The Zastava factory in Serbian city of Kragujevac does not only produce weapons but also among other things cars.
The man who guided me through parts of the factory is not only a worker, he owns together with his father a small shop that sells china, vases and other household articles.
For one moment I thought that he was trying to sell me a jacket, but at the end all he wanted to do was introduce me to his wife and his youngest daughter, a charming eight-year-old.
Are you (subconciously) thinking of quitting writing to become a weapons dealer instead, like Rimbaud, regarding your interests in weapons these days?
suspicious dutch mind ! I´m suprised that this man didn´t invite you for a dinner at his house , and a drink of slivovica (strong alcohol made of plums) .
On the radio today: Argos can disprove the arguments of the Dutch minister of Defense, Mr. Middelkoop, who plans to sue the Dutch radio program (Argos).
Do you have contacts over there with Serb nationalists? Vlaams Belang favors there cause very much .
About the shooting lessons: I suppose Grunbergs next novel is about war. And war without shooting, isn’t war. Only war can change life, Grunberg wrote recently. A proselyte has to learn much, so Grunberg.
I wrote in an essay on Mr. Kellendonk’s collected stories that it aren’t books that change lives, it’s war that change lives.
I didn’t say that only war can change life.
I’m sorry for my inaccuracy. Nevertheless, it is remarkable you mentioned war. Why war?
This is the most stupid question I´ve ever heard.
Why is the question so stupid? One can state that having immigration changes live or having baby’s or taking vitamins or adopting a dog or whatever. The emphasise on war is not a one and only choice in that regard.
I think it’s quite an interesting question.
I meant the question "Why does war change life"? In the majority of cases you don´t get the point. It´s not that difficult, you know. You could use your brain.If you have one...
You do me great honour. The most stupid question you’ ve ever heard. I can sleep quietly. When you start interpreting Grunbergs work, wake me up!
Paul, Ilanit, Manon
Things should not be taken completely out of context. Mr. Kellendonk wrote a short story in which the main character foresees that will write a story that is going to change his life. Well, nothing happens.
Theoretically lost luggage can change your life, I believe Roman Polanski directed a movie, fairly entertaining, how life threatening it can be when you by mistake take the wrong suitcase from the luggage belt.
The impact of war on people in general is bigger than the impact of eating vitamin supplements. I believe that this counts as common sense.
What threatens your life might change your life therefore the war zone is the zone where your life might be changed.
Yes, cancer is life threatening as well, yes but the difference is that there is a human being behind a bullet, and cancer is rather anonymous.
But then again and once more: I never said that it is only war that changes your life.
I think you misunderstood Paul’s question and you know what, maybe I misunderstood it. In any case your aggressive approach to this discussion is very unpleasant.
Stating that war changes lives and being strictly intolerant and not understanding for other peoples fear makes me think one of your statement shows a sense of hypocrisy or maybe opportunism.
Excuse me but who is strictly intolerant? If you are unhappy about your flabby stomach please go the gym and don’t waste my time with nonsense.
And FYI it’s NOT your flabby stomach that is standing between us. Although I have been informed that the flabbiness of your stomach can evoke feelings of disgust.
As soon I have fulfilled my mission in Israel I’ll take you out for dinner. In the meantime I don’t appreciate your baseless accusations.
And stop blaming Manon for being aggressive – your own aggression is often unnecessary and unbearable. I would like to point out to you that verbal aggression should never be used as a substitute for sex, at least not on this site. Thanks!
flabby belly - call for entries
Alright everyone here's a challenge, this is my belly -http://www.flickr.com/photos/8074814@N05/
Everyone (especially you Ilanit) who wants to submit a photo of his/her flabby belly can do so by logging in and uploading. Perhaps Arnon will choose a winner.www.flickr.com
loginname - tess.molenaar
password - flabbybelly
(Sander, I'm not too good with flickr so if you feel like adjusting things, feel free).
Discussions concerning fear took place on this blog several times recently. There was no way the fear in regard to terrorism, Iran, Politic Islam etc. etc. was something else then hysteria according to you. Growing up in war might have changed my life but you disrespect this change. As to my belly, not flabby sorry to disappoint you. As to my aggressiveness, you interpret my words often times much more aggressive as I mean if ever. I can not take responsibility for that.
why do you want to post your photo? Why do you think I would want to?
I really respect you and like you even (as much as possible for a co-blogger) but this is going to low and proving what?
@Ilanit, it's very plainly and very simply called fun. Nothing more, nothing less. Have a laugh sometime, would you? I don't at all see how posting a photo of my flabby belly could be viewed as demeaning myself. If that were the case, then posting personal comments about yourself is just as demeaning, perhaps even more so.
@all, who's next?
In fact, it's your comment that's now making me feel like a total fool. I much prefer innocence over violence.
There is quite a difference between a real war zone and let’s say a citizen of Brussels, Athens or Haarlem who lives in constant fear of a terrorist attack.
If we follow your line of reasoning we could equal a person who is extremely afraid of mice with a combat soldier.
But yes a mental disease might change somebody’s life as well.
If you don’t think using the word hypocritical and opportunist is in this context aggressive then I prefer to come to our dinner date prepared.
As to your stomach, didn’t you use the excuse that your stomach would have been too flabby to mud wrestle, or did your sister use that excuse?
Your stomach is not flabby, hate to disappoint you.
Arnon: depends on the angle and lighting and time of day.
I suggest you add a time-series photograph of your belly in moonlight.
What about Laura's belly?
When will I see her belly?
How many more books do I have to write before you are willing to share a belly with me?
Arnon, can we see your belly please, or maybe you'd like to put your autograph on mine, Sander must know how to do that in photoshop? If my belly's the only one out there by tonight, I'll probably chicken out and cover it.
You are entitled to your opinion and small enjoyments in life of course, but when push comes to shove I would have expected you to be an active part of the International mud wrestling which if I am not mistaking was your idea and you didn’t, so in a way, although I feel the need to emphasise again that I highly respect you- you’re not very reliable.
1-I am not at all constantly afraid of terrorist attacks. I am however worried about for example the possibilities of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Call me hysterical. Reminding you, as oppose to you I did hang the mezuzah outside my door without any notion of “the whole world doesn’t have to know…”.
2-I did not mean to sound aggressive using these words. I am sorry if you felt attacked in that manner. These words are in my mind very different then words like: “stupid question” or “use your brain”.
3-What dinner? I can see you’re in Amsterdam but I leave to Tel Aviv next week. sorry.
4-As to my stomach we see a great example of how ‘hear-say’ twist reality. I am sure Johannes didn’t twist what I meant exactly in purpose and I am very sure, despite what you said he didn’t say I was disgusting but any additional words on the matter are waste of our time.
Hi Ilanit, you're being unfair and I feel the need to defend myself. The mudwrestling was not my idea, but you're right in a way: I did actively support it as an idea. I even made a few phonecalls for it. As for reliability, I am in fact overly reliable and always do what I say I'll do. I said I'd like to help (which I did) and would join if I could. But I couldn't. I hope I don't need to show you a doctor's statement proving I couldn't. You can still rely on me. I'm taking the picture off now.
My dear Tess,
please, please, please don’t take the picture offline on my account. We don’t necessarily have to laugh about the same jokes all the time don’t you think.
I apology for calling you unreliable since your absence was inevitable. I thought you simply didn’t want to go or chickened out.
You do have to understand that when someone is trying to offend me by making fun of my belly it would feel to me as if I lower myself to this childish behaviour by proving him wrong.
After some close body contact with Arnon, nothing erotical though, I can testify that his belly is perfectly flat and that he has very nice thighs, everything in balanced proportion. We intended you or Ilanit to wrestle with Arnon, but since neither of you could make it, I took the job.
My belly is too slobby for pictures.
@Mieke, I saw the pictures of the contest and I have to say: you're really cool.
And - flabby bellies are perfectly normal and natural.
Laura says that books and bellies don't mix.
Have you thought of the possibility that some Iranians are very afraid of the Israeli nuclear bombs?
Your argument is in other words not very convincing.
Besides the fact that this discussion was not about whether “we” should attack Iran or not.
The discussion started with a reference to my article about Kellendonk’s stories.
You know when you enter a discussion without being informed you risk becoming obnoxious.
Could you please take a few days off to do what is as you stated before your favorite pastime: buying designer clothes.
Could you explain Laura;s position on books and belly’s.
As to American Sign Language, Marianne studied ASL when she was working at a day care center in New York a couple of years ago.
Why did the two of you learn ASL?
Is Laura deaf? Please be advised that this would not change my feelings for her.
It’s possible that a deaf mistress would enhance my life and my literature.
I gave this specific fear as an example to an earlier discussion where you refused to recognise it as possible, even not by lets say stating that you can understand that my background could have contributed to it. I was informed as to the argument on this specific entry but stated my feeling about it and let me rephrase: acknowledging that war change lives but not willing to accept fears which might seem irrational coming from a different background is puzzling. It doesn’t seem to fit and, for me personally, gave a feeling of dishonesty.
I admit that choosing words like hypocrite or opportunist show poor judgment from my side, because they can come as aggressive and eventually will not give me the explanation I actually wanted to have to this duality. For this I apologize.
As of buying designer cloths, I didn’t say it’s my favourite pastime, but one of them. Big difference.
Regarding books and bellies, Laura says that certain positions are better left unexplained.
Laura learned American Sign Language because she had a lab partner in a class who was deaf. She also felt that ASL was much more expressive than spoken language. Laura is not deaf, yet at times she is selectively hard-of-hearing.
I took a course in ASL because I had a deaf office mate who I wanted to be able to communicate with. He turned out to be someone with a very good sense of humor.
Has Marianne taught your godson any ASL?
My former deaf office mate drove a car. As a frequent passenger of this car, I learned that my friend could simultaneously drive and sign. This was achieved by controlling the steering wheel with his knees for long stretches of time.
What does Laura exactly do with her lab partner?
My godson does not know ASL, he speaks Dutch, Spanish and little bit of English. (“The check, please.”)
Did you ever write him a post card?
Stop blaming your background please.
Didn’t you have children? Do they blame their background?
There is a difference between blaming or recognising. you see, this is exactly what I mean. You will state that War can change lives, but when I will say that me growing up in war, going to the army being stationed in the occupied territory (while being 18 years old) might have contributed to my fears you refuse to accept that. So why emphasising that war change lives?
I never said that your experiences in the army were futile.
If I were too harsh on your fears and neurotic disorders I apologize sincerely.
I was and I am convinced that fear for the Iranian atomic bomb at the moment is not completely rational.
No Iran please. “So why emphasising that war change lives?” I believe that’s still an interesting question. Specially for a person who isn’t in war, and who visited Afghanistan, had shooting lessons et cetera. Of course, Arnon, you have good reasons for mentioning war. But, I believe in this case it’s too simple only to suggest war change life is common sense. “Things should not be taken completely out of context.” Are you sure, Mr. Kellendonk’s collected stories aren’t books that change lives, it’s war that change lives?
In general I doubt if literature can change much. Tucholsky, once the most popular columnist in Germany, complained that not even a police officer had resigned because of his columns.
Don Quixote’s life changed because of the books he read, but he is an exception and more important he himself is a character in a book.
I don’t have high expectations about the impact of the written word. Recently I was explained that my own words had quite an impact, but it was definitely not the impact I was looking for.
Your question is why do you juxtapose books with war? Am I right?
My position is that at the end not only the power of books is limited, but also the power of well let’s say love, convictions, religion compared to the power of physical violence, and therefore I wrote: It’s war that changes lives.
And I suggest to take war here in the broadest meaning of the word.
I haven’t the certainty you have, but your gospel of violence sounds plausible. Nevertheless, it isn’t clear to me how exactly violence changes life. After reading your brilliant Asylumseeker, I know violence changes the life of Beck. But why Beck goes back to his wife after what happened in the brothel is not clear to me. Do I have to believe the dogma war changes life, or can you explain the change, or perhaps I have to read the book again.
Does your answer exempt me from your request to go buy designer cloths? After 10 days in NY I feel I shopped enough for now, to be honest.
I have experienced the shattering power of violence. Your words , writings and storys have a therapeutic value for me. F.E. your words help me focus . Never underestimatee the value of that.
Arnon didn't you once write that if you were to write the preface of Gaza Blues now it would differ because you changed your mind on the matter?
From what I remember it seemed like you were willing to accept the hypothetical idea that a book could make difference.
(I tried to track the original quote down, but WWB's archive isn't quite complete any longer. Or I am going mad, and you wrote your piece elsewhere.)
What are you doing in NY apart from contributing to this blog and buying designer clothes?
The NY marathon was the reason I went to New York, but I also visited family, different museums and expositions, and had a great energy boost by simply crisscrossing Manhattan each day by foot. Love it!
Laura and I are planning to go to the "Age of Rembrandt" exhibition at the Met next week. Laura's dad highly recommended the show. I'm most interested in the "50 years of Helvetica" exhibition at the MoMa.
I went to Lebanon and I met Samir El-Youssef. That's my explanation.
Do you want to have a cup of coffee with you and Laura or dinner next week?
Dinner on the condition that you allow me to propose to Laura.
The age of Rembrandt left a huge impression on me. Don’t go saving the $7,- for the audio tour- it makes a huge difference. I’ll recommend the Richard Prins in Guggenheim as well.
I’ve been to the Moma but it was soooo I went to watch my favourites over there and the temporary expositions on the top floor. I think I missed the Helvectiva.
I ment to say Moma was sooooo crowded
I don’t think that my gospel is the gospel of violence.
Beck goes back to “the Bird” because he cannot let go, I’m not sure if his return to “the Bird” is connected to his violent act. I would argue that his violent act is connected to his inability to leave ‘the Bird”.
But then again an author should never interpret his own work.
It’s not only physical violence that has an impact – a child psychiatrist once explained me that verbal abuse can be more devastating for a child than physical abuse.
Well, maybe my gospel is the gospel of violence, but not every kind of violence is welcoming to me. I prefer the Dutch army to the Dutch literature.
do you think it would be fair to say that above conversation between Arnon and Paul proves us that there are actually no stupid questions?
I bet you are as charming offline as you are online.
Laura and I feel a certain obligation to meet your godson before meeting up with you. Would you happen to know if he is going to be around next week?
My godson will be available in New York the second week of December.
I understand your hesitation.
We wrote your godson a card, which was put in the mail unfortunately recently.
Of the nature of Laura's relationship with her lab partner I am not certain.
Reading your last sentence, I must confess your gospel is charming. But are there in your novels examples of war/violence changes life?
The Asylumseeker is about Beck, not about Sosha. You're right.
None the less Becks feelings of triumph after his violent act are striking. “But then again an author should never interpret his own work.” Okay, let me ask it this way: Is the use of violence that causes triumph welcoming to you?