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Pinter's Politics

The playwright Harold Pinter died on Wednesday after a long bout with cancer of the esophagus. There were long obituaries in the New York Times and elsewhere. I'd seen perhaps six or seven of his plays and read two of them besides. There was no question as to why he merited the Nobel Prize for Literature, awarded to him in 2005.

But Pinter also thought of himself as a political person, a very much political person. Here he was a little bit not on the edge but much off the edge. One of his heroes was Slobodan Milosevic. He detested Israel. And, for that matter, America. Yes, he was Jewish but, of course, very enlightened Jewish.

Anyway, the papers didn't know what to make of his politics. So, while inferring that they were more a bit weird, they glossed them over.

So we are indebted to Oliver Kamm, a writer for the Times of London, who published today in his own paper on Friday a piece explaining Pinter's politics which can be summed up as hostility to western democracy. But, then, Knut Hamsun was a fascist novelist and he also won the Nobel Prize for Literature.