tin drum solo: private concert

Trivialities and profound truths. This spit and spat match with Gunter Grass can be seen as using Israel and Jews as a pretext for his own bashing of a new Germany, one remarkably different than his own version, which has been washed away into the dregs of history, something to be grateful for that the contradictions between the violent and the peaceful, conflicting parts of the same identity have been dealt with; the clash of opposites, the indifference and disavowal intrinsic to a Gunter Grass with little in common with a newer Germany seemingly less bound up in structure and the heady ironies of authoritarianism that are so embedded in older generations constantly on the defensive with a formal absurdity overriding a dark psychic recess of emotional absurdity. The haunting nightmare winding its way through barbaric violence and suffocating depression.

Grass is an old ghost, a kind of ether form the past trying to squeeze and wheeze out one final boo. Germany is not the same nation it was 70 years ago, and one gets the impression Grass is alienated by this new world oblivious and liberated from the duality of a barabaric tech giant and a backward little gaggle with old fashioned homes and primitive instincts; opposite sides of the same narrative, with each being the inner truth of its opposite. I think the old guard like Grass can see that young Jews now, and young Germans are quite different than his hey-day. He is not unperceptive to this; he just does not like what he sees since its a split off part of himself that he cannot structure into familiarity.

Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazine/features/kuspit/kuspit2-21-02.asp ---Interestingly enough, all 48 of Richter’s geniuses are dead. (Does he also mock genius, another concept the postmodernists don’t like?) Richter seems to have a deep appreciation of death -- the Germans seem to have had a monopoly on it in the last century, and in general have been known for their romantic conception of it, not to say their fascination, even obsession with it, as though they had exclusive rights to it and understood it better than anyone (which their history suggests they might) -- as his series of works dealing with the Baader-Meinhof figures suggests. Apparent suicides, many think they were murdered in prison, and Richter’s gloomy pictures supposedly express sympathy for them. I don’t think so; like all his works, they have a morbid coolness that suggests rigor mortis. ---

Grass is kind of caught between the modernizing Germany and the traditional undeveloped Germany. And to him, this modern society and Israel is one despite the catastrophe of Zionism, or in spite of it, he sees it as more monstrous and more ridiculous than the old Israel ever thought of being; an old Zionist ideal that was mirrored the same rationale of leftist progress articulated by Grass. What Grass perceives is tragic morbidity; his own romanticizing of violence even as he polemicizes against it. It all looks out of place to a new generation; Jewish human destruction transforming itself to a more emotionally healthy and balanced view; without the characteristics familiar to Grass who dwells in the old suffering, the physical ruin of Germany, reflections of the old pathologies still emotionally kicking the old dog in the rump.

Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazine/features/kuspit/kuspit2-21-02.asp ---it’s MoMA’s turn to organize something German on its own, and what does it come up with but Gerhard Richter, a decadent painter whose work seems more like a memorial to what has been rather than a sign of what might be. He is the dregs of the German Wave, the last ripple in what once seemed a riptide. The creative bang that began with Joseph Beuys ends with the sterile whimper of Richter. Where Beuy's art was fresh, multi-faceted, socially radical and enlarged our sense of the human through its healing purpose, Richter’s art is stale, one-dimensional, socially simplistic and indifferent to human suffering, not to say contemptuous of the human condition, the all-too-human.---

( see link at end) …Gunter Grass has criticized Israel’s decision to ban him from entering the country, comparing it to actions taken by the former communist East Germany and Myanmar.

“I have been prohibited entry to acountry three times,” Gunter wrote, referring to similar cases that have occurred with the ex-German Democratic Republic (GDR) and a 1986 attempt to travel to Myanmar, a pre-released copy of Thursday’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.

In his statement entitled “Then as today- my response to latest decisions,” which was published in the same newspaper that debuted his controversial poem, Gunter writes, “In both cases the usual practice in dictatorships was carried out.”

Referring to Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s decision banning Grass from entering Israel over his recent poem which accused Israel of being the largest threat to peace in the Middle East Grass stated, “Now it is the interior minister of a democracy, of the state of Israel, who is punishing me with a refusal of entry and whose grounds for the imposed compulsory measure – according to the tone – recalls the verdict of Minister Mielke.”…

Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/kuspit/kuspit6-26-07.asp---Let’s get more specific: Is Verrat (2003) merely absurd or is it ingeniously dialectical? The contradiction between the violent foreground figures and the seemingly peaceful background buildings -- between the expressive action of the former and the inexpressive passivity of the latter -- is clearly absurd. But does each also convey a profound truth about Germany? Do they convey the profound split in the German mentality? They are conflicting parts of the same picture, but the "good" upper part does not seem to know what is occurring in the "bad" lower part. The people in the buildings are silently sleeping, undisturbed by the shooting goin

in the No Man’s Land below -- or else afraid to do anything about it. The opposites turn away from each other, refuse to respond to each other, and this turning away, this indifference of disavowal, is the unwholesome whole truth. Each half not fully conscious of the other half is the truth of their opposition.---

Grass was referring to Erich Mielke who was head of the Stasi secret police in East Germany, which he also noted, no longer exists.

“But as a nuclear power of unchecked extent, the Israeli government sees itself as high-handed and until now is not open to exhortation,” he said.

Grass had prided himself on being the ‘moral compass’ of the German people, pressing them to deal with the crimes of their past. In 2006, however, he admitted that he had been a member of Hitler’s notorious Waffen SS, a late revelation that undermined his authority and reliability. Read More:http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/154722#.T4cPSayF9cc

Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/kuspit/kuspit6-26-07.asp ---The same wintry coldness appears in Amt (2004), and the same dramatic juxtaposition of opposites, most conspicuously the conflict -- but also inner relationship -- between the small bomb and huge bone. The harsh terrain -- a brooding mixture of black, white and gray -- and the few patches of color, as well as the faceless foreground building with its modern electric light (more "technological enlightenment" and "instrumental rationality") and the downcast faces of the weary figures, are also in radical opposition. Is this a picture of an East German concentration camp or a general comment on modern bureaucracy, with its own version of Cold War? Is the regimented concentration camp, along with the banal apartment blocks, what social idealism has degenerated into?--

I don’t think Grass is much of a spokesman for what appears to be a more forward looking generation, and in effect he is a dinosaur like Zionism, playing the game by the old emotional rules by trotting out depression and annihilation anxiety as scripted into the plot. On cue. Both are grasping at mirages that are political religions promising the same illusions. Slowly, and inexorably, mourning and melancholy, the reliable twins of suffering and shame are becoming baseless credentials for pronouncements of this type from Grass and the backward looking mental state that seems to paralyze itself in Zionism; the old dogmas are ready to meet their maker. Not sure I can be complicit in agreeing with this video, but posted anyway:

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