Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Every Woman Love[d] a Fascist

Apparently, it wasn't just Sylvia Plath who gave the side-eye to her father. His old FBI files have been unearthed, revealing a resounding "meh." Who among us would have gotten really excited about buying Liberty Bonds, anyway?

The FBI files, headed "Pro-German", recorded that, as an "alien enemy", Otto lost teaching positions, having graduated from Northwestern College and the University of Washington, Seattle. Later however, he did obtain positions.

In one passage, they noted: "He has stated … that he will return to Germany after the War, and seems to have assumed a rather pro-German attitude towards [it] on account of losing his positions." But later they commented he had "a rather indifferent attitude" and mentioned a denial of saying he would go back to Germany after the war.

He also told investigators that his parents came to the US "because of the better conditions" but defended his homeland, saying: "Some things are rotten in Germany, but not all; that the German people and their character is not altogether rotten."

MY father's mostly-performative communist sympathies are believed to have kept my uncle out of the Canadian variant of the Secret Service, but have not yet inspired any overrated works of confessional poetry.

Not yet.

45 Comments / Post A Comment

Regina Phalange

NICOLE. 10:49am on a Tuesday, you've driven a stake through my heart. OVERRATED?!


@Nicole Cliffe Do you rate Sexton higher? Or Lowell, even? ETA - oh, I forgot, you're virulently Team Ted, right? I like them both. I don't want to choose sides!

For my money, I'd say she's a good poet, a subpar novelist / short-story writer but a wonderful diarest.


@Nicole Cliffe Calling Plath overrated is facile. Your comment also has no context. Do you think people should listen to you when you blurt that out without describing any of her work or your knowledge of it? What is your experience with her poems?


@cloudy sylvia is that you


@Nicole Cliffe I will fight beside you to the end, my sister.


@Nicole Cliffe I will also fight beside you to the end!


@wallsdonotfall As will I! I don't care if every disenfranchised 16 year old girl stands in my way!


@Nicole Cliffe PREACH.

Daisy Razor

@Decca Have we (and by "we" obviously I mean "Melis") done Texts From Sylvia yet?


@Daisy Razor Texts from Ted

hey hun r u at home? cn u make sure i turned off the oven? cya later


@Decca ugh, apologies.

(And yes, I know they'd separated at that point.)


Kaiser Wilhelm, on the other hand: vastly underrated.


@Decca Sylvia, the College Years

hi sweetie, how r u? how is nyc?

can't talk mom puking in a taxiiiiiiiiiiiii


That made my day :)@j


Canada's Secret Service:

Oh eh well how do you do there? Know any good state secrets? No? Well that's OK, sorry to trouble you then. Yeah, have a good day, eh? Yeah, you too. Take care now.

Oh hey, you over there, can I trouble you for just a minute? Oh wait you're a moose there, never mind.

Canada jokes!


What do you think a Canadian state secret would be?

Cat named Virtute

@josiahg Where to acquire free day-old Timbits? That Stephen Harper is in fact a robot?


@josiahg Bob and Doug McKenzie weren't really brothers.

Chesty LaRue

@Cat named Virtute Stephen Harper is a robot, that's no secret.


@Cat named Virtute Is Rob Ford The Penguin?


@josiahg What's hidden underneath Mounties' hats?

Cat named Virtute

@cosmia et al GUYS, I'm trying to protect you here! If they suspect you know for sure, a mountie riding a moose will show up at your house and take you out with a musket filled with stale timbits!


@frigwiggin Noooooooooo!


@Chesty LaRue He's definitely going against his robot programming, then, to not cause harm to humans!


@dale What a horribly-constructed sentence I just posted. It should have said, if he's a robot, he should have programming that prevents him from causing harm to humans, but since he *is* causing harm, there must be some malfunction or programming problem. Or someone else is controlling him!


Yes Nicole, amazing


Suddenly wondering why nobody has done a Plath / Fleetwood Mac "Oh Daddy" mash-up yet. Or have they?


Well, I hear they got a nice train system over there...


Nicole! How Eastern European are you? As a half-Ukrainian, sometimes I have major slavic pride (although I try not to declare every great writer/composer to be Ukrainian even though this is a favorite pastime in my family).


I'm pretty sure my Socialist grandparents are why I've never been tapped to be a CIA agent.

Regina Phalange

Also: how awkward did that make family dinners?


"Not yet." Fine, fine, I'll write an overrated volume of confessional poetry this weekend on this very topic. What're your dad's and uncle's names and do either of them have a God complex or eat men like air?


I have a great-grandfather who was jailed for passing information to Russians once upon a great white winter war. Ah, Scandinavia. Though I'm pretty sure it's my dual citizenship that would cause me trouble were I ever to run for public office. "Wait, there are documents in Finland that say she was born THERE, what!"


@Scandyhoovian Is that your REAL birth certificate???


@Ophelia Haha, according to the paperwork, I was born in Washington State and a small town in rural Finland at the same exact time. My mom's magical globe-spanning birth canal, folks.

Nicole Cliffe

@Scandyhoovian GOLDEN RATIO




@Nicole Cliffe Lurve.


@Scandyhoovian Cross-continental simultaneous births? What are ya, Obama?


But isn't this about World War One. i.e. not fasciats?


The FBI tried to recruit my dad as an informant one time, in the 50's, after he had gone to a couple of communist party meetings. It scared him so much that he never went to a meeting again. Yay, freedom?


But Ezra Pound's still ok right?


Good lord, I don't think I've ever recovered from listening to Sylvia Plath read "Daddy" -- I adore her, but sweet jesus have mercy.

Karen Healey@twitter

Noooo, Hairpin Nicole, how can you be my guiding literary light but underrate Plath? I clutch my pearls at you.

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account