Thursday, December 05, 2013

Sounds Like Today . . .

This fantastic state of mind, of a humanity that has outrun its ideas, is matched by a political scene in the grotesque style, with Salvation Army methods, hallelujahs and bell-ringing and dervish-like repetition of monotonous catchwords, until everybody foams at the mouth. Fanaticism turns into a means of salvation, enthusiasm into epileptic ecstasy, politics becomes an opiate for the masses, a proletarian eschatology; and reason veils her face.

Thomas Mann (1930)

Mann was writing at the very beginning of the decade. He had no idea, at the time, how truly bad things were to become, everywhere, within the next two and three years. France, Germany, Russia, China, Japan, the U.S.: all devolved into insanity.

Britain stood apart. For the first half of the decade, Britain had sane policies and sane leadership. By early 1936, however, it had become unmistakably clear that Britain no longer wished to deal with reality.


  1. I am depressed today.

    Ralph Manheim, the great American-born translator of "'Die Blechtrommel," may scarcely have apprehended fully what it meant to live and to die in German novelist Gunter Grass’ provincial settings of 1939; but then, having spent most of his adult life in Europe, Manheim may scarcely have imagined today’s sea-changeling that had once been his native country – an US-urper brought into being through some “imperceptible” drift, as it were, creeping terrible over the past two decades beyond his death toward that moral, intellectual and cultural asymptotic parallel world so familiar – and so documented – to those who recall or read about the once-autonomous Free City of Danzig.

    It is coming, scarcely apprehensible, for US, too, Mr. Manheim.

    Similar to how it was in Danzig in 1939, the US citizenry today is now divided into three disparate groups: the Left, and the Right, and the trippingly triply brain-dead hapless ones in the middle – those who are dead in the right hemisphere and in the left hemisphere but also in the corpus callosum.

    What, however, of those cognizant “drummer boys,” the tiny ones among US whom the tripartite populace ignore in their stampeding thoughtlessness to the death?

    Alas, not even diminutive Oskar Matzerath could evade corruption all-consuming.

  2. One of three things will happen over the course of the next thirty years: (1) the nation will reverse course sharply in a bloodless revolution via the ballot box; (2) the nation will collapse, and divide into hostile regional states; or (3) there will be a bloody revolution during which untold numbers of politicians and public figures are executed.


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