Dwight Macdonald(Memo)

DWIGHT GARNER “Dwight Macdonald’s War on Mediocrity” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/books/review/dwight-macdonalds-war-on-mediocrity.html

Dwight Macdonald*1は20世紀米国を代表する知識人のひとりでもあるのだが、以前から密かに関心は持っていたものの(後述)、彼について知っているとはいえない状態であった。Dwight Macdonaldの新しいアンソロジーMasscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain*2が刊行されたのに因んで書かれた上掲のGarnerのテクストから少しメモ。

Macdonald’s life and career spanned many intellectual latitudes. He was born in New York City, a descendant on his father’s side of the old Dwight family of New England. (“We can’t all be proletarians, you know,” he wrote, grouchily, in a 1947 letter.) He went to Exeter and Yale and worked for Henry Luce at Time and Fortune before becoming radicalized by the Great Depression and resigning. He was an editor at Partisan Review from 1937 to 1943, then started his own feisty leftish journal, Politics, which he operated until 1949. He was later a staff writer for The New Yorker and a film critic for Esquire.

For a while, Macdonald was even a regular presence on the “Today” show in the 1960s, where he reviewed movies. These segments I would have risen early to see. With his brushed-back silver hair, clunky black eyeglasses and goatee, he was distinguished but offbeat ― visually, he was what you’d get if you combined Walter Cronkite with Colonel Sanders. He had his eccentricities. At his Cape Cod summer houses he liked to throw nude cocktail parties that often ended in unexpected couplings amid the dunes.

Macdonald’s politics were stormy and variable. “The speed with which I evolved from a liberal into a radical and from a tepid Communist sympathizer into an ardent anti-Stalinist still amazes me,” he wrote in the introduction to his 1957 collection, “Memoirs of a Revolutionist.” His political brawling helped temper his rhetorical steel. “In the kind of circles I have moved in,” he wrote, people had the habit of “speaking violently. . . . But it really doesn’t mean anything personally.”

Dwight Macdonaldの名前を意識したのは、Hanna Fenichel PitkinのアレントThe Attack of the Blob: Hannah Arendt's Concept of the Socialを読んだとき。その第6章”Writing The Human Condition”で、(本文ではDwight Macdonaldという名前は全く言及されていないものの)Gregory D. Sumner Dwight Macdonald and the Politics Circle: The Challenge of Cosmopolitan Democracy(1996)という本が援用されていた。また、ヤング=ブルーエルのアレント伝にも何箇所か彼の名前が出ており、アレントとは生涯に亙って友人として交際していたことがわかる。
The Attack of the Blob: Hannah Arendt's Concept of the Social

The Attack of the Blob: Hannah Arendt's Concept of the Social



Dwight Macdonaldについては、

JOHN ELSON “Biographical sketch of Dwight Macdonald” (originally appeared in Time April 4 1994) http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/history/wc_period/reactions_to_warren_report/Reactions_of_left/Bio_of_Macdonald.html

もマークしておく。また、http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/macdonald/index.htm では彼の1930年代・40年代のテクストが読める。

Gore Vidal said to him, “You have nothing to say, only to add.” Leon Trotsky reportedly declared, “Every man has a right to be stupid, but comrade Macdonald abuses the privilege.” Paul Goodman cracked, “Dwight thinks with his typewriter.”