Monday, January 14, 2013

More Musil! (With a bit of Lance Armstrong and Oprah)

It's been almost a week, but I have not forgotten Robert Musil (left) and The Man Without Qualities. Today's entries have nothing to do with crime fiction, but the second, in particular, ought to strike a cultural chord:
"The Committee on Public Worship and Education reported on the progress of the definitive suggestion, tentatively announced, to erect a great Emperor of Peace and Austrian Peoples Monument near the Imperial Residence; after consultation with the Imperial and Royal Office for Public Worship and Education, and after sounding out the leading art, engineering, and architectural associations, the Committee had found the differences such that it saw itself constrained—without prejudice to eventual future requirements and subject to the Central Executive Committee's consent—to announce a competition for the best plan for a competition with regard to such an eventual monument."
Some may find that apt commentary on public bidding for government projects; I especially liked "the definitive suggestion, tentatively announced," a reminder that a staement's meaning depends on the whims of whoever utters it. And this:
"Ulrich. who found such displays of naked emotion distasteful, remembered at this point that most people or, bluntly speaking, the average sort, whose minds are stimulated without being able to create, long to act out their own selves. These are of course the same people who are so likely to find, going on inside them, something `unutterable'—truly a word that says it all for them and that is the clouded screen upon which whatever they say appears vaguely magnified, so that they can never tell its real value."
Somehow that reminds me of the unsavory penchant for public confession in our culture, apt the day Lance Armstrong says he is "ready to speak candidly" (sic) to Oprah Winfrey.

© Peter Rozovsky 2013

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2 Comments:

Blogger R.T. said...

I cannot imagine why anyone really cares about Lance Armstrong. I am indeed surprised about the media interest. Perhaps if I were interested in competitive bicycling, I would be following the story closely.

January 16, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't follow cycling, and I followed the doping scandal in the sport only casually. But when I see celebrity worship and strategically public mea culpas about to happen, I take some notice.

January 16, 2013  

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