Posts tagged “I Write as I Please

Missing Pages from Walter Duranty’s “IWAIP” book

Nothing like getting the actual book of Walter Duranty’s “I Write As I Please” in your hands published back in 1935.  I LOVE old books, the authors are NOT politically correct.  (I KNOW I am not politically correct with this blog on many levels!!!) These authors of old don’t know what will be considered taboo ahead of their years, how can they?  In this case I was reading Walter Duranty’s book off my computer while living in Astana, Kazakhstan.  Someone had scanned all 350 pages of them, except for six missing pages. Check out my blog entries starting around January 14, 2011 or this link  from my blog several months ago about Duranty’s old book.

I know things are moving quickly in the direction of  Kindle and Nook mode.  May be like purging the old b&w TV set to get the colored one, our technological age is like that. In fact my husband and I have done away with our TV ages ago and watch movies on our laptops. But we still like the handle of a book in our hands that we can put down and pick up again at will.  We have an e-Reader but haven’t felt inspired to download books into it yet, it seems kind of clunky.

But this is about missing pages that the scanner didn’t do and I thought there was some sinister plot of withholding information from the Internet reading community.  It was nothing like that at all except the person wanting to be politically correct.  Here’s what was missing

P. 48 – about war

p. 77 – Biblical story of David and Bathsheba and how King David was confronted by the prophet Nathan about having Bathsheba’s husband Uriah killed.  Duranty had felt like he had brought a date to a dance and he was likening that story with how a U.S. state department person stole his girl.

p. 230 – about Trotsky’s sad fate, (just a short paragraph that the scanner didn’t want to scan)

p. 242 – about the poem titled “Black Man” where the word “Negro” was used (oops, big no-no)

p. 333 – about the mass suicide at Red Square

If you are interested in reading about what Duranty saw and wrote about or maybe a better word would be “embellished” it is a worthy read and feels like you are reading off a Kindle.  I don’t know, it may be the thing of the future for Kazakhstan because books are so difficult to get into the country because of weight and expense.  We shall see how the libraries will be filled in a culture that formerly was an oral culture.  Having books and reading has such a western feel to it.

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Poem about “Sweet Violets” and “Spies Like Us”

Thought I’d take a little break from the dismal but interesting account I read by Walter Duranty’s  “I Write as I please.” Watched a “dated” but funny 1980s movie showing a younger Dan Akroyd and Chevy Chase in “Spies Like Us” at American Corner on Saturday night.  Cold War realities were no laughing matter back in those days but these two comedians made light of it and it was fun to hear the audience laugh at all the slapstick parts.  Nothing too indepth to talk about afterwards except I asked “What do Kazakhs laugh at?” “Who are famous Kazakh comedians?” and “What about the former USSR Space station like NASA?”

This humorous poem “Sweet Violets” is similar to the one I featured a week or so ago.  It comes from an era gone by, hat tip to my Mom for typing this out for me.  Difficult to believe in spring and violets when there is so much white snow outside.  I especially love it when we have heavy fog in the morning and ALL the trees are heavily frosted like they were on Friday in Astana.

Sweet Violets
There once was a farmer who took a young miss
In back of the barn where he gave her a –
Lecture on horses and chickens and eggs
And told her that she had such beautiful –
Manners that suited a girl of her charms,
A girl that he wanted to take in his –
Washing and ironing and then if she did
They could get married and raise lots of — 

CHORUS:  Sweet violets, sweeter than the roses
Covered all over from head to toe
Covered all over with sweet violets.

The girl told the farmer that he’d better stop
And she called her father and he called a –
Taxi and got there before very long
‘Cause someone was doing his little girl –
Right for a change and so that’s why he said
If you marry her, son, you’re better off –
Single ’cause its always been my belief
Marriage will bring a man nothing but–

Sweet violets …

The farmer decided he’d wed anyway
And started in planning for his wedding –
Suit which he purchased for only one buck
But then he found out he was just out of –
Money and so he got left in a lurch
Standing and waiting in front of the –
End of this story which just goes to show
All a girl wants from a man is his —

Sweet Violets …

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“I Write as I Please” 1935 book (Part II)

Walter Duranty was a good observer of the Russian people, I would term him a Russophile.  Maybe he sold his soul to be able to be a New York Times correspondent in Moscow at the time when so much was happening so quickly.  I have taken many notes off of the electronic pdf version of “I Write as I Please.”  What is interesting to me are the pages that were missed in the scanning process such as:  p. 48, 77, 230, 242, 333. There may have been others, I’m just saying that the person who scanned this whole 1935 edition didn’t want some things known about Duranty.  The following are my very rough notes from what I read relating to the Russian mentality from Duranty’s perspective:

p. 118 explanation of rushing the process of nationalism wanting to hasten the communist millennium

political anarchy replaced by order and strong central authority But: economic self-sufficiency had vanished

p. 125 – Russians are a romantic folk whose innate sense of drama is stronger than their regard for truth.

p. 126 Potemkin villages

p. 144 – They were Russians, you see, whose racial quality is to live intensely in the present and dismiss doubts or fears or horrid memories with the easy insouciance of children – Nichevo which means:  what of it or no matter

p. 146 – In 1921 – Red Army soldiers in uniform back from fighting Moslem rebels in Central Asia or from “liquidating” Makno’s anarchist movement in Ukraine

Ch. 14 – Red Star – Report the facts as I saw them but to avoid quoting statements of Soviet spokesmen or newspaper, “we do not want to risk the New York Times a vehicle for Bolshevik propaganda”

p. 166 Stalin 1933 said to Walter Duranty – “You have done a good job in your reporting of USSR although you are not a Marxist.”

Walter said of himself “…I’m a reporter, not a humanitarian, and if a reporter can’t see the wood for trees, he can’t describe the wood.”

p. 169 – Wm. Bolitho had taught me [WD] to think for myself or merely that the facts of the last 2 years spoke louder for the Bolsheviks than words create impression that I was tinged with pink myself.

The Wobblies or I.W.W. were not so long in the ideological theory stuff as the Russians

Russians “most would sooner talk than work, or even eat.”

“When you come to know more you will understand the superiority of Marxists in two respects of immediate practicality.  They know what they want and why the want it and are determined to sell it by fairness or foul.

Lenin speech in autumn 1921 – “Kto Kavo” “who beats whom?”

Sent it “mulnia” lightening – where news sent triple urgent

p. 194 Catherine the Great  said one good harvest in Russia atoned for ten years of bad politics

p. 196 W.D. gives Kulak definition

p. 197 “Do you really think America will ever go communist?” W.D. refused to be sidetracked by moral issues or by abstract questions

Chapter – A Prophet with Honor

p. 202 – spring of 1922 – chasm between West and Soviet thinking – Polish Catholic priests were given capital punishment

p. 203 – “Who were these foreigners anyway who dared to tell Russians how to conduct their own affairs?” He [the main priest] has abused Russian hospitality if it is a bigger crime and he is a foreigner

West thinks “anyone accused is innocent until proven guilty” but in Eastern countries and in Russia, “the accused is guilty otherwise he would not be at trial.”  Anglo-Saxon race fights savagely against pre-determined by a preliminary inquiry, otherwise it is injustice

After priest was killed one Russian who worked with foreigners said, “Life of one man had robbed the Soviet of the fruits of 2 years of patient diplomacy.”

Buchkevich execution did more to retard American recognition of USSR for 10 years

(to be continued)

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April 30, 1936 correspondence and “I Write As I Please”

I’ve been privileged to come across some old letters on my husband’s side of the family.  When one works with history from the 1930s, it’s like a detective uncovering clues as to what real, ordinary people actually wrote and what they thought at the time.  No air brushing of the unvarnished truth from what was really going on, or was there?  I’ve followed the writings of British journalist Walter Duranty who wrote for the New York Times. He tried to convince and further dissuade Americans that there was NOT an actual famine going on in Ukraine in the early 1930s. Apparently in 1930 he was  in Kazakhstan because he was interviewing Trotsky who was exiled in Alma Ata (Almaty). Though trying to have the veneer of an objective journalist, he was clearly “Stalin’s Apologist.” [a book written about Duranty to that effect]

Back to Jessie Gray’s letter of April 30, 1936 that spurred on my search for the book on the Internet titled “I Write as I Please” written by Duranty in 1935.  Thanks to what she wrote in a small town in Kansas, I will show what reality was for people besides writing about family gatherings, church, food, town gossip, etc.  In the letters I have been going through there is little mention of world or national politics so this letter is a gem.  I am used to my own Norwegian relatives (i.e. S.A. Olsness) who wrote MUCH about current events back in their time.

The following was sent to the family round robin dated April 30, 1936:

Dear ?

I see by the papers they acidized the Tudor Morgan well last week so I suppose it is not as good a well as desired.

At 12:30 today noon a 6 foot 2 1/2 inch Negro lady (who was here 7 years ago) was at the M.E. church with 3 other Negros to give a concert.  The lady has a man’s negro voice, is part French and English with an Indian Chief for a grandfather.  A peculiar character who looks like an Indian.  She sang a base solo – “Beware,” a solo Arzy once had.  There weren’t many present, mostly school folks.

Some rain this week not over 1 1/2 inch if that. The grass is clean and one can step out for a weed [cigarette] without getting his shoes so dusty now.  Last year it was May 10 before we had moisture.

We have bank night here Tuesday now.  We are never lucky so probably won’t join the crowd. No one got the cash the first night ($25.00) so the 2nd night the amount was $37.50 and a wealthy lady got it, of course.

Lill’s got a 2nd hand press and lineotype in Hutch; it better for a daily than their other. They got it ready to use yesterday, after 3 weeks work evenings at Cornwell’s when they weren’t working.  Lills are in the south rooms next to the Capitol and will be until they rebuild. They have done little to clean the fire debris.  The insurance company will rebuild for them.

Mother is reading over some old letters she has saved. Grovers, Roses, M.J.s’ etc. She mentioned the “yr.” was not on one, but the month was.  So, after all, if a letter is saved, the year is more important than the day, hour, etc.

I made five posters and put them up. They are for a Y.W.C.A. Book tea Mon. eve at Beaman’s. James Tanner will review “I Write as I Please” by Walter Duranty, a news reporter sent to Russia and was there 11 years or more to study their problem.

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