Though A Woman in Berlin exposes the battered and confused state of the German psyche in the year 1945 (there is pervasive cynicism, gnawing fear, and rampant talk of betrayal by the Fuhrer), the journal is, above all, a catalog of rape. The author struggles throughout to cope with the shame and physical pain of enduring repeated rapes herself, but more importantly, she offers the reader a privileged and excruciating view of the support mechanisms created, out of grim necessity, by the city's women. In the schizophrenic environment of wartime Berlin, the "collective experience" of rape was a great leveler. The subject was promptly de-stigmatized by women who needed the therapy of collectivity, whose psychological survival suddenly depended largely on empathic exchange with others who shared their experience.
Somehow the more traditionalist and obviously more accurate view on the matter is forbidden the writer.i
Pupille How is a view accurate?
Maître Suppose you have the numbers 2, 4, 8. f(x) = 2x is relatively accurate, because it yields 2, 4, 6. f(x) = x^2 is more accurate, because it yields 2, 4, 8. Thus the view that the numbers came out of x^2 is more accurate than the view that they came out of 2x.
Pupille But these aren't views.
Maître Why not ?
Pupille Because they're not subjective.
Maître There is no requirement for a view to be subjective, and there's no requirement for a mathematical expression to be unsubjective.
Pupille But that's what makes it a view, of course it's a requirement.
Pupille There may not be a requirement for every mathematical expression to be unsubjective, but I thought those you gave as an example were. It's not the case that saying the numbers came out of 2x rather than x^2 is "relatively accurate" or "less accurate", it is factually wrong.
Maître So ?
Pupille A view can't be factually wrong. Insane, yes. Inconsistent, yes. Retarded, yes. Nonsensical, any number of things. But wrong? There's no way for it to be wrong.
Maître We're not discussing correctness here. We're discussing accuracy.
Pupille These are the marked differences between the two.
Maître And yes views can be wrong. There is no such immunity of the view.
Pupille Correctness is the state of 100% accuracy though is it not?
Maître An inaccurate view may nevertheless be correct. A seemingly more accurate view may still be incorrect. For all you know the next number is 15 not 16, in which case both views are in fact incorrect.
Pupille I don't get how an inaccurate view may nevertheless be correct. What does inaccurate mean?
Maître That doesn't fit observed data.
Pupille Isn't this simply "inconsistent"?
Maître No. Inconsistent is any proposition which doesn't fit with itself. Now as to the inaccurate but correct : suppose the numbers 1, 9, 5, 7, 12, 8, 9, 17.
Pupille So supposed.
Maître If they were obtained from f(x) = 2x + rand(-10, 10), it would be the case that saying f(x) = 2x is correct. Nevertheless, this is wildly inaccurate.
Pupille O brother how'd this get so messy? I thought things were just right or wrong, accurate or inaccurate, correct or incorrect. This is very subsetted. Alright well, ty.
Maître Rape or love, violence or intimacy, liberators or conquerors, right ? Here's a little tidbit : do you know the image of the soviet guy replacing the flag on the Reichstag ?
Pupille Probably not.
Maître Possibly the most widely publicised ww2 picture. Anyway, the tidbit is : most official versions have it edited, to hide the fact that the gentleman proudly displayed a collection of stolen wristwatches on his arm. Davai ceas, davai mosie, haraso tovarasie.ii
Pupille http://www.motherjones.com/files/images/630-kissing_the_war_goodbye.preview.jpg << that's the most widely publicised etc. Where I'm from anyway.
Maître Hm, I wonder if the difference is geographical or merely gender based. As in, they've widely publicised different pics for the use of girls.iii
Pupille Me too actually. Okay, so they edited the watches out.
Maître Well so is it right or wrong ? The picture I mean.
Pupille A picture cannot be right or wrong, is what I would've said.
Maître But it's a depiction. Does it fit the data or not ? Maybe it's a righter more inaccurate picture by the editing.
Pupille It can't be righter by the editing (of removing).
Maître So suppose you publish it unedited. What are you doing, saying "thievery is nice and good" ? This is the dilemma of censorship and moral responsibility since forever.
Pupille Why do you necessarily say anything other than "here is what the lens saw"?
Maître Well, are you unlike the camera, in that you have reason ?
Pupille Sure, but I'm not a camera, I'm a person. I write things. I don't capture images when a button is pressed on me and thus spit out film.
Maître But when you do get a film as input, do you spout it as is or as it should be ?
Pupille As it is, unless I have some agenda of course.
Maître Can you not have an agenda ?
Pupille I *can*.
Maître That's the problem. If they publicised it as it were, they'd have had the agenda of "rape is good", as you can always posit agenda in an agent after the fact. Tree by its fruit and all that.
Pupille No, idiots would imagine they have the agenda of rape is good, just like people imagine you have the agenda of black people are evil or you hate css or whateverthefuck.
Maître Ikr? Still, idiots are the people of the world.
Pupille Oh. Well inasmuch as I want idiots to spend five cents on my paper I guess I'm thusly fucked, sure. Yet another reason not to produce things for the consumption of idiots with five cents I guess.
Maître More's to it: inasmuch as your goal is to make a city of idiots work, you're also thusly fucked.
Pupille Eh. Imo the only way to get a city of idiots to work is to get the idiots out. If you're purposefully lying to mould reality into whatever jelloes you're part of the problem.
Maître Spoken like a true fascist.
Pupille Am I a fascist?
Maître I don't think you're anything, yet. You're young, you're learning. If you one day wear garter belts you're not a garterbelter now. But the notion that the only way to make a city work is to get the idiots out is fundamentally what powered the Axis demographic and social policies all through the 30s. It's exclusionary rather than inclusive, as a worldview.
Pupille Sure. Isn't there a meaningful difference between excluding on the sane basis and excluding on the insane basis though? Obviously everyone'll think this of their own view, but leaving that aside a sec.
Maître There may be. How would we prove there is ?
Pupille I dunno, do some studies. Gotta do something with all the college students anyway.
Maître Suppose I'm not good enough, for whatever reason, to make the cut. What now ?
Maître Sure, why not.
Pupille First of all, I don't think so. Second of all, even if it was, d'you wanna live somewhere they've decided you don't meet their criteria for okayness?
Maître Maybe it all boils down to being at most 5'5" for all you know. You can never presume any one living person will meet any criteria. There's an infinity of possible criteria.
Pupille But see, I'm proposing such insane criteria are insane.
Maître But there's no insanity afore the fact. It may be insane to say "you need to be at most 5'5" to live in the new Reich". It's not insane to say "you need to be at most 5'5" to go under this here electrified beam". It's not even a matter of whether I want to live there. Reality is usually scarce. Suppose there's nowhere else to live, do you now support the exclusionary government on the grounds of its rightness, against me ?
Maître This may seem insane, as a question, but it's exactly the sort of stuff the lives of an entire generation was made of. Like the aforementioned Tsvetaeva.iv Anyway : so if you don't support it why support it at all.
Pupille I only "support" it inasmuch as I think getting the idiots out is the only way to run a city of idiots without participating in the idiocy.
Maître So basically you only support it inasmuch as the idiots aren't people, in the sense of you're not laying them. Somebody ostensibly is, however.
Pupille Y'know I care about people I don't sleep with. o.O
Maître Well for whatever reason you don't care about this batch.
Pupille I didn't say horribly murder them with ice picks. They can go wherever they want. Just not in my city if I'm running it. (I prolly wouldn't want to run it in the first place, but anyway).
Maître Have you had the luxurious experience of discovering someone who literally made the world turn in one respect being a complete and total idiot ?
Pupille Um. No. No I have not. Unless you were putting the "one respect" together with the "complete and total idiot", which'd be a rather deceptive way to phrase it.
Maître Yeah. That's the problem with people : when we say they're idiots we neglect quite conveniently to point out that people, in general, outside of exceptional fields in which they may excel, are by and large idiots. So if you kill all the idiots you just kill everyone.
Pupille Well we never got around to assessing idiocy.
Maître Deceptive indeed. Just, deceptive the other way.
Pupille Which'd be the wait what. Dude, why so cryptic.
Maître For brevity!
Pupille Fuck brevity, I'm two layers of misunderstanding deep.
Maître I thought you cared about things you don't sleep with.
Pupille I can. And often do. What of it?
Maître Was a joke!
Pupille THREE! Three layers.
Maître "Fuck brevity".
Pupille O lol. Anyway, you know what you meant, I'm 85% sure I do too, if the 15% prevails and you don't also interpret what I say through the filter of knowing me and subsequently check when something wildly inconsistent...*inaccurate* pops up, owell I guess.
Maître I dunno what this means.
Pupille Fine. I'm doing sentence surgery then. Prepare your patience.
Pupille Version 1: have you had the luxurious experience of discovering someone who literally made the world turn in one respect, being a complete and total idiot in all others?
Maître This is correct.
Pupille Kk then we're good.
Maître But anyway, the solution can not be excluding idiots. The nazis tried and failed (you could argue that the failure is due to their bad definition of idiocy, but I think that's not genuine).
Pupille Yeah (yeah). Is fucking with reality to lie to people really better tho?
Maître The solution can not be denying their idiocy. The soviet socialists tried and failed (you could argue all sorts of bs, of the same ungenuine nature as the nazi stuff, about how it was really Stalin's fault or not really communism or w/e). So my conclusion is that the solution will have to be humiliating the idiots. This happens to agree with the ideas of the classical authors, by and large.
Pupille Hm. Has a gov't ever earnestly tried this?
Maître I'm not sure if the ultimate demise of the classical world can in any way be used as an argument to defeat this stance.
- That view is discussed in The Divine Cunt, part II. [↩]
- Here's a story for the ages : Romania's best vaudevillian, one Constantin Tanase, was active during the 30s and 40s. He mocked the nazis copiously all through, especially their local copycat organisation, to much pubescent rage and butthurt. Then as the Russians invaded, he mocked them copiously, to much bureaucratic dismay. He had this routine where he kept pointing out how the Russian liberator is mostly a thief liberated from any constraint of civilised society, which routine included the quoted verse, (comes to something like "gimme your watch, gimme your estate, kickass brotherhood!"). He was ordered to shut the fuck up by the "elected" representatives of the invading army, and so on his next show he came on stage with a huge grandfather clock, and said "El tic, eu tac". Tic-tac would be the Romanian onomatopea of clockwork, but tac is also the first person indicative of the verb "to keep quiet" - which in Romanian actually is a verb, a tacea. Romanians, the only nation in the world for whom shutting up is an actual activity with its own dedicated fulltime verb. And all this is different from silence (liniste). Anyway, then he lifted his arms to reveal them covered in wristwatches, which to this day is probably the one best bit of performance art on a Romanian stage, and promptly thereafter was permanently silenced. Thirty years later the local commies made a movie about his life (Actorul si Salbaticii), which is one of the best movies ever made in and by Romania. In it, probably Romania's greatest actor (Toma Caragiu) plays the leading role. Amusingly, the potshots at the nazis are rendered, but the equally vitriolic potshots at the soviets are not even mentioned, and in spite of it being the savage asian hordes that murdered him, rather than the savage germanic hordes, as far as the film is concerned the man was killed by the nazis. Funny how that works. [↩]
- She is damned hot, that blondie in her stockings, isn't she ? [↩]
- "Forgive me, but to go on would be worse. I am gravely ill, this is not me anymore. I love you passionately. Do understand that I could not live anymore. Tell Papa and Alya, if you ever see them, that I loved them to the last moment and explain to them that I found myself in a trap." [↩]