Sunday, September 17, 2006

Literary intellectuals and hypocrisy

From Brad DeLong's blog, nobel prize winning writer Gunter Grass is an ex-nazi and hypocrite.

Hypocrisy and self-contradiction, just another trope on the literary intellectual's palette?

Actually, distortion of historical truth, or at least the mangling of historical truth, is just another higher order truth to be untangled from the historical record. Deconstructionists will, in turn, be deconstructed. A thread of intellectual history yet to be written.

To be fair, the Gunter Grass problem is a problem with history in every culture. In post-WWII Malaysia and Singapore "the problem of 'collaboration' stood in the way of a full reckoning, and the needs of nationhood often demanded amnesia." (Forgotten Armies: Britain's Asian Empire and the War with Japan, 2004, p. 329) See 'War and Memory in Singapore and Malaysia' (2000).

More support for Rankean "what actually happened" in historiography.