Hitchcock Lyrics [ was: Quick -- What does "off pat" mean to an Australian?]

Joseph S. Barrera III joe@barrera.org
Thu, 28 Mar 2002 01:20:43 -0800


And RH in turn was consciously paraphrasing Johst:
(BTW, bonus points to anyone who can find the text of _Schlageter_ online;
double points if you find a translation into English)

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/6830

The New York Review of Books
November 19, 1981

Letter
REACHING FOR THE GUN
By Susan Sontag, Reply by Richard C. Cobb
To the Editors:

Re "Goering and Culture," the miniexchange between Richards Cobb and Kline
[NYR, October 8], may I be the first pedant on the block to point out that
Mr. Kline, supposedly correcting a trivial error in Mr. Cobb's splendid
essay, has got it wrong; and that Mr. Cobb, instead of writing, "I am sure
Richard Kline is right…," should have looked it up. The author of the famous
boast—often attributed to Goering or Goebbels—about reaching for the
revolver at the mention of culture is Hanns Johst (not Jolst), the Nazis'
leading playwright (not Hitler's minister, of culture), who became the
president of the Reichsschrifttumskammer, the Reich Chamber of Writers.

It occurs in Johst's most famous play, Schlageter (first performed in April
1933, for Hitler's birthday), the story of Albert Leo Schlageter
(1894-1923), along with Horst Wessel a star of the Nazi martyrology.
Schlageter—hailed in Johst's play as "the first soldier of the Third
Reich"—was a demobilized army officer who joined the Party in 1922, and the
following year took part in armed resistance to the French forces still
occupying the Ruhr, was caught sabotaging a railway line, tried (by a French
military court), and executed.

The line belongs to a character in the play named Thiemann (the actor was
Viet Harlan, later the lead in Jew Süss): "Wenn ich 'Kultur' höre,
entsichere ich meinen Browning!"

Susan Sontag

New York City

Richard Cobb replies:
My thanks to Susan Sontag for useful information.