NO PUSSY NO!
How many scandals fit on the tip of a needle when the needle is Gertrude Stein? I ask you.
To my delight, I discovered the latest one in the latest blog post by my friend Hans Gallas: http://gertrudeandalice.com/blog/2012/02/18/pussy-pussy-bo-bussy-the-name-game/#more-3569.
Just as the political controversy, whipped up by furious Prof. Barbara Will (see previous posts), has returned to a snore, wroom! there is another sex scandal. The first one, you will remember, sent two lesbians packing from the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, because they’d been holding hands in the gallery. This one is the Hemingway scandal. Once again. His story has been rehashed by every Stein detractor. Trust Janet Malcolm and Barbara Will to happily rehash it again.
So, what happened? Let’s recap. Hemingway (A Moveable Feast) allegedly heard Gertrude and Alice behind closed doors,
“I heard someone speaking to Miss Stein as I had never heard one person speak to another; never, anywhere, ever.” Who was that someone speaking to “Miss Stein”? “A companion,” according to Hemingway who knew better but preferred to stay clean. He got an earful right then and there.”Then Miss Stein’s voice came pleading and begging, saying, ‘Don’t, pussy. Don’t. Don’t, please don’t. I’ll do anything, pussy, but please don’t do it. Please don’t. Please don’t, pussy.’”
Poor old Hem, who was already confused. Hadn’t Stein tried to dissuade him from gay relationships (when she preferred the company of gay men to almost any other)? Wasn’t all this terribly corrupting stuff for a good, hard American man? Or was he drunk again? “The colorless alcohol felt good on my tongue,” he begins his tale. Fact is, he was mad at Stein when he reported his little hear-say. He had admitted that he wouldn’t have minded f… the lush, appetizing Gertrude. But instead, Stein and Toklas ended up kicking him out after a drunken visit to the rue de Fleurus. Was he very bruised?
What a horrid, cruel, sadistic relationship these two old dykes must have had! We shudder still. We are afraid for the innocents.
Enter Hans Gallas and his very amusing new book Gertrude and Alice and Fritz and Tom (viewed and reviewed in these pages). A story for kids with big, colorful, hilarious illustrations by cartoonist Tom Hachtman, and with dialogue by Alice and Gertrude, who — true to life — call each other Pussy and Lovey. Pussy, indeed.
Here is Hans:
“My first public reading of the book to a group of 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders in Oakland, CA was to happen a few weeks ago, but I had to postpone it temporarily. However, I did get an e mail from the teacher who had invited me, asking me, at the request of the principal, if I would change ‘Pussy’ to ‘Pussycat’ when I was reading the book to the children, ‘since the word now has developed a lot of negative connotations and our third graders are quite astute about picking up these things.’ My, my the loss of innocence.”
This book will be banned in America! It didn’t help that the illustrations were already cleaned up for kids by eliminating Alice’s ever-present cigarette. Literary history isn’t good for American kids. Literary lesbians aren’t good for American kids. Wouldn’t a relationship between a woman and a cat be much more proper? Let’s clean up that language, please. Clean up Gertrude Stein and make her kid-safe. By all means.
Read on and have a good laugh with Hans Gallas and Tom Hachtman, whose comic-strip-comment on the scandal ends the blog post, brilliantly…