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

Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
Robert Koehler
Stop the Killing
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Of Dog Legs and “Debates”
Yves Engler
The Media’s Biased Perspective
Victor Grossman
Omens From Berlin
Christopher Brauchli
Wells Fargo as Metaphor for the Trump Campaign
Nyla Ali Khan
War of Words Between India and Pakistan at the United Nations
Tom Barnard
Block the Bunker! Historic Victory Against Police Boondoggle in Seattle
James Rothenberg
Bullshit Recognition as Survival Tactic
Ed Rampell
A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
Kristine Mattis
Persnickety Publishing Pet-Peeves
Charles R. Larson
Review: Helen Dewitt’s “The Last Samurai”
David Yearsley
Torture Chamber Music
September 22, 2016
Dave Lindorff
Wells Fargo’s Stumpf Leads the Way
Stan Cox
If There’s a World War II-Style Climate Mobilization, It has to Go All the Way—and Then Some
Binoy Kampmark
Source Betrayed: the Washington Post and Edward Snowden
John W. Whitehead
Wards of the Nanny State
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail