Captain, my captain!

kastner.jpg

In The Netherlands there’s an after hours tv show called ‘Dode Dichters Almanak’, which means ‘Dead Poets Almanac‘. I’m not entirely sure, but I think an almanac’s a sort of encyclopedia for boats. Come to think of it, that just can’t be right.
Anyway, last night I saw an awful lot of pretty good tv, first there was an interview with the movie director that just did a film version of John Fante’s ‘Ask the Dust’ (which happens to be one of my favourite books) in which he stated ‘People now tend to not be led by what’s in the past, but luckilly this
tendency’s changing and more and more people aren’t closing their eyes to history. Since it provides us w/ a better understanding of the now plus it’s good to recognize that people have been coping with the same shit for decades, so in a way that’s also what binds us.’ You should have been there, I guess…

Afterwards (the ‘Dead Poets Almanac’ is usually the last show of the days’ broadcast) I was introduced to German poet, playwright, whatever Erich Kästner, reading this passage from his book ‘Sinn und Wesen der Satire’. I tried to look it up on Real format, but it’s useless. There is a page right here on the VPRO site, where the clip might be added later. But until then y’all need to read that mother in German for once.

It all ends a little something like this: Das wird und kann die Satiriker nicht
davon abhalten, ihre Pflicht zu erfüllen. “Sie können nicht schweigen, weil sie
Schulmeister sind”, hab ich in einem Vorwort geschrieben, “- und Schulmeister
müssen schulmeistern. Ja, und im verstecktesten Winkel ihres Herzens blüht
schüchtern und trotz allem Unfug der Welt die törichte, unsinnige Hoffnung,
daß die Menschen vielleicht doch ein wenig, ein ganz klein wenig besser
werden könnten, wenn man sie oft genug beschimpft, bittet, beleidigt und
auslacht. Satiriker sind Idealisten.”

I thought it pretty funny and being the human chameleon that I am, I recognized myself in the fingerpointing, mocking and cursing school teacher, thus the satirist and wasn’t sure what to think of that. Anyway, if you come to reading the whole thing, you’ll find it’s not just bad to be the satirist. The
tough part‘s probably that you can’t really be missed, but it would be much nicer if you weren’t here at all.

By the way, if you want to know more about human chameleons, I suggest you go out and rent the splendid Woody Allen 1983 classic Zelig, which I first saw when I was about ten or so and continued to see at least every five years. I’m telling you it’s splendid and might even be Woody’s best film ever!

I’m just saying…

4 Comments

  1. Gyz La Riviere
    Posted June 19, 2006 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Almanak is een verzamelterm.
    Meestal zijn het referentie boeken met daarin lijsten en andere
    ‘relating’ informatie.
    Bijv. sportuitslagen van 1950 t/m 2000.

    x,

    de archivaris

  2. rufus
    Posted June 19, 2006 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Tuurlijk! Net als in Back to the Future II

  3. Gyz J Fox
    Posted June 19, 2006 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Yep!

  4. rufus
    Posted June 19, 2006 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    klinkt wel heel erg als een boten-ding, toch?: Almanak

    Of bijzondere coke van een Oostduitse trien:
    Alma-nak!