GEORGES SIMENON ANNIVERSARY — INSPECTOR MAIGRET MEETS THE SINCERE, LYING LADY FROM THE CIA’S RUSSIA OFFICE, ANDREA KENDALL-TAYLOR
by John Helmer, Moscow
Nobody learned to write a simple narrative better than Georges Simenon, with the result that over a lifetime of 86 years he drew 550 million paid-up readers, not counting millions more of library and other loaners. He rewarded himself with a well-known fortune banked in Switzerland, and carefully counted numbers of orgasms with thousands of willing women. It’s unclear whether the latter were also Simenon’s readers. He admits he preferred to pay the women in cash for the five minutes he says he averaged spending himself on them.
Simenon was also much too busy to develop convictions himself about the wars, judicial and extra-judicial killings, and politics through which he and his readers lived. They don’t even serve as backdrops, soundtracks, or motivations for his characters or their stories. “I’m not interested in politics,” he wrote in his diary in 1960 when he was fifty-seven. “But still I’m intrigued by a problem posed by politics: that of sincerity and insincerity.” Simenon’s uniqueness was to narrate the investigation and pursuit of killing and killers with almost no judgement implied by himself, or his policeman for that matter, of the truth. Truth, Simenon’s works illustrate, doesn’t have the same sale value as sincerity, at least not in the book market. Noone quite as insincere and deceptive as Simenon has been quite as readable.
In the real world that’s called false consciousness; in government operations it goes by other names – propaganda, active measures, disinformation. It’s what official narratives lacking in truth are full of. Like the one the US Government and its media tell every day about the killing and lying crimes Russians allegedly commit. On Simenon’s anniversary, it’s worth pausing to contemplate the method for selling such narratives successfully, over and over.(more…)