Thursday, 13 March 2014

WOMAN AS THE DESTROYER

Futurist Leader's Fierce Denunciation. 

Poison of Love. 

Signor Marinetti, the leader of the Futurist movement in Italy, was in his most audacious mood on December 14, when he gave an address at the London Lyceum Club. It was in many ways a remarkable scene—remarkable as showing the extraordinary tolerance of opinion among women of to-day, and the absolute candour with which they are prepared to face the problems of their sex and life.

If Signor Marinetti had been speaking to Early Victorian women they would have swooned in horror at his words, or have fallen into violent hysterics. If he had spoken   to Mid-Victorian women they would have risen in righteous indignation and left the room as a protest against this blasphemy. But the ladies of the Lyceum Club sat very still, smiled at the most daring utterances of this young philosopher, and actually applauded some of his most violent phrases.

He did not mince his words. It was well indeed, that he spoke in French, for in that language one may utter phases which could not be tolerated in hard plain English.

He stood before these refined women of the intellectual class—these literary, and artistic ladies—as the champion of a new class of brutality, and as the enemy of their sex. Swiftly and vividly he began by describing the spirit of the Futurist movement and its active warfare against the beauty of (?) dead things, against philosophers, archaeologists, professors and antiquarians who live in the old traditions, against old ideals, and old conventions. He told them how the new movement is sweeping the young men of Italy into its ranks, he described the free fights which have taken place in Venice, Florence, and Rome between the "Antiquists" ... and Futurists—fights in which some heads and many canes have been broken—and he gloried in the awakening of the modern industrial spirit of Italy, where he alleges that the old-world cities are stagnant with the worm eaten grandeur of a dead and decadent past. 

Then Signor Marinetti came to the influence of women on life, and his voice rose with passion as he denounced the place of woman in history and the evil blight of that "romantic love" of which she has been the object throughout the centuries.

This romantic love, he says, has been a poison in which all the vice of men has been bred. The woman of beauty with her amorous desires, her erotic nature, her utter selfishness, her cruelty, her greed, her frailty, has been like the infamous woman of the Bible, of whom young  men were bidden to beware.   

Her snake-like coils have crushed and choked the noblest ideals of manhood. By this infamous and romantic love men have lost their virility and their moral health. Poets and painters and artists of every kind have been seduced by its evil spell, and modern life in all its aspects is made foul by this romanticism.

"We must get free of this infamous womanhood," cried Signor Marinetti gazing fiercely at the amiable ladies of the Lyceum Club, who smiled at him. 

The Futurist, he declared, will put the love of woman away from him. His machine will be his mistress. The grand ideals of mechanical progress will influence his heart. He will become soon like a machine himself, as regards order, perfect adaptability to the object to be obtained, in power and single purpose. Perhaps the time will come when men may do without women altogether and when the human races may be continued by the same means. To the Futurist this is the one grand hope.      

With apparent inconsistency Signor Marinetti praised the suffragettes. He admired them for adopting violent methods, and braving ridicule, for breaking down that snobbishness which is the curse of the English people, and for destroying that Parliamentary system, which, he says, he willingly delivers over to the claws of the sufffragettes. But let them make no mistake. The men of the future will not tolerate the equality of women. They are going to assert their greatest strength of manhood and liberate themselves from the debasing and debilitating influence of the old romantic love.

There was much more of this passionate defiance of womanhood and the old idealism, but enough has been given to show that Signor Marinetti has peculiar views which he expresses in most forcible language.

 Cairns Post 9 February 1911,

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