Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dieses Bild

This Picture

viewed in the year 1982 will be a strange sight to see. It depicts a fashion queen - a creature that most of us don't consider especially beautiful or pretty . . . it's an advertising thing of the fashion houses . . . so far, so good.

But the way we today view with a kind of angered sentiment faded photos from the years 1911 and 1913, the small time before the great war - : that is how our grandchildren will one day see this picture here and say, after they've calmed themselves over the "impossible fashions":
"Yes, that was before the gas wars . . . Look at those empty faces that knew nothing . . . Had you no other worries? . . . Couldn't you have maybe prevented our poisoning? . . . Had you no idea of the horrible danger hanging over Europe? . . . Was there something better to do than run together and take care that the gas grenades were not assembled? That the state insanity did not reach high waves, that it was made clear to the thugs of all nations that there were other powers present, stronger than they and the profit-hungry large-scale industrialists, who, in their houses full of fine culture, collected van Goghs? Didn't you know all that - ? Did you do nothing for us, nothing - ? Didn't you see it?"

Of course we saw it. We also worked against the gas, in our own way. But that can't be photographed. And don't forget, man from 1982: the world is not a purposeful organism, and not subject to reason. The world wants to play. Always the fate of the fashion queen is closer to it than the fate of the next generation that had to see by itself what became of it - and then did just the same. Do you think those fine gentlemen in dinner jackets knew of their true destiny? They are completely trapped in their every day lives, and even more so in the Sundays - they knew nothing. And the ones that know are gray and indistinct and not quite presentable for a photograph. Never forget, descendant, even during the French revolution the women fought over milk, and what to wear, and over their lovers - never does a single idea rule the entire world.

Be thankful to those who did look out for you. It wasn't many. You look out for yourselves. We had so much to do: we had to live.

---

"Dieses Bild" by Kurt Tucholsky, from "Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles" (1929)

The original may be read at the German language Tucholsky Weblog run by Friedhelm Greis: www.sudelblog.de

9 Comments:

Blogger Antonia said...

great! great! great!
So you guys must know a great deal of german (the foul demon language....) - very well translated.
this is a great project, don't stop this, I am always coming to read & enjoy....

3:38 AM  
Blogger Indeterminacy said...

Thank you Antonia for that compliment. You know German, right? I've lived in Germany nearly 20 years and can speak pretty good. Not perfect, but I like reading German. I have several ideas of things to translate, and no danger, as I see it, of running out of material.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Antonia said...

yer I do know some german...it is fascinating to see these interesting things happening in de blogosphere....what other projects do you plan?

8:15 AM  
Anonymous cooper said...

This is like a smack in the face indie.
Wonderful.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I love this, Indie. And it reads perfectly. If that wasn't the exact tone of the original, the mistake was his not yours.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Indeterminacy said...

Antonia: I think I have enough projects at the moment. I wanted indeterminacy to have 360 stories, and then I would stop. We'll see if that really happens. I also wanted to start posting occasionally at anothergalaxy.blogspot.com along with Viruswitch and Young at Heart in San Diego. That should be a great project.

Cooper: I would never smack you in the face, unless you asked me to. But yes, that is how I felt when I read the original - it makes me happy that I could recreate the mood.

Doug: Thank you for the compliment. I should also acknowledge Alice's and Mrs. Weirsdo's help. I sent the draft to them for feedback before posting.

Everyone: I've been a little behind in translating, but hope to start on the next piece which is about the Prügelstrafe, or as I think it could be called in English: The Beating Ammendment.

1:00 AM  
Blogger Antonia said...

ok, Indie...I see that you are full of nice inspriring ideas...that's nice... there is always a lot to do....I'll have a look at that galaxythingy...

5:02 AM  
Anonymous L 'Ghazal' said...

Great blog.
and wonderful to see the writings of the great Tucholsky online.
I am lover of the Weimar..

How does one 'follow' your blog?

Peace,

L

1:12 PM  
Blogger mark rainmanmark said...

So you guys must Aion gold and http://www.aionkinahkaufen.com/ know a great deal of german (the foul demon language....) - very well translated.

11:44 PM  

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