Nelle Harper Lee, 1926–2016: Minorities Never Lie About Rape

Duke Dougherty


Harper Lee’s death on February 19 drew the international attention one would expect given her status as the Martin Luther King of literature. Her novel To Kill a Mockingbird is annually visited on high schools everywhere with a demand for its reverence equal to the demand for unquestioned veneration of the reverend doctor himself. And yet, the mockingbird cried a complex tune last month, hitting notes not long ago thought to be beyond its range.

As expected, January’s holiday for MLK elicited the sniveling sighs of White supplication. In contrast, February’s eulogies lacked the once-anticipated chorus for Lee’s immediate canonization. The problem last month, of course, was actually the problem of last year with the sinful publication of Lee’s other novel, Go Set a Watchman. In it, Lee revealed that St. Atticus Finch was a segregationist(!)

Progressives and cuckservatives everywhere gasped! But then they remembered they control the narrative. In fact, they invented it. And they can modify it whenever the facts so require. After all, they had been claiming for decades that women never lie about rape while simultaneously Biblicizing a novel in which a woman does in fact lie about rape.

The Mockingbird mainstreamers eventually gathered themselves and saw the error of their initial shock. Unfortunately, Atticus hadn’t been immaculately conceived as they had previously believed. But he still had done right when the faith had been challenged, and if his motives had been mixed, that only demonstrated the nuanced characterization they always claimed to admire in literature.

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Not a few social justice warriors, however, thought Harper Lee a fraud. No good person can be a segregationist, and to allow one to have the saintly role in Mockingbird undercut Lee’s claim to ordinary salvation, much less her place in the pantheon of the Civil Rights Movement.

Remarkably, this tizzy fails to account that Lee should be all the more revered were she truly a fraud. After all, earning a place next to Martin Luther King requires extraordinary credentials. King was an atheistic Communist adulterer who beat his bedroom visitors while holding forth as a pious Christian minister. He acquired a doctorate in theology by plagiarizing a significant portion of his dissertation.

The elites know how to handle mere wannabes like the Rev. Jimmy Swaggert who couldn’t do better than hook up with a single prostitute. Such are the failings of despicable mortals. For cultural sainthood and your very own holiday, there’s a much higher bar.

So can the advocates of Harper Lee produce the credentials for her place alongside the Reverend King? Or had she merely been posing all those decades as their wish-fulfillment of a White redeemer?

Before Mockingbird even hit the shelves in 1960, it had already been tagged as a must-read masterpiece by the literary elites. The Literary Guild and Reader’s Digest Condensed Books had chosen it, and none would doubt the Pulitzer people had it on their short list. So the lesser lights who write book reviews for periodicals obediently recited their hosannas.

Nonetheless, a few reviewers called out Lee’s failure to master point of view. In essence, they noted that Lee wanted to warm readers’ hearts with a cutesy, little girl narrator (six-eight-year old Jean Louise Finch, called Scout as a child) while still peppering the narrative with adult commentary. The problem is not dual narration, per se. Rather, Lee repeatedly lapses into Jean Louise’s adult commentary and diction within her Scout narration and within scenes ostensibly set in the 1930s.

A 1961 post-Pulitzer review came from James B. McMillan, the English Department chairman at the University of Alabama. While he praised Mockingbird as a “superior book,” he evidently wanted to cover his backside from the dual charge of lack of sophistication and lack of familiarity with modern fiction. His favorable review pointed out that Mockingbird’s setting “has been described in fiction a thousand times [and] the characters are exactly the types that a correspondence-school course in fiction would prescribe… [while] the incidents are standard stock:…childhood escapades, first day at school, white child’s visit to a Negro church service, a mad dog scare, an attempted lynching, a ladies’ afternoon party, and a predictable trial of a Negro for rape.”

Despite those occasional criticisms, the Pulitzer-winning Mockingbird enjoyed widespread acclaim and racked up massive sales. But Lee’s possible credentials as a fraud befitting liberal racial policies had made no appearance. That took time.

It started with Lee’s reluctance to publicly discuss her novel, and it progressed with her failure to produce a second novel. As the years wore on, skeptics wondered how she could possibly fail to publish again. Previously, it was thought that when great writers stopped writing, they blew their brains out a la Hemmingway. Lesser talents might vainly try to replenish their creativity with drink, and the occasional John Gardner might take his last motorcycle ride.

But Harper Lee — having ridden the crack-cocaine high of publishing the most celebrated novel of the 20th Century — “Just Said No” to any further cravings. She alone among novelists was able to write, publish, bask in Pulitzer-level adulation, revel in phenomenal sales, and never again surrender to authorial urges.

Some started reasoning that if she couldn’t write a second novel, perhaps she hadn’t actually written the first. More than a few wondered if Truman Capote, her friend since childhood, had written Mockingbird.

Lee’s biographer Charles J. Shields purports to debunk the conjecture of Capote authorship. Shields feebly quotes the son-in-law of Lee’s editor Tay Hohoff to the effect that Lee and Tay were too close to keep secrets from each other. But Shields himself competently disposes of Capote’s ability to keep such a secret.

But disproving Truman Capote’s agency doesn’t settle the matter. An editor or agent who goes looking can choose from hundreds of capable ghostwriters. Shields’ own narrative demonstrates that Lee’s agent Maurice Crain presented Mockingbird as the novel Atticus to J. B. Lippincott in 1957, and Hohoff thereafter worked with Lee for two long, frustrating years. Shields quotes Hohoff as observing that Lee needed “professional help in organizing her material and developing a sound plot structure.” Did Hohoff herself render all that help, or was an unnamed writer eventually brought in?

Shields published his biography in 2006. At that time, the case for skepticism was limited to Lee’s lack of a second novel and her reticence to discuss the first as though it concealed a dark secret.

Though never argued, there might be a third piece of evidence. Shields devotes a long, interesting chapter to Lee’s assistance to Capote as he wrote In Cold Blood. As chance would have it, right after the galleys for Mockingbird went out, Capote won an assignment from the New Yorker to cover the killings of the Clutter family in rural western Kansas. Capote asked his friend Lee to assist him. With the fully completed Mockingbird in the hands of her publisher, Lee happily agreed.

Capote used his contacts, and Lee used her personal skills to offset Capote’s lack thereof to win interviews and investigative tips that eluded the general press covering the case. Among other feats, their teamwork nailed them a personal tour of the otherwise sealed-off farmhouse where the Clutter family had been murdered.

Shields references and quotes some of Lee’s notes, and they betray Lee as disaffected from general American values of the time. After seeing pictures of Jesus and Christian books in several rooms, Lee notes this as “modern religious crap” and sarcastically asks Capote if she might have missed a print of Jesus by the washer and dryer.

Capote understood that tape recorders and note taking inhibit interviewees from speaking freely, so he liked to rely on his superb memory of details. Lee’s task was to observe and paint the character portraits.

Shields of course may be editing to protect his narrative flow. But a fair reading of his chapter leaves one concluding that Lee utilized her prejudices and imagination in painting a character portrait of the murdered wife and mother Bonnie Clutter. And that portrait showed Bonnie’s suppressed creativity.

Lee wrote of Bonnie: “She was probably one of the world’s most wretched women; highly creative in instinct but with the creative will in her stifled over the years by a dominating husband…”

That’s Lee painting the character — she’s not quoting an interviewee. So might that be Lee projecting her own prejudices and life experiences? As a self-confessed tomboy and oft-assumed lesbian who never married, Lee might have personally entertained notions about stifling marriages.

But what about seeing suppressed creativity in Bonnie Clutter? In the Kansas winter of 1959-60, Lee had returned the galleys on Mockingbird and awaited the publication of her first novel after ten long years of an author’s hope and toil. She should have been pumping her fist and shouting “Yes!” to the world, shadow boxing every imagined foe who had doubted her abilities. But instead of being overwhelmed with the rush of creative accomplishment, she projected creative suppression onto a murdered woman she never met.

What of Hohoff’s observation that Lee’s novel needed professional help? Did Hohoff or Crain find Lee a ghostwriter, or was Hohoff’s editorial hand so heavy that it suppressed Lee’s own creativity?

In Mockingbird, an innocent Negro is unjustly convicted of rape — a capital offense at that time and place. On the courthouse steps after the verdict, Scout overhears a Miss Gates rejoicing about the injustice. “It’s time somebody taught ’em a lesson.”

But come fall, this Miss Gates is Scout’s third-grade teacher, and she seizes an opportunity to share her morality with her students. In a current events lesson, she excoriates Hitler. “There are no better people in the world than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn’t think so is a mystery to me….They contribute to every society they live in…[yet] the Jews have been persecuted since the beginning of history.”

Really? A racist elementary school teacher in a racist Alabama town in 1935 lectures about the evils of Hitler and the virtue and suffering of Jews? Could an author who actually grew up in a small Alabama town create such a character? Or might this be evidence of another hand — perhaps a ghostwriter whose existence would explain Lee’s projection of creative suppression onto Bonnie Clutter in 1959?

In 2015, the storm named Go Set a Watchman blew through the politically correct world. With moral shallowness barely anchoring their intellectual instability, many liberals flapped about in despair of the coming Supremacists, hopelessly unable to recognize this second novel as but a second denunciation of White racism.

That Atticus Finch became a segregationist would, no doubt, upset those longing for the societal transformation from White to café au lait. But admirers of Mockingbird, above all, ought to understand that fiction works in mysterious ways. After all, Mockingbird was a novel with an innocent girl from the 1930s absorbing every liberal shibboleth of the late 1950s. She don’t know nuthin ’cept there’s a whole lot of White racism going on.

The champions of Mockingbird boldly asserted that it demonstrated a love for the South even as it hit on every vicious anti-Southern theme. Does a lynch mob targeting an innocent Negro and a predetermined unjust conviction of said innocent Negro in the same book really fool anyone about the anti-White message?

Watchman plays the same old game of attacking White identity by pretending to advocate love and racial tolerance. But Watchman obviously didn’t have a serious editor or a ghostwriter, and it went to press without the benefit of either a blue pencil or a plot.

Two distressing editorial concerns are the endless pages of Southern anecdotes and the protracted debate which serves as a faux-climax.

Lesser problems also point to the lack of an editor. At one point, Watchman’s narrator mentions: “What saved it from becoming another grubby little Alabama community was that Maycomb’s proportion of professional people ran high.” One can easily imagine an editor blue penciling the word grubby — perhaps with a reminder that “we critique the South by pretending to love it.”

The point of view problems never fully solved in Mockingbird are mere technicalities compared to Lee’s recklessness in Watchman. After the narrator Jean Louise learns Atticus is a segregationist, she tries to describe her shocked state with an annoying switch to third person narration. Then, in the middle of a paragraph, she switches back to first person narration.

She rose, smiled goodbye, and said she would be coming back soon. She made her way to the sidewalk. Two solid hours and I didn’t know where I was. I am so tired.

The greater problem with Watchman stems from its lack of a plot. It meanders aimlessly but tolerably in the manner of Mockingbird’s Southern charm until it eventually tires the reader. Then Jean Louise Finch discovers that her Daddy Atticus has become a segregationist while she’s been living in the big city. After endless pages of moral posturing every bit as tiring as the overbaked Southern charm, Jean Louise confronts Atticus.

Jean Louise and Atticus argue with dialog less fit for fiction than a raw transcript of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. With moral righteousness, big city girl condemns small-town prejudice and is ready to sever all ties with it and with her father. But Atticus regains her love by praising her spirited devotion to the beliefs he himself opposes.

In essence, Watchman has only the makings for a short story — not a novel. And Watchman’s lack of a novel-sustaining plot comes off curiously like the proposed novel Atticus that Lee’s agent Maurice Crain first submitted to J. B. Lippincott in the spring of 1957. At the first editorial meeting, Lee was told that Atticus was “more a series of anecdotes than a fully conceived novel.”

Shields reports that Lee gave 111 pages of a second novel to Crain after her first novel was sent to Lippincott. The naming of those two novels is both confusing and enlightening. Lee had named the first novel Go Set a Watchman, but Crain had her change it to Atticus before sending it out to Lippincott. Lippincott accepted this novel, but changed the name once again, and the legendary To Kill a Mockingbird emerged.

Lee’s second novel was titled The Long Goodbye. Thinking of that title, one can imagine the story in 2015’s Go Set a Watchman. The narrator is saying goodbye to her prejudiced Southern town and father, or perhaps she’s saying goodbye to her innocent belief in her father’s saintliness. It’s not difficult to imagine that Lee retitled Goodbye with her now-available first title Watchman. Logically, it could come full circle. Atticus was the watchman-hero of the first novel, and his daughter Jean Louise becomes the watchman-hero of the second.

As to authorship, both 2015’s Watchman and the original version of Mockingbird lacked a plot. Readers can see that for themselves with 2015’s Watchman, and the Lippincott editors noted it about Lee’s original version of Mockingbird. But Mockingbird ended up with a plot — presumably after Hohoff said Lee needed “professional help in organizing her material and developing a sound plot structure.” That help may have been a ghostwriter that Watchman never got.

Regardless of actual authorship, Mockingbird served its purpose to vilify White identity. It propagated the most vile Southern stereotypes of Negroes being lynched and unjustly convicted by White juries while popularizing the myth of grateful Negroes who would call Whites blessed if only they’d discard their racial identity.

With Watchman, the message remained constant. However, Lee’s inability to construct a plot left her unable to reestablish the sainthood of Atticus after tarnishing his image in the pursuit of lionizing the adult Jean Louise. A ghostwriter could have solved this problem. “Professional help” could have re-crafted the story so that liberals still loved Atticus as much as ever and Lee even more than before. But Watchman never got a ghostwriter, and that tarnished Lee’s legacy almost as much as her now-nuanced character Atticus.

One can easily understand why this second novel sat unpublished all those decades. The phenomenal success of Mockingbird rested on the shoulders of St. Atticus, and this second novel undercut his sainthood. Since Lee publicly promised an upcoming novel for several years, it’s reasonable to assume she spent those years vainly searching for Watchman’s literary solution. Presumably, she then gave up, and certainly, she never publicly discussed her failure.

The buzz preceding Watchman’s 2015 release included charges of Lee’s manipulation by her attorney. Lee’s sister Alice – who had been her business confidant – died in November 2014. Within months of the death, Alice’s law partner announced the discovery of Watchman and its forthcoming publication.

Some suspected that the law partner had decided to cash in on Lee’s second novel. They reasoned that Lee and her sister knew the second novel was subpar, and that’s why they left it unpublished all those decades. But with Alice’s death and Lee’s diminished capacity from old age and a stroke, the door was open to manipulate Lee.

As a result of the controversy, the state of Alabama investigated the charge of undue influence. State officials interviewed Lee and her caregivers and spoke to friends who held contrasting opinions. The state determined that Lee possessed sufficient capacity to make her own decisions, and that she did indeed desire the publication of Watchman.

Giving due weight to those findings, Lee’s attorney did not take advantage of Lee after Alice’s death. And yet, the timing of the decision to publish Watchman strongly suggests that Alice’s death was the key factor. The simplest way to reconcile the known facts is to assume that Lee herself changed course after Alice’s death.

Alice may have dissuaded Lee from publishing Watchman all those years. But once Alice died, Lee forsook the advice of her older sister and business advisor. Marja Mills’ memoir The Mockingbird Next Door makes clear that the sisters’ deep love for each other did not preclude their frequent disagreements. Mills quotes Maurice Crain as saying, “They don’t agree on anything, not even the temperature.” So perhaps, they disagreed on the advisability of publishing Watchman.

If there hadn’t been sisterly disagreement, why would Lee fail to publish Watchman all those decades and yet retain the manuscript? Retention assured that someone at some point would discover it, and the story of Atticus the segregationist would become known. And Lee did indeed let that become known – but only after Alice died.

Last year, Russell Berman of The Atlantic interviewed Harper Publishing’s Jonathan Burnham about the surprise emergence of Watchman. Burnham put forth that Lee believed the Watchman manuscript had been lost in the 1960s, but Lee’s attorney had instead chanced upon it attached to the back of the Mockingbird manuscript while conducting a routine check of the latter. If so, that still doesn’t explain why Lee waited so long to publish Watchman before it was lost. Nor does it square up with Alice’s claim in the 1980s that burglars had stolen the manuscript for Lee’s second novel.

Given the foreseeable uproar over Atticus the segregationist, Lee must have felt strongly enough about Watchman to publish it after Alice’s death. Surely Alice had counseled her that tarnishing Atticus’ reputation might do the same to her own. And yet, Lee proudly published her second novel fifty-five years after the first. A love for Watchman must have burned inside her all those years.

Perhaps, Lee so loved her second novel because it lionizes her alter-ego Jean Louise. Or perhaps, Go Set a Watchman was the one novel she wrote all by herself.

R. Duke Dougherty, Jr. is the author of the novel Cassidy O’Callaghan. Synopses of his books can be found at DukeDougherty.com or at ebook sellers Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and Kobo.

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40 Comments to "Nelle Harper Lee, 1926–2016: Minorities Never Lie About Rape"

  1. anonymous-antimarxist's Gravatar anonymous-antimarxist
    March 27, 2016 - 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Duke Dougherty,

    Thanks for the very interesting article!

    I hope that Kevin MacDonald will have you write several more on both Harper Lee’s actual childhood and the life of her lawyer and later journalist father Amasa Coleman Lee the inspiration for Atticus Finch of both novels.

    From my own limited internet research, the real Amasa Coleman Lee comes across more like as one time chastened liberal turned race realist in his later years than a staunch life long reactionary segregationist. So neither of Harper Lee’s novels seem to do her father justice.

    Before Lee became a title lawyer, he once defended two black men accused of murdering a white storekeeper. Both clients, a father and son, were hanged. [4]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amasa_Coleman_Lee#Political_and_law_career

    Also please write about the real rape case involving black ex-con Walter Letts of Naomi Lowery that was the closest inspiration for the rape trial of Tom Robinson in TKaM. I believe the real Amasa Coleman Lee, by then a retired lawyer turned small town journalist/publisher wrote not on behalf of Letts’ innocence, but that given mitigating circumstances the death penalty for rape was unwarranted. An opinion that was popularly supported and carried the day. So much for the foaming at the mouths rednecks of TKaM.

    Many scholars have traced To Kill A Mockingbird’s roots back to the Scottsboro Trial–an early 1930s case in which nine black boys were charged with raping two white women on a train en route to Alabama–pointing to the fact that Lee herself was about Scout’s age as the crime and court drama played themselves out in her native state. But in his recent book Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, Charles Shields details the events of yet another trial even closer to Lee’ s Monroeville, in which a white woman named Naomi Lowery accused Walter Letts, a black man, of rape, drawing even more parallels between fictional Maycomb and Lee’s real-life hometown.

    https://www.mysteryscenemag.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1458:do-the-right-thing-harper-lee-and-to-kill-a-mockingbird&catid=46:feature

    Many people are lead to believe by the Cultural Marxists that Harper Lee’s TKaM was only slightly fictionalize account of her father’s life. The truth is actually far more interesting and Harper Lee’s father actually seems to have been a man many on the Alt-Right would be fascinated to learn about.

    The question to me is why did Harper Lee, who went on to be an assistant to her close childhood friend Truman Capote in writing the landmark “true crime novel” In Cold Blood a key influence on the “New Journalism” and novels of the great Tom Wolfe, allow herself to be the stooge of a bunch of New York Cultural Marxists. Was this the source of Harper Lee’s later famous reclusiveness.

    It’s is known that Amasa Coleman Lee spent his later years as a journalist, wrote many widely circulated editorials and gave speeches to local white citizens councils. There has to be enough of a public record that would be of fascinating interest to the readers of TOO.

  2. Gotcha's Gravatar Gotcha
    March 26, 2016 - 6:07 am | Permalink

    Dearest me.

    Political correctness does’t work with machines and learning algorithms. Microsoft just shutdown their Twitter artificial intelligence (AI) chatbox “Tay” (@TayandYou) after it learned a dose of race realism within 24 hours.

    You can trust AI not accept Hollywood films where all the rapists are flaxen and blue-eyed white males like me.

  3. March 25, 2016 - 4:47 pm | Permalink

    The Two PC’s

    Pop Culture. It offers Immediate Gratification. It demands mindless surrender to hedonism and animal drives. Music Industry is a Cultural Meth Lab.

    Political Correctness. It offers Immediate Sanctification(or Validation). If you’re Jewish, Homo, or Black, you are so good, wonderful, and only need to pat yourself on the back.

    Millennials, the 2PC generation.

  4. March 25, 2016 - 3:18 am | Permalink

    Anyone here see THE BIG SHORT the movie? What a crock of shi*.

    This pretends to be an anti-Wall-Street movie but is really a Jewish Conscience propaganda.

    Notice that Baum’s Jewishness is explicitly mentioned BUT the Jewishness of many Wall Street crooks are NOT mentioned. So, we get the impression of Jewish CONSCIENCE against culture of greed.
    Never mind Baum is just another financial player. The ending sort of admits to this but shows him sooooooooo agonized about making a huge amount of profit. Oh boo hoo hoo. Gosh, it sure hurts to make $200 million dollars!! His conscience, boo hoo.

    And guess who is used as the face of Goldman Sachs? A Hindu boy.

    And there is also a black woman as the face of Morgan Stanley.

    And there is some Asian as the face of CDO fraud.

    You’d think the financial crisis was brought upon by hindus, blacks, and Vietnamese.

    Against them is Baum the Jewish Conscience Man who is sooooooooooo OUTRAGED by all the corruption, all the while sniffing around to rake in millions. I mean gimme a break.

    This is a sly disgusting movie. It pretends to tell us something about the rottenness of America, but who hasn’t heard of the financial meltdown since 2008?

    The real agenda of this movie is to give the false impression that Jews are the main moral conscience against the culture of greed.

    The most dishonest movie since SOCIAL NETWORK, an apologia for Jewish greed.

  5. Karen T's Gravatar Karen T
    March 24, 2016 - 5:18 pm | Permalink

    John “Jack” Dunphy, Capotes lover, is rumored to have largely written In Cold Blood, not entirely unbelievable, as the style is unlike Capotes earlier books which are more in the style of Harper Lees To Kill A Mockingbird.

  6. mari's Gravatar mari
    March 24, 2016 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I just got home. Within about 3 miles I passed 2 art and intellectual movie theaters that are showing that glorification of rape, Mockingbird.

    I’ve always felt the reason February was selected as Black non History month was so liberals could combine January, St. Martin the communist wife beating plagariast month with black history month. Now it looks as though black worship will be three months, a full quarter.

  7. Blaine's Gravatar Blaine
    March 24, 2016 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

    “There are no better people in the world than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn’t think so is a mystery to me….They contribute to every society they live in…[yet] the Jews have been persecuted since the beginning of history.”

    That proves a heavy helping hand, no doubt about it.

    Are we going to get this propaganda every time a washing detergent commercial runs?

  8. Mari's Gravatar Mari
    March 24, 2016 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Curmudgeon
    Attacks in Jews and their buildings only occur a month before the Israeli fundraisers come to town

    Then it is just a swaztika daubed on a cemetery wall the night the security cameras are out of order

  9. Hadrian's Gravatar Hadrian
    March 24, 2016 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    This video should be shared with everyone you know: jews at AIPAC condemning Trump’s comments on Muslims while defending Israel’s right to keep them out.

  10. Stogumber's Gravatar Stogumber
    March 24, 2016 - 2:51 am | Permalink

    1. Thanks to Mr. Dougherty for this fine and precise analysis.
    2. We mustn’t forget that, when Harper Lee wrote “Atticus”, the “innocent negro called rapist” meme was well known already – it had been developed among others by William Faulkner. So it may have been an editorial decision to make this meme the center of the story.
    3. The most pleasing and original theme is the story of the hidden man next door and the children’s contact with him. This has a definitely “Southern” flair – family conflicts, pride and secrecy – which as well had been developed before, by Faulkner and others. (And the perspective, “seeing the world through a child’s eyes” had been exploited by Capote.)
    4. When I read “Mockingbird” first, I was mostly impressed by the way the author took pains to paint most Southern Whites, above all the majority of poor Whites, as morally sane, but only stubborn and prejudiced. This is in accordance with the general approach of Liberals at that time – take e.g. Kennedy/Sorensen’s book about “Profiles in Courage” which is even respectful to Calhoun and actually lionizes the intermediary politicians like Henry Clay. I always thought that this position was honest in the beginning, but made way to a more negative view only when the Liberals went more to the Left. But I’m not quite certain nowadays: Was it perhaps never more than a mere dishonest plot in order to circumvent White opposition?

  11. March 24, 2016 - 2:41 am | Permalink

    I am impressed with Dougherty’s fine sense of figures of speech. The ceaseless literary and Hollywood effort in the USA to romanticize the Blacks is a logical follow- up on the self-inflicted sense of the White man’s guilt in the wake of WWII. Take a look at the Pope’s hypermoralistic homilies being dished out to incoming masses of Third Worlders in Europe. This very moment, i.e. March 24, Pope Francis is washing off the alleged sins of the alleged racist West by washing the Lent (and lent!) feet of a dozen Afro-Asian migrants in Italy. It is time we address more critically Christian ecumenism and its modern secular avatars. No need to harp only on self-denial of starry-eyed Liberals and the Left. A central pillar in this Unholy Trinity today is the Church and its modern allegorical Isaiah (11:6) that from now on “The mean White wolf must share his bed with the noble Black/Brown lamb.”

    • Rosa's Gravatar Rosa
      March 24, 2016 - 11:27 am | Permalink

      The mocking of the Holy Thurday Feast and rites that the Bishop of Rome is making since the first time he did it, is an insult to God ( Holy Trinity) who, in due time, will exact His Justice.
      Happily more and more Catholics are seeing the BoR for whom and what he is: a nutt serving the powers that be.
      Veni, Domine, et salva nos!

      • Pierre de Craon's Gravatar Pierre de Craon
        March 24, 2016 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Pace Tom Sunic, it is you who are correct, Rosa. The Church has not betrayed us; rather, the Church has been betrayed by enemies within and without, just as surely as its Founder was betrayed by one whose betrayal was even graver than that of the Argentine communist in the Vatican.

        The annual commemoration of Holy Week, especially the events of Good Friday, ought to serve as a reminder that those with the temerity to strike at the Shepherd would hardly hesitate to strike at the sheep, too.

        Parce nobis, Domine. Domine, exaudi nos et salva nos.

        • rosa's Gravatar rosa
          March 25, 2016 - 2:30 am | Permalink

          Buona Pasqua, Happy Easter, Pierre !
          RR
          PS: Pierre, I’m reading “The rite of sodomy”, by R. Engel. Do you know the book ?

        • Pierre de Craon's Gravatar Pierre de Craon
          March 26, 2016 - 11:52 pm | Permalink

          Happy Easter, Rosa.

          I saw Mrs. Engel’s book when it first appeared in the nineties. It was a shock to learn that the actual situation was really far worse than the media reports had indicated; I along with many others had till then thought that the extent of the abuse was being sensationalized.

          I never doubted, however that the true problem was homosexuality, not what the media insisted on calling pedophilia. Even then, of course, the media were actively engaged in covering over the true nature of the crimes and the criminal perpetrators. At least, back then one could still speak of homosexuality as a disordered appetite and a deviant lifestyle. Nowadays, saying such things publicly can end one’s career.

  12. Mari's Gravatar Mari
    March 23, 2016 - 11:23 pm | Permalink

    The Mockingbird defense has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of black rapists being found not guilty since 1960.

  13. PaleoAtlantid's Gravatar PaleoAtlantid
    March 23, 2016 - 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Why are we wasting time and ‘ink’ discussing trite and third rate efforts such as ‘Mockingbird’. Admittedly the film was an important piece of 1960s anti-White propaganda given gravitas by Peck’s skilled and memorable acting ability, but to attempt to watch it now is almost a cure for insomnia.

    • Celt Darnell's Gravatar Celt Darnell
      March 24, 2016 - 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Well, the propaganda’s the rub, isn’t it?

      This novel has read in God knows how many classrooms for three generations now (I know for a fact it has been taught in classes in the US, Canada and the UK and I bet there are others). Throw in a showing of the film to developing young minds and the damage is effectively done.

      I’ve no doubt some children see through it — I did partially because I was raised in Africa, so the “saintly Negro” bit was obvious nonsense — but I suspect most don’t.

      That’s where To Kill a Mockingbird does the most damage.

      As a piece of literature, it’s a load of rather obvious didactic crap. As propaganda aimed at children, it’s pretty insidious.

      • Free Thinker's Gravatar Free Thinker
        March 26, 2016 - 7:19 am | Permalink

        Almost as bad as the Little Ann’e Frank’s Cooked Book .
        There is a fabulous investigation on the internet by a fellow in the 1950’s who exposed This Life of Little Ann Franks to shameless load of cobblers cooked up by a cunning Jew shilling for $ .This investigator did an interview of the real author and his wife in Switzerland who wasn’t really even that interested in defending his hoax .
        Still the myth goes on in the dumbed down West and leftist PC lowbrows ( Leftist logic is like Swiss cheeze) who thrive on sorrow pablum . What Library in the West doesn’t have a copy of this propaganda? None that I know of.

  14. Pierre de Craon's Gravatar Pierre de Craon
    March 23, 2016 - 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Dougherty’s description of these very peculiar matters is beyond cavil, and his analysis and conclusions are reasonable and nuanced. (Anyone who thinks this is faint praise hasn’t been exposed to enough of what has passed for literary analysis in the past half-century.)

    The only thing I think it worth adding is that I no longer believe that even a bare majority of those who have been paid to scribble about Mockingbird ever read the book. To them, Atticus is not Atticus; he’s Gregory Peck, doing the finest work he ever did on the screen.

    As an obiter dictum, I can’t help wondering whether there might not be a pretentious New York Times Magazine article still to be written on the subject of people who claim to read a book but have only seen the flicker. (In their defense surely it’s better to have only watched Maurice and Passage to India than to have read Forster’s dreadful paeans to queers both in and out of the closet.) For example, just recently TMC showed Bridge on the River Kwai, and the (Jewish) introducer, Ben Mankiewicz, read copy describing the differences between the book and the film—most of which even anyone unfamiliar with the former might have guessed actually, the William Holden character being the most obvious one. Omitted, however, from Mankiewicz’s list was the single most striking difference, one known to every reader of Pierre Boulle’s book: in the book the bridge isn’t blown up at the end.

    In a sense there is a striking parallel with Mockingbird here: The silver screen “blows up” Atticus Finch (in a far different sense of that verb) to an extent that the book does not. Then comes Watchman, wherein Atticus really does get blown up in the David Lean sense!

    • Pierre de Craon's Gravatar Pierre de Craon
      March 23, 2016 - 6:14 pm | Permalink

      For TMC, read TCM. Mea culpa.

      Sad to say, this is an error I frequently make, for biographical reasons totally unrelated to Ted Turner, the movies, or white interests.

    • Mr Darcy's Gravatar Mr Darcy
      March 26, 2016 - 1:54 pm | Permalink

      You are right. I suspect that few Southern children of today see the story for what it is. What I cannot understand is that—as far as I know—nobody has ever explained that the books tells us—as does the movie—that the conviction would be overturned on appeal. I remember asking my parents about that when I was a boy (born 1955). My parents were born in the 1920s. And they explained that it was very simple: The local “Maycomb” jury had no choice but to convict Tom, knowing that the appeals judge would set the guy free, since everybody in “Maycomb County” knew that Tom was innocent and that the Ewings were “common.” Because to have convicted Tom in Maycomb would have meant the jurors publically accepting the sworn testimony of a colored man over that of a white woman, regardless of what everybody in the county knew about them and the situation. That could simply not be done. It was out of the question. So the jury and the court and Atticus and everybody else knew the whole time that Tom would be found guilty by the jury who knew he was innocent, because they also knew that when the appeals court—OUTSIDE the county–heard the case, they would free Tom. When my parents explained it to me—and I might have been 6 or 7 at the time—I understood the whole situation instantly. In the film, Atticus tells Tom as much, without the point-blank explanation my parents gave me, but kids today—even Southern kids—perhaps especially Southern kids—don’t grasp the whole “guilty” verdict, and probably never will. My children did. And do. My grandchildren, too, the eldest of whom will be 11 in May.

      • Pierre de Craon's Gravatar Pierre de Craon
        March 28, 2016 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Your comments about the courts and what people, including Harper Lee of course, had come to expect of them are a salutary reminder. Thank you.

  15. Margot Darby's Gravatar Margot Darby
    March 23, 2016 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

    This penetrating survey of Lee’s career makes a good companion piece to the Charles J. Shields biography Mockingbird, herein referenced. Shields too believed that Harper Lee was a profoundly dishonest and deceitful person, although he did not spell it out in that biography, which is mainly aimed at high-school students.

    A salient matter that both Shields and Dougherty (above) skim over is the guilt of Tom Robinson, the crippled Negro who is on trial for rape. Nobody in the book challenges the premise that some kind of sex took place. Atticus, as defense attorney, tries to ameliorate the charge by arguing that the sex was essentially consensual, with Miss Mayella Ewell taking the lead. (As Dougherty says, the message of the story is, shockingly, that women can lie about rape.) But this is a very poor defense; interracial coupling would equate to rape in the eyes of the jury, and probably the law. Thus Tom Robinson is guilty as charged and Miss Mayella is not lying. The only sound defense for Tom Robinson would be to claim there was no sex at all, but Atticus does not argue that and the author does not even propose that possibility.

    • Flossie's Gravatar Flossie
      March 24, 2016 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Some months back — when the Lee’s “Watchman” was published amidst much publicity — I read a fascinating article about how Lee’s original “Mockingbird” was nothing like the final version. Her editor/publisher found it much too dour and insisted it be made more of a crowd-pleaser. So its themes were repeatedly reworked at the publisher’s insistence until it bore little resemblance to Lee’s original work. But it suited the leftwing fashion of the time, got the universally glowing reviews the publisher knew it would, and it became a huge hit. “Watchman” didn’t toe the P.C. line and — predictably — caused consternation among fans and cognoscenti alike. Harper Lee’s older sister probably knew this would happen and that’s why she wouldn’t allow it to be published. Once the sister died, however, Harper Lee was free to publish it. I’d love to see the original draft of “Mockingbird!”

      • Barkingmad's Gravatar Barkingmad
        March 25, 2016 - 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Flossie, is this the article you read?

        http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/09/yall-can-kill-that-mockingbird-now/

        The author, Margot Metroland, stated (later):

        …I got my backstory from a) someone who knew Harper Lee in New York in the 1950s, when she was trudging around with a typescript that her editors wanted to reshape; and b) a book called ‘Mockingbird,’ by Charles J. Shields, which came out 7 or 8 years ago. This biography—or really, publishing analysis—has been mainly marketed as a high-school text, but it is very revealing in its details about Lee’s editors and agents. Basically, they knew they had a hot item if only they put a contemporary “civil rights” spin on the narrative.

  16. March 23, 2016 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    It’s a fascinating experience to read reviews of Harper Lee in amazon.com (i.e. the USA Amazon). Anyone who thinks the white war against Jews will be an easy matter might do well to reconsider.

    • March 23, 2016 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

      “Anyone who thinks the white war against Jews will be an easy matter might do well to reconsider.”

      Does anyone actually think that? I have to imagine anyone who’s aware is likewise aware of what a monumental struggle it is.

      • March 23, 2016 - 5:13 pm | Permalink

        @RedStaterNYC
        That’s a Cool website
        http://angrywhitedude.com/2016/03/gop-communist-front/

        Pre-Trump, the Republican Party line had become, in a nutshell, “The third world takeover of the U.S. is inevitable, therefore we must make ‘conservatism’ appealing to our new third world friends.” Enforcing borders, much less building a wall, was not part of the conversation, except as occasional applause lines. Any deviation from the endless war strategy, likewise, was unthinkable. Any real, unified opposition to Obamcare, etc., always turned out to be impossible to organize.

        To understand how this election cycle was supposed to go, remember that Marco Rubio was billed as “The Republican Savior” because he represented a hip, new, nonwhite ideal. Rubio was either a backup plan or the intended running mate for Jeb Bush, who was ready to be embraced by the “inevitable” Latino voters due to his wife and criminally inclined mestizo offspring. White Christians’ only hope, we were told, was to pander to illegal Latinos and cross our fingers that said illegals—the same people who made all of Latin America socialist—suddenly started reading Edmund Burke and quoting Thomas Jefferson.

      • March 24, 2016 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

        “I have to imagine anyone who’s aware is likewise aware of what a monumental struggle it is.”
        I might add, “or will be.”
        MONUMENTAL it is. But, what should we expect. Unprecedented adventures never are quick or easy.
        About 30 years ago I was reasonably favorable toward Jews owing to the stories I’d seen about their persecution thru-out the ages. I decided to review their history so I could better defend them. Instead I discovered a nation of cutthroats and thieves, described by many original histories as favored tax collectors of kings and nobles, bishops and popes for the last 2 or 3 millennia. Further research disclosed this tribe of bandits had been perpetrating general plunders and mass genocides for at least 5,000 years behind several disguises.
        Our problem now is, ‘How to we get rid of them… and make them accountable for the billions of lives they have destroyed or ruined?’
        Fortunately, during the above research, I accidentally found the answer. In fact, it is the answer to every conceivable grievance that could be listed.
        The answer? The same method employed by American Founders, First-Amendment assemblies; engines of the only eras in human history that have advanced the cause of man – the Golden Age of Greece (set in motion by the revolution of Athens, minus 509), the English revolution of 1620-50 and the American Revolution (based almost entirely on the English example).
        So, that’s the answer.
        But there is a major problem: there is hardly an American who knows anything about these revolutions or methods of redress.
        They don’t even know many rights, ideals or powers, won by the American Revolution. Without this knowledge, WHO would know what to aim at… much less HOW to achieve it?
        Take, for example, one: the right of consent and its logical consequent, two, the right to withhold taxes until government redresses grievances.
        One: American Founders repeatedly declared that “no man is obligated to obey any law or pay any tax unless he has given consent to it”. Did they mean this literally? Of course they did. From the first English settlement to the Revolution this was how affairs of the colonies were managed. Every “law” and every “tax” had its origin in contracts between colonial assemblies and those who petitioned for redress of grievances. The terms of the contract were sometimes referred to as “laws” of the contract, while its money payments were treated as “taxes”. And only petitioners were obligated to obey such “laws” and pay such “taxes”. When redress was completed, related “laws” and “taxes” expired. (http://redressone.wordpress.com/)
        This right of consent has powerful implications today: it means that only those who petition (submit proposed legislation to Congress) are obligated to obey terms (“laws”) and needed money payments “(taxes)” related to such petition.
        Two: In 1774, the Continental Congress issued the “Appeal to the Inhabitants of Quebec”. Its purpose was to encourage Canadians to join the American Revolution. This Appeal, listed three grand rights Americans intended to win with the Revolution: a) consent, b) redress before taxes and c) due process of law. Americans have heard of one and three and, of course, have no or little understanding of either. As to the second right, “redress before taxes”, it has almost been completely erased from our history and law books.
        The most comprehensive treatment of this right of “redress before taxes” is contained in my book, The Lost Right, edition 3.5. (http://redressone.wordpress.com/the-lost-right/)
        There, in four paragraphs I conveyed to you more real history than you learned in 12 years of elementary and high schools, and 4-6 years of university indoctrination. You won’t learn this and other lessons from professors, or judges, or lawyers; the first two depend on continued grievances for their pensions, the third never learned such history, or law.

        • Joe's Gravatar Joe
          March 25, 2016 - 7:55 am | Permalink

          “American Founders repeatedly declared that “no man is obligated to obey any law or pay any tax unless he has given consent to it”. Did they mean this literally? Of course they did. ” The folks in Shay’s Rebellion found out otherwise …

    • Michael Adkins's Gravatar Michael Adkins
      March 23, 2016 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Rerevisionist,

      So true, just watch coverage of the “hate attacks” in Belgium. Our brothers and sisters are given no chance of solidarity as a folk. The corporate media makes sure there’s an African or Asian in all its stories.

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