Today's Elites

Monday, April 09, 2012

Guenter Grass: New Forbidden Verses?

It could perhaps be just my over active imagination, but when a British journalist starts his article thus and in bold characters: "To people outside Germany, a furore about a mere poem might be hard to understand." Not only the English spelling, but the choice of a "furor" in Germany can hardly be coincidence. Of course, this charge can be rather handily denied with a simple "tut, tut." But that only serves to heighten my suspicion even more.

Two other insertions by said journalist also caught my eye here. One, the charge that Grass covered up his Waffen SS history-- "But this reputation was dented when it emerged in 2006 that he had kept quiet about his own past as a member of the Waffen-SS (a branch of the military under the direct control of the Nazi party)." Grass' own statement here denouncing mob journalism is instructive. "I am horrified how 30-, 35-, and 40-year-old journalists, who were fortunate enough to grow up in a long period of peace, are judging a man, who was drawn into the Waffen-SS at age 17, who did not do so voluntarily. This comes from a generation which in my opinion does not use enough those rights of freedom that it has today."

The second strange turn of phrase is this: "It is a poem which concentrates on Israeli nuclear weapons as the prime danger in the Middle East." And then two paragraphs later: "It is this one-sided concentration which has brought the fiercest criticism within Germany." A German poem concentrating and causing furor? Hmm, call me a conspiracy nut...but I think these types of subtle word choices enter into the way we make judgments

The fact is that the "elite" technocratic geo-politicians playing nuclear chicken on the world stage these days are not any less mad than the ever so talented whiz kids that gave the world the fatal financial disease known as derivative securities.

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