quinta-feira, julho 14, 2005

Mestres da mentira

Much of Sartre’s time in the 1960s was spent travelling in China and the Third World, a term invented by the geographer Alfred Sauvy in 1952 but which Sartre popularized. He and de Beauvoir became familiar figures, photographed chatting with various Afro-Asian dictators – he in his First World suits and shirts, she in her schoolmarm cardigans enlivened by ‘ethnic’ skirts and scarves. What Sartre said about the regimes which invited him made not much more sense than his accolades for Stalin’s Russia, but it was more acceptable. Of Castro: ‘The country which has emerged out of the Cuban revolution is a direct democracy’. Of Tito’s Yugoslavia: ‘It is the realization of my philosophy.’ Of Nasser’s Egypt: ‘Until now I have refused to speak of socialism in connection with the Egyptian regime. Now I know I have been wrong.’ He was particularly warm in praise of Mao’s China. He noisily condemned American ‘war crimes’ in Vietnam and compared America to the Nazis (but then he had compared de Gaulle to the Nazis, forgetting the General was fighting them when he himself was having his plays staged in occupied Paris). Both he and de Beauvoir were always anti-American: in 1947, following a visit, de Beauvoir had written an absurd piece in Les Temps modernes, full of hilarious misspellings (‘Greeniwich village’, ‘Max Tawin’ [Mark Twain], ‘James Algee’’) and dotty assertions, e.g. that only the rich are allowed inside the shops on Fifth Avenue; virtually every statement in it is false, and it became the butt of a brilliant polemic by Mary McCarthy.

Paul Johnson, Intellectuals

[Paulo Ferreira]