[Marxism] A comment on my "In Dubious Battle" article

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Feb 18 06:51:47 MST 2017


By Peter Byrne, a co-contributor to Swans:

At twelve I saw Ford’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and Steinbeck became my hero. 
He lasted till ‘Travels with Charley’ a 1962 potboiler milking the 
notoriety of his Nobel due in a couple of months. To hoof about the 48 
to see what was going on front-lawn level was my dream. He did it in a 
trailer–no ‘mobile homes’ yet–which was okay, but I’d have preferred he 
walked like Lenny and George in ‘Of Mice and Men’ (Lon Chaney and 
Burgess Meredith 1939, not Malkovitch and Sinese 1992). My 
“Say-it-ain’t-so,-Joe” moment came when I heard Nobel Steinbeck never 
got to half the places he described, made up the dialogue, shot home 
during the supposed whole year away and shacked up in good hotels on the 
road. I had another look at ‘Grapes’. Something had made me uneasy about 
the smooth New Deal Resettlement good-guy. Why did he talk to the Okies 
as if they were children? We lived in ‘Studs Lonigan’ Chicago and adored 
F.D.R. The family figured he got my widowed grandmother–a working 
seamstress at 70–the mortgage that pulled us through the Depression. But 
the Machine’s precinct captain who took charge of our vote knew better 
than to talk down to us.




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