The chief import of Gunter Grass’s The Tin Drum is neither nationalist satire nor the torment of lost identity. It is misanthropy, hated, the wish to shock and nauseate the reader. The book is full of cruelty; witnessed by Oscar, inflicted by Oskar, and gloatingly described. Often the cruelty is funny, but in a grotesque way, so that we feel guilty for enjoying it. Oskar’s friend Truczinski, infatuated by the beautiful figurehead of a ship , attempts to make love to it with the help of a double-edged axe and kills himself. The homosexual greengrocer Greff, wearing his scoutmaster’s uniform, hangs himself in a contraption which, when he is cut down, releases a funereal drum roll of falling potatoes. Corporal Lankes, guarding the Atlantic Wall, machine guns five stray nuns on the beach because they might be disguised British troops; meanwhile a clown acrobat alleviates the situation by playing a jazz record and standing on his head.
To Christian readers the most offensive thing in the novel will be, as it was intended to be, the blasphemy. Not only does Oskar hang his drum round the neck of a statue of the infant Jesus and challenge him to start drumming; not only do the hooligans put Oskar on the knees of a statue of Mary and perform a Mass in front of him; but eventually we see that Oskar thinks of himself as a contemporary Jesus whose mission has still to begin. And there are hints and consonances, equally blasphemous, throughout.
Blasphemy, nauseating descriptions of perverted eating and drinking, cruelty; the scream that shatters glass and destroys property- “property is theft”- the drum that destroys logic and calls up crazy images; all these combine into one major pattern, destructive anarchism. The message from the tin drum played by the maniac dwarf is simple, and is not so unlike Hitler’s final scream: “Destruction to the world that will not follow me.”
The predominant type of European anti-Semite is the part-time one. It is a typical expression of contemporary society in which structures, attitudes and opinions have fragmented and many personalities are split.
Grass is a part-time anti-Semite. He demonizes Israel, yet claims in his poem that he’s a friend of Israel. However false that claim is, no full-time anti-Semite would take the trouble to say it.
It is also important to observe who supports or whitewashes Grass – the poet who called Israel a danger to world peace. The enthusiasm shown by Iranian Deputy Minister Dschawad Schamadari for Grass is revealing. Perhaps Grass’ most prominent whitewasher is Sigmar Gabriel, Chairman of the German Social Democrat Party. He called the attacks on Grass “exaggerated” and partly “hysterical.”
Gabriel said that the poem was a permissible expression of “opinion.” He should have more accurately stated: “of incitement.” Gabriel added that Grass is not an anti-Semite. He then expressly stated that the SPD would continue to appreciate the support of Grass in future elections.
A few weeks earlier, Gabriel had accused Israel of apartheid policies. After much criticism leveled against him, he said that he only mentioned that it took place in Hebron. The SPD cha
n has stated falsely that he is a friend of Israel. If this were true, he would have asked the German government to bring Iran before an International Court long ago due to its breach of the United Nations Genocide Convention, as Iranian leaders wish to eradicate Israel.Read More:http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4220101,00.html