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Reviews 167 run, of course, her ideas won out to a surprising extent. Late in life, she was drawn to the young people who should have known more about her. In 1967, she got her vindication, a show at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She died soon afterward, in 1971, victimized all too characteristically by cirhossis of the liver. The Cold War had killed her. But the way we dress, and the way we think about the way we dress, should bring her way of approaching reality back to life. PAUL BUHLE TAe Right to Be Lazy by Paul LaFargue. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 1989 edition with an introduction by Joseph Jablonski and a bio-bibliographical essay by Fred Thompson, pp. 123. $6.% (paper). I have a definite prejudice for this book. Twenty years ago, at the helm of the New Left journal Radical America, I bought as many copies as I could lay my hands on, and resold them by mail. Lafargue seemed to me then, as now, to be one of the forgotten voices of the nineteeth-century Left. Recalled almost exclusively as Marx's son-in-law and political disciple, Lafargue was a briUiant and quirky character who, if anyone ever did, saw through "productivism" to the possibiUties beyond. The book was in fact a radical best-seller in the early decades of the twentieth century, when socialist and Wobbly lecturers made their Uving peddUng ten-cent editions to workingclass audiences. Lafargue understood and made elementarily clear that the delusion of hard work = success (or worse, = happiness) is the torture of humanity's best instincts. Laziness, a natural state in pre-historical societies, henceforth belongs only to the idle rich, if even to them. And the world goes to hell in a handbasket. Joseph Jablonski's helpful introduction reminds us that only a short time ago, the experts proclaimed us all to be entering an age of leisure. Soon enough "productivity" became the watch-word for children and adults alike (not forgetting retirees urged back to minimumwage jobs). Today, when ecological devastation has become rampant, the thirst for technological conquest exposes itself as the inevitable outcome of this work-mania. No new worlds left to conquer? Why not work itself? The late Fred Thompson, historian-leader of the Industrial Workers of the World for many decades, contributed his last major essay to exploring further the world of Lafargue that made these revolutionary ideas possible. From the historic French Left to working conditions and subsequent scholarly reconsiderations, Thompson adds dimensions that make this text more than worthwhile, even for those who, like myself, still have an old edition hiding somewhere on their shelves. PAUL BUHLE Salman Rushdie and the Third World: MythsoftheNation by Timothy Brennan. New York: Saint Martin Press, 1989. pp. 203 + xv. $19.95 (cloth). When The Satanic Verses appeared in the fall 1988, no one could have anticipated the trajectory of the events set in motion by its publication, although rumor has it Rushdie had some inkling that this novel, even more than his previous bitter satires on the ruling elites of South Asia ( Midnight's Children and Shame ), would stir up a hornet's nest of anger 168 the minnesota review and outrage. For it was not just particular—and particularly venal—poUtical leaders like Indira and Sanjay Gandhi or Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and General Zia who were targeted for vilification in this text (Margaret Thatcher and the revanchist, racist regime she has imposed on Britain are, however, pilloried with considerable energy, and the Ayatollah Khomeini comes in for similarly harsh judgment), but the more volatile material surrounding the figure of the Prophet himself. Hitherto, Rushdie's satire had tended to be generally political or social; in The Satanic Verses, by contrast, it was clearly Islam itself that was, at least in part, at stake. Hence, the outrage at what was called—and probably was intended by the author to be—blasphemy was in many ways predictable. Only the lengths to which those who condemned the novel were willing to go to have it suppressed could probably not have been foreseen. Why, then, did Rushdie, who is a Muslim and ho, as The Satanic...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 167-170
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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