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Revolver (four, revisited).

Er stößt seinen Speer in Siegfrieds Rücken: Gunther fällt ihm—zu spät—in den Arm.

Let’s try a précis in English, shall we?

Siegfried rejoins the hunters, who include Gunther and Hagen. While resting, he tells them about the adventures of his youth. Hagen gives him a drink that restores his memory, and he tells them of discovering the sleeping Brünnhilde and awakening her with a kiss. Suddenly, two ravens fly out of a bush, and as Siegfried watches them, Hagen stabs him in the back with his spear. The others look on in horror, and Hagen calmly walks away into the wood. Siegfried dies, lingering on his memories of Brünnhilde. His body is carried away in a solemn funeral procession.

There it is, boys and girls: the ur-dolchstoß. Le coup de poignard dans le dos.

Dolchstoßlegende.

Accept no imitations.

He had become painfully aware of the enemy’s overwhelming firepower, of his superiority in the air, of the countless tanks against which one could oppose nothing of equal force. Everyone recognized that Germany, economically exhausted and lacking important raw materials, helplessly faced the enormous harnessing of the world’s resources. But all this had nothing to do with the feeling of superiority as person, soldier, and fighter. The fact that this feeling of superiority was retained after the war’s conclusion is of utmost significance for the German future. It preserves a feeling in society that the battlefield was not left as loser, despite the lost war and the mighty collapse. The consciousness of being superior in fighting ability is the best means for maintaining the military spirit. It also helps cultivate the will to fight for the fatherland’s freedom when destiny calls.

Friedrich Altrichter,
Die seelischen Kräfte des Deutschen Heeres im Frieden und im Weltkriege

The naïve faith that the German soldier felt himself to be and, in actuality, was a better fighter than the Frenchman, Englishman, American, or Russian reflected the officer’s own narcissism. The fallacious belief that by preserving the German soldier’s sense of superiority one gained a decisive military advantage was possibly tied to two unconscious transactions that typified the right-wing visionaries: the urge to fantasize a war of revenge that would erase the reality of Versailles (and defeat); and the underlying conviction that his and the nation’s strivings were invincible because they were congruent with God’s Plan.

—Peter S. Fisher, Fantasy and Politics:
Visions of the Future in the Weimar Republic

I was playing the wisecracking hero in the microscopically budgeted sci-fi thriller: Han Solo in a Clint Eastwood serape, who (interstellar archeologist and plucky sidekick in tow) stumbles over the USS Sulaco and with intuition, sarcasm, and a deeply engrained distrust of ossified authority and The Book manages to save a couple of Marines and the archeologist and his own hide from the pseudoscientific zombie menace We Were Not Meant To Know. (Mostly, what I remember is the Corridor: a couple of sheets of drywall on jerry-rigged 2×4 frames, with sliding doors on either end yanked open and shut by whoever wasn’t running the camera or the lights or staggering about as zombied Marines. “Just like they did ’em on Star Trek,” said the director, justifiably proud of those damn doors, which had eaten half his budget. —Scene after scene after scene was shot in that Corridor.) —I supplied most of the costume myself: the paratrooper boots and the East German army surplus pants I’d scored from Banana Republic, back when Banana Republic was a J. Peterman for high school kids with attitude; the serape, from the year and a half we spent in Venezuela; the khaki shirt I bought for the occasion that I still wear from time to time. But the director insisted on a gunbelt his grandfather had scored: dark brown leather with a heavy metal buckle stamped with the phrase Gott mit uns.

“Can you believe that shit?” he said, grinning. “World War I, that is. They really thought God was on their side.”

But if God is with you, and nonetheless you lose—well, what?

Obviously, you were betrayed. Robbed. The November criminals worked to sap the will of the fighting man, signing him up for Spartacist soldiers’ and sailors’ unions, filling his head with doubts, suing for peace and signing the treaty of Versailles when it was clear victory was just around the corner, if we’d just held out, if we’d just trusted in Gott, who was mit uns. And we would have, too. But we were stabbed in the back. —Just like Siegfried.

Siegfried? Why him? —He’s the offspring of an incestuous, adulterous union, after all, and it’s no excuse to point out that only such a son who knows no fear can slay the dread dragon Fafnir. He’s a murderous thug who spends most of the Götterdämmerung stumbling about as a drug-addled amnesiac, raping his girlfriend while wearing another man’s face, stealing her ring, pledging her troth to him, blundering off into the bush to go a-hunting with the son of his mortal enemy. —He is an idiot, like Nietzsche’s goddess of victory; without dizziness or fear he sets himself down on the crest of the moment, having forgotten everything from the past, and standing then on a single point he is happy as no one else is happy. He can Get Things Done, that Siegfried. Until Hagen urges him to sing of his past deeds. Until Hagen slips him the antidote to the drug he’d already slipped him, the one that destroyed his memories in the first place. That’s when the two ravens fly up out of the bushes. That’s when Siegfried turns to stare after their flight, distracted, and that’s when Hagen can stab him in the back.

With a spear, we should note. Not a dagger.

I’m just saying.

Wotan has two ravens. Had. —Caw, says the first one. Mer. Mr-no. Murnan. Mourn; remorse. Memory. Mimir. Why.

Caw, says the other one. Cwo. Cwi. Wei; wei; wei wu wei wise. Caw. How.

Hugin is the name of the one; thought. Munin the other: memory. Cwo, cwi; Mr-no. How and why.

The “Liberalist” comprises the Pacifist, the Marxist, and the Jew. He thinks rationally and is only capable of calculating. The volkish man, in contrast, lies rooted in the irrational. He opposes “ratio with religion, the individual with the collectivity.”
Reason is defamed as “whore” of the Enlightenment, as perpetrator of “empty ideals.” An appeal is made to instinct and feeling. Only when thought becomes saturated with feeling does it become acceptable and organic.

—Friedrich Franz von Unruh, “Nationalistische Jugend”

Wenn ich Kultur höre…entsichere ich meinen Browning!

—Hanns Johst, “Schlageter

  1. carlos    Sep 29, 10:40 AM    #
    "un canto de meilda" in english best story i have read yet

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