Ice Friday: Gunter Grass’ “The Flounder”

The Neolithic era is behind us. In the opinion of the prosecution, the Flounder’s guilt has been proved. But before the sentence can be pronounced, certain material remains to be examined, especially the following allegations of the Flounder: (1) there were three-breasted women in the Neolithic era; (2) only thanks to the third breast were women able to repulse the male claim to power; (3) only three-breasted woman can possibly restore the matriarchate.

How Nobel Is Mr. Zimmerman?

Bob Dylan, awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, has decided to ignore the honor. Wow! I mean, right!? Everybody Must Get Stoned! screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-9-37-24-amBob Dylan excuse me, I mean Mr. Robert Zimmerman, is like a god! Literally so. The man just shrugs off what everyone else on this planet accepts, all of those pathetic dogs: Alice Munro, Jose Saramago, Gunter Grass, Pablo Neruda, Samuel Beckett. imagesCome on, Robert Zimmerman is so much more gifted, right? Waiting for Godot? As if. Blindness? Huh? The Flounder? Come on! What are they going on about? All you have to do is listen to Robert:

She speaks with a stutter and she walks with a hop
I don’t know why I love her but I just can’t stop.

The great thing about all of this is that Robert is sticking it to those elitist royals in Sweden. Sticking it to them! He’s speaking out on behalf of his downtrodden American brethren – so many ignored over the years – leaving us in glorious silence to consider his lyrical awesomeness:

I know all about poison, I know all about fiery darts,
I don’t care how rough the road is, show me where it starts

Or maybe it’s actually bigger than that. Maybe Robert is gone. Hasn’t everyone else died this year? Maybe they’re covering that up until Robert can figure out how to reincarnate. I mean, if anyone can pull off the Lazarus gig, it’s Robert fuckin’ Dylan Zimmerman.

Max Frisch’s “I’m Not Stiller”

Max Frisch writes of imprisonment in his remarkable novel, I’m Not Stiller.

My cell – I have just measured it with my shoe which is a trifle less than twelve inches long – is small, like everything in this country, so clean one can hardly breathe for all the hygiene, and oppressive precisely because everything is just right. maxfrischFrisch’s book focuses not so much on physical imprisonment as the meta:

How can anyone prove who they really are? I can’t. Do I know myself who I am? That is the terrifying discovery I have made while under arrest.  I have no words for my reality. 20151024_135741And the impossibility of understanding one another:

As soon as I feel that I am alone with a simple self-evident truth I lose sight of its self-evidence, blurring it with hasty similes that are supposed to help the other person understand me, but in reality only confuse what was originally a clear realization, and finally defending what I ruined with arguments that are sheer nonsense. 20151031_163216This novel is akin to the loss of identity found in other great works, such as Vladimir Nabakov’s Invitation to a Beheading, Gunter Grass’ Tin Drum and the journeys of K throughout much of Franz Kafka’s work. 67064Similarly the issue of identity is addressed much as it is in The Return of Martin Guerre and Luigi Pirandello’s The Late Mattia Pascal. 20140209_123148Frisch is direct on this very issue throughout the narrative:

You can put anything into words, except your own life. It is this impossibility that condemns us to remain as our companions see us and mirror us, those who claim to know me, those who call themselves my friends, and never allow me to change simply so they can say” I know you.”