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Papa’s Risqué Mash Note, and Other News

March 12, 2014 | by

Marlene_Dietrich_in_No_Highway_(1951)

Publicity still of Marlene Dietrich in No Highway. Image via Wikimedia Commons

  • “Drunk and naked I would advance from the rear, or your rear, wearing evening clothes.” A ribald note from Hemingway to Marlene Dietrich is soon to be auctioned—their relationship was, alas, never consummated, but if the price is right, you could own a record of their long flirtation, replete with such swooning phrases as “whore blood,” “foaming at the mouth,” and “Dearest Kraut.”
  • Talking doors, gossip machines, super-duper turntables: here’s what Philip K. Dick, writing from the vantage point of 1966, thought 1992 might have been like. Would that it were.
  • While we’re on sci-fi: the New Museum’s new exhibition, “Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module,” plunges you into the old socialist vision of space travel. “Filko has a wall-mounted tablet nearby where, donning a wall-tethered headset that brings your forehead unnaturally close to the screen, you can ponder his ruminations on the fourth dimension.”
  • “Tomorrow starts here.” “One course at a time.” “Be the difference.” The surprisingly vacuous phrases copyrighted by universities.
  • A newly reprinted 1856 essay gives German comedy quite the drubbing: “German humor generally shows no sense of measure, no instinctive tact; it is either floundering and clumsy as the antics of a leviathan, or laborious and interminable as a Lapland day, in which one loses all hope that the stars and quiet will ever come.”

 

1 COMMENT

1 Comments

  1. Helen DeWitt | March 12, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    C21 readers of German, of course, can form their impression of German humor by reading the blog of Berlin’s Sankt Oberholz Café on items Lost and Found (http://www.sanktoberholz.de/?page_id=678), or Anatol Stephanowitsch’s Sprachblog, or Joachim Schulz’s Quantenwelt, or Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre’s Transkript…

    JBK: Aber das–
    BVSB: Das war ‘ne B-Seite.
    JBK: Herr St– nein, das war kein, das war keine B-Seite, Sie sind einfach zu jung dafür, Herr v. Stuckrad-Barre.

    [But that– That was a B side. Mr. St– no, that was not, that was NOT a B side, you’re just too young for it, Mr. von Stuckrad-Barre.]

    Slight, I grant you, but that’s kind of the point; anyone who has not read BVSB on what makes for ein cooles T-shirt has probably only ever heard the B side of German humor.

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