FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Minor Detail

by Karl Kraus

[Editors’ Note: Karl Kraus (1874-1936) was a Viennese satirist, famed but mostly inaccessible to those unacquainted with the German language. There are translations, including Dicta and Contradicta, translated by Jonathon McVity, and a collection put together by Harry Zohn and published under the title In These Great Times by Carcanet (NY) in 1985. Here’s a squib Kraus wrote in 1915.]

Wanted: a father-in-law to go into the women’s war business with me. Am 33 years old and well known as a women’s wear salesman. No matchm: Box 3378, Berlin S.W.

I suppose “Cherchez la femme” no longer applies here. Go find mama, boy! Where is she? He doesn’t speak of marrying into the business, because the father-in-law himself isn’t in business yet. Normally such people at least said they wanted to find a business and were therefore looking for a wife. After all, they needed a living pretext. This is now eliminated; the father-in-law is the vestige of an obsolete stage of development which still had sentimentality and included a wife in the inventory. That’s over with.

Wanted: a father-in-law. The daughter can be dead if she likes. If she is present at the wedding, fine; if not, that’s all right too. He’ll just take the father-in-law as his sleeping partner. This is an innovation in women’s wear: wear without women.

The glow of classical greatness suffuses our time. Where is the woman whom such a fate will befall, who will perhaps read this ad without knowing that in the final analysis it concerns her? Where does the woman’s wear live? Where does this ready-made apparel of a woman live? Where is she, that I may implore her to go into hiding and kill herself sooner than become the cadaver of this hyena? Men are now dying accidental deaths; women will give birth because two men want to go into business. A heroic age is dawning. Do not mourn what has been. Come, O dawn! Two scoundrels will in these great times shake hands over the dead life of a girl.

‘Die Nobensache’ (1915)

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Chris Welzenbach
The Forgotten Sneak Attack
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Yoav Litvin
Resist or Conform: Lessons in Fortitude and Weakness From the Israeli Left
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Pierre Labossiere – Margaret Prescod
Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report on Haiti’s Elections
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
David Yearsley
Brahms and the Tears of Britain’s Oppressed
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail