plenty of rope.
The CIA revelation is great because it's a shocker. We can use it to break the issue thru to the public awareness. It's rare that art gets such a hook, as you've mentioned. OK, maybe using it for clarity will be a bit tricky: showing how "freedom" works to prevent freedom... Our public has some catching up to do on what's being done in its name. Basically, it's just dropped lit entirely as something not of interest except to some sub-group of Fresh Air fans. What a win for the CIA...or credentialists...or nichifiers. OK, we know who the enemy is: it's us. To fix this we have to get lit back in the game.
The Net is a factor here. The lit establishment hasn't responded to that NYT story. And won't unless FORCED. Blogs are vital. But here's something else: Wiki is vital, too! We in the ULA are relishing this opportunity to add history/facts to subjects that we're normally censored from. Paris Review finally gets some light shed on its history whether it likes it or not. Proven (linked!) corruption can now be included in the bio's of all these players. We've greatly enjoyed watching them finally respond: with lawyers, of course---who add terms like "alleged" to our Wiki contributions. Now, who are we to worry about outlawry---the corruption we protest is the kind that prevents art and cultural evaluation. The airbrushers on both sides must hate Wiki! (Unless they can get the Net marginalized...segregated...nichified...
One of our ULA oft-repeated stories is how the ex-editor of Publisher's Weekly said there were no undiscovered genius writers toiling away in the hinterlands. He'd rejected O'Toole's "Confederacy" and said he'd do it again, said the system works. (O'Toole killed himself after dozens of rejections of the book that went on to become a classic.) It's a tale that reminds us of what we're up against.