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Sunday, 30 July 2006
Karl Kraus

In a posting yesterday I quoted Karl Kraus: "Psychoanalysis is the disease for which it is supposed to be the cure"

That particular quote, by the way, was mentioned by Auden twice -- once in his Commonplace Book, and again in the collection of aphorisms he did with Kronenberger. So I suspect that was his favorite Krausism.

Canetti, on the other hand, begins his lecture on Karl Kraus, in whom he had such a great interest, with a different memorable quote, which I give a-peu-pres, not having the book within reach:

"The population of Vienna consists of 2,030,864 people. That is, 2,030,863 people, and me."

It's hard to choose between those two quotes. One tries to imagine certain people who died in 1939, just before the war, as not having died, but having made it to America and lived long enough to see the end of the war and all the details of the death camps, and then tries to imagine what they might have said, or written. What would James Joyce have written about Paul Leon (husband of Lucie Leon), who was caught by the Germans, then murdered, only because he delayed his departure by one day in order to permit his son to sit for the bac. What would Karl Kraus, who in the early 1930s about Adolf Hitler had written "About Mr. Hitler I have nothing to say" have written in 1946? There was a long silence by most of the stunned world, and for many things went on as before -- and certainly, in Europe today, the signs of what went on between 1933 and 1945 never having occurred, never having made an adequate impression or never having been adequately conveyed to the mindless young and the vicious old, are all about.

Well, Kraus, who was maddened by the cheapness of newspapers (newspapers which, by comparison with newspapers today, seem to have been written by a staff consisting of James Bryce, Max Muller, Elie Halevy, and Wilamowitz-Moellendorf) would probably be living in a state of permanent fury at idiocy after idiocy.

I'm sure you know that feeling.

Posted on 07/30/2006 7:41 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
15 May 2012
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When you talk about ALL religions and then say well let's say Christianity you are still taiklng about the same religion. Judaism is the root of both Islam and Christianity. The people who wrote those scriptures is what has been interpreted to be laws against homosexuality. This is their truth coming from their mythology. These same scriptures also endorse slavery, death to adulterers, stoning of women etc, all behaviors and actions that fundamentalists find acceptable. This is not rational.Today's gay and lesbian rights movement can't be illuminated with a 5,000 year old candle that belonged to ONE group of oppressed people who lived in the Middle East. Even Jesus Christ said absolutely NOTHING about condemning gays and lesbians. Other religions around the world, such as Hinduism are not nearly as judgmental. Even their gods possess both male and female characteristics. Buddhists are even less judgmental, although still seek enlightenment on this issue. Human acceptance of the other has always been frail. There is no doubt that the incidence of homosexuality in human cultures is a static statistic. 10% of people, no matter where the are from, will be gay or lesbian or other than strictly heterosexual. That is a constant in our gene pool that perhaps is there for the survival of our species.If you look back to the days of pre-history or even at today's cultures that are pre-historic from the Great Rift Valley to Papua New Guinea, there is a natural variation of gender identification within these cultures that is clearly evident and accepted by these cultures. Just because the Middle Eastern religions could not deal with this variation and chose to condemn it doesn't mean we need to accept their inability to deal rationally with human behavior. If religions are wrong, they need to change. I don't need to change because religions can't deal with my humanness. As far as I'm concerned, most of the Middle East has their head up their behinds about many other issues, especially their attitudes towards women. This is where the problem lies. Women are second class citizens so why in the world would you want to act like a woman by being attracted to men if you were a man. The attitudes towards lesbians has always taken a back seat because in these repressive cultures, women are always with women anyway. The hypocrisy of Islamic men is amplified by their acceptance of having sex with boys since sex with women other than your wife is prohibited. Your argument is steeped in mores from the dark ages and I don't think it is productive for us as a society to go back to archaic attitudes that historically have been counter-productive.Also, since you are so hellbent on scrutinizing the behavior of homosexuality, perhaps your preoccupation stems from your own struggle with being gay.