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Kurt Weinzierl/Kurt Tucholsky: An das Publikum

Kurt Tucholsky once wrote “A country is not only what it does, but what it tolerates.”

What important words for us to remember right now.  The song I have chosen for today is ugly and it should be.  The text is vital for our society right now; with all the splash and cry of “fake news”, “alternative facts” and the all-too-comfortable liberal social media bubble I find myself in, I needed a wake-up call.  If you don’t speak German, read the translation below before listening.

To the Public (1931)
– Kurt Tucholsky

Dear, dear public,
tell me: Are you really as dumb,
as we hear every day
from all the businessmen?
Directors on their fat behinds
say: “It’s what the public wants!”
The men in film: “What can I do?
The public wants these saccharine things!”
Publishers shrug their shoulders and say:
“Good books don’t sell!”
Tell me, dear public:
Are you really that dumb?

So dumb, the newspapers, morning and late,
hold less and less to read?
Anxious someone might be offended;
In fear, no one must be incited;
Apprehensive that Müller and Cohn
might threaten with cancellation?
Nervous that finally
some organization will come
and protest and denounce
and demonstrate and litigate…
Tell me, dear public:
Are you really that dumb?

Well then…
On our time weighs
the curse of mediocrity.
Have you such a weak stomach?
Truth disagrees with you?
You’ll only eat mush?
Well, then…
Well, you deserve what you get.

Translation by Indeterminacy

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