László Krasznahorkai

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Saving Languages

I can’t help feeling that the project of saving languages starts from the false premise that the likeliest prospects for preservation are those with some sort of family connection to the current population of native speakers. We may need a different paradigm. We need to take in each other’s washing.

quoth Ms. DeWitt over @ paperpools

Beyond Poetry

Ted Burke looks at a particularly contrived poem and concludes with this wonderful paragraph

The issue, I think, is that O’Hara and Creeley understood the situations when what the poet thinks of what’s happening inside his poem isn’t important and is, in fact, the least interesting aspect to consider; what’s missed in “Just a Tranquil Darker” is that lack of humility that prevents a writer from forgetting that they are a poet and so be able to get at something out of his control, a phenomenon that just wandered into his perceptual field by the odd chance. There are those things which occur that stop time the slightest bit, amaze and confuse our codes, and then are gone, sketchy and yet vivid, a perception that remains in memory and which changes us a bit each day, each year that follows. Getting these incidences right in poetry –right in feel, tone, texture, pitch—and Hodgen hasn’t done it here. But he did remember that he was a poet, and that is exactly how he chose to behave here, and that’s a shame.

"Israeli-produced, concentration camp fetish-porn paperbacks"

Haven’t seen this movie yet but doesn’t this sound fascinating? I can’t wait to see it.

This is a documentary on the bizarre phenomenon of Israeli-produced, concentration camp fetish-porn paperbacks.

[…]

According to interviewees in the film, because of the understandable hesitancy of survivors (and perpetrators) to talk about what went on in these camps in the immediate post-war period, rumor, fantasy, and just plain kink swept in to fill the void.

The earliest “Stalags” (as the genre is called because nearly all have the word in the title) took their cover illustrations from American men’s magazines. The plots all followed a similar pattern: an American or British pilot is shot down behind German lines, he’s imprisoned in a camp run by female Amazonian SS officers who rape and torture him. He eventually turns the tables, rapes and kills his captors, then escapes to tell the tale (the stalags all claim to be translations of first person accounts, though there were never any female officers in the SS).

The books were massive sellers and seemed to fill a basic need to reclaim the power role through fantasy while simultaneously capturing a curious self-loathing (sublimated by casting a rugged Allie pilot in the central role). They were advertised side by side with newspaper accounts of the Eichmann trial and were frequently the first erotica seen by Israeli adolescents. After a prolific two-year period, the books were judged obscene and banned from sale.

[…]

The comparison of the underground and overground dissemination of fetishized history is both instructive and disturbing.