Was Robert Heinlein but somehow wound up with anti-Semitism

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This started as a comment on a comment in another's journal that mentioned Robert Heinlein in passing.

I suspect he would've been homophobic on some level, maybe a strong one. Thankfully I don't remember a homphobic line.

He was certainly sexist but at least it was more putting a woman on a pedestal than talking about lusting after young women. I remember him saying his favorite characters out of all he'd created were some of his competent women. I think Friday which he wrote after having the blot clot that had been screwing up his brain and was responsible for a hilariously bad novel or two was a homage to Podykane.

I'm likely soft of the chivalric sexism because growing up in Savannah, possibly from the faux-urbanity of the town or from things like Celtic fairy tales I had notions about being gallant. I always gave up my bus set for a woman who'd have to stand otherwise. Always opened doors for them. Then again I'd do the same for older people, maybe it was just a wannabe Savannah boy's foolish fondness for notions of gentility. Perhaps mere good manners. I also cautiously looked both ways before crossing the street as Officer Funk on the local Happy Dan TV show had advised. Just a tool of the media.

I like to open doors for Charles. Bring him treats, run small errands. I've always liked doing those things for any feminine guy. Maybe I'm just a sweetie or maybe my notions of gallantry survive in my inverted sexuality.

I have to say a kind word or two about RAH since he was one of the favorite authors of my kid and teen years. When I think of Robert Anson Heinlein I think of a guy with strong regard for competency, urbanity, disciplin, honesty and self-respect.

I do grant authors a retroactive amnesty depending on when they were born. Sexism and much homophobia to some degree I can forgive to people who became adults in the 40s and before if they created something of enduring loveliness.

Unless you have a totalitarian disregard for oontigency and context you have to at times cut those who came before us with some slack. As an anti-theoretical kind of guy I don't pretend my rules are anything other than my own rules of thumb. And I like to make up my own favorites. Emperor Julian was something of a twit but he was the last anti-Christian ruler of the Roman Empire so I can't help but like him.

Anti-Semitism, for whatever reason, has to have been over a century ago. (Actually I'd have to sort this out to know exactly who in the past I might tolerate this from. I can't remember liking any anti-Semites).

I grew up with lots of Jews. My home town had a Jewish mayor in the 1950s. A huge slice of the merchants in downtown Savannah were Jews. Not that I knew that. After making sure they got a good private education Jewish parents in Savannah pushed them into the public schools when they hit high school age. All I really knew about them is they got extra holidays. Thinking back as a 'class' they were more interesting to talk to than the quotidian Savannah high schooler.

I learned about anti-Semitism from books. About the time the Jewish kids showed up in school I was reading German philosophy. But I didn't connect the fatal nonsense in Wagner's and Schopenhauer's brains with the kids about me. Later a Marxist acquaintance would show me an issue of the American Nazi Party's magazine. The Jew from Outer Space was too distanct for me to relate to anything except bad craziness.

In reading anti-Semtism is often hard to judge. H.L. Mencken and Edmund Wilson would make generalizations about "the Jews" in their private journals. But they weren't anti-Semetic. They tended to dump lots of people into simple classes. Not just Jews but Southerners, Californians, liberals, conservatives. An easy way of summarizing other people. Wrong-headed but not evil. I don't know if I've ever met anybody who doesn't do it. If you are liberal you have these imaginary wicked 'busines people.' If you are conservative, hey, you've got me and most of the people I like.

Anti-Semitism is made more distinct by the Holocaust. The inehaustible stream of documents and memoirs that testify to the most conspicuously inexcusable attempt at murdering a people that we are routinely aware of. (Others have been and are subjected to inhumanly incalcuable malice, their voices aren't so readily available.)

I didn't expect to spin off into this tangent. It isn't as though my thoughts are often filled with political mass-murder. Being me I like to forget about the people who used to be alive in Tibet, Africa and the Middle East.

To try to wend back to my original thread. Anybody my age or younger gets no toleration whatsoever.

Enough of this.

Comments

RAH was not homophobic. I knew him and corresonded with him for several years.

Your feelings?

Please share your feelings about Was Robert Heinlein but somehow wound up with anti-Semitism.
Thanks,
Richard

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