Monday, September 18, 2017

Schafft ab! (Eliminate it!)

Yay! At 8:27 AM today I had already blocked my first Facebook user of the day! (Not counting a German sexbox offering friendship which I had already marked as spam.) He was replying to my comment about Felix Philipp Ingold's call in the Neuer Zuercher Zeitung to eliminate the juries which award literary prizes -- "Schafft die Juries ab!" I had said that it was not clear to me me whether Ingold wanted to replace the juries with, or if he was calling for literary prizes themselves to be eliminated, or if he was just there to complain.

This Facebook user wrote that he who wants to misunderstand or twist something will do so, ignored my very specific description of what was unclear to me, and asked me just exactly what was unclear to me.

He who wants to be nothing but unhelpful, antagonistic and annoying will be so. And will often secretly consider himself to be a genius.

By the way, no one else has answered my comment at all. I can only assume that they're all too busy doing important work, or that, although it's as clear as can be that Ingold doesn't want these juries as they are, no-one knows any better than I do what he actually does want.

While checking the NZZ website to make sure I spelled Ingold's name correctly, I saw a link to a piece by Peter Sloterdijk on the upcoming German election. This article was followed on the web page by the claim: "Peter Sloterdijk zaehlt zu den bedeutenden Philosophen der Gegenwart." ("Peter Sloterdijk is among the important philosophers of the present day.")

I hadn't completely stopped reading things by and about Peter Sloterdijk after reading his winterliche Reise

more than 20 years ago, but I had slowed way, way down. And so it came as a great surprise to me to learn that he is now a philosopher. Let alone one of the important ones of our day. One certainly wouldn't have learned that Sloterdijk is a philosopher from this piece he dashed off for the NZZ, in which he claims that Angela Merkel has such a chloroform-effect, putting all who see or hear her soundly asleep, that the Germans need mnemonic devices to remind them of when the upcoming election is. It's this coming Sunday, 24 September 2017. Contrary to Sloterdijk's claim, I didn't have to look the date up, nor have I remembered it with the aid of mnemonic devices.

There seems to be a widespread "eliminate it!"-mood among German intellectuals. Ingold wants to eliminate the juries which award literary prizes. Other want to remove curators from art galleries and museums. Sloterdijk wants to eliminate Merkel's ability to put everyone into a deep sleep. (Clearly he can't eliminate it: poor thing, he can't even describe it convincingly.)

Yes, there is a great (from certain perspectives) mood of "Schafft ab!" ("Eliminate it!") Right on. But what will we replace the juries, or the curators, or Merkel, with? These complaints might be more convincing to me if I had the slightest idea what is being suggested as a replacement in each case. But I'm not even sure that such suggestions are being made.

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