Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Blögger selbst vergebens

Poetry corner at Riddled is this week devoted to Bertie Brecht's "Die Lösung". Disappointingly, the pome is not about the late-period Amon Düül album with Bob Calvert on vocals. Rather, its topic is apparently the dissolution of people... albeit at a political scale instead of the alchemical sense or the old-fashioned one-at-a-time acid bath. Which brings a Myles na gCopaleen story to mind:

Yestreblyansky has explained the background to Die Lösung: how the East German gubblement incensed Brecht by abandoning their pretense of being in power to serve the people (when the relationship was in fact the other way around).

The Whackyweedia would have us believe that
"Die Lösung" (The Solution) is a famous German poem by Bertolt Brecht about the uprising of 1953 in East Germany [...] It was first published in 1959 in the West German newspaper Die Welt
Any number of websites repeat Die Welt's priority and elevate it into the giddy empyrean of fact. But the Whacky is a lying witch, for I have Martin Esslin on Line 3 (writing in 1976):

The pome was in high rotate during the 1980s... when ministers of the Thatcher government were given to complaining that the British people had failed to live up to the expectations that the government had set for them. If royalties were payable for political-commentary quotation then Brecht would be almost as wealthy as George Orwell, although just as dead.
The alternative "abolish the people" version also spiked in the early 80s; the task of tracing the origin and spread of this mistranslation is left as an exercise for the reader (note the revival of that version during the Clinton years, when pundits were dismayed by the public for remaining in favour of Clinton despite their own hostility to him). Anyhoo, the crucial words appear on lines 4-5:
the people \ Had forfeited the confidence of the government
-- a World-Upside-Down reversal of the more familiar situation where a government has lost the support of the governed and becomes illegitimate. Clear enough, shirley?

Yet a rightwing opinionator in 2004 was blithely oblivious to the parallelism of the inversion:

Ten years later the opinionator has still not wasted time reading what Brecht actually wrote, and remains unclear on the concept, for he repeats the same error, and indeed the same words. Recycling is good!
Evidently the words 'Brecht' and 'quip' are linked in his mind by bonds of long propinquity so that if either finds egress from his head, the other is sure to follow, in the manner of anal beads. The conjoined concepts seem to follow a five-year cycle, lying dormant between emergences, like cicadas. In 2009 their escape route was Liberal Fascism.
It does not speak well for the intelligence of one's readership if one is obliged to remind them when a quotation is well-known. There was to have been a Knock-Knock joke here about Al Kahest (the universal solvent), but we don't have time for that, because Myles wants to finish his human-dissolution joke.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...


Smut Clyde said...

Are you trying to bring a horde of chittering NRO readers over to Riddled? For shame, sir! Send them to Yestreblyansky's joint instead!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I've been banned for a while.

Never even gave them the abuse they deserved, either. Just pointed out the facts.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Acid bath, eh? Needs a good dose of Vincent Prics.

Smut Clyde said...

[Comment removed and made into better post title]

Yastreblyansky said...

"Never even gave them the abuse they deserved, either. Just pointed out the facts."

Like water to the Wicked Witch of the East. Whereas give them an acid bath and they'll dance in it.

Tim said...

Ohh, they don't dissolve the whole person, silly; Just the inside bits -- It makes them easier to 'evacuate'for when whatever.