Rudyard Kipling’s American years(newrepublic.com)
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Downvoted to -4 points for asking a neutral question! People sure aren't objective about this topic. I'll ask again: Are we sure these kind of controversial topics belong on HN? They don't help the community in any way I can think.
I disagree with this. Here’s what Kipling has to say about colonialism:
“ Take up the White Man's burden — In patience to abide, To veil the threat of terror And check the show of pride; By open speech and simple, An hundred times made plain To seek another's profit, And work another's gain.”
Have they (the colonized) profited from colonization? This mans words beat the drums for imperialism, he does not deserve praise.
> "This mans words beat the drums for imperialism, he does not deserve praise."
Why this proclivity to view people as being either entirely good or entirely bad? Is there no room for nuance in your world view? Kipling was a racist and imperialist. He was also a talented poet and novelist who produced some seminal work. Both of those things can be true, they are not mutually exclusive.
You mean to tell me that you have no lines, no limits? Would you be so comfortable to praise an artist if you knew he was a murderer? What if he was a rapist? A racist? A thief? What are your lines?
After seeing the lasting damage of settler colonialism in the “third world“ I have little patience for these “nuanced” views. The Bushes and the Kiplings should be critiqued at every chance. History should not be kind to George Bush just because can draw a few puppies.
> "You mean to tell me that you have no lines, no limits?"
> "Would you be so comfortable to praise an artist if you knew he was a murderer? What if he was a rapist? A racist? A thief?"
Yes, absolutely. What you fail to realise is that I'd be praising the art, not the artist. I don't believe this makes me a hypocrite, I think this makes me objective. Praising a piece of art on its own merits in no way condones unrelated character traits of the artist.
> "I have little patience for these “nuanced” views."
I believe you.
> "The Bushes and the Kiplings should be critiqued at every chance."
I agree, but the critique should be rational and objective, and not based on your emotional response to unrelated issues.
> "History should not be kind to George Bush just because can draw a few puppies."
Nobody said it should.
Well, let's see: Benvenuto Cellini, at least one homicide I recall, frequent assaults with a deadly weapon, beating his mistress; racist, probably a great majority of all artists who ever lived, and please note that I don't mean "of all artists of European descent". Thieves, hmm, Jean Genet for starters.
Nobody says that you have to approve of Kipling's notions of race or governance. Certainly I don't, certainly I find certain of his writings obnoxious, but some of his fiction is wonderful.
You really have to judge a person by the times in which they lived, he really believed they were bringing civilization and a better way of life to the world, sort of like many religions.
If he were alive today with the type of information we have and with the benefit of hindsight he might have a completely changed view.
in either case it's so strange to me to judge someone from one or two sentences.
One or two sentences? It’s one of his most famous works.
Not to mention that he actively promoted colonialism. He pushed Roosevelt to colonize. He was a critical part of making colonial-settler attitudes mainstream in Europe.
Would I also be wrong for judging CNN for beating the drums of war for Iraq on behalf of George Bush? Words matter. Those who write should be judged by their words. Those who influence positions should be judged by the causes they furthered. Doesn’t matter if they wrote wonderful children’s novels.
Tom Friedman and Ted Koppel were big boosters of the Iraq invasion. Hillary voted for it, probably against her better judgment. Barrack might have lost if he had not voted against.
But Barrack also enormously expanded the "random death from the skies" program, deportations, and espionage prosecutions against earnest whistleblowers.
We need to know all the defining facts about people, even if it colors our perceptions. Those of us capable of nuance can note it.
> "Those who write should be judged by their words."
> "Doesn’t matter if they wrote wonderful children’s novels. "
Can you see the contradiction in your argument?