J.G. Ballards selbsterklärter »Unbescheidener Vorschlag« zu einer globalen Kriegsallianz, um Amerikas Zerstörung zu betreiben.
J.G. Ballard’s self-declared ‘Immodest Proposal’ for a global war-alliance to exact the destruction of America demonstrates the provocatory zeal of his last fiction plans, as well as their enduring prescience.
J.G. Ballard’s self-declared ‘Immodest Proposal’ for a global war-alliance to exact the destruction of America demonstrates the provocatory zeal of his last fiction plans, as well as their enduring prescience. As Ballard emphasises several times in the World Versus America notebooks, he is utterly serious in his concerns and visions.
Although the Ballard estate declined permission for any images of pages from the World Versus America archival notebooks to accompany this essay, any member of the general public interested to do so can readily visit the British Library and view the notebooks in their entirety in the freely-accessible manuscripts collection there.
In perfekt sitzender Uniform, die Hakenkreuzbinde frisch aufgebügelt, stehe ich in einer langen Schlange in einer amerikanischen Behörde, um einen Antrag auf einen total war zu stellen, doch nach stundenlangem Schlangestehen teilt mir der freundliche Sachbearbeiter mit, dass das application form for foreign aggressions im Saal nebenan zu erbitten sei. Da ich ein depressiver Faschist bin, lasse ich trotz meiner feschen braunen Uniform den Kopf immer recht schnell hängen und beschließe daher, für heute Schluss und lieber erst morgen den nächsten Versuch zu machen. Am nächsten Morgen stehe ich so auch tatsächlich wacker in der richtigen Schlange, habe dann aber nicht alle Papiere zusammen, um ordnungsgemäß einen total war zu beantragen. Neben der Geburtsurkunde (Original, keine Kopie!) fehlen mir zwei weitere Empfehlungsschreiben amerikanischer Staatsbürger. Man braucht fünf. Aber – ich dachte, drei… Nein, fünf insgesamt! Lächelnd hebt die Sachbearbeiterin ihre rechte Hand, die Finger anschaulich gespreizt. Wo ich doch aber schon...
U-Bahn-Station Altes Landgut (U1)
Externalized memory had always proceeded by contractions, summaries, reductions, selections, breaks in flow, as well as by organization, classification, boiling down. Card catalogues reduced thousands of works to a few key notions; tables of contents contracted the hundreds of pages in a given book. The sign itself was the first abbreviation of experience. An epic stitched of words was an abbreviation of the war, the long years of which were reduced to a few nights of recitation; the written text that recorded the epic was a contraction of the oral narration which pushed aside its sensory richness, melody, life in a thousand details. In accumulating, every level of abbreviation reconstituted an infinite flow, a new dilation that would be contracted in its turn. From the plurality of pages to the index and the table of contents; from the plurality of books to card catalogues.
The abbreviated elements were further arranged, situated...
“So many egoists call themselves artists,” Rimbaud wrote to Paul Demeny on May 15, 1871. Even though that is not always obvious, ‘I’, the first person, is the most unknown person, a mystery that is constantly moving towards the other two, the second and third persons, a series of unfoldings and smatterings that eventually gelled as ‘Je est un autre’. That is why ‘apocryphal’ is a literarily irrelevant concept and ‘pseudo’ a symptom, the very proof that life, writing, is made up of echoes, which means that intrusions and thefts (Borges also discusses them) will always be the daily bread of those who write.
Words from others, words taken out of place and mutilated: here are the alms of time, that squanderer’s sole kindness. And so many others, mostly others who wrote, and many other pages, all of them apocryphal, all of them echoes, reflections. All this flows together into—two centuries...