“The Untouchables in pursuit of the unintelligible”
November 26, 2013 12:12 PM   Subscribe

The FBI files on being and nothingness. "From 1945 onwards, J Edgar Hoover’s FBI spied on Camus and Sartre. The investigation soon turned into a philosophical inquiry…" [Via]
posted by homunculus (14 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ok now I'm convinced I need new sources.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:16 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ha! This was very droll! Thanks for posting.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:34 PM on November 26, 2013


Today : Meet the FBI agents doing the NSA's dirty work (techdirt)
posted by jeffburdges at 12:34 PM on November 26, 2013


I love this (from the first link):

Hoover needed to know if Existentialism and Absurdism were some kind of front for Communism. To him, everything was potentially a coded re-write of the Communist Manifesto. That was the thing about the Manifesto—it was not manifest: more often it was, as Freud would say, latent. Thus FBI agents were forced to become psychoanalysts and hermeneuts—drawn into what the historian Carlo Ginzburg neatly called the “cynegetic paradigm” (a brotherhood of clue-hunting detectives in which he includes Freud and Sherlock Holmes). Thus we find intelligence agents studying scholarly works and attending lectures.
posted by philip-random at 12:50 PM on November 26, 2013


the FBI, although generally perturbed by the “Leftist tendencies” of Sartre, and his association with Communists, Castro, and Bertrand Russell

So... any links to the FBI's file on Bertrand Russell? That would likely be fascinating as well!
posted by eviemath at 1:02 PM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


the FBI, although generally perturbed by the “Leftist tendencies” of Sartre, and his association with Communists, Castro, and Bertrand Russell, were specifically concerned that he was now—in addition to protesting against US involvement in Vietnam—threatening to “take an active part in the French Who Killed Kennedy Committee” (from the first link)

That last bit confused me at first, because I read it as the committee of those French people who had murdered Kennedy, which was one conspiracy I hadn't heard of before.
posted by ogooglebar at 1:18 PM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, Hoover was right about Sartre, who ended up becoming a complete Stalinist stooge.
posted by thelonius at 1:24 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


God, there really is a Simpsons clip for every situation. (Homer is J. Edgar in this situation.)

“Hoover thought there must be some kind of conspiracy between communists, blacks, poets and French philosophers. He was hoping for some kind of evidence of conspiracy,” he said.

With this quote, I just realized that I actually wish many of the things Hoover had happened were real. That conspiracy sounds like the party I would have wanted to be at.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:30 PM on November 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sartre, who ended up becoming a complete Stalinist stooge.

That's a pretty significant overstatement
posted by Hoopo at 2:01 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is hyperbolic. I do not care for the later Sartre.
posted by thelonius at 2:18 PM on November 26, 2013


I liked Sartre before he sold out.
posted by homunculus at 4:20 PM on November 26, 2013


Hell is other agencies.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:26 PM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh gohd. The're onto my alias...I thought see-anus would fool them 4ever!
posted by telstar at 8:41 PM on November 26, 2013


Hoover was right about Sartre, who ended up becoming a complete Stalinist stooge...It is hyperbolic. I do not care for the later Sartre.

That's not hyperbole, it's libel. Not caring for someone does not justify making stuff up about them.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:09 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


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