I think even outside of Germany, some people might have heard about Günther Grass and his poem (if that it can be called) against Israel. I have not really followed the storm this brought about in German media very closely, but I thought something when it all started: Why the heck are you encouraging him?
First of all, I have to admit I don’t really think very highly of Mr. Grass, unlike most people in culture here in Germany. He doesn’t write the kind of books I like to read and I find he’s highly overrated as an author. This, however, is just my own opinion and has nothing to do with why I mostly ignored Mr. Grass and his poem.
While I have to admit that not everything Israel does is right, I also realize that it is very difficult (historically speaking) for Germans to criticise. However, World War 2 ended about 70 years ago (ok, 67 years ago this May). It must be possible after a time during which most people active in the war have ceased to live for a German to criticise Israel without being crucified for it. But even that is not the reason why I have ignored Mr. Grass instead of being angry with him.
From my point of view, the ‘poem’ itself isn’t really worth all the energy wasted on it. It’s merely a way Mr. Grass (who has not been in the limelight much lately) tries to get noticed. Like a kid who knows a certain swearword will get the parents to react and notice the kid, Mr. Grass has whipped up a quick poem, so people start talking about him again.
Now, the best way to get a kid to stop using a swearword is to ignore it. So, logically, the best way to get Mr. Grass to stop embarrassing himself would be … to ignore him. Talking about Mr. Grass (about his latest ‘poem’ as much as about the ‘erotic’ ones he made a few years ago) only encourages him to continue down this road.
Seriously, what would have happened, if nobody had reacted to the ‘poem?’ Nothing. Israel wouldn’t even have heard about it. A few stupid neo-Nazi might have gotten a cheap thrill out of reading and reciting it, but apart from that…
Please, media people, no matter how little is happening in the world, be so good as to not encourage Mr. Grass in the future. Save the world from a few bad poems this way.