Friday, April 11, 2008

Existentialist Excess

The Daily News in on a roll today. When not warning us that we better get ready to welcome our new Chinese masters, they're reporting on on the most overrated philosophers of the 20th Century. Yes, you guessed it, Simone (cougar/doormat) de Beauvoir and Jean Paul (narcissist sleazeball) Sartre.

I'll give you the highlights.

Yet a fascinating new book paints this supposedly high-minded duo as serial seducers bent on their own gratification and as a couple who used their apparently lofty philosophy as a springboard to excuse their multiple liaisons, often with under-age teenagers who were broken by the experience.

And, astonishingly, it was her craven desire to please him that led de Beauvoir to groom young female lovers for Sartre, commonly girls she had bedded herself.
In this sordid relationship of supposed equals, he was always one step ahead of her - though it didn't start that way.

They would sleep together and have affairs on the side which they must describe to each other in every intimate detail.
During the first years, Sartre embarked on the arrangement with gusto. He liked to sleep with virgins, after which he rapidly lost interest

Today, she would be behind bars for her sexual activities with her young pupils, but in those days she got away with it.
Tragically, the lives of these girls, who were pathologically jealous of each other over their teacher's attentions, were permanently blighted.

Yet Simone had no maternal feelings for them at all. She showed no empathy even when one of them, a Jewish girl whom she seduced when she was 16, nearly lost her life at the hands of the Nazis who were advancing on Paris.
Simone's lack of scruples extended to her war record.
She took no part in the Resistance, like other writers of the time, concentrating on her sex life.

It was too much for the mother of one pupil who brought an official complaint in 1943 against de Beauvoir, accusing her of corrupting a minor and acting as procurer in handing her daughter over to Sartre.

And this was all just through WWII

Of course their sexual and other shenanigans didn't stop after the war.

The couple took new lovers and developed new political interests. Having flirted with America, they became obsessed with communism after an encounter with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in Cuba.

Hey, I decide.
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