March 30, 2009

"After all, your pigs are far more intelligent than the other animals, and therefore the best qualified to run the farm..."

"... in fact there couldn’t have been an Animal Farm at all without them: so that what was needed (someone might argue) was not more communism but more public-spirited pigs."

The "Animal Farm" rejection letter, written by T.S. Eliot.

47 comments:

ElcubanitoKC said...

Genius can sometimes be shortsighted...

Seven Machos said...

Real, authentic Animal Farming has never been tried yet. That's all.

rdkraus said...

I'd like to see kids read this book in first grade.

And second grade.

And third grade.

And fourth grade.

And every year until they "get it."

More likely, it will be banned and removed from libraries.

traditionalguy said...

The smartest animals are the best animals to Run the Farm. What other arguement can be made? How about the strongest animals that mean us no harm as determined by a competitive system in which free speech allows a true test of their strength and character? No, no, that would not be "smart" since the pigs would not win. PIGS ruling us is the only way out of the crisis. There is a crisis you know. The planet is about to kill everyone with melting ice, say the Pigs.

Seven Machos said...

So true, Traditional. I would rather be ruled by the first 100 cows on the Wisconsin dairy register.

Lem said...

Pigs have a huge hooves-print.

They can’t run the farm.

Lem said...

Make that carbon hooves-prints

Peter V. Bella said...

Dogs should rule the world. The pigs have been at the trough to long.

Big Mike said...

@Peter, you wouldn't say that if you read or watched "Marley and Me."

rhhardin said...

I never read any Orwell and I turned out okay.

Rose said...

All pigs are equal, but some are more equal than others - some get tot turn their thermostat up to 75 while some must shiver in the cold, some can jump in their private jet and fly across the country for valentine's dinner, while others must curtail their use of fuel... Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama preach sacrifice for those lesser pigs, but not for themselves.

I'd say Animal farm is alive and well. All over the country.

EDH said...

Eliot wrote: “After all, your pigs are far more intelligent than the other animals, and therefore the best qualified to run the farm – in fact there couldn’t have been an Animal Farm at all without them: so that what was needed (someone might argue) was not more communism but more public-spirited pigs.”

And how is this different than the current brief for Team Obama?

Paul Zrimsek said...

We are the pigs we've been waiting for.

fcai said...

Speaking of pigs, where is Michael to tell us how well the market is doing today?

hdhouse said...

Baa-ram-ewe. Baa-ram-ewe. To your breed, your fleece, your clan be true. Sheep be true. Baa-ram-ewe.

bearbee said...

Animal Farm needs to be transformed into a 21th century setting with a Congress and pigs-at-the-trough theme.

Pigs are getting a bad name.

Elliot would certainly revise his view of pigs as far more intelligent than other animals.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Contrary to the Times' assertion that this was "the literary snub of the 20th century," Gide rejected the opening volumes of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past in 1911, when Gide was a manuscript reader for Nouvelle Revue Francaise. By Gide's own admission he barely glanced at the manuscript. Proust believed he had never opened it at all. The two later became good friends.


Google "Gide Proust reject" or similar keywords.

ElcubanitoKC said...

RLC, one must not forget that for most British, French literature is garbage. And the same is true the other way around ;)

traditionalguy said...

The genious of a free people is the full use of the talents of all of the proven qualified people. The truely dumb method is using a false separation of people by Credentials from birth or an elites only Credential Mill (E.g. Harvard and Yale) and freezing out truly intelligent competitors, like a Palin, who has not been to the Credential Mill, but rose on her abilities. No wonder all the "Educated and Credentialed" Elites favor the Communist Paradise where they plan to be promoted. The dirty truth is that they will all be murdered as soon as the Highest Pig is in full control.

Ann Althouse said...

@RLC Not reading it is a pretty good excuse. Eliot really read and engaged with "Animal Farm" and explained why, imperiously. Much bigger snub.

Also, who cares about the French snubbing the French?

Peter V. Bella said...

Sheep be true. Baa-ram-ewe.

House, keep your sexual proclivities and sexual agenda to yourself. One DTL is enough!

TMink said...

That'll do HD, that'll do. 8)

Great quote pal. Babe is like the anti-animal house. It is about good will and humility and service and love. One of my favorite characters is Rex, who saves the day by accepting his limitations and humbling himself.

Gosh I love that movie, it is frankly inspiring.

Trey - who feels a bit like Ferdinand the duck today

Cedarford said...

Animal Farm as applied to real life:

The pigs are the lawyers and top school MBAs.

The rest of the population have had their vote usurped by the "more equal than others" barnyard inhabitants and won't get it backk until the pigs are confronted and surrounded/

Bissage said...

Speaking of rejection, way back in the 1960s, I wrote a fable in novella form about self-perfection, love and hope that got dinged all over the place before I finally gave up trying to sell it.

It told the story of a squirrel who is bored with squabbling over food and who is thrilled by the sheer acrobatic joy of leaping from tree to tree. His non-conformity gets him banished but he meets two other squirrels who take him to a higher plane of existence where the squirrels dance for joy in the tree tops.

Through perseverance, and the guidance of a wise elder squirrel, he learns to defy time and space. The secret is to begin by knowing you have already arrived.

He returns to the domain of the squabbling squirrels and teaches the other non-conformists how to transcend themselves before he moves on to spread his message.

I titled my book “Reginald Worthington Squirrel-Guy.”

Maybe I should have come up with a better title?

Richard Dolan said...

The article notes that Eliot thought well of the book as a literary effort:

"Eliot praised its 'good writing' and 'fundamental integrity'. However, the book’s politics, at a time when Britain was allied with the Soviet Union against Hitler, were another matter. 'We have no conviction that this is the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the current time,' wrote Eliot, adding that he thought 'its view, which I take to be generally Trotskyite, is not convincing.'"

Not "the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the current time"? The "view" of Animal Farm is "generally Trotskyite"?

Two thoughts. Eliot's comments show how thoroughly steeped in admiration for Stalin the British intelligentsia was, that he viewed Animal Farm through such a cracked lens.

Second, this just shows, fairly spectacularly, that poets (and artists in general) are better off sticking to what they know, which is rarely politics or economics.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oligonicella said...

EDH --

"And how is this different than the current brief for Team Obama?"

Because they aren't truly public spirited?

Peter V. Bella said...

Maybe I should have come up with a better title?

Squirrelhartha?

Michael McNeil said...

My favorite Orwell quote:

“The underlying motive of many Socialists, I believe, is simply a hypertrophied sense of order. The present state of affairs offends them not because it causes misery, still less because it makes freedom impossible, but because it is untidy; what they desire, basically, is to reduce the world to something resembling a chessboard.”

George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, Chap. 11

bearbee said...

Two thoughts. Eliot's comments show how thoroughly steeped in admiration for Stalin the British intelligentsia was, that he viewed Animal Farm through such a cracked lens.

Not just the British but some in the Roosevelt administration were falling all over themselves in praising the 'Soviet model.' And Roosevelt himself referred to Stalin as **ugh** Uncle Joe.

At least Churchill had Stalin pegged.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Elcubanito: Yeah, but I'm neither French nor British (though I regard Brit Lit as vastly more satisfying than Froggish). From my unbiased perch, I declare the Proust snub bigger, or at least more scandalous because it's a much greater work of art. The snubber, however, in the British case, is much greater than in the French.

Ann: Where I come from, when the editor sends it back without glancing at it, that's a rejection. I'm not sure which I'd feel more snubbed by if I received both kinds. (And I've received both, as you know.)

Mais d'òu vient cet partis pris contre les français, un grand peuple?

Ann Althouse said...

@RLC Yes, it's a rejection, but the question is which is the bigger snub.

ElcubanitoKC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ElcubanitoKC said...

ElcubanitoKC said...
I guess, RLC, tha fact that you are not British (or French) explains your disagreement with the Times on what should be called the snub of the 20th century

And I have as much against the French as with the rest of humanity. :)

ElcubanitoKC said...

Er...yeah...I need more coffee...LOL

Chip Ahoy said...

I love the part where the sheep tell the pig he's going to be killed and eaten for Christmas and then the spider writes messages in its web like "Great Pig" and "radiant," and "fantastic speaker," and "mesmerizing orator" and ... oh blast ... I'm sorry. Never mind.

Larry J said...

I titled my book “Reginald Worthington Squirrel-Guy.”

Maybe I should have come up with a better title?


How about "Johnathon Livingston Squirrel"?

Michael McNeil said...

One thinks of the pigs of Animal Farm when one runs into the occasional thread discussion over at The Volokh Conspiracy where some of the commenter attorneys there (not blog principals) put forward with all seeming seriousness that attorneys should run the whole shebang (i.e., that only lawyers should be considered qualified to hold higher office in America). Right.

m00se said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bearbee said...

...put forward with all seeming seriousness that attorneys should run the whole shebang (i.e., that only lawyers should be considered qualified to hold higher office in America).

Arrrrrrrrrrruuuuurgggggghhhhhhhhh....
**choke**...**gurgle**

kentuckyliz said...

Re the squirrel story:

If the squirrel quit participating in the daily fight for nuts, and devoted himself only to flying tree to tree and dancing...

wouldn't he die of starvation?

The other squirrels were right to reject him and his message, because they realized he was going to claim their nuts as his food, the price of being their guru.

bearbee said...

Maybe I should have come up with a better title?

The other squirrels were right to reject him and his message, because they realized he was going to claim their nuts as his food, the price of being their guru.

"Quotations from Chairman Squirrel Tse-tung"

Bruce Hayden said...

Reminds me a bit of the Discovery/ National Geo, etc. piece I saw last week on feral pigs. They are getting to be a big problem some places in this country, and are extraordinarily hard to keep under control. If we hunt by day, they feed at night. If we use lights, they avoid them. And they learn this very quickly. And with farms nearby, they have enough food to support a lot of population growth. With man (with dogs) as their only predator, their is little controlling their population.

hdhouse said...

TMink said...
That'll do HD, that'll do."

TMink...i take back every nasty I've ever hurled your way. This was the epic of "good triumphant" and if you enjoyed it and still marvel at it, then I have nothing and forevermore bad to say to you or about you.

That makes you a prince among men.

blake said...

Oh, wow, I thought that was a joke.

Because that's exactly what they say, "It'll work now because we have more community minded pigs in charge."

rhhardin said...

I was, however, strongly influenced by the ant and the grasshopper.

The problem today is grasshoppers.

PrestoPundit said...

Elliot's view is exactly the view Keynes endorsed in his famous letter to Hayek -- the replacement of a liberal society with a elite run statist society would be just fine in Britain, all that mattered was the right "public spirit" on the part of the pigs.