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MARX: A HERO FOR OUR TIME? — Suddenly, everyone from the Wall Street Journal to Rolling Stone seems to be talking about Karl Marx. Louis Proyect delves into this mysterious resurgence, giving a vivid assessment of Marx’s relevance in the era of globalized capitalism. THE MEANING OF MANDELA: Longtime civil rights organizer Kevin Alexander Gray gives in intimate portrait of Nelson Mandela and the global struggle of racial justice. FALLOUT OVER FUKUSHIMA: Peter Lee investigates the scandalous exposure of sailors on board the USS Reagan to radioactive fallout from Fukushima. SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT: Kim Nicolini charts the rise of Matthew McConaughey. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the coming crash of the housing market. JoAnn Wypijewski on slavery, torture and revolt. Chris Floyd on the stupidity of US policy in Ukraine. Kristin Kolb on musicians and health care. And Jeffrey St. Clair on life and death on the mean streets of an America in decline
[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 […]

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)