Handke Note [from the Synopsis of the Grass Poem Controversy]
However, SZ, the Suedeutsche is always game for a controversy, they did Handke’s Justice for Serbia back in 1993. Handke, surprisingly, fails to enter the fray [of the Grass controversy] in this instance. He did the time Grass revealed in Peeling the Onion in 2007 that he had been a member of the Waffen-SS, a tank gunner, small stature, good fit for cramped spaces, U-Boats. Handke strutted forth with the worst kind of self-righteousness, the newsfolk caught up with him in Spain [Handke had forgotten what he had learned from Milovan Djilas] ¡ esto es una vergüenza ! at that time everyone knew at age 17 what the SS was, where I felt I needed to point out that the 30 year old Handke at times seemed not to know what every normal 12 year old does.
Surprising hat with everybody and his cat chiming in on the Grass controversy Peter Handke did not. Journalists, knowing that Handke is always good for a sexy quote, did not get anything out of him until he and his buddy Luc Bondy started giving interviews for the mid-May 2012 premiere of Die Schoenen Tage von Aranjuez. Handke, a pretty bad liar, lied, not that unusual for him, but certainly so in an instance where a star was robbing him of some of his space in the firmament his featured place in the lime light, big time, internationally, the Grass story spread to India, Thailand, Japan.
Handke, when he finally replied to a query whether he had read the poem, said no, he was in Paris - as though my kiosk-hound cannot find German papers or read the translation in his daily Le Monde! Handke’s companion during the interview, Luc Bondy, had read the poem and was dismissive. Handke was surprisingly generous in recalling a powerful Grass poem of 1966 at Princeton, but then slighted Grass’s intelligence… He did pretty much the same thing in two different interviews, he and his buddy began to look like the Bobsy Twins!
However, “the comeback kid” is back in good graces, his press has been good, deservedly so, for good work, if he has continued to beat up women or indulged in other nefarious proclivities we have not heard about it, although wife Sophie Semin did look very sour in her recent Lillian Photo so why get involved in a fray that is a lose lose proposition? Attacking Grass Handke would have found himself in the company of Joffe, Schirrmacher, Nauman and Reichs-Kanickel – second raters who have given him no end of stupefying grief over the years, Ranicki turns out to be the best of that lot, sadly. Coming out in defense – there was a plenty of that, but it would have made news and not helped him. Thus “ta geule!”
Moreover, as evidenced by the controversy, the last thing you want to do as a German language author is become embroiled in a dog fight that involves anti-Semitism. Handke briefly compared the bombing of Belgrade to Auschwitz, a comparison rapidly apologized for, but which at the very least demonstrated the authenticity of his pain at the final form of the West’s decimation of the 2nd Federation.Other major worthies of Grass’generation and fellow Gruppe 47 members such as Enzensberger and Jürgen Habermas have kept their public mouths ta greule, so far. Martin Walser noted, in passing, that Grass was anything but an anti-Semite, as did a lot of goyim and Jewish friends of his also citing the portrayal of the toy maker in The Tin Drum. The most touching, heart-breakingly so, was an aging German Jew who survived by becoming an enthusiastic Hitler Youth, even though, as he later found out, both his parents and his sister were killed by the Nazis. But he felt Grass was right. http://www.badische-zeitung.de/leserbriefe-68/grass-hat-das-recht-zu-solch-einer-warnung--58301213.html
Occasionally, in that wasteland of officialeese, a private voice peeks through.