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The Fable of Pogroms against Jews in Tsarist Russia

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The author is a well-known academic historian of Russia and Ukraine, which he approaches from a Christian (Russian Orthodox) and nationalist perspective, arguing that nationalism and Christian Orthodoxy are inseparable. He also writes widely on current affairs. Rare for contemporary Western historians of Russia, he sources original materials in Russian, pulling back the veil on much misunderstanding, ranging from modern history back to Russia’s very beginnings in the Middle Ages.

His latest book, Ukrainian Nationalism (2019), (Amazon), is the definitive treatment of this topic and is essential reading to understand the current political turmoil in Ukraine. It argues that Ukrainian nationalism is real and legitimate, but needn’t be Anti-Russian, and that Russia and Ukraine are in fact natural allies. Here is his article on Russia Insider explaining some of the ideas in the book. There is no other scholar writing today about Russia and the Ukraine with this extraordinary command of historical detail and meaning. Johnson is a national treasure, and his works are highly recommended. For a fascinating audio podcast discussion of the book by Johnson and Andrew Carrington Hitchcock, see here

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The official history says that from the late 19th century to the First World War, Jews in western Russian cities were targeted by the “Black Hundreds” and the government in “pogroms.” This is a buzzword designed to make attacking Jews different than attacking everyone else. These riots, the academic will piously tell us, “killed millions and millions.”

These Jews were targeted for “no reason” and the violence was instigated by “the tsar” due to “blind hate.” While this is a common historical claim whenever Jews are concerned, as always, none of this is true. Western Russian violence at this time had several qualities in common: few Jews were killed; Jews were almost always the aggressors; and Jews were far better armed than the local police in cities such as Vilna, Starodub, Odessa and Kiev.

One of the more important reasons for the creation of this myth is to cover over the crimes of liberal and leftist movements in Russia. Between 1905 and 1906, the Socialist Revolutionaries murdered 15 governors and mayors, 267 security officials and 12 bishops. That’s only a single leftist party in one year. All told, those killed and injured by leftist terror between 1905 and 1907 is more than 20,000. The majority of the terrorists were Jews. The pogroms were a cover story for this violence.

The Origins of the Myth

Solzhenitsyn writes in his famed Two Hundred Years Together that the “pogroms” began after the murder of Alexander II by Jewish revolutionaries. He makes it clear that the initial Odessa pogrom one Jew was killed. Troops were sent into this immensely important economic region to stop all violence. Property was destroyed by the spontaneous rage of local Russians, but no fatalities were reported immediately after the Tsar’s murder. In some cases, Greek merchants, the Jewish competition, were involved. Count N.P. Ignatiev, the Interior Minister, is said to have “ordered” these pogroms, but instead he crushed them. About 2000 were arrested in Kiev alone when the anti-liberal (and hence, anti-Jewish uprisings began). Alexander III thought the treatment of peasant rioters was too lenient. Violence in these westernized, wealthy regions was certainly not in the Tsar’s interest.

Other than Solzhenitsyn and Oleg Platonov, both John Klier and Andrew Joyce have popped the mythical bubble of the pogroms that have become the most critical and important aspect of Russian Jewish mythology. Royce is important because he spends so much time laying out the motivation of the myth. Royce writes in 2012:

In the pages of [The British Daily Telegraph], it was stated that “these Russian atrocities are only the beginning. The Russian officials themselves countenance these barbarities.” Around this time in Continental Europe, Prussian Rabbi Yizhak Rülf established himself as an “intermediary” between Eastern Jewry and the West, and, according to Klier, one of his specialties was the spreading of “sensationalized accounts of mass rape.” Other major sources of pogrom atrocity stories were the New York Times, the London Times, and the Jewish World. It would be the Jewish World which furnished the majority of these tales, having sent a reporter “to visit areas that had suffered pogroms.”

Most of the other papers simply reprinted what the Jewish World reporter sent them. The atrocity stories carried by these newspapers provoked global outrage. There were large-scale public protests against Russia in Paris, Brussels, London, Vienna, and even in Melbourne, Australia. However, “it was in the United States that public indignation reached its height.” Historian Edward Judge states that the American public was spurred on by reports of “brutal beatings, multiple rapes dismemberment of corpses, senseless slaughter, painful suffering and unbearable grief” (Royce, 2012).

The Russian popular press from 1905 to the War is a frightening and disturbing spectacle. Granted immense power and totally free from state control, journalists invented the wildest satires they could for quick sales. Another myth easily disproved is that there was any media censorship over the press. Strangely, corporate money censuring articles is seen as legitimate. There was no systematic censorship over the press during the reign of Nicholas II, though there should have been.

Overwhelmingly Jewish and liberal, the Russian press did little more than concoct stories about the “corrupt, Prussian Tsar” and the “immanent collapse” of Russia. So much of the nonsense from the Russian press – then as now – was immediately taken as true by the western media. Unfortunately, the western world knew almost completely nothing about Russia at the time. Hence, they would believe anything. Noting has changed. On this topic, Solzhenitsyn writes concerning press coverage of the pogroms:

In St. Petersburg became frantic newspaper articles were read about the murders of women and infants and on numerous occasions, the rape of underage girls; wives raped in the presence of their husbands or parents. “One Jew had his belly ripped open and the insides came out. . . A Jewish woman had nails driven into her head through her nostrils.” Within the same week the western papers reprinted these. They unconditionally believed the Russian press. Britain’s leading Jews completely relied on these terrible articles and incorporated them into their protest slogans.(1)

The Jewish mainstream papers were the dominant ones. The crown had yet to grasp the importance of propaganda as journalism was seen as a vulgar form of muckraking. It had no real propaganda of its own, a problem perpetuated by the White armies shortly thereafter. The British had a geostrateic reason to discredit the Russian government, and the broad ignorance of the western world meant that anything would be believed if only a authoritative source stated it.

Even the liberal and philosemitic Witte stated that the St. Petersburg Press was Jewish. DI Pikhno, the editor of the Kievan Daily, said that “Russian society understood that in such moments the power of the press was immense, and it was in the hands of his opponents [that is, Tsar Nicholas] who spoke on behalf of Russia. . . Society was lost in a mass of lies they could barely understand.” (2)

Interestingly, certain factions of the far left believed Jewish dominance in finance meant that they were really part of the ruling class. Marxism and Bolshevism was dedicated to smashing that idea, since Jews were revolutionary by nature. Solzhenitsyn points out that some on the left interpreted the protection of Jews in the region the same as the protection of capitalists, they wrote:

Not only all the governors, but all other officials, police, troops, priests, zemstvo and journalists – stood up for the kulak-Jews…The government protects the person and property of the Jews. Threats are announced by the governors that the perpetrators of the riots will be dealt with according to the full extent of the law. The police looked for people who were in the crowd, arrested them, dragged them to the police station. Soldiers and Cossacks used the rifle butt and the whip…they beat the people with rifles and whips…some were prosecuted and locked up in jail or sent to do hard labor, and others were thrashed with birches on the spot by the police (Black Reparation Workers leaflet, June 1881).

This means that some leftists were claiming the state was protective of the Jews to an unhealthy level. The more naive left saw this as protecting the bourgeoisie rather than a pogrom. It was the army being used in the Jews’ favor against the peasants. While this was not common, there were some on the left who actually believed that the struggle was for the purposes of establishing equality among people. There is a surprising amount of anti-Jewish talk among the far left communists of the era. However, the Red movement was an ethnic one, not an ideological one. Equality was not remotely their concern.

In this environment, rumors spread rapidly. Since the press had no standards, it was difficult to confirm information. In some cases, in the later 1880s, peasants rose up believing rumors that the tsar had ordered action against the Jews. This deliberately fostered confusion was a tactic of the left and the media in general.

Jewish Violence as “Pogrom” 

None of this is to say that there was no violence against Jews. In modern America, violence against Jews is far worse than violence against others. This is to say, however, that Jewish behavior was usually obnoxious and, if anything, the restraint of the Russian people was heroic. Jews earned the almost universal contempt heaped upon their arrogance. Again, Interior Minister Ignatiev writes:

Recognizing the harm to the Christian population from the Jewish economic activity, their tribal exclusivity and religious fanaticism, in the last 20 years the government has tried to blend the Jews with the rest of the population using a whole row of initiatives, and has almost made the Jews equal in rights with the native inhabitants. However, the present anti-Jewish movement incontrovertibly proves, that despite all the efforts of the government, the relations between the Jews and the native population of these regions remain abnormal as in the past, because of the economic issues: after the easing of civil restrictions, the Jews have not only seized commerce and trade, but they have acquired significant landed property. Moreover, because of their cohesion and solidarity, they have, with few exceptions, directed all their efforts not toward the increase of the productive strength of the state, but primarily toward the exploitation of the poorest classes of the surrounding population (Quoted from Solzhenitsyn, 2002).

The massive number of myths concerning Russia and the Jews also include the notion that they could not own land or could not engage in certain occupations. To the contrary, the state offered affirmative action programs to encourage it. Since all ground other than Israel was unclean, it was rare to find Jews tilling the land.

Jewish behavior in Russia, as elsewhere, was abominable. However, the Russian state could ill afford its most strategic cities to go up in flames. The cities of Kishinev, Gomel, Starodub and the rest were strategic economic hubs – the government had absolutely no reason to start trouble there. In the 1897 census, Jews were 4% of the population of the Empire. The merchant class numbered 618,926 total, of which 450,427 were Jews. They created a cartel that then plugged into an international network. They could not charge interest against each other, but would charge it only to gentiles.

Jews in major western cities were well organized, rich and well armed. They were a privileged caste far better off than the actual Russians in the area. In 1905, the Kiev “pogrom” saw a death toll of a few hundred, of which 12% were Jews. Most “pogroms” were started by well armed Jewish revolutionaries making war on Russian nationalist groups in the area. In Odessa, a Black Hundred march was interrupted by a bomb thrown by Jacob Brietman. In 1906 Chernigov, incitement leaflets were traced to Israel Tamgolsky, Yankel Bruk and Pinkus Krugersky. They called for a killing of all royalists, death to the tsar and shutting down of all royalist papers .The Duma followed suit on February of 1917, where it called for the death of all royalists (from Platonov, 2005).

In Starodub, a column of heavily armed Jews sought to evict the Orthodox population. More than once, Jews sought to cleanse their regions of the unclean gentiles. This was called a “pogrom” only when the unclean fought back. June 1 1906, the Jewish Bund, armed with heavy weapons, attacked a nationalist procession, killing 25. This was standard procedure and is well known to any serious scholar of the era. In the US, well paid court historians simply ignore it.

The Vilna Gazette (3) writes:

In Chisinau, the September 1903 riots saw the Jewish provocateurs and their well armed “self-defense units” showing no care about the safety of ordinary Jews, organized to attack Russians and cause disorders. One thug, Pinkhus Dashevskii, tried to shoot the Russian writer P. Krushevan with a revolver. Fortunately, the wound was not serious, and the perpetrator was arrested by the Russian people and punished by the court (From Platonov, 2005). 

There is a sense that the purpose of the disorder was for the creation of chaos. There, the population would become more sensitive to manipulation. Chaos would remove any faith in the state and suggest that the society was “falling apart.” However, the Russian press and, thus, the western press stated that Chisinau was a massacre. William Randolph Hearst wrote:

We accuse the Russian government of bearing the responsibility for the Chisinau slaughter. We declare that this holocaust is steeped in blood. It is on [Nicholas’] door that lie these killings and violence. May the God of Justice come into world and finish Russia as he finished with Sodom and Gomorrah. . . .sweeping this hotbed of hate from the earth as a plague. (4) 

The outrage here is that, at the time, the knowledge of Russia by Americans was zero. Only Harvard offered Russian language studies. Historians barely knew the basics. It was a black hole in the western mind. Only the emigre movement, insular and ineffective, offered any alternative. Hence, the elite are calling for the destruction of Russia based on absurd press reports that could never be verified. Could there be another agenda?

Apparently, however, the local press in Chisinau did not give any cause for alarm. From the Bessarabian press: 

The last three years the Jewish agitators of Bessarabia, particularly in Chisinau, and its underground movement strenuously preparing for a war, riot and murder. The Jewish leaders hoped that Easter was to begin the violence. . . On the second day of Easter in the early morning, all Jews poured into the streets and squares of the city armed with revolvers, clubs, crowbars, knives and sulfuric acid and began to attack in small groups the Christians on their way to Matins (Bessarabian Province News, September 1903).

Thus, the absurdly dramatic call for genocide from Hearst is a tad overdrawn. There was no slaughter and no “plague” that needed to be eradicated. However, this is the power of the press that had no ethics. The Press invented numbers without cause. Some said 5000 were killed, others 60,000. It did not matter. The truth was suppressed by the press and the monarchy did not see it as important to let the world know the truth. The crown’s failure was its inability to grasp the power of propaganda

Here is another example concerning a Jewish attack on Moscow: 

In the night of December 9, 1905 in Moscow in the garden “Aquarium” there was a huge rally attended by more than 10 thousand people and dozens of revolutionary militants, Jewish “combat squads” Its leaders have called for the arrest of the governor-general and to seize power. The operational actions of the authorities with the help of the Cossacks, Dragoons, Infantry soon isolated the rebels. . . Although most of the militants managed to escape, the troops were able to disarm a considerable number of bandits. In the morning in the garden there was found a few hundred revolvers, daggers and knives which were abandoned by militants (State Archive, f. 826 g. 47. n. 127).

There can be no denying that Jews were not unarmed victims. They were not victims at all. There were no “gun laws” in the Russian Empire at the time. Enforcement from the federal level was extremely difficult given the sheer size of the country and the distance of Petrograd from the provinces. Jewish areas were long preparing for violence. All was local. Jews not only were well armed, but also possessed heavy weapons in Odessa.

Jewish hatred of Russia was made all the worse due to the murder of Alexander II and later, the alleged “defeat” of Russia against Japan. Wherever they saw a chink in the armor, they attempted to overthrow the government. Even today, every report of Russian economic sluggishness is met with predictions of “imminent collapse.” The press of the time, both Jewish and gentile, assisted them in their efforts. More on Chisinau,

From the judicial investigation of the riots in Chisinau in 1903, the riots were proceeded by Jewish fanatics mocking the customs of Palm Sunday, throwing stones smashing icons. These actions were intended to undermine the respect for the sanctity of faith and to weaken religious feeling. Jews systematically at every opportunity tried to shake the authority of the clergy, carefully watching the lives of priests, spreading slander just to humiliate them in the eyes of the people. A striking example of this is represented by a smear campaign against the Jews against St. John of Kronstadt (From Platonov, 2005, citing Selyaninov). 

The campaign against the church was a purely Jewish phenomenon. Attacks on the church from Jewish terrorists were reported in the English press as “pogroms” against helpless Jews. The British newspapers refused to report on atrocities against the Orthodox church throughout the reign of the USSR. The resurrection of Russian piety from its 18th century decline under Peter I and his successors was seen by the shetl as a threat. This meant that well armed, elite and wealthy Jews and their servitors staged violent protests against any Orthodox presence in cities with large Jewish populations. The Jewish elite were gambling that the significance of these regions and the sharp eye of the western powers would make retaliation very difficult.

From the State Archives, we read these reports about the “pogroms” in different parts of Russia: 

In Moscow, especially rioters acted arrogantly. The so-called Executive Committee of Workers’ Deputies, which consisted mainly of Jewish revolutionary terrorists and agitators, declared an armed uprising at 6 pm on December 10, even instructing cabbies to finish their work at this time. The city was plunged into darkness: the lights are not lit, the streets were illuminated by searchlights. Jewish thugs, armed with numerous weapons, walked the streets, killing policemen and officers, as well as all any dissidents who refused to remain silent at the sight of these crimes (State Archive, f. 826, d. 47, n. 145)

In Kazan after the Manifesto [of 1906] the leftist, Jewish parties formed squads of thugs that completely controlled the city. The governor had become a plaything in the hands of these miscreants. They were not tolerated. On October 21 at the main square there were spontaneous gatherings of Russians with national flags and portraits of the King and icons that marched on the streets of Kazan. Meanwhile, in the City Council the Jewish thugs were issued weapons (ibid).

In Starodub and Chernigov province Jews organized armed groups to engage in a pogrom against Russian residents. Jews staged a demonstration which called for the overthrow of the Tsar and trampled a portrait of him. Outraged citizens tried to stop them but the mob started shooting and unarmed people scrambled to flee the city. Jewish detachments pursued them up to the city limits. . . . The peasants, leaving their horses in the pasture, came to the city armed with clubs, axes, crowbars and iron rods. They forced Jews to flee the city (ibid).

In Rostov-on-Don immediately after the announcement of the Manifesto of the extremists, mostly Jews, created a gang armed with rifles and revolvers, 30 of them were on horseback. These thugs attempted to seize power in the city. Patriotic demonstrations developed to protest against the excesses of the rioters, were attacked, forcing the rioters to flee the city. Many Jewish shops were destroyed and Jews beaten by the demonstrators while the local intelligentsia supported the Zionists. Against Jews armed with rifles and pistols the Russian people used crowbars, axes, sticks and metal rods. They left no survivors (ibid).

In Simferopol, about 300 thugs armed with guns ambushed a patriotic demonstration carrying royal portraits. When the column reached them, these terrorists, hiding behind trees, cried out: “Down with the Monarchy!” and began to shoot at the unarmed crowd. The first salvo wounded seven people and killed two, clearly aimed at those who carried the king’s portrait. But unarmed patriots were not afraid. They broke fences, took stones from the ground and rushed the thugs. In a few hours 47 Jews were killed (State Archive, f. 1467, d. 851, l. 28).

These have all gone down in history as “pogroms against unarmed and innocent Jews.” They led to continual calls for genocide against Russians and continue to color the pseudointellectual view of the world. Trusting blindly in the Russian press, swaggering, ignorant and arrogant Americans were calling for the deaths of millions of Russians. They stood silent when Lenin and Trotsky actually carried out this threat.

Jewish Ethnic Socialism 

The “socialist” movement was idealistic and often Christian for centuries. Only, in the words of Bakunin, when the Jews and the Rothschild family began financing Marx did suddenly, socialism become statist and materialist. In Russia, Jewish leftists were both ethnic nationalist and Marxist. None of these movements were about social egalitarianism, though some used the rhetoric. This was never the purpose, though a few naive souls believed it to be so. Western historians are yet again failing at their occupation when they take campaign literature as the deepest thoughts of the movement.

As socialism was in Russia a Jewish ethnic movement, the press gradually began to vaguely define these Jews as “socialist” or “anarchist” movements. Universally, Bolshevism was seen as Jewish and ethnic. More generic labels came to substitute for the Jewish ethnic label that served to discredit them. These were nationalist, not proletarian, ideas. The press soon began to drop these labels altogether and referred to them as “liberators” or “heroes.” Since there was no one who could refute their lies, reporters in the elite press could say what they wished.

The press reports of the time, taken as a whole, show the population remaining very proroyal and firmly patriotic. Much of the violence depicted above refer to Jewish assaults on the Russian population. As always, the church was a particularly potent cause of Jewish anger. There was never any good reason for socialism to become materialist or to hate the church. The Russian church was engaging in numerous social reform movements, such as the large the prosperous Labor Brotherhood of the Holy Cross, that were firmly socialist and egalitarian. They were smashed the moment the Soviets came to power. The church was attacked because Bolshevism was Jewish.

Virtually all cases of popular protest against the anti-Russian terrorist and Jewish parties are interpreted by the left-liberal writers as “pogroms.” It is a professional shame that today, over 100 years later, western historians continue to take the propaganda of the Russian muckrakers as historically accurate. The American historical establishment is horrifically corrupt. They refused to condemn Lenin and Trotsky, and sought to condemn Stalin only because he was a “nationalist” and “antisemitic.”

The Russian intelligentsia was silent when Russian revolutionaries killed thousands but soon screamed hysterically when the Russian people found their own way to deal with Jewish gangs when they encroached on their shrines. Never were they attacked as Jews, but as the instigators and participants of the anti-Russian movement, which was mostly Jewish (at least in the cities).

The Six Million Myth

The propaganda against Tsarist Russia reached its fever pitch at the turn of the 20th century. As always, the press did as it pleased and was repeated faithfully in English. Curiously, it was based around a recurring claim that “six million” Jews either had been killed or were about to be killed in Ukraine and other parts of western Russia. For the first time, the famed “six million” figure shows up in western history in reference to the pogroms.

The Russian Jewish Yearbook 1911 says, “Russia has since 1890 adopted a deliberate plan to expel or exterminate six million of its people.” The 10th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1902), we read on page 482: “While there are in Russia and Romania six millions of Jews who are being systematically degraded. . .” Over and again the “6 million” figure is repeated.

The New York Times wrote on January 29th, 1905 that “He declared that a free and a happy Russia, with its 6,000,000 Jews, would possibly mean the end of Zionism, since the abolition of the autocracy would practically eliminate the causes that brought Zionism into existence.” this chilling statement suggests that Jewish agitation must be crated or invented, if the causes for it are not in existence.

Later, in November, the Times said, “From 1800 to 1902 he caused 6,000,000 Jewish families to be expelled from Russia.” A few years later, The New York Times again, on October 31st, 1911, stated that “The 6,000,000 Jews of Russia are singled out for systematic oppression and for persecution due to process of law.” Further, The American-Jewish Yearbook reads: “Russia has since 1890 adopted a deliberate plan to expel or exterminate six millions of its people for no other reason than that they refuse to become members of the Greek Church, but prefer to remain Jews” (AJY, 5672, 308, covering the period from September 23 2011 to September 11 1912, pg. 308). This claim was entirely invented.

The Pittsburgh-based New Jewish Criterion wrote: “The annihilation of the six million Jews now congregated in the Russian domains goes on in a well defined and systematic manner” (June 25, 1915). The New York Tribune wrote: “What the Turks are doing to Armenians is child’s play compared to what Russia is doing to six million Jews, her own subjects” (October 14 1915).

Further, we read “[In Russia] where six million human beings guilty only of adherence to the Jewish faith are compelled to live out their lives in squalor and misery, in constant terror of massacre. . . [Russia is]a kind of prison with six million inmates.” (American Jewish Committee, 1916, “Jews in the Eastern War Zone”).

In 1918, the Jewish Criterion wrote: “Russia, where the bulk of the Jewish people to the number of well over six million still dwell, is a land of blood and midnight darkness” (Volume 50, 2 September 5 1918). All the talking points of the left, whether in the east or the left, could be found here. Not only was socialism in this respect a Jewish ethnic movement, but the antiRussian tenor of western politics was as well.

What is this obsession with the number six and “six million?” The letter “vav” is the equivalent of six, the hook or the nail. The Chabad movement sees six as the ultimately Jewish number since it signifies all truth in all dimensions. There are six points in the “star of David.” The basic theology is that “six million” Jews must be sacrificed so that the messiah can be induced to come. These do not refer to literal deaths, but it is the “purification” ritual so that Jews will come to recognize their mission in the world and, in fact, become their own Messiah.

Claims of mass extermination are a critical part of Judaism. Long separated from the prophets (loathed in the Talmud), the rabbis under the magical and alchemical thinking of Babylon, speaks of “four billion Jews” billed by the Romans at Bethar (Talmud, Gittin, 57b) and that “16 million Jewish children” were burned alive by Roman soldiers (ibid, 58a). The purification of Adolf Hitler eliminated the assimilationist Jews in favor of the Talmudic remnant that, now purified, will dominate the world and become its own messiah. The number six is that demonic power that links the remnant Jews together through the Talmud.

Odessa as the Jewish Capital of Russia

Domination, not egalitarianism, was the agenda then and now. These Jews had no interest in egalitarianism. While gentile socialists might have given it lip service, the Jewish parts were far wealthier and far more significant. There, inequality was to be defended so long as the wealth was Jewish. Solzhenitsyn writes in volume II of his Two Hundred Years Together:

It is interesting to note that almost none of the Jewish revolutionaries in these decades went into revolutionary politics to fight misery and poverty; the majority of them are from wealthy families. . . . From wealthy merchant families came Nathanson, Lev Deich, Joseph Aptekman (Talmudic lawers); A. Khotyn, Gurevich, Simon Lurie . . . the first Italian Marxist Anna Rosenstein (childhood surrounded by governesses, foreign languages), the tragic Moses Rabinovich Kamensky and Betty, Felicia Sheftel, J. Getsov, and many others. Even Christina (Khasya) Greenberg, “from an orthodox merchant family of great wealth” in 1880 joined the “People’s Will” . . . She ran the safe house. . . . Alexander Bibergal. Vladimir Bogoras, Solomon Aronson, Lazarus Goldenberg, Rabinovich, A. Khotyn, Solomon Chudnovsky, the Leventhal brothers all came from wealth.

In Odessa, Jewish parties formed a “provisional government” as the old urban system merely went over to armed Jewish thugs. The creation of the USSR was nothing other than the repetition of these local experiments. Jews almost always instigated the violence and were always better armed than their opponents. On the street there were armed Jewish militants and on the outskirts of the city Jewish guards ensuring no one passed without a search. They killed policemen standing at their posts. They killed, “usually at night, sneaking up in the dark and hitting the back of any innocent victims.”

Then unarmed people with portraits of the Emperor, icons and national flags held a service and went around the city past Jewish outposts, including armed Jewish “police.” Mobs have decided that these “insurgents and rebels under the national flag and emblem of royal power” needed to be destroyed. The Jewish “police” began shooting and one threw a bomb. (5)

After this, a mass Russian revolt occurred. This rise of Russians and Ukrainians in the city, forcing the gangsters to flee. Most of the rebels were unarmed or armed with primitive weapons. That evening of November 14 1905, the main Odessa hospital received Two Hundred wounded Russians and 70 wounded Jews.

VV Rozanov, who spent a summer in Bessarabia during these times, outlined a way of understanding how Jews went about provoking all around them. This was published in the New Time and reprinted in Literary Studies and edited by VG Sukach. He writes:

The economic power of the Jews is always greater than the force of the surrounding population. Even when a handful of Jews, five or six families, have money through Berdichev and Warsaw, and Hungary and Austria. In essence “the whole Jewish world” supports each settler. . . . They immediately call on relatives to help him. . . .They instantly formed syndicates and never allowed any stranger access to their world. . . In this way they have infinite credit for their enterprises (Kovinov, 1998) 

V. Levitsky reports in the pages of Russian Banner – the royalist paper – that the Black Hundreds and labor organized defense brigades against the Jews. Attacks on Red organizations were attacks on Jews, since they were identical. The Jews press in Petrograd responded with the “pogrom” legend. On November 10 Levitsky condemned the notion of “pogroms” in general, ordering that all peaceful Jews be left alone. DI Dubrovin said the same at the General Council of the Union of the Russian People stated that restraining Russians given the economic crimes of the Jews was a difficult task.

Writers such as DS Pasmanik gathered information on 660 riots in the area. Most of these were begun by well armed units of the “Jewish Self Defense Force.” Most people at the time, even from abroad, saw the Red forces as a Jewish ethnic movement. The average “pogrom” saw about 25% of the killed and injured Jews. The same statistics come from SM Dubnovy and GY Krasnya-Admony. In October 1905, Jewish Reds Israel Yankel and Pinkus Tarnopolsky called on “Israel” to destroy “Amalek.” (6)

Solzhenitsyn writes on the Jewish control over Odessa:

The main occupation of Odessa’s Jews in this period was the grain trade. Many Jews were small traders and middlemen (mainly between the landowners and the exporters), as well as agents of prominent foreign and local (mainly Greek) wheat trading companies. At the grain exchange, Jews worked as stockbrokers, appraisers, cashiers, scalers, and loaders; the Jews were in a dominant position in grain commerce: by 1870 most of grain export was in their hands. In 1910 89.2% of grain exports was under their control. (Chapter VIII). 

Thus, there was no “oppression” of Jews at all. The 19th century saw the explosive growth of Jewish students in all Russian universities. From ancient Rome to today, the complaints against the Jews have been identical: dominance in finance, corruption of the law and prostitution. It cannot be a coincidence that each and every era and locality had the same set of accusations each time the Jews were expelled. 

The “pale” restriction was a myth of absurd proportions. There was also no concern with equality or any of the traditional socialist or even liberal talking points. With this, both capitalist and socialist inequality has a Jewish root. Once the Tsar was overthrown, we read:

The events (of the March 1917 Revolution) coincided with the Jewish Passover. It looked like this was a second escape from Egypt. Such a long, long path of suffering and struggle has passed, and how quickly everything had happened. A large Jewish meeting was called at which Milyukov spoke: At last, a shameful spot has been washed away from Russia, which can now bravely step into the ranks of civilized nations. (Rosa Georgievna, from Solzhenitsyn, XIII)

Once the Provisional state was overthrown in turn, mass hunts for “anti-Semites” occurred. There were planted deliberate rumors of “pogroms” in the making so as to excuse further hunts for counter-revolutionaries, who, at the time, were considered identical to “antiSemites.” As if mocking the socialist idea, billionaire Jews were called “proletarians” while poor village clergy were called “bourgeois masters.” This continued under Trotsky as well. Since there was no Jewish proletariat to speak of in Russia, the entire ethnic aspect of socialism was a mockery itself.

Conclusions: 

As always, what the western man thinks is real is nothing but the delusions of those seeking or justifying power. Almost nothing taught in the lecture halls of America’s universities on these subjects is true. The problem is that those expert in this field know that it is not. Solzhenitsyn writes:

Immediately after the February Revolution, the Emergency Investigation Commission of The Provisional Government, and later the even more sympathetic Special Commission to Study the History of the Pogroms” along with the participation of reputable researchers, such as S. Dubnov and G Krasny-Admony, not only did not find any violence in Petersburg, nor in Chisinau, but no documents at all. A circular from the Interior Ministry suggested firing for any government worker committing violent action against Jews was found.

The notion of a “news media” was born in the liberal west and became the field of utter Jewish dominance. It was ignorant, controlling, muckraking and unethical. Its concern was to promote the destruction of Christian monarchies and replace them with republics dominated by money. The power of the Jewish elite is still seen today. It is bad enough that this garbage flooded the western press without criticism, but 100 years later it remains misunderstood, and deliberately so.

From Platonov, we read: 

In Tomsk, October 21 1905 saw a peaceful demonstration under the patriotic national flag and portraits of the King. The demonstrators stopped next to the residence of the bishop asking him to serve in the cathedral a prayer for the health of the Emperor. The procession went to the Cathedral Square, but there it was confronted by a group of Jews armed with rifles. The crowd was outraged and forced them to be barricaded in a theater and nearby houses. From the windows the rioters shot at the marchers. Then the raging mob set fire to the building under the cries of “Destroy the Revolutionaries!” Together with criminals they killed a lot of random people.

It is striking that such a small minority would have the arrogance to provoke their much more numerous neighbors to war. They were quite aware of the Cossack vengeance on the arrogance of their fathers in Poland several centuries before. Their arrogance seems irrational unless they were aware that powerful forces abroad were behind them. As the revolution and civil war were to show, this is precisely the case.

The pogroms were a crude set of stories invented for several reasons. First, they covered over for Jewish violence at the time as well as during the Soviet era. Second, it permitted Britain an excuse to demonize their main global rival. Third, it depicts the Tsar as a Jewish stereotype: a bloodthirsty, ignorant, hypocritical tyrant. Finally and most importantly, they cover over later violence in the Jewish USSR. The “pogroms” as depicted in the history texts never took place.


Bibliography 

  • Judge, E (1993) Easter in Kishinev: Anatomy of a Pogrom. New York University Press

  • Klier, J (2011) Russians, Jews, and the Pogroms of 1881-2. Cambridge University Press

  • Aronson, IM (1980) Geographical and Socioeconomic Factors in the 1881 Anti-Jewish Pogroms in Russia. Russian Review 39(1)

  • The Russo-Jewish Committee (1899) The Persecution of the Jews in Russia. London

  • Weinberg, R (1998) Visualizing Pogroms in Russian History. Jewish History 12: 71-93

  • Royce, A. Myth and the Russian Pogroms. The Occidental Observer. May 2012

  • Solzhenitsyn, A (2006) Two Hundred Years Together. Vagrius (in Russian)

  • Kovinov, Vadim (1998) The Black Hundreds and the Revolution. Russian Resurrection Network (in Russian)

  • Platonov, Oleg (2005) Myths and Truths about the Pogroms. Yauza Publishing (in Russian)

  • Praysman, L (1987) Pogroms and Self-Defense. The Literary Magazine of Jewish Intellectuals in the USSR and Israel. Tel Aviv, 51 (in Russian)

  • Encyclopaedia Judaica. Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House 1971 (in Russian)

  • Pasmanik, DS (1978) What Did we Achieve? Russia and the Jews, vol I. Patriotic Union of Russian Jews Abroad. Paris: YMCA Press (in Russian)

  • Dinur, TS (1960) Religious and National Identity of Russian Jewry. The Book of Russian Jewry: From the 1860s to the Revolution of 1917. New York: Union of Russian Jews (in Russian)

  • Correspondence of VV Rozanov and MO Gershenson. New World, 1991, No 3 (in Russian)

  • The Documents on the Persecution of the Jews. Archive of the Russian Revolution. IV Gessen. Berlin: Word, 1922-1937, 19, 1928: 245-284 (in Russian)


  1. Solzhenitsyn cites The St. Petersburg Gazette of 1903 as his source.

  2. He cited this same paper November 17 1905 

  3. These citations are taken from Platonov

  4. From the Baltimore Sun, 1903

  5. Solzhenitsyn is the source for these facts.

  6. These are found both in Platonov as well as Solzhenitsyn.

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Music: From Beyoncé to Rosalía, what’s behind the eccentric use of capital letters in pop music? | Culture

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If you go to your favorite music streaming platform and play either of this summer’s two most played albums—Beyoncé’s Renaissance and Rosalía’s Motomami—you’ll notice a significant detail: the titles of all the songs are written in capital letters. The chart’s aesthetics have mutated over the years. The official listings maintain their own writing and capitalization rules, but the titles on Spotify’s global top 50 are enough to make the eyes spin in orbit. The titles are as varied as the world’s people. Neither song titles nor artist names follow the strict stylization rules of institutions or record companies.

Historically, Spanish and English have used capital letters in contrasting ways. In Spanish, the first letter of song titles is capitalized, but the rest of the letters are lowercase. English, meanwhile, capitalizes the first letter of every word, especially nouns, adjectives and verbs, a practice that apparently comes from the first version of the US Constitution. That is, where the Anglos write “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina,” Spanish uses “No llores por mi Argentina.” In Spain, the Anglo-Saxon style is sometimes emulated, as with “Santos Que Yo Te Pinté” by Los Planetas. But it is visually exaggerated and looks artificial. The music industry has almost always followed rules and conventions of writing names and titles, whether for the physical versions of albums –CDs and vinyls– or in their digital versions.

Front page of // / Y /, from M.I. A.
Front page of // / Y /, from M.I. A.

In the context of streaming platforms, however, those rules no longer dominate. On illegal download programs, such as Soulseek, users write as they please. On iTunes, where each person can modify an album’s content, adding and deleting songs and titling them however you want. Most significantly, though, the platforms that allow artists to upload their own music, have changed the way artists present their songs to the world. Rappers like Travis Scott have made themselves known by uploading mixtapes to Soundcloud, a streaming platform that, unlike Spotify, has the option of being able to upload songs directly, without the need for external distributors. There, the usual capitalization conventions no longer have any relevance: the music is usually amateur work created at home without the help of record labels or professionals. Francisco Nixon, musician and content editor for the streaming platform Deezer, associates the use of capital letters specifically “with the subculture of hip hop and mixtapes. I mean CDs burnt at home, with crappy Photoshop typography and all. Its current use, I think, comes from that subculture.”

That amateurism, detached from any formal convention, as often the artist does not know if their work will reach an audience, is also reflected in the writing of titles. It is often done in a hurry, without attention to grammar, spelling or aesthetics, because what counts is immediacy: the more spontaneous, the more authentic.

What was once a spontaneous practice has now become an industry standard, a marketing strategy that allows musicians to display their personality on the market. Artists like the aforementioned Rosalía (or ROSALÍA on Spotify), Beyoncé, Bad Bunny and Lil Nas X, present the titles of their songs in capital letters (“DESPECHÁ,” “BREAK MY SOUL”), while others like Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, FKA twigs and, in Spain, Alba Reche or daniel sabater (as written) opt for lowercase. Sometimes these same artists use capital letters to title their albums but lowercase to name the songs, as with Billie Eilish’s debut. Others choose both options at the same time, like Belén Aguilera. On his SUPERPOP, album, each track written in uppercase is followed by another written in lowercase. And British rapper Slowthai divides his double album TYRON into two halves, the first of which features titles in uppercase, the second in lowercase. The first represents, in his words, the “mask” that he puts on in front of others, while the second denotes his “true self.”

Rosalía's page on Spotify.
Rosalía’s page on Spotify.

Some artists choose an even more experimental method. All the songs in DAMN., by Kendrick Lamar are titled in capital letters followed by a period. However, others by J. Cole or Willow (daughter of Will Smith) are not only written entirely in lowercase but also with spaces between letters, such as “m y l i f e” or “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l.” The method seems to gesture towards something so transcendent that it doesn’t fit within a song, much less within its title. (Special mention should be made of the use of emojis by groups such as Axolotes Mexicanos and even Coldplay.)

Uppercase and lowercase letters have become one more form of expression for artists, in addition to lyrics, melodies or graphic art. These artists have grown up with the Internet, sending and receiving text messages via mobile phones or computers. Playing with forms of writing has become natural to them. It is also no coincidence that artists who are presumed to be more “extroverted,” flashy or explosive, such as Rosalía or Lil Nas X, use capital letters to stand out (the titles of MOTOMAMI and MONTERO are almost hysterical). Others like girl in red or mori, who create more introspective music, opt for lowercase to create a sense of intimacy, a space where you can listen carefully to all their secrets. All of them send a clear message of what they want to convey with their art and how they want the public to perceive them. Their use of writing conventions allows them to do so. Graphic designer and art director André Gianzo believes that “on Spotify, where most of the lyrics are written in lowercase, using uppercase can be a way to attract attention, to break with the establishment. Historically, the capital letter means shouting,” so the use of lower case means the exact opposite. However, Gianzo points out that the standardization of this practice in the industry means that using capital letters “is no longer going to be a factor that is taken into account to attract attention” because the “eye gets used to absolutely everything.”

Precedents for this phenomenon go beyond rap mixtapes published on platforms like Soundcloud. In 2010, M.I.A. released the album Maya, whose title is actually written with forward slashes, // / Y /, and which can only exist thanks to a modern keyboard. (Interestingly, one of the album’s tracks is titled “CAPS LOCK.”) Long before, Japanese pop artists such as Capsule and Ayumi Hamasaki were already messing around with uppercase and lowercase letters in song titles. It was then a purely aesthetic practice that denoted a desire to play with the norm or even transgress it. Nowadays it is common for Japanese or Korean artists to alternate between different alphabets in their song titles. This is the case of Utada Hikaru and her 2021 single “BADモード.” Further back we find the precedent of e.e. cummings, the 1940s poet who wrote in lowercase for reasons of poetic expression. In her recent folk-music stage, Taylor Swift has titled all her compositions in lowercase, presumably with the intention of projecting a sense of intimacy.

Even more curious is the so-called lowercase genre, minimalist ambient music composed of practically imperceptible sounds and noises are amplified in the recording. One of its inventors, Steve Roden, released a record featuring different ways of manipulating sheets of paper. He stated that lowercase music “carries a certain sense of calm and humility, doesn’t demand attention, must be discovered. It’s the complete opposite of capital letters, which are loud and draw attention to themselves”– a good summary of what the strategic use of upper and lowercase means today in the world of pop music.

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Academy Awards apologizes to Sacheen Littlefeather for 1973 Oscars abuse | Culture

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Ampas), the body that oversees the Oscars, has apologized to Sacheen Littlefeather for the abuse she suffered at the 1973 Academy Awards. The Native American actress appeared at the ceremony on the request of actor Marlon Brando, who was awarded Best Actor for his role in The Godfather. When Brando’s name was announced, Littlefeather, who was 26 years old at the time, took to the stage to say that owing to the “poor treatment of Native Americans in the film industry,” as well as the recent events at Wounded Knee, a conflict which led to the death of two Native Americans, Brando would not accept the award.

Her speech was met with boos (and some applause) from the audience, and the actress had to be escorted by security guards. According to Littlefeather, that night some people used the “Tomahawk chop” – seen as a demeaning gesture to Native Americans – as she was walking by. Her Indian heritage was questioned, and she was accused of being in a relationship with Brando. Decades later, in 2020, Littlefeather said that actor John Wayne nearly assaulted her.

Nearly 50 years after the ceremony, the Academy has issued a formal apology for what happened. “The abuse you endured because of this statement was unwarranted and unjustified. The emotional burden you have lived through and the cost to your own career in our industry are irreparable. For too long the courage you showed has been unacknowledged. For this, we offer both our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration,” reads the letter signed by its former president, David Rubin.

Sacheen Littlefeather during an event in 2010.
Sacheen Littlefeather during an event in 2010.VALERIE MACON (AFP)

Littlefeather, who is now 75, has responded with humor to the Academy’s apology. “We Indians are very patient people – it’s only been 50 years!” she said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I never thought I’d live to see the day I would be hearing this.”

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will also host a special event on September 17, in which Littlefeather will discuss her appearance at the 1973 Oscars and the representation of Native Americans on screen.

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Music: Madonna has been scandalizing people for 40 years, and nobody’s going to stop her | Culture

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Madonna’s Instagram account has a reputation as a playground for digital voyeurs. It doesn’t disappoint, featuring Madonna crying; Madonna drunk; Madonna twerking with Maluma; Madonna filming her family performing a dance while cooking; Madonna kissing Britney Spears at Spears’s wedding; Madonna flashing a boob; Madonna posing spread-eagle with the caption, “I have something for you.”

The singer has relatively few followers (18.4 million) compared to stars from later generations like Beyoncé (273 million), but she offers better stimuli: the chance to see a pop star who has done everything – going above and beyond both morally and artistically – struggle not to become just another sympathetic character. Madonna has been part of the music world for 40 years and still no other pop star has proven to be more subversive and provocative than she is. Now, she’s releasing a remix album summarizing her career, Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones (on sale August 19), turning 64 (August 16) and moving up the production of a film that tells her life story, the real one.

Madonna on the set of director Uli Edel’s Body of Evidence in Washington, D.C., in the early 1990s.
Madonna on the set of director Uli Edel’s Body of Evidence in Washington, D.C., in the early 1990s.

The singer’s frenzied use of her Instagram perfectly symbolizes her career, which has been scrutinized around the world since she started in the music industry in 1982, at the age of 25. Surely, Madonna has suffered every type of harassment that a pop star can endure: sexual harassment, body criticism, machismo, classism; accusations of cultural appropriation and of being anti-religious, sacrilegious, unpatriotic, youth-obsessed; and claims that she’s a heretic, an imposter for using playback in concerts, the financier of an alleged sect (Kabbalah)… Yes, she’s always gone too far in everything; as a woman from the suburbs of Detroit, that has not been tolerated. In the 1980s, she burned crucifixes in her music video for Like a Prayer; in the 1990s, she published a book, Sex, that had the most explicit images of homosexuality and fetishism that a star had ever shown; in the 2000s, she passionately kissed Britney Spears at an awards gala with millions of people watching on television; and just recently on June 23, at a New York Pride celebration, she made out with her new friend, Tokisha, the 26-year-old Dominican woman we know from the songs she performs with Rosalía like “Linda” and “La Combi de Versace.”

Madonna with designer Jean Paul Gaultier after the release of the album 'Erotica' at a parade in Paris in 1992.
Madonna with designer Jean Paul Gaultier after the release of the album ‘Erotica’ at a parade in Paris in 1992.Jim Smeal (Getty)

For a person who is so continually obsessed with attention, it must be frustrating for Madonna that she doesn’t resonate with today’s young people. Hence, her display with Tokisha and her desire to work with Kendrick Lamar, hip hop’s biggest talent today, as she confessed a week ago on Jimmy Fallon’s show. Madonna has one consolation: many teenagers today will also ignore the Beatles’ significance entirely, although Paul McCartney probably doesn’t care much about that anymore.

For 40 years, Madonna has been a thoughtful provocateur. Between provocations, she has recorded good albums with a limited voice. She herself has confessed that the biggest challenge of her career was preparing for the musical film Evita (1996); she had to work hard with the best singing coaches to bring her vocal abilities up to snuff. In four decades, she has released 14 albums, and at least five of them are essential listening. The first two (Madonna, 1983, and Like A Virgin, 1984) are full of gems that define 1980s dance pop. Songs like Holiday, Everybody, Lucky Star, Material Girl, Like a Virgin and Dress You Up are still exciting today, and they hold up equally well at the gym and in the club. Of course, Like a Prayer (1989), surely Madonna’s best work, transcends the context of the 1980s to retain its appeal in

subsequent decades. In terms of lyrics, Ray of Light (1998) was one of her career’s best. Her great avant-garde electronica work with producer William Orbit is both relaxed and festive. Finally, her reinvention with Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005) – done in collaboration with Stuart Price – gave 1970s/early 1980s disco music a facelift by updating it and making it more sophisticated. Through the present day, Madonna has been enormously influential; her imprint on Dua Lipa is the clearest example. She always knew that fame comes through a musical pastiche: taking a bit from here and a bit from there without being too obvious and then embellishing it with her own contributions.

The singer in her iconic gold corset with spiky breasts on the 1990 'Blonde Ambition' tour.
The singer in her iconic gold corset with spiky breasts on the 1990 ‘Blonde Ambition’ tour.Cordon Press

Madonna has sold 250 million records and is the best-selling female artist in history, not bad for a girl who was born in a Detroit suburb, and whose world was shattered when she lost her mother at 6 years old. At the age of 20, she left for New York to do the opposite of what her strict father told her: she

became a model and was soon performing nude at punk joints like CBGB’s. When she began to break through in music, she found herself in the spotlight and surrounded by male achievers, including Prince, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, George Michael and U2. Of the 25 best-selling albums in the 1980s, when she began her career, only two women’s work made the cut : Madonna (with Like a Virgin and True Blue) and Whitney Houston.

In this male-dominated context, Madonna used her own sexualization to craft her image and exert control. She was not a sexual amusement for the male audience; she was a powerful and defiant woman. Madonna grew up listening to Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and other Motown artists, learned to play the drums with Elvis Costello’s New Wave records, saw David Bowie as the first concert she attended, and had her first drink at the age of 30, following her divorce from actor Sean Penn. Restless and curious, she always sought the company of daring artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

With Maluma at a concert in Medellín, Colombia, on April 30, 2022.
With Maluma at a concert in Medellín, Colombia, on April 30, 2022.Fredy Builes (Getty Images)

Soon, Madonna realized that she was living in a hostile environment that was not ready to tolerate an emancipated woman’s success. In 1985, Playboy and Penthouse magazines published nude photographs that had been taken of her in 1979, when the singer was not yet famous and made her living posing naked for photographers. The publications took advantage of the singer’s fame in the mid-1980s and sold the old images. Madonna took the incident as a warning. “That was the first time I was aware of saying ‘Fuck you’ with my attitude. You’re trying to put me down because of this? I’m not going to let public opinion dictate my own feelings about myself. I’m not going to apologize for anything I’ve done,” she told Rolling Stone magazine. In 2016, when Billboard magazine named her Woman of the Year, Madonna delivered a legendary speech against sexism, machismo, and misogyny: “If you’re a girl, you have to play the game. You’re allowed to be pretty and cute and sexy. But don’t act too smart. Don’t have an opinion that’s out of line with the status quo. You are allowed to be objectified by men and dress like a slut, but don’t own your sluttiness.” She defiantly added that those who diminished her had made her tougher: “To the doubters

and naysayers and everyone who gave me hell and said I could not, that I would not or I must not — your resistance made me stronger, made me push harder, made me the fighter that I am today. It made me the woman that I am today. So thank you.”

More than a pop star, Madonna is a concept. She stands for rebelliousness, indiscipline and fighting against the odds. That’s why she is an LGTBI muse and a point of reference for those who came after her: Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Pink… and the current pop goddess, Beyoncé, who recently released a version of her single “Break My Soul” fused with Madonna’s 1990 hit “Vogue.” Beyonce thanked Madonna for her example in a note that the latter shared on social media: “I’m so grateful for you. You have opened so many doors for so many women. You are a masterpiece genius.”

Emerging Spanish-language urban musicians also express their appreciation for Madonna. As the Argentine Ms Nina, who lives in Spain, put it: “She’s an inspirational empowered woman. Now, our lyrics scandalize people, but she was much more radical in the 1980s. People criticize her now because she has surgery, because she is old…. Let’s see how her critics are doing when they’re 60 years old. They’re never happy. But they’re not going to intimidate her. I love her.”

Madonna with Michael Jackson at the 1991 Oscars.
Madonna with Michael Jackson at the 1991 Oscars.Cordon Press

Indeed, no matter how many haters visit her Instagram, Madonna is not going to give up. In 2019, she released an album that passed muster with harsh critics. Madame X did not thrill people but she did convince them. “Oh, you’re not allowed to make youthful, fun, sexy music if you’re a certain age? That’s a load of bollocks, to speak your language,” she said in a 2019 interview with The Guardian about her recently released album. True to her commitment to the queer community, a few days ago she released Material Gworrllllllllllllll!, a collaboration with gay rapper Saucy Santana in which they remix her 1980s hit Material Girl.

Three weeks ago, the singer gave an interview to Variety, announcing that she will direct a movie about her life (Julia Garner will play her). She explained it this way: “It was also a preemptive strike because a lot of people were trying to make movies about me. Mostly misogynistic men. So I put my foot in the door and said, ‘No one’s going to tell my story, but me.’” As always, that’s just Madonna being Madonna.

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