Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bird brains (thinking deep)

Next door keeps poultry, and currently, they also have young ones. At least eight of them. I know, because more often than not they can be found scratching around the compost I spread under the banana trees. They kick the stuff all around the garden, which I am not that terribly pleased about a) because I don't want the lawn covered in compost and b)my banana trees aren't getting the nutrition they need. However, the chickens might kill and eat That Centipede. On the other hand, given the size of the creature, I wouldn't be surprised if I glanced out into the garden one day and saw it munching on a chicken instead.

I read today that an Austrian playwright - I think the name was Peter Handke, I fear I don't know him – has had his play cancelled in a Parisian theatre, because he attended the funeral of Slobodan Milosevic, and that a number of other Austrian authors have petitioned against this move. One of the petitioners was Elfriede Jelinek, whom I have just been reading (perhaps this is why it caught my eye). The petitioners say it is irrelevant whether Handke's actions are right or wrong, calling his show off in retaliation is tantamount to censorship. This feels like a really tricky issue. While I do agree with the petitioners to some extent, how far would that go? If, instead of a funeral, he had taken part in a racist riot, for instance, would it still be a case of right or wrong, there should be no cancelling his work? I don't know.

Wiszlava Szymborska has a wounding, wonderful poem about a baby, a bonny baby Adolf, viewed askew through the eyes of his parents, Herr und Frau Hitler. I have no sympathy for Hitler of course - I am not saying that. But the poem is fantastic. Whose are those little feet, that bonny nose? Little Adolf's. Ooh, where will those little feet patter one day? The future waits outside, knocking on the door. It is so terrifyingly good just thinking about it, paraphrasing it as I am in my own words, makes my skin creep. Maybe I am particularly sensitive to this as a mother of two sons. We bring them to the world, we love them, we do for them what is in our personal reservoir of strength and ability. And inevitably, some mothers' sons grow into monsters. In the afterlife, Frau Hitler and Freddie West's mummy sit looking at their empty laps, remembering the baby boy who bounced there once. Who could comfort them?

© 2006 Anna MR

8 comments:

nmj said...

I had to look Peter Handke up, I had not heard of him . . . the Slobodan stuff leaves a bad taste, I think he actually spoke at the funeral, but his play should not be cancelled, people can make up their own minds if they want to go or not, but I agree, it gets tricky, where do you draw the line?

nmj said...

nice moon viewer!

Anna MR said...

Aye, it's actually the Earth from the Moon, looking down at us on the Pacific...but you can't see much as it is the middle of the night (and I'm going to feel like shit in the morning). A skype "conference" with a computer-literate friend in Finland made this possible. It should update with the time of day. Remains to be seen...

Re: Handke - awkward place to be of an opinion, isn't it. The world just isn't black and white. I hadn't followed the story up as much as you, so wasn't aware of him actually making speeches there. I can see why it would upset people...

naive-no-more said...

Anyone who can weave Slobodan Milosevic and chicken eating centipedes successfully into a post, is a blog that I'm going to link on my own blog. :)

nmj said...

My first reaction to Handke was, I would never go and see this stupid man's play, but I am too emotional about everything!...I clicked on your earth, you can view the moon too, it is very clever, seems to be updating fine . . .

Anna MR said...

Re: Handke: I found this, to further complicate the matter and make it even less black and white http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/aug1999/hand-a11.shtml The play which was cancelled is called Voyage au pays sonore ou l'art de la question. My French doesn't only suck, it is non-existent. Can you translate?

Naive - thank you *Anna MR bows and curtsies*

And on a lighter note, yes, isn't my Earth just fab, I am so pleased with it!

nmj said...

I couldn't load your Handke link, sorry! And my French is far from fluent, I studied it at uni MANY years ago & lived in France in 1983 until illness interrupted, but I have kept it up by avid viewing of French films & can read a novel with help of a dictionary, but this Handke makes no sense when you translate it, then I found a translation on web: Journey into the Voiced Country or the Art of the Question. Yup, I'm none the wiser too . . . I think he's a bit off his head if he supports Slobodan at all . . .

Anna MR said...

Oh, weird, it works fine for me, just tried it (although I realise it wouldn't hyperlink but hey, this is me, the techno-no-know). You might want to try http://www.wsws.org/ and search for Handke, it's worth a read. I found it via google, so if all else fails, try "Handke political views" or something...