[Marxism] The Unknown Citizen
causecollector at msn.com
Tue Oct 23 15:29:49 MDT 2018
I met Auden just after he spoke before the United Nations General Assembly.
He met a group of Gay activists, that I was among at Columbia University, where he attended the Gay People at Columbia group.
Auden then signed up as a member. He became an official Gay activist and at that time, one of the most prominent. But neither
the corporate media or the left media, took note then of that.
Unlike apparently the Berkeley gathering, (who knows what was said to him before he took the stage there),
we Gay acivists were thrilled to have him attend on his final years of life, Gay activist gatherings and events.
And on this day with a growing class awareness in the U. S. and upsurge of resistance by laborers, with growing strikes
and organizing drives across the United States, with teachers and hotel workers in many cities, let me share this Auden quote
that reflects what many of the laboring class daily experience:
One cannot walk through an assembly factory and not feel that one is in Hell. - W. H. Auden
Auden was a centennial scholar at Swarthmore the year I graduated
--- supposedly, he had been a "visitor" there back in the 40s and
had made quite an impression. An English Professor at the time
(1963 maybe), gave a lecture entitled Auden at Swarthmore -- aside
from being a great poet (I liked "Muse des Beaux Artes" myself) he
seemed like a heluva character!
heluva character! For example, in the mid- or late-fifties I was
part of a packed SRO audience in Wheeler Hall at UC Berkeley who had
come to hear Auden. There was considerable delay, and rising murmur,
until Robert Penn Warren, then chair of the English Department,
emerged from the wings to introduce Auden. He mentioned that they
had just come from dinner at Penn Warren's home. Then several more
minutes elapsed until Auden came out, obviously pissed. He fussed
with some papers on the lighted lectern, started to read and then
called twice for more light. Wheeler Hall is a comfortable old place
with an array of props, so quickly several vintage floor lamps
appeared behind him. He started to read again but he was obviously
bibulously blind, and incoherent. US Berkeley audiences are not
forgiving, and quickly the hall was virtually empty. Someone loudly
whispered, "He's past it." I assumed he meant for the evening and
not in terms of his career. I wondered. A wasted evening, except for
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