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Emile Zola and the Tall Poppy Syndrome (Dreyfus Affair - Part 3).

Doug Garland
Doug Garland
3 min read
Emile Zola and the Tall Poppy Syndrome (Dreyfus Affair - Part 3).
Surrounded. Photo by author.

Table of Contents

AI Narration
Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you you are wrong. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hate crime is a relatively modern concept, and emerged after the Dreyfus Affair. While the events surrounding the Dreyfus Affair involved elements of prejudice, discrimination, anti-Semitism, and hate the term "hate crime" was not coined until much later (Anti-Semitism (& Government) as Cutter(s) in the Tall Poppy Syndrome -The Albert Dreyfus Affair and Alfred Dreyfus Revisited - Part 2.

The modern concept of hate crimes gained prominence in the latter half of the 20th century, particularly in the United States, as a way to describe criminal acts motivated by bias or prejudice against particular groups based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. The term has become more widely recognized and used in legal and social contexts during the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

While the term "hate crime" wasn't used to describe the events of the Dreyfus Affair, the case is noted as a historical example of institutionalized prejudice and injustice and studied in the context of discrimination and anti-Semitism. I would argue that hate was involved as well but those terms seem to lessen hate's emotional impact and may even be labeled as euphemisms. I think if anyone in America were presently involved in such duplicity, except for our government, the affair would be labeled a hate crime.

I have unconsciously under-emphasized the impact of hate as a cutter in TPS just as I have fear.  Perhaps it is too distressing to detail.  

I am also acknowledging the cuttee's emotion of courage.

I keep coming back to the Dreyfus Affair because it is so compelling. It contains many lessons to learn by understanding their behavior and ours.

Emile Zola was one of the most influential French novelists of the 19th century. Before he wrote "J'Accuse" and became deeply involved in the Dreyfus Affair, he had already established himself as a prominent figure in the literary world.

Zola was born on April 2, 1840, in Paris, France. His father was an Italian engineer, and his mother was French. Zola's early experiences in Aix-en-Provence and his social disparities observations influenced his writing.

He began his writing career as a journalist and critic. After many attempts, he gained recognition and success with his first novel, "Thérèse Raquin," published in 1867. The novel was a sensation for its dark portrayal of passion and murder.

Zola is best known for his development of the literary movement known as Naturalism. Inspired by the scientific theories of his time, he sought to apply the principles of scientific observation and objectivity to literature. His novels often depicted the harsh realities of life, including poverty, social injustice, and human struggles against powerful forces.

Zola's most significant literary achievement is his series of novels titled "Les Rougon-Macquart." This series consists of 20 novels that explore the lives and fates of different members of the fictional Rougon-Macquart family over several generations. Through this sprawling saga, Zola aimed to provide a comprehensive depiction of French society during the Second Empire.

Throughout his career, Zola used his writing as a means of social commentary. He addressed issues such as poverty, alcoholism, labor conditions, and corruption. His novels often sparked controversy for their frank portrayal of societal problems.

Before "J'Accuse," Zola was already celebrated as a leading figure in French literature, known for his boldness in tackling controversial subjects and his commitment to portraying reality with honesty and authenticity. His involvement in the Dreyfus Affair further solidified his reputation as a fearless advocate for justice and truth.

After publishing "J'Accuse" in 1898, Zola was charged (cut down) with libel and defamation against the French military and government. Facing a trial and fearing a biased outcome, Zola fled France and sought refuge in England.

Zola spent about a year in exile in England, primarily residing in London. During this time, he continued to write and express his support for Dreyfus and his condemnation of the injustices surrounding the affair.

In 1899, following Dreyfus's second conviction, Zola returned to France to face the legal consequences of his actions. He was eventually convicted of libel and sentenced to one year in prison, though he never served the sentence.

Tragically, Emile Zola's life was cut short in 1902. He just completed a novel, Vérité, about the Dreyfus trial. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning in his home in Paris under suspicious circumstances. Theories included obstruction of ventilation of his chimney by his enemies. Previous attempts on his life had been made.

Like Dalton Trumbo, Zola possessed the TP virtues of courage, fortitude, justice, and selflessness. Many inside and outside of government feared and hated him and someone likely performed the ultimate cut down.

tall poppy syndromeemile zoladreyfus affairhateclimate of fearcourage

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Douglas Garland, M.D. practiced orthopedic surgery for 37 years in Southern California. Doug was also a Clinical Professor of Orthopedics at the University of Southern California.


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