11 August 2002

When I Hear the Word “Gun”

“Slavoj Zizek also mistook the origins of the inversion of Goering’s - or Hanns Johst’s - remark (Letters, 15 April). ‘When I hear the word “gun”, I reach for my culture’ was not a ‘leftist slogan’ but a remark made by Malcolm Muggeridge in an article published, I think, in the New Statesman around 1967. He was writing in response to the revelation that the CIA had been financing a number of literary and cultural magazines around the world, including Encounter, and funding the export of Jackson Pollock and other exponents of Abstract Expressionism from America to Europe. It was meant as a joke, but it throws a useful light on a period when art and politics were rather more intimately linked than they are perceived to be today.”

Richard Gott, letter to the London Review of Books.

Props to Drapetomaniac for the link.