Tuesday, August 22, 2006

so you have a nazi past...

as an avid consumer of literature (i prefer non-bleached paper, easier on the belly), i was surprised to hear the news that guenter grass did some time in the ss when he was a teenager. some other literary luminaries (or not) have also weighed in including john irving. and christopher hitchens who is, as usual, quite snotty and mean for someone who has both questionable political commitments and has never written anything of slight literary merit. but i digress. i enjoyed the tin drum, perhaps drawn to a story of a diminutive boy who refuses to grow up and lives in an amoral vacuum. never read dog years, though the title is promising. i'm neither shocked nor appalled in spite of the pearl clutching about grass's subsequent leftist politics and his continual childing about retaining a collective memory of the nazi era. i'm only surprised he took so long to admit it though it probably would have meant no nobel prize. i'm not privy to these interesting emotions like "guilt" that plagues you naked apes. attention seeking, yes. but we dogs rarely do things that so shock the conscience that it bothers us for more than a few seconds.

i did stumble across this editorial by grass just before the iraq war. he ended with a quote from a german poet: "Alas, it is war, and I don't wish to carry the guilt for it."


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