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Real Sell Outs – “Cultural Amnesia” – Clive James

September 29th, 2011 · No Comments · Art, Culture, History, Hypocrisy, Philosophy, WW2

Sartre, whose underground activities had never amounted to anything except a secret meeting on Wednesday to decide whether there should be another meeting the following Tuesday, not only claimed the status of Resistance veteran but called down vengeance on people whose behaviour had not really been all that much more reprehensible than his own. The sad truth was that he, even more conspicuously than Camus, owed his wartime fame as a writer and thinker to Nazi tolerance, for which a price had to be paid. The price was to lace one’s eloquence with a judiciously timed silence. The trick was to pay up and make it look like compulsion. So it was, but only if you considered your career as indispensable—something artists find it all too easy to do.

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