The Most Disgraceful Piece of Anti-Semitism Published in Years « Commentary Magazine
RRD:In Dostoevsky’s The Possessed(aka The Devils,aka The Demons) Stavrogin–the villian– delivers a confession to a Father Tikhon.
The confession reveals that Stavrogin has molested a ten year old girl.
To this Father Tikhon responds by critiquing the style of the writing.
This is shocking to the reader at first,until Tikhon continues:He correctly exposes Stavrogin’s confession as essentially being a document designed by Stavrogin to shock us with Stavrogin’s evilness,rather than as a genuine expression of contrition.
In effect Stavrogin is saying:”You think you’ve seen evil!Well wait until you hear of my evil!My evil is unique & daring & bold!It’s the most evil,evil you’ve ever seen”,with the implication that Stavrogin is dark,satanic ,& powerful,& above all frightening.
In reality Stavrogin is like a psychopathic version of the adolescent who scrawls obscenities on a church, for the shock value of it.
His kind of villian thinks that by frightening others with their depravity,they then gain some kind of power over others.
I should add,as a aside,that this is my own reading of that chapter of the novel:the Priest Tikhon is more generous,in that he believes Stavrogin to be sincere.However if that was Dostoevsky’s intention it was overly generous.
Now in the Tablet,a ostensibly Jewish periodical,we have a pathetic little psychopath doing her best to frighten us with her daring & bold evilness.I refer you to the Commentary post above.I see no point in responding at length to her depravity other than to point out that this little wretch wants us to respond to her scribblings,with shock and horror,when the most appropriate response is to shine a light on the ”frightening monster” so that she will be revealed as the toothless rat she is.