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 Post subject: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:09 am 
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Why do you think Simone continues to consort with The Ugly Woman, her Jewish Friend, Olga, and Nathalie Sorokine?



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:19 pm 

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Break out the cognac and wine! We have another excellent 'let's figure out Simone' question! :biggrin:
Ok.... I need to give this one some thought... I'm very much looking forward to everyone's answers. :-)


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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:32 pm 
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If she cut out the people in her life that she criticized mercilessly, she'd have next to no one.


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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:15 pm 
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fansmom wrote:
If she cut out the people in her life that she criticized mercilessly, she'd have next to no one.

:biglaugh:


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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:27 pm 
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RamblinRebel wrote:
Break out the cognac and wine! We have another excellent 'let's figure out Simone' question! :biggrin:
Ok.... I need to give this one some thought... I'm very much looking forward to everyone's answers. :-)

:lol: Yeah. Should I handle this one with kid gloves or say what I really think? :biggrin: I have to consider a bit.



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:59 pm 
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Ok. First this is only my opinion based on how I have psychoanalyzed her based on what I’ve read. fansmom makes a good point here.
If she cut out the people in her life that she criticized mercilessly, she'd have next to no one.
So true and what do they say about those who continuously criticize others? It is usually to make up for their shortcomings.

Simone and Sartre both keep a small group of close friends throughout life. The group changes sometimes adding or dropping someone. The group is usually made up of one or both of their lovers or friends who joined into their all night drinking “feta’s (translated as festivals). I think both, although they were famous later, had childhood issues that made them insecure. Sartre his looks, Simone wanting to succeed in a mans world but hindered by her sexuality. ( bisexuality that she hid for years)

Simone thrived on someone, anyone, being infatuated with her. It is obvious in her writings about her female lovers Olga, Bianca Bienenfeld the Jewish friend, and especially Nathalie Sorokine. (She later refers to her as the friend who is like a daughter in California.) The only difference between them and Violette Leduc (the ugly woman) was that she was older and not good looking enough for an affair. Simone did like to bask in the idea that the poor woman was in love with her and so she kept on seeing her for years when her younger affairs were over. I think the same theory applied to her male lovers, who were, except for Sartre and Algren, usually much younger then her. She describes Bost as so easy going, and he idolized her and Sartre.



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:03 pm 
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I am fascinated by the idea that most of us didn't like her from reading ATLA, but she seems to think that many people, whether male or female, loved her. :perplexed:

(I keep using that perplexed smiley in these discussion, because honestly, she perplexes me.)


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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:14 pm 
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fansmom wrote:
I am fascinated by the idea that most of us didn't like her from reading ATLA, but she seems to think that many people, whether male or female, loved her. :perplexed:

(I keep using that perplexed smiley in these discussion, because honestly, she perplexes me.)

Yes and I am still reading about her. :perplexed:
I want to say in defense of the bad feelings I have about her that as
Seinfeld said “Not that there is anything wrong with that”. I really don’t have an issue with her bisexuality as much as how she used it for an entertainment for Sartre behind their backs. And she not only thrived on people loving her, but she kept them around and helped them financially when they did. I think she is loved by many of her readers.



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:02 pm 
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gemini, I think you have hit on something here! She kept the people around her who adored her, who overlooked her criticism and her pettiness and her downright meanness. Of course, she might have been sweet as sugar to their faces, who knows -- I have not read any of her other works yet. But she did seem to need constant petting and praise and reassurance.

And yes, it does seem a lot of us dislike Simone. I certainly did not feel like I wished to be her friend after I read this book! :yuck: But perhaps none of us would look very good if our most private thoughts and opinions were on paper for other people to read and interpret. That is the danger in printed words - no facial expression or tone of voice or twinkle in the eye to give additional meaning to the words.


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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:00 pm 
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Nebraska said:
Quote:
But perhaps none of us would look very good if our most private thoughts and opinions were on paper for other people to read and interpret. That is the danger in printed words - no facial expression or tone of voice or twinkle in the eye to give additional meaning to the words
.

I guess I am not sure when I read her words exactly what I am reading. Simone was a writer. I find no fault in this at all. She wrote letters she carefully thought out and then saved, full of the intention to eventually publish them. Looking backwards through time it's quite hard to decide if she just enjoyed being a b*tch now and then (with said smirk on her face) or whether she was an insensitive and insecure woman who felt compelled to convince others to her viewpoints. We only know that she was not uncomfortable with anyone reading and forming perspectives of her on the basis of these letters. That is interesting, I actually like that kind of 'in your eye and like it' way of owning exactly who you are. There is great value in anyone standing up for both their worst and best. The best we can do ultimately I guess is be totally true to ourselves, warts and all.

The question is then why she continued to discuss these women in her letters, why they were worth discussing? Aspects of herself? Perhaps they were touchstones in some way, things or people you keep in your life (maybe not even for a reason you clearly understand but they remain there, fixed symbols or something?) Perhaps even to be sure that Nelson knew about this part of her -- what 'women' in general meant to her. Most men seem to find the notion of women loving women quite interesting. I guess I take a flexible perspective on sexual behavior and if anything I salute her vigor and creativity.

Should we hold Simone in some way accountable for her comments? No. Perhaps some historian can winnow through all her thousands of words, can compile reports from acquaintances and lovers and come to some conclusions about the dimensions of her personality.

This book makes me crazy because it is listening to half of a conversation, my ear up against the wall trying to hear Nelson's words. And then, as someone said -- we are missing the inflections, the facial expressions etc.

So much detail, so little clarity.



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:55 pm 
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fireflydances wrote:
We only know that she was not uncomfortable with anyone reading and forming perspectives of her on the basis of these letters. That is interesting, I actually like that kind of 'in your eye and like it' way of owning exactly who you are. There is great value in anyone standing up for both their worst and best. The best we can do ultimately I guess is be totally true to ourselves, warts and all.

I would agree if she admitted it up front.

I am beginning to sound like a witch with a B with all this derogatory talk about her.
All her bios are like her letters to Algren, these people are mentioned as friends but none of their true relationships. She had been telling Sartre the truth all along but she never let any of this be published until after her death. I sometimes wonder if Sartre wanted their letters published with Arlette (his heir) trying to stop much of it.
Bianca’s story “ The disgraceful affair” is just exactly that, she was a lifelong friend and never knew the extent of how she was betrayed until after Simone’s death. Of course now there are many books revealing all, written by other people but she let it be known first by saving her "Letters to Sartre".



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:21 pm 
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Then why I guess, why publish? It is hard for me to see any other purpose than self-disclosure, and that act then becomes a form of acknowledging guilt, accepting judgement?

Is there anyone then left with a good impression of this woman, or has even the country that loved her so turned away? Or, are they like us, ultimately completely confused by what she chose to show us?

Sorry for all the questions.



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:51 pm 
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fireflydances wrote:
Then why I guess, why publish? It is hard for me to see any other purpose than self-disclosure, and that act then becomes a form of acknowledging guilt, accepting judgement?

Is there anyone then left with a good impression of this woman, or has even the country that loved her so turned away? Or, are they like us, ultimately completely confused by what she chose to show us?

Sorry for all the questions.

You are right Simone and Sartre were against censureship in any form. I don’t want to be all negative because I have found many positive things about her. I will get them together for later but don’t think they apply so much to this topic on her relationship with her friends.



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:29 pm 
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I couldn't understand why she kept her dinners with "the ugly woman" and others if she was so put out with them. I do think she had a HUGE ego and it need to be fed. On a kinder note I will say that she was a student of human behavior and sometimes I feel like the people she knew were a laboratory for her. Okay...that may not be a kinder note.



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 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #10 - Simone's Friends
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:49 pm 
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I think gemini is spot on about Simone. She kept these friends to make her feel better about herself. They were her little fan club. And when they got angry with her, then they were either annoying or mental cases or poor things to be pitied because they loved her so much. And how dare they not go along with her program? Hey, we’ll fix that. We’ll pay them off. I guess I'm being a b*tch too.

Nebraska, I’d be really wary about being a friend of hers. But I’m not sure any of them really realized (like Bianca Bienenfeld) until the letters came out.


fireflydances wrote:
Most men seem to find the notion of women loving women quite interesting. I guess I take a flexible perspective on sexual behavior and if anything I salute her vigor and creativity.

I remember in one letter to Algren she admitted to being somewhat of a bad girl when it came to her female students. (pg. 135): “When I was a teacher, they often fell in love with me and sometimes I enjoyed it a bit and even three or four times I really cared a little for it, and I happened to behave very badly; there were long stories because if pleasant but not important for me, it was important for the girls during at least some time and I had to manage them very carefully. I’ll tell you the stories where we’ll have long leisurely talks on the blue sea near Mexico." Yeah, I’d want to hear about that, for sure (NOT). But I’m not a guy. My issue is not with her sexual preferences. It is with her treatment of people.

firefly wrote:
Is there anyone then left with a good impression of this woman, or has even the country that loved her so turned away? Or, are they like us, ultimately completely confused by what she chose to show us?

I have a colleague who is an editor in France. I would love to ask her what the country’s (specifically women's) impression is of her now. Dare I?

You're right, DITHOT. Being a laboratory rat isn't a whole lot better. :lol:



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