“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Friday, May 25, 2007

"war suits me like a dip in a medicinal bath"

In pursuit of our futile anti-war shrieking and babbling, LI is going to translate a famous article of Tucholsky’s entitled the “Der Leerlauf eines Heroismus” – “One Heroism’s hollow trajectory” – but before we do it in the next post, a little background is necessary. Luckily, Time Magazine put up an article, “Handsome Adolf”, all about the treason trial in Leipzig that ‘uncovered the mental situation of the military for those who didn’t know it,” as Tucholsky puts it.

Here’s the salient first grafs, displaying Time’s truly annoying journalistic style – this is the kind of writing that Robert Coover parodied in The Public Burning:

“Not in Berlin, not even in Prussia, but in Saxony, in Leipzig sits the German Supreme Court: das Reichsgericht. Justice is done beneath a mighty dome topped by a big bronze statue of Truth. Through tall casement windows Saxon sunbeams glint upon carved oak. In such a setting presiding Judge Baumgarten (except when fiddling with one of his ears) is a sight awesome as Olympian Jove. Boldly to face the justice down, to use the Supreme Court dome as a demagog's thumping tub, to hurl from dem Reichsgericht a defy which reverberated throughout Europe, such was the feat last week of Adolf Hitler, No. I Brown Shirt Fascist (TIME, Aug. 25).
Ostensibly the proceedings were a trial for High Treason. Three young German army officers (Lieutenants Richard Scheringer, Hans Ludin, Friedrich Wendt) were charged with inciting their men to join a Fascist putsch should it be proclaimed. Without quite admitting their guilt the young officers waxed hotly truculent. "I would obey an order to shoot down Communists," shouted Lieutenant Scheringer, "but I would disobey a command to fire on men of my own persuasion!"
Exactly what was this "persuasion"? Evading damaging admissions, the Lieutenants said in effect that their views are those of Brown Shirt Hitler, leader of the National Socialist [Fascist] party whose sensational gains in the last election make it second strongest in Germany (TIME, Sept. 22). If such views be treason, argued the defense, then make the most of it!
Smart, the defense determined to do exactly this, subpenaed Herr Hitler as a witness, got ready to offer him the opportunity to use the witness stand as a soapbox.
Housewives & Blue Eyes. "Hitler Kommt!" cried 2,000 excited Saxons massed inside and outside the supreme courthouse. Many were women—for thrifty German housewives particularly dislike paying reparations, have swallowed eagerly the brash Fascist promises to repudiate the Young Plan. As Herr Hitler's motorcar swirled up the women pelted him with flowers. As this medium sized man with a small blond mustache but hard, blue, twinkling eyes stepped out, soprano voices cried "Ach, der schöne Adolf!" (Ah, handsome Adolf!). But so vast, dim, labyrinthine is the supreme courthouse that Witness Hitler, studiously quiet at first, stepped into the chamber and was actually on the stand before the courtroom galleries saw him.

"Heads Shall Roll!" Asked if he were planning revolution, Herr Hitler answered composedly:

"Nein, we are merely preparing an intellectual eruption of the German people by peaceful means."

When this drew from the gallery a roar of "Germany Awake!" (Fascist slogan), Judge Baumgarten glared at the assemblage, rumbled, "Silence, this is not a theatre!" but soon Herr Hitler in smashing demagog style was carrying all before him.”


Oh, and always being ready to oblige the pro-war side's masturbatory fantasies, we are putting up a photo from Karl Friederich’s Krieg dem Kriege, which Tucholsky helped to distribute. It is full of fun photographs. War, what is it good for – making prosperous white males hard. This one is accompanied by a saying of Hindenberg's: War suits me like a dip in a medicinal bath.

My kisses to the Dem leadership. XOX, motherfuckers.

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