Grass Bites Grass

And I bet he’s greener on the other side now, too.

Grass

No, but seriously folks… He was very outspoken. And he spoke out a lot. And he was a humble social critic.

Too bad he couldn’t just stick to what he was really good at. Writing The Tin Drum, for instance.

During the rise of Nazi Germany and the Second World War, Grass was in the Jungvolk (Hitler Youth) before, aged 17, being drafted into the Waffen-SS, the elite armed wing of the Nazi Party. He only revealed this fact about himself in 2006.

An Old School German Intellectual Poetry Attack Par Excellence

Günter Grass has it all: That fat and sassy moral high ground he’s king of the hill of, that left-wing obsession for defending brutal regimes in the name of “world peace,” that Nobel Prize for literature and that SPD party membership book (I’m not sure which one gives him more legitimacy here).

But above all else, he’s got that which all successful peacenik artists and Künstler the world over must invariably have: That inability to keep their mouths shut when it comes to addressing issues they clearly know nothing about.

At the moment Grass is worried about how “the nuclear power Israel is endangering the already fragile world peace” (think Iran) and has written a shockingly predictable poem about it. It must be a real humdinger, too, but to be fair I must admit that I haven’t read it yet and most certainly never will because I’m waiting to read his poem about Iran’s threat to world peace first. I assume that he will publish that one next week, but you know what they say about when you assume things…  Blah, blah, blah. Meet the new school. Same as the old school.

Israel currently has three Dolphin submarines from Germany – one half-funded and two entirely funded by Berlin – two more are currently under construction, and the contract for a sixth submarine was signed last month. Dolphin-class submarines can carry nuclear-tipped missiles, but there is no evidence Israel has armed them with such weapons.

Restraining ignorance?

Yeah, there sure is a lot of that out there, everywhere you look. Nothing against Herta Müller, I’m sure she does great work, it’s just that practically no one has ever heard of, much less read her. Nope, not even over here in Germany (of course YOU have, sorry, I’m just being ignorant again).

Herta Müller

If the Nobel Prize literature circle’s only claim to fame is being predictable in making unpredictable choices, that’s fine. But if that also includes removing entire nations from the selection process (in this case the one that happens to lie between the borders of Canada and Mexico), then it doesn’t really have anything to do with literature anymore. But, then again, maybe this prize never did have anything to do with literature (ignorant, like I said).

“The winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature isn’t always a bolt-out-of-the-blue surprise, a writer whose work is known only to an elite fraction of American readers. It only seems that way.”

“There is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can’t get away from the fact that Europe still is the center of the literary world, not the United States. The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature. That ignorance is restraining.”