The book tells the story of Lili and Siegfried Kracauer’s close working relationship – from the early 1930s following their marriage in Germany, to exile in Paris and the war and post-war years in the USA.
J.G. Ballard’s self-declared ‘Immodest Proposal’ for a global war-alliance to exact the destruction of America demonstrates the provocatory zeal of his last fiction plans, as well as their enduring prescience.
J.G. Ballard’s self-declared ‘Immodest Proposal’ for a global war-alliance to exact the destruction of America demonstrates the provocatory zeal of his last fiction plans, as well as their enduring prescience. As Ballard emphasises several times in the World Versus America notebooks, he is utterly serious in his concerns and visions.
Although the Ballard estate declined permission for any images of pages from the World Versus America archival notebooks to accompany this essay, any member of the general public interested to do so can readily visit the British Library and view the notebooks in their entirety in the freely-accessible manuscripts collection there.
I’m standing in my perfectly fitting uniform with its freshly-pressed swastika armband in a long line at an American office. I’m waiting to submit my Application for Total War. Then, after standing in line for hours, the friendly clerk tells me that I need The Application for Foreign Aggressions in the next office over. Since I’m a depressed fascist, I don’t keep my chin up for long—despite my spiffy brown uniform—so I decide that’s enough for today and to try again tomorrow. The very next morning, I’m valiantly standing in the correct line, but then I’m missing some paperwork for the correct submission of my Application for Total War. Besides a birth certificate (the original, no copies allowed!), I’m still missing two recommendation letters from American citizens. Five are necessary. But—I thought just three… No, five in total! With a smile, the clerk raises her right hand, her fingers spread...
U-Bahn-Station Altes Landgut (U1)
I really should not have hired him, but he seemed like he could fill in for my regular cook. Schneider had called in sick it seemed like it could drag on, so I took him on without too much fuss. He was a stocky, small man who could speak only broken German. At the end of the day, business had to go on, and the guests were hungry.
The complex relationships that you maintain often are unclear, even to yourself. So too the code that goes along with them. It is hard to decipher. It is only when things go off the rails that you recognize how well the self-regulation mechanisms were working: how Schneider would organize his purchases, how he would talk to the staff, how he put together the ingredients, and how truly he was interested in keeping business humming.
On the surface, the assistant chef worked in the same...
– In what way are you a communist – since we need to define this: someone who is convinced that a totally different form of organization of communal life would be good for the human race, –
– Isn’t that equally true of monarchists and leaders of sects?
– ...with a focus on justice.
– but the people should behave differently, right?
– They should be totally different.
– Are you not simply a misanthropist?
– No, because there are people that I like, very much even. And I understand all the less why most people feel compelled to be so nasty.
– Most people don’t seem to be quite as bothered by this as you are.
– Oh really? In my perception, most people are pretty bothered by anything that is different than themselves. That is why we need rules that define how to behave toward people we can’t stand.
– You have just been suffering in a...