Good God! What eldritch dream-world was this into which he had blundered?
? It doesn't matter. You don’t have to speak a word of German to get a real laugh out of this comic collection of frightful faux pas.
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The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.
- Frederic Bastiat
The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.
- Margaret Thatcher
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
- H.L. Mencken
All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.
- Marshall McLuhan
It is like information theory; it is noise posing as signal so you do not even recognize it as noise. The intelligence agencies call it disinformation. If you can float enough disinformation into circulation you will totally abolish everyone's contact with reality, probably your own included.
- Philip K. Dick
Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.
- Henry Kissinger
Hegel, installed from above, by the powers that be, as the certified Great Philosopher, was a flat-headed, insipid, nauseating, illiterate charlatan, who reached the pinnacle of audacity in scribbling together and dishing up the craziest mystifying nonsense. This nonsense has been noisily proclaimed as immortal wisdom by mercenary followers and readily accepted as such by all fools, who joined into as perfect a chorus of admiration as had ever been heard before. The extensive field of spiritual influence with which Hegel was furnished by those in power has enabled him to achieve the intellectual corruption of a whole generation.
- Arthur Schopenhauer
German schadenfreude knows no bounds, particularly when it comes to the United States. The country loves to feel superior to a superpower like America. Yet Germany also harbors a childish infatuation with Obama — one which has little political grounding. The reasons are psychological. …The criticism of America has always been a bit infantile. One is familiar with the theory from psychoanalysis, when people talk about transference, or when suppressed feelings or emotions are overcome by projecting them onto others. It may work for a while, improving one’s feeling of self-worth by devaluing an imagined adversary. But it always falls short. Which is why the ritual must be constantly carried out anew.
- Jan Fleischhauer
Intellectuals, in the words of the writer Eric Hoffer, "cannot operate at room temperature." They are excited by daring opinions, clever theories, sweeping ideologies, and utopian visions of the kind that caused so much trouble during the 20th century. The kind of reason that expands moral sensibilities comes not from grand intellectual "systems" but from the exercise of logic, clarity, objectivity, and proportionality.
- Steven Pinker
The difference between Greek pessimism and the oriental and modern variety is that the Greeks had not made the discovery that the pathetic mood may be idealized, and figure as a higher form of sensibility. Their spirit was still too essentially masculine for pessimism to be elaborated or lengthily dwelt on in their classic literature... The discovery that the enduring emphasis, so far as this world goes, may be laid on its pain and failure, was reserved for races more complex, and (so to speak) more feminine than the Hellenes had attained to being in the classic period.
- William James
A doctrine must not be understood, but has rather to be believed in. We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand. A doctrine that is understood is shorn of its strength. Once we understand a thing, it is as if it had originated in us. And, clearly, those who are asked to renounce the self and sacrifice it cannot see eternal certitude in anything which originates in that self.
- Eric Hoffer
Les hommes ne croient jamais les autres capables de ce qu' ils ne le sont pas eux-mêmes.
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I read that this morning with some regret. I knew a lot of old Germans. And of course, many, like Grass claimed to have been the “good Germans”. Some, when I got to know them better, told more true stories. How everyone thought it would be ‘better’ the Nazi way, thought the world owed them for “Versailles” and so forth. I knew old German soldiers, I even met an SS trooper who spent from 1944 till 1962 in a Russian prison camp.
I think Grass was ashamed, like many Germans. I did not detect in him what I did in some I met face to face, though — a simmering anger that they should “need” to be ashamed.
I think the bigger lesson is that nobody should settle for their pasts being the only determinant of their present or their future. I miss the writing like The Tin Drum….but I do not think that book really reflected what Germany was at all. I think it was a snapshot of the psyche of certain types of Germans, at best.
The Tin Drum, brilliant story and movie. I didn’t know he was in the SS.
Honestly, as a 17-year-old who grew up under nothing else but the influence of the Nazi Germany and was bred to believe that serving Vaterland was his inherent duty, one can hardly be surprised at what he did. He admitted it late in the day, true, but at least he did. Which most of the others, who were older and knew so much better what they were doing, did not.
I, for once, am glad he was as outspoken as he was and sometimes controversial, too. Didn´t always support his point of view but I respected him immensely: he was a partner for discussion, you could question his ideas and he was happy to explain. Unlike, again, so many other “prophets” who believe to be infallible and shove their truths down your throat whether you like it or not.
Members of my family were enslaved and killed by the Nazis but I still do not consider Grass or any other very young man or woman who became part of the murderous system to be blamed for what happened.
And his death really really shook me – you see, since I remember, he was always there. And now he isn´t. Part of that difficult but also great past is gone.
It doesn’t shock me that he did what he did as young man at that time, nor do I care that he never made any sense (to me) when being outspoken. What bugged me about the guy was the way he did it. Von oben herab (condescendingly), as the great German Intellectual Snoot. I mean, he wore a uniform, for crying out loud. That pipe and that smirk and the whole bit, becoming a parody of himself in the end. He writes one great book and then the vanity takes over and he spends the rest of his life celebrating himself – or did he REALLY write anything worth reading after The Tin Drum? I can’t tell you. Not that The Tin Drum wasn’t enough. It was. But I guess he just couldn’t leave it at that.