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Showing posts from June 1, 2014

Tucholsky today

Hey, a little miracle today> a nyt story about, of all people, Kurt Tucholsky. This  makes me think that I should recycle the translation I made in 2007 of one of his great essays. Here it is. "Continuing our futile anti-war shrieking and babbling, LI is going to translate a famous article of Tucholsky’s entitled the “Der Leerlauf eines Heroismus” – “A Heroism’s hollow trajectory” – but before we do it, a little background is necessary. Luckily, Time Magazine has recently put online an article, “Handsome Adolf”, it published in 1930  about the treason trial in Leipzig, in which was  ‘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

one percent America

Ferdinand Lundberg, in 1939, wrote a book about the sixty wealthiest families in America. He made the audacious claim that these families collectively owned and directed most of America’s wealth – her industrial capacity, her speculative/financial sector, her raw materials. He names the families and engages in the tedious geneological work of showing how marriage and strategic alliances maintain and expand fortunes that have their roots, many of them, in the 19 th century. He goes there from the first sentence in the book, which proclaims: “The United States is owned and dominated today by a hierarchy of its sixty richest families, buttressed by no more than ninety families of lesser wealth.” He claims that behind the de jure democratic form of government is a de facto government, “absolutist and plutocratic.” Now, it is a difficult business, tracking family fortunes. For one thing, “family” is a misleading category. Lundberg’s prey are really more like the famous modern Russ