[Marxism] Nation Cruise dust-up

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Dec 5 08:20:45 MST 2004

Thanks to Junaid for bring this to my attention.

Merlin, a student at Columbia, wrote a nasty attack on the Nation annual 
cruises over at Press Action, a website very much after my own heart. They 
included a swipe at Christopher Scheer, the son of well-known liberal 
journalist Robert Scheer who was some kind of radical in the 1960s, but has 
shifted right.

Apparently, Christopher hasn't learned the first rule of those with 
"intellectual capital" as Bourdieu puts it. In such instances, you tend to 
just pretend that the impudent cur that is attacking you doesn't exist. 
Being ignored doesn't bother me, however. When I write one of my 
intemperate open letters to a Michael Ignatieff, et al, it is mostly to get 
the bile out of my own system and to get a chuckle out of Marxmail comrades.

At any rate, the exchange over the Nation cruise can be read at:


In the same vein, here's Alexander Cockburn's account of his own 
participation on a Nation cruise:

From: NY Press 12/21 "Wild Justice" column

Having just been on a cruise down Baja way with more than 200 readers of 
The Nation, many of them advanced in years, I can report that old gals are 
in the main a lot friskier than old geezers. Sprightly of mind though the 
Nation-reading geezers were, they did sometimes exhibit a condition I came 
to think of as Geezer Glaze, meaning the slightly dropped jaw and glassy 
eye associated with hearing the loved one of more than half a century 
rattling on at dinner about distressing trends in the human condition. Old 
gals are better at pretending to be interested, whereas the geezers have no
compunction in making it known to the table that they've checked out for a 
minute or two.

Mind you, I and my brother Andrew were doing this in our 20s, claiming that 
our ability to fall asleep over the dinner table was due not to excessive 
bumpers of claret but by a condition officially known as catalepsy. Our 
Uncle Frank, an abstemious Scottish solicitor, had it so badly that he 
could not be trusted to carry valuable objects or even disposable infants 
because of his propensity to slump to the ground in a cataleptic episode.

According to my father, one notorious victim of the cataleptic condition 
was a British journalist who worked for Reuters. Sometime in the 1930s he 
secured an interview with Stalin, entered the dictator's office, posed a 
question and woke up 30 minutes later to hear Stalin say through his
translator, "and that concludes my review of the problems confronting the 
Soviet Union today."

On a luckier note, one of the cruise organizers told me that he was fresh 
from supervising a Caribbean jaunt of blacksingles.com. A day or two before 
the planned departure date a scheduled traveler called to say she had no 
travel documents. Why? She'd left them at work. No, she couldn't get them 
because her office no longer existed. Yes, she'd worked in the Towers and 
had been out getting a breakfast snack when her tower fell. This was one 
lucky black single lady. She'd won the blacksingles.com ticket in a raffle. 
On the cruise she won the prize bingo sweep for $1000, and then won another 

The organizer was discreet, but I had the impression she'd stayed single, 
which was probably another stroke of luck too, considering what beasts men 

Louis Proyect
Marxism list: www.marxmail.org 

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