BHL, Grass, Schjeldahl

Via signandsight’s weekly roundup of the weeklies, here are a few worthwhile reads:

In his “Notebook” column in Le point, 16.06.2006 (France), Bernard-Henri Levy recalls his visit to Guantanamo last year and demands – after the recent suicides – the “immediate closing” of the prison camp. Guantanamo is “certainly not Auschwitz, and neither the number of inmates nor the conditions of their internment, nor the status of the majority in the large army of the international Jihad make it possible to turn it into an American gulag, as the Bush-opponents, in a Pavlovian reflex, try to do.” But alone the “existence of this zone of non-justice” has “something deeply shocking about it, for the prisoners hopeless and for the image of the USA, disastrous,” which is “simply beneath the worth of a great and powerful democracy.” In addition, an immediate punishment should be meted out to the “evil dunce of a commander who, upon hearing the news of the three suicides, could find no better reaction than to criticise them for ‘not respecting’ human life -sic!- and calling their death not an ‘act of desperation’ but an ‘act of asymmetric war’ being waged against the USA.” Levy concludes that the democratic state is not to be defended with the means of a state of emergency.

Maybe BHL’s trip through the US, so wretchedly written up in his pointless non-Tocquevillian book of earlier this year, has at leastmade him see the obvious. But of coruse, even then he can’t resist pontificating and fingerwagging at the left.

Signandsight also notices & sums up The New Yorker’s review of MoMAS Dada show:

Dadaism was a forerunner of the Cool, writes Peter Schjeldahl after a day in the MoMA show, which originated in Paris. “Those who wondered what it meant could never know. Because you had to be there, the most informative exhibits at the Modern are video-projected films, especially the delirious ‘Entracte‘ (1924), by René Clair and Picabia, with a score by Erik Satie. A dancing ballerina, viewed from below through glass, turns out to be beefy and bearded. Duchamp and Man Ray play chess on a rooftop until a jet of water clears the board. A droll Tyrolian marksman is shot to death. His hearse breaks loose from the camel that is pulling it. Mourners follow in a wackily leaping run, filmed in slow motion. The hearse crashes in a field. The dead man, revived, touches the mourners, who vanish.”

And point to the Spiegel’s piece on Günter Grass’ relation with the Springer newsgroup:

For forty years, writer Günter Grass boycotted the Springer Publishing House but recently, he met for a conversation with Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner. Politically the two still do not see eye to eye, but Döpfner was prepared to admit that the conflicts around 1968, Rudi Dutschke and Heinrich Böll were detrimental to both the country and his publishing house (some background). “Until today. Through misconceptions and misguided developments in the Bundesrepublik. Through a corral if not bunker mentality at Springer. And through clichés that hold until today.” But he was not prepared to go further. “Grass: ‘What Springer did to Böll is a disgrace for your papers. I would actually like to ask you, dear Mr. Döpfner, to summon the courage to apologise for this in a prominent place and in clear terms.’ Döpfner: ‘Mr. Grass, having read the early foundational texts of the 68ers, all I can say is that the apology has to start there.'” See our feature on “The future of journalism” by Mathias Döpfner here.

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1 Response

  1. Martin Walker says:

    I have read this interview – or dialogue – and I must say it made the rancid bile rise in my throat as I considered the plummy certainties of the egregious Herr Döpfner against the implicit background of the not-so-covert right-wing-sympathising of the hegemonic media in post-war Germany, the hatefilled treatment of WW2 emigrants by the establishment and the covering up of old Nazis, including judges still active for decades, one of whom told me that the mainly idealistic students who were demonstrating for and against a variety of causes (including against the Russian occupation of Prague) in the years 1967-70 were all paid for by the GDR. Thus was a generation vilified and the police misused as a murderous instrument of the incorrigible forces of “law and order” – I saw the young people lying in pools of their own blood with insensate police “officers” bashing away at a time when violent activist groups had not yet developed.

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