NABOKV-L post 0004803, Wed, 23 Feb 2000 09:58:59 -0800

Pale Fire and Homophobia
From: George Shimanovich <>

In response to Galya and Christopher:

> To his credit,
> Nabokov himself would have been the first one to reject this notion if
> prejudices against homosexuals had fallen into his definition of "bigotry."
> Unfortunately, I don't believe they did, for reasons that may be both
> societal and personal.

This statement makes an impression that Nabokov's "prejudices" against
homosexuals did not fall into his definition of "bigotry" for social (?!)
reasons. I don't think Nabokov position on this or any other subject are based
on any social reasoning. If this would be so then this e-mail list would not

> If they had, I have no doubt that people making
> anti-gay jokes and statements would have been treated by him in the same
> unambiguous way in which he treated people who in his presence tried to
> make anti-Semitic remarks or cracks. No agreeing to disagree there.

Wait a minute. Do you mean that I (and others) cannot disagree with you and/or
your "social reasoning" because if Nabokov would agree with it (which is not
true, see above) then he will treat me as he would treat an anti-Semit? Does
not make sense to me. Yes, I continue to disagree with you Galya. I, however,
don't mind that there are other people who happened to be of a different

> if Nabokov had constructed a fiction that
> featured a character of African or Jewish extraction doing the things Kinbote
> does in relation to Shade (I leave out of this equation sexual orientation),
> might we not consider such fiction an example of dubious ethical merit?
I find it a stretch to drag Semits on the same scale with homosexuals (no
offense), via Kinbote. True, Hillel (Jewish philosopher) said that the essence
of Judaism is not to wish others what you do not wish to yourself. Choice,
however, of alternative life styles was never on the wish list. I rest my case.

George Shimanovich