A Jewish millionaire here has spent years and oodles of money gathering religious art of the renaissance period. The collection, now one of the most valuable in the world, is housed in a replica of the Sistine Chapel. It is overrun with Madonnas in paint and stone, icons from all parts of the world, Pietas, crucifixions and other reminders of the unpleasant legendary business about two thousand years ago.
The psychology behind this artistic specialization is no concern of this column. Every Jew to his taste. What struck me as irony on the grand scale, is that despite his ecclesiastical artistic bent, the millionaire was refused admission to an all-”Ayran” club.
A gentleman with a flare for figures (the authenticity of which I cannot guarantee) writes:
“I enclose you a computation which will apprise you of the recent status of Mr. Roosevelt’s New Deal:
“The population of the
United States is reported at 124,000,000
“Those eligible for old age pension under the Townsend Bill 50,000,000
“Number of persons prohibited under child labor laws and working government jobs. 60,000,000
“Leaves just 14,000,000
“Number of persons unemployed 13,999,998
“Balance to produce the nation’s goods 2
“Just you and me, Gene, and I’m all worn out!”
Several weeks ago this column sketched the first exhibits in a private gallery of pent-house Bolsheviki, the well-to-do who get a kick out of hovering close to the Soviet honey-pot of power. A vignette that deserves a place and is herewith hung is the following:
Mr. T. is fairly outstanding among the Wall Street contingent of ritzy rebels. He decorates speakers’ tables at meetings of self-styled friends of the Soviet Union, serves on reception committees for visiting Moscow dignitaries, and is invited to those Bolshevik parties where one meets the nicest people.
When he goes to Moscow with his family, in connection with a lucrative contract for technical aid, Mr. T. has his Rolls Royce sent over. He is just lost without his Rolls, don’t you know. Once he decided that his boy, young Johnnie, ought to go to a Soviet school. Can’t do him any harm and attests papa’s liberal spirit.
Every morning therefore a Rolls, manned by the family chauffeur, rolled up to the Moscow school and deposited little Johnnie for his daily lessons in Communism. Every evening the Rolls called for him.
There’s no moral to the story.
From the comment that has reached this indignant column on the latest incarnation of Theodore Dreiser we select the following for quotation in part:
“Aren’t you a bit hard on Dreiser? (writes Mrs. G. L.) I am not disputing your estimate of him as a true case of anti-Semitic phobia. But even that does not wipe out his real services to the cause of humanity in his long and active life. One virtue does not make an angel, and one vice does not make a devil. The fine things Dreiser has written and done, his brave spirit in defending Southern textile strikers, his courageous championing of the Russian cause years ago, before the mass of writers who are now piling on the Red band-wagon would touch it, are still to his credit, it seems to the writer.
“Dreiser is more deserving of pity than of brickbats. The things be wrote to Mr. Hutchins and repeated to The New Masses are the vagaries of a temperamental mind that seems to be losing its old grip. Maybe because he is an artist he is that much more sensitive to impressions, and his impressions are very cealrly based on his contacts with individuals who, whatever their race might have been were unappetizing specimens. I mean lawyers and publishers and bankers of the sort out to ‘do’ the world and its wife.
“In any case ‘Gerhart’ and ‘The Financier’ and ‘The Titan’ are still masterpieces. Whatever may happen to their author, these things stand as a mo#m# to the Dreiser so many of us loved and admired. That he is straying into Hitlerite paths and infected with Ku Kluxism is cause for sorrow.”
Agreed. The works of Michaelangelo would remain great whatever personal id##synerasies might be proved against him. The performance of a fine romantic actor on the stage is no less noble because he beats his wife off-stage. By the same token a bad novel or play is not one whit better because its blundering composer is a philanthropist, a high-minded revolutionary, or a thirty-second degree Mason.
Nothing we have said, or that other Jews and non-Jews are saying about this virulent anti-Semitism, detracts from the intrinsic worth of Dreiser’s work. It does detract from the immediate intrinsic worth of Dreiser himself.