FROM THE ARCHIVES: Czar Ignatieff - zolyblog.info
Susan Barrowclough,. 'Introduction: the Barrowclough, ed,. Jean-Pierre . national cinema by its relationship to and differentiation from other national. This Pin was discovered by Lynn OBrien. Discover (and save!) your own Pins on Pinterest. "Don't feel badly," he quotes the manager as saying. . "I've had a love-hate relationship with academic life all my life," he says. he encountered Susan Barrowclough, a beautiful, vivacious film historian and rising young.
Personal Reflections on a Life in Politics, "thus began a remarkable friendship. They moved out of residence into an apartment above Salamander Schmidt's shoe store on Bloor Street West, just north of the campus. They partied together, wrote political articles for The Varsity, travelled together - along with Jeff Rose - to a house owned by the Ignatieffs in France.
Claude Bissell, then U of T president, remembers Mr. Rae as having a glorious sense of humour, whereas Mr. Ignatieff was "serious, reserved and removed. Ignatieff among themwas a student friend of both men, and recalls Mr. Rae as being "more nerdy and Michael more elegant and poised.Michael Scott says...
Ignatieff worked as a reporter for The Globe and Mail, and I, too, remember him as being serious and reserved, but a wonderful person to have a conversation with.
The newspaper's library contains articles written with a skill and maturity astonishing for a year-old, including a first-person story from August,about trying to meet girls through a computerized dating service. He reports that the dating service rejected him and returned his money, with the explanation that "I had been too definite about my ideas, too broadminded about premarital sex, too willing to take out girls of another race or religion and too decided about my own characteristics.
Trudeau not only in the leadership campaign but in the summer election that followed. He also served briefly as national youth director, which he recalls as "a pretty transforming experience, one of the most exciting things I've ever done.
Trudeau's principal secretary, suggested that he leave university and work for the party full-time. And then he says something that will apply to almost every turning point in his life: As the authorities prepared to retake control, the inmates - most of them black - asked for volunteer civilian observers to stay with them in their cellblocks as protection against violent retribution by the police and prison guards.
Michael Ignatieff, now 25 and working on his doctorate in history, not only volunteered himself but organized a group of fellow Harvard grad students to be locked up for two nights with the prisoners. He was no stranger to the place. For four years, he had spent almost every Tuesday night talking to black lifers at Walpole and its sister institution, Norfolk prison. It was his first encounter with people who had fallen through the gratings: After the riot, he took the toughest assignment: Michael is someone who immerses himself in a subject and then tries to figure out what he makes of it.
His first book, his dissertation, A Just Measure of Pain, published inencompassed what he had learned from the prisoners. He saw what American society looked like at the bottom. It made an indelible impression.
- Michael Ignatieff (Profile)
- Being Michael Ignatieff
But why would a product of Anglo-Canadian elitism and privilege be interested in violence and social order? Because of the man he tried ceaselessly to please: Michael Ignatieff would later write exquisitely of George.
There is also his success: He gave me safety. He was never safe. Not safe as a young refugee in England subjected to ethnic taunts. Not safe from always feeling like an outsider in Canada he was 15 when his family arrived here inof not feeling accepted by the elite, despite all his accomplishments as a diplomat and marrying the niece of Vincent Massey, Canada's first native-born governor-general and the closest thing to an Anglo aristocrat the country has likely known - and projecting these insecurities onto his son.
Sitting in his office off Parliament Hill three decades later, Mr. Ignatieff struggles to make sense of what Walpole meant to him: I think my whole life I've been fascinated by this sense that the world is divided into zones of safety and zones of danger and violence, and the distance between the two is very small. You can't think of these zones of safety as being happy, consensual, liberal.
They're maintained with this, with violence. In reality, he was feeling anything but cocky. The Walpole ordeal was a nightmarish experience for him, and back in the hallowed halls of Harvard, he was finding life brutal.
He had come from provincial University of Toronto where he had been at the top of his class and was now discovering that everyone he met at America's pre-eminent institution of higher learning was smarter than he was. He wrote letters to friends in Toronto telling them to do their graduate work elsewhere. His chum Bob Rae was similarly unhappy. Rae had gone on from U of T to Oxford's Balliol College as a Rhodes scholar and was likewise intimidated by his encounter with the best and brightest from around the world.
He wrote in his autobiography: Conversation was an effort; I couldn't read or write without feeling completely inadequate; my self-esteem was at zero. Ignatieff's apartment for a weekend, and stayed six months, U of T's two former golden boys consoling each other far from home.
Rae eventually travelled on - staying with his friend, he wrote, "only delayed solving the problem" - leaving Mr. Ignatieff alone to brood on Harvard as "the court of the Manchu emperors" with its cult of The Professor surrounded by fawning students. Years later, the anger still twisted inside him. Peretz recounts how efforts to have Mr.
Ignatieff promoted to assistant professor were squelched by an influential member of the Harvard faculty who argued that, "given his advantages as a scion of the aristocracy, and an especially handsome one too, his accomplishments were less than they appeared.
Ignatieff now discounts this anecdote: As far as accomplishments, I was still finishing my PhD. I think Marty is embroidering. So I genuinely respect scholarship and genuinely think the academy is where new ideas come from. But you can get suffocated. It was to begin in the fall of He was 29, and decided to go to England for a summer holiday. Cupid's arrow whacked them both. Two weeks later, he took her to the house in Provence, "knowing," he later wrote, "that this was the place which would reveal us to each other.
She was wearing a white dress and a red Cretan sash. She had a particular expertise on Quebec filmmaker Jean-Pierre Lefebvre. She infected the Vancouver film community with her energy and enthusiasm. Tougas, who remains one of her few Canadian friends. She was having a lot of fun. It was one of the best experiences of her life. Ignatieff applied for a six-year research fellowship in the history of classical political economy at King's College, Cambridge.
He didn't like teaching Canadian history to young British Columbians. Lawrence from Donald Creighton, and it ended at Lake Superior, so they didn't know what the hell you were talking about.
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They became part of an intellectual collective of bright young socialist academics, writers and trade unionists calling themselves the History Workshop and described by one of its members as "a permanent maelstrom of inquiry into the working-class industrial city.
Its nerve centre was his house, an 18th-century weaver's cottage in Spitalfields in London's East End. Its glue was the monthly journal members of the collective edited and their tight bonds of friendship.
They shared interests in the intersections of history, philosophy and politics. They wrote for avant-garde publications such as New Society. They had common enthusiasms for music, theatre and film. They met in each other's apartments to talk and party.
Ignatieff, they have since moved on in life. When I call and ask them to talk about him, they invite me to their homes in Islington, the north London enclave of the well-to-do intelligentsia. Or we meet in their academic offices or some fashionable wine bar off Fleet Street. Ignatieff, for the most part, they still feel an unalloyed bond with their past. Samuel and the group affectionately embraced the Ignatieffs, a couple everyone marked as being passionately in love and engrossed in each other's lives.
They liked Susan's quick mind, her warmth and vitality, and her independence from Michael - indeed, her intellectual competitiveness with him. They admired Michael's intelligence and knowledge, his supple political mind, his astonishing facility to write analytical prose and his rigorous discipline as an author.
He wrote two books in this period: Wealth and Virtue, on Scotland during the Enlightenment, and The Needs of Strangers, on the philosophical conflict between individualism and communitarianism. The women found him enormously charming, a sympathetic listener, a man who didn't talk down to them, who was self-deprecating, funny, always good for a giggle - two women friends used that same phrase to describe him - appealingly intense, and exotic with his Canadian accent.
He and another member of the collective, Hugh Brody, a talented filmmaker and anthropologist, found cerebral soulmates in each other. They critiqued each other's manuscripts, revelled in each other's ideas and decided to collaborate on a television series proposed by Mr. They got funding from the British Film Institute, persuaded actors Paul Scofield and Maria Schell to play the lead roles for a small fraction of their standard fees, and the result was Nineteen-Nineteen, directed by Mr.
Brody and completed in They made plans to collaborate again. Instead, they drifted apart - as Michael Ignatieff would drift away from all but a very few in the group. He had arrived at an "ending. He was about to reinvent himself, and friends would be hurt in the process. As his Cambridge fellowship drew to a close, everyone could see his increasing restlessness. He was vocally unhappy. If he had found a Manchu court at Harvard, he found a medieval monastery at Cambridge - stultifying and suffocating.
He had had long talks with Sally Alexander, who had become a close friend, about finding a more satisfying definition of himself - about wanting to pursue a writing career and engage more publicly with the issues of the day. No one was surprised when he suddenly announced in that he was leaving the academy to become a freelance journalist - "going over the monastery wall," as he put it.
He began it by withdrawing from a successful academic life at Cambridge for the uncertain world of a writer. A film script about Sigmund Freud, called Nineteen-Nineteen, has been turned into reality, with Paul Scofield in the main role.
He has written a book of remarkable insight into human nature, The Needs of Strangers, which is having considerable success. His journalism is sprouting almost everywhere you look. And, most significantly, he and his wife Susan have had their first child, a son. Shadows invaded that "good" year. Margaret Thatcher had come to power in Britain with a mandate to reverse the country's economic decline and reduce the role of the state in the economy.
She let unemployment rise from one million to three million and, by some estimates, five million. She slashed public services. She was determined to curtail the power of the trade unions. In March,British miners went on strike against her plan to rationalize coal production by closing 20 mines and shedding 20, jobs. In response, she branded the strikers "the enemy within" whose values were not those of the British people, and vowed to destroy their union and its militant leader, Arthur Scargill.
Within months, the miners and their families were destitute, starving, reduced to scavenging on the mines' slag heaps for bits of fuel to stay warm.
Ignatieff went to a miners' benefit organized in a north London house by one of his friends. Some miners' wives had been invited. There were buckets on the floor to drop donations into. He found it one of the most uncomfortable gatherings he had ever attended. It was a pivotal moment in his life. But there are conflicting versions of precisely what flowed from that evening.
Ignatieff's account, he saw the manifest British class system in the house: Scargill was leading them over a cliff. He says he became acutely aware of how much he hated the British class system. He saw how wrong he had been to think that, as an expatriate Canadian, he had been handed a sort of free pass to stand apart from what he saw as class games being played by his left-wing friends. He realized that, despite the years he had spent with the History Workshop, he was not a socialist; he was a liberal - "left of centre, but always a liberal.
And so, while Mr. Ignatieff wrote an article for the December,issue of New Statesman stating that the coal miners were indeed acting against the national interest. He also regretted the absence of a rational political culture in Britain, so the issue could be discussed without fomenting class warfare. But what his article fomented was a furor around its author. He was accused of betraying the cause. People severed friendships with him. Raphael Samuel, guiding light of the History Workshop, was furious.
Ignatieff withdrew from the collective and dropped a wall between himself and all but a few of his former chums. These people had been my extended family for a long time, and they're people for whom I still have enormous affection. But I just felt I didn't belong to that kind of pious political correctness.
I just felt it wasn't intellectually honest. Ignatieff since those days. In an interview in the kitchen of her Islington home, she recalls that "at the time of the miners strike, the purist left could not stand for any argument which said the miners might pragmatically be seen to be taking an ideologically self-immolatory position, that their leader wasn't close to God, that Thatcher [wasn't]a devil and so on. I think this hurt Michael deeply, since these people had been his friends.
Friendship and politics colliding is tough. But being a Canadian he didn't have the same kind of tribal loyalty. Ignatieff's behaviour comes from several of the friends he and Susan lost. As they saw it, with the birth of his first child, he wanted to become an idealized, famous father like his own had been.
He wanted to distance himself from polarized British politics so he could achieve the profile and earnings of an establishment media figure. He became the father of a boy, Theo, inand a girl, Sophie, in He had chattering-class celebrity. He and Barrowclough fixed up a house. Twentieth-century Russia formed the backdrop of his first novel, Asya, a sweeping saga of the year life of its eponymous heroine.
The book can be read as thinly veiled literary atonement, an opportunity for Ignatieff to probe his complex, competitive relationship with his father. One man recalls telling Ignatieff he knew George Ignatieff slightly. Bulging with spies and dashing White Russian officers, the romantic melodrama was met with critical scorn when it was published in I chose strangeness, I chose the unfamiliar.
And what I think I can salvage is this vision of a modern, democratic Russia. Ignatieff says he never considered it. Me running a Holiday Inn in deepest, darkest Russia? He recalls introducing Ignatieff to Charles and Andrea Bronfman. One man who interviewed him on the BBC in the s recalls Ignatieff airily suggesting to him afterwards that he might like to do some research for him.
His third-person sense of self could grate. A relative recalls a holiday dinner in Canada: Some expressed anger that privacy had been breached, a sentiment voiced about family stories published in Granta.
There was distaste that the fiction veiled the fact it was not Ignatieff but his younger brother, Andrew, who cared for his mother in Toronto, sacrificing his work in international development to do so. Andrew Ignatieff has been voluble in the past about growing up in the shade of a star sibling who deleted him him out of his family fiction.
His public posture toward his brother now is fond, if wry. Any storied estrangement is over, Andrew says.
Michael Ignatieff (Profile) | The Canadian Encyclopedia
His great-grandfather was the richest man in Europe who lost all his money at Monte Carlo. As old orders broke down, the nation-states of the Soviet Union fractured into fierce, warring nationalist shards. Entire populations were obliterated in nightly news roundups. Several of the regions he chose to visit had personal resonance: The experience was transforming.
Faced with the barbarities committed in the name of ethnic nationalism, the former cosmopolitan emerged an advocate of nation-building. There was always strain, says a friend. The Budapest-born Zsohar, who headed promotion at the BBC, was known for her deft touch with luminaries. Andrew Ignatieff says his second marriage has made his brother more attenuated to the effect he has on others. This too was a post-Cold War development: It also gave new purpose to the American war machine.
Kennedy School of Government, sought its first full-time director, Ignatieff was the ideal fit. Funded in by voice-mail entrepreneur Greg Carr, the centre approached human rights from a public policy perspective — bringing human rights and military communities together to study law and the conduct of war. Ignatieff arrived in on a five-year contract.
The fact he had sat around campfires with mullahs and had been shot at won him respect. I felt at home being a teacher. The transition from London to Cambridge was more difficult for Zsohar. They established a new pattern: Ignatieff taught and wrote; she handled everything else. Then he had doubts about the war and was tormented because he supported the war. And he very much sentimentalized the military. Political Ethics in an Age of Terror, where he tried to puzzle out whether the democratic ideals of Western liberal societies could be reconciled with the coercive measures required to deal with the threat of terrorism.
Several friends say they spoke with Ignatieff over the years about returning to run for office. There had been countless offers to return in non-political roles, Levine says — to run TVOntario when Rae was Ontario premier and to head Massey College at the University of Toronto, among them. Ignatieff shrugged off all offers.
The thesis formed the genesis of his first book, A Just Measure of Pain, published inearly indication of his ability to repackage for a secondary audience. He was passed over for an assistant professorship at Harvard for reasons later attributed to reverse snobbery, according to a professor who claimed a faculty member rebuffed Ignatieff, believing that because of his aristocratic lineage and good looks "his accomplishments were less than they appeared.
The couple wed in a whirlwind after meeting in London that summer. He found UBC confining, the curriculum dreary and irrelevant. InIgnatieff took a six-year research fellowship in the history of political economy at King's College, Cambridge.
Shunning the rigid pecking order of the university town, he commuted from London where he and Barrowclough lived in a walk-up flat. He left the cloister of Cambridge in to write. In short order, he made a name for himself as an all-purpose intellectual ready to take controversial stands. Inthe lifelong liberal alienated friends on the left when he supported the Thatcher government during an acrimonious coal miners' strike in the belief that the workers were being misled by union leaders.
That year, his philosophical treatise The Needs of Strangers put him on the public-intellectual radar. In it, he identified humanity's widespread failure to provide the community "in which our need for belonging can be met. It also revealed a knack for stirring aphorism: His output was dizzying. By the end of the decade, the Michael Ignatieff brand was so fixed in the U.
Ignatieff's present appeared to be unfolding brilliantly. He became the father of a boy, Theo, inand a girl, Sophie, in He had chattering-class celebrity.
He and Barrowclough fixed up a house. He produced The Russian Album, a tender, nostalgic memoir of his father's family that won acclaim and a passel of prestigious prizes, including a Governor General's award. Twentieth-century Russia formed the backdrop of his first novel, Asya, a sweeping saga of the year life of its eponymous heroine.
The book can be read as thinly veiled literary atonement, an opportunity for Ignatieff to probe his complex, competitive relationship with his father. One man recalls telling Ignatieff he knew George Ignatieff slightly.
Bulging with spies and dashing White Russian officers, the romantic melodrama was met with critical scorn when it was published in In its trouncing, Private Eye sneered it had been written by "a classic Canadian bore. I chose Daddy's side as opposed to Mummy's side I chose strangeness, I chose the unfamiliar. It'll chunter on in some comic and unintended direction. And what I think I can salvage is this vision of a modern, democratic Russia.
Ignatieff says he never considered it. Me running a Holiday Inn in deepest, darkest Russia? I don't think so. He recalls introducing Ignatieff to Charles and Andrea Bronfman. One man who interviewed him on the BBC in the s recalls Ignatieff airily suggesting to him afterwards that he might like to do some research for him. His third-person sense of self could grate. A relative recalls a holiday dinner in Canada: The lyrical first-person account of a son caring for a mother grappling with neurological breakdown mirrored his own mother's descent into Alzheimer's.
Its theme was less the death of a parent than the obliteration of self-history occasioned by the demise of one's first historian, "the silent custodian of the shadow zone of my own life. Not all family members shared critics' admiration for the book. Some expressed anger that privacy had been breached, a sentiment voiced about family stories published in Granta. There was distaste that the fiction veiled the fact it was not Ignatieff but his younger brother, Andrew, who cared for his mother in Toronto, sacrificing his work in international development to do so.
Andrew Ignatieff has been voluble in the past about growing up in the shade of a star sibling who deleted him him out of his family fiction. The Powerful Legacy of Upper Canada College, James FitzGerald's oral history of the school, Andrew spoke of his brother's brutal snubbing of him when he recounted the corrosive effect the institution had on their relationship.
His public posture toward his brother now is fond, if wry. Any storied estrangement is over, Andrew says. He supports his brother's candidacy, volunteering time even though his own loyalties lie with the NDP: There's always a lot being airbrushed out. His great-grandfather was the richest man in Europe who lost all his money at Monte Carlo.
That wasn't mentioned [in The Russian Album]. It also didn't mention that Count Paul Ignatieff ran all the pogroms in Russia. As old orders broke down, the nation-states of the Soviet Union fractured into fierce, warring nationalist shards. Entire populations were obliterated in nightly news roundups.
Several of the regions he chose to visit had personal resonance: The experience was transforming. Faced with the barbarities committed in the name of ethnic nationalism, the former cosmopolitan emerged an advocate of nation-building. As he writes in the book spawned by the series, "a cosmopolitan, post-national spirit will always depend, in the end, on the capacity of nation-states to provide security and civility for their citizens. There was always strain, says a friend.
The Budapest-born Zsohar, who headed promotion at the BBC, was known for her deft touch with luminaries. Friends say Zsohar has aided Ignatieff in "the practice" of being human. Andrew Ignatieff says his second marriage has made his brother more attenuated to the effect he has on others. Ignatieff's journeys through the graveyards of ethnic genocide took him to the forefront of the emerging discipline of "humanitarian intervention," the advocacy of military action across borders to prevent mass killing when other measures fail.
This too was a post-Cold War development: It also gave new purpose to the American war machine. Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, Sierra Leone - all were interventions, to varying degrees, justified by the seemingly unassailable "humanitarian" motive.
As such, "human rights" evolved from the apolitical purview of letter-writing Amnesty International to the political application of force to redress violations. The parameters of liberalism were being redrawn to include "liberal hawks. Again, the personal became the political, says a friend who observes that humanitarian intervention reconciles the conflicted philosophical traditions personified by Ignatieff's father and his life: On the other side, there's an understanding of, even an enthusiasm about the role of force and the military and the importance of putting a line in the sand.
Kennedy School of Government, sought its first full-time director, Ignatieff was the ideal fit. Funded in by voice-mail entrepreneur Greg Carr, the centre approached human rights from a public policy perspective - bringing human rights and military communities together to study law and the conduct of war. Ignatieff arrived in on a five-year contract.
The fact he had sat around campfires with mullahs and had been shot at won him respect. Sarah Sewall, who replaced him as director, speaks of Ignatieff's "exceptionally adept interpersonal touch. He tends to make people feel listened to and responded to," she says. Ignatieff refers to teaching at Carr as "the happiest moment of my professional life by a country mile. I felt at home being a teacher. The transition from London to Cambridge was more difficult for Zsohar. She was legally not allowed to work; the couple found Boston's cultural life lacking compared to London's.
They established a new pattern: Ignatieff taught and wrote; she handled everything else. Ignatieff's position lent authority to his support of the invasion of Iraq expressed in "The Burden," a cover story in the New York Times Magazine in Januarytwo months before the bombing of Baghdad.
Then he had doubts about the war and was tormented because he supported the war. The two have sparred in print, though that hasn't dampened a genial social relationship, Rieff says.
But what I don't think any of us understood in the '90s was the degree to which the American project was completely hegemonic, that in a sense 'human rights' became the latest warrant for the American empire. And that's what I didn't see in the '90s and I think it's what Michael doesn't see to this day.