Bambi’s Friends the Communist Spy and the Viennese Whore

Bambi

[from the extremely NSFW website Slutbambi]

If you're a fan of Roald Dahl, you know that in addition to the beloved children's classics such as James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he also published a collection of erotic stories entitled Switch Bitch.

But that's nothing compared to what the author of Bambi got up to. Bambi was originally published in Austria in 1923 as Bambi, eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde (Bambi, a Life in the Woods) by the Austrian writer Felix Salten.

Now before we get to the Viennese whore, it's time for a detour to visit with the Soviet spy. Bambi was translated into English in 1928 by none other than Whittaker Chambers, one of the most notorious American figures of the Cold War. Take it away, Wikipedia:

Whittaker Chambers … was a 20th-Century American writer, editor, and Soviet spy.

After early years as a Communist Party member (1925) and Soviet spy (1932–1938), he defected from communism (underground and open party) and worked at Time magazine (1939–1948). Under subpoena in 1948, he testified in what became Alger Hiss's perjury (espionage) trials (1949–1950) and he became an outspoken anti-communist (all described in his 1952 memoir Witness). Afterwards, he worked briefly as a senior editor at National Review (1957–1959). President Ronald Reagan awarded him the Medal of Freedom in 1984.

But Bambi's unwholesome associations go even further. Long before he wrote the story of the cuddly deer baby Bambi, Felix Salten wrote what one critic called "the only German pornographic novel of world-wide status", the 1906 book entitled Josefine Mutzenbacher, or the story of a Viennese Whore as Told by Herself (Josefine Mutzenbacher oder Die Geschichte einer Wienerischen Dirne von ihr selbst erzählt) (full German text here). The initial printing was subscription-only to avoid censorship laws.

Salten never explicitly admitted authorship of Josefine Mutzenbacher, and because neither he nor the publisher submitted it for copyright protection, it was freely pirated, and remains in print to this day, having sold some 3 million copies to date. It furnished the basis for not one but 11 German soft-core porno films made between 1970 and 1994 (the original film's English title was "Naughty Knickers").

But even that's not all. The original novel itself was put on an "index" of books harmful to minors by the Federal Republic of Germany's Federal Review Board for Media Harmful to Minors in 1969. This didn't mean the novel was banned, but it did severely restrict sales and marketing. The Wikipedia summary of the book's plot may give you an idea of why they made this decision:

The story is told from the point of view of an accomplished aging 50-year-old Viennese courtesan who is looking back upon the sexual escapades she enjoyed during her unbridled youth in Vienna. Contrary to the title, almost the entirety of the book takes place when Josephine is between the ages of 5–12 years old, before she actually becomes a licensed prostitute in the brothels of Vienna. The book begins when she is five years old and ends when she is twelve years old and about to enter professional service in a brothel.

Although the book makes use of many "euphemisms" for human anatomy and sexual behavior that seem quaint today, its content is entirely pornographic. The actual progression of events amounts to little more than a graphic, unapologetic description of the reckless sexuality exhibited by the heroine, all before reaching her 13th year. The style bears more than a passing resemblance to the Marquis de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom in its unabashed "laundry list" cataloging of all manner of taboo sexual antics from incest and rape to child prostitution, group sex and fellatio.

Adding to the general perversion, Bambi himself makes a cameo appearance in one of those group-sex scenes [no, he doesn't — ed.]. In the late 1970s, a legal campaign was launched to remove the book from the index. In 1990, Germany's Federal Constitutional Court issued a landmark decision on the case.

Although the court acknowledged the book had plenty of potentially child-endangering pornographic elements, including a rather eye-popping amount of pedophilia and incest, it also had literary qualities which qualified it as a work of art, thus entitling it to protection under the artistic freedom provisions of Article 5 of the German Constitution.* The Court decision held (g) that some parts of the youth protection law were unconstitutional infringements of artistic freedom.

Nowadays, Felix Salten is largely forgotten, but that didn't stop the Austrian government from sending an official delegate (g) to the Jewish Museum of Vienna (Salten was Jewish) to open a 2007 exhibition on the man and his work.

* Just so nobody gets the wrong idea: the Court's decision doesn't mean that the book can't be regulated, it just means that the book's qualities as a work of art must be taken into account when balancing artistic freedom against the legitimate government interest in preventing harm to minors.

3 thoughts on “Bambi’s Friends the Communist Spy and the Viennese Whore

  1. I’m not at all astonished by the FCC’s decision, it’s clearly correct. The Court did not say the book couldn’t be restricted, it said merely that the book’s artistic qualities had to be taken into account when making that decision. The same kind of reasoning that applies to Joyce’s Ulysses, de Sade, etc. The level of artistic accomplishment is different, the princpe is he same. Written pornography is harmless in all legally relevant senses. Fantasies which are read only by adults who have consented to read them should not be regulated by the state.

    The US Supreme Court has reached a similar conclusion: the government “cannot constitutionally premise legislation on the desirability of controlling a person’s private thoughts” and “may not prohibit speech because it increases the chance an unlawful act will be committed ‘at some indefinite future time.”’1140 The government also argued that the existence of “virtual” child pornography “can make it harder to prosecute pornographers who do use real minors,” because, “[a]s imaging technology improves . . . , it becomes more difficult to prove that a particular picture was produced using actual children.”1141 This rationale, the Court found, “turns the First Amendment upside down. The Government may not suppress lawful speech as a means to suppress unlawful speech.”1142

    http://law.justia.com/constitution/us/amendment-01/51-child-pornography.html

    As for your other points, I stick by my rule of thumb: All political arguments which are premised on the idea of one people committing some kind of non-literal ‘genocide’ against another…are ipso facto bullshit.

    Nichts für Ungut!

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  2. I’ve encountered many crackpots over the years in political blogs/forums, but certainly you’re the most bizarre one yet. Never before did I read John Stuart Mill being denounced as a promoter of porn.

    And what’s your beef with Deng Xiaoping? Don’t you guys usually support “one-child policies” in third-world (especially African and Middle-Eastern) countries? Funny that.

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  3. You want German? Culture?

    Anything by Achim Reichel

    Going strong since the war!

    For our SJWs, I recommend the live concert album “100% Leben” (excerpt below) with everybody, I mean everybody, on stage; together with the singing saw and Heinrich Heine’s sickening ballad against the transatlantic slave trade, and, for the others, an absolutely smashing version of ‘La Paloma’; grandioso con troppo fantastico. IMVHO, beautifully produced, too.

    Just imagine some 1000 Germans dancing the jig to that…

    Sorry, getting carried away there.

    This kind of musical free-for-all, for which you need talent, voices, some instruments, and nothing more, is completely unknown in large swaths of the world; and I cannot understand why. Once they take over it’ll be going, going, gone – and that’s it. Not censored – just gone. Have a listen:

    https://www.amazon.de/Hart-am-Ball/dp/B007Z1TV84

    He also does Goethe’s Alderking Ballad, which contains some of the most defining -and devious- verses in German poetry (and which used to be part of the school curriculum – long, long ago…). The defining line, “If you will not yield, I shall employ force!” was cited by generations of Germans wresting with uncooperative artifacts. And people.

    The ballad is about a father desperately trying to reach home on a horse, holding his fevering, deliriously moaning young boy under his cloak (yes, our ballads are just as dramatic as yours…)

    Here’s what every German used to know by heart (and ridicule):

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749-1832

    Who is riding, so late, through the wind and dark night?
    It is the father, with his child holden tight.
    He is bearing the boy, safe in his arm,
    He is holding him fast, he is keeping him warm.

    My son, why will you now cover your face?
    My father, the Alderking’s giving us chase.
    The Alderking, with crown and with tail!
    My son, that is naught but a foggy trail.

    You lovely child, come hither with me!
    Such interesting games I will play with thee.
    Beautiful flowers you will find on the shore,
    My mother will offer you clothes galore.

    My father, my father, do you not hear
    What Alderking’s silently promising me?
    Quiet, quiet, my child, those have been
    Some barren dry leaves, whispering in the wind.

    My strapping young lad, won’t you go with me?
    My daughters will certainly serve you with glee.
    My daughters do lead in the nightly reign,
    They sing, they will dance, and cradle you fine.

    My father, my father, do you not see
    The Alderking’s daughters, there, waiting for me?
    My son, my son, I will truthfully say:
    Some pollardy willows are shimmering grey!

    I love you, my child, your beauty tempts me,
    If you are not willing, I’ll violate thee!

    My father, my father, he is touching me now,
    The Alder-King has done me some woe.

    The father is frightened, he rides as if wild,
    He holds in his arms the terrified child.
    He reaches the homestead, in pain and in plight,
    To find, in his arms, that the child it has died.

    The rest, said the crow, I will leave up to you.

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