Austrian Nobel Laureate An Immigration Enthusiast—Of Course

October 16, 2004

[Recently
by Paul Gottfried:


France`s “Anti-Hate” Hysteria: Facts Need Not Apply
]

What is something that

Salvatore Quasimodo
,

Naguib Mahfouz,


Wole Soyinka
, and

last week
Elfriede

Jelinek
all received—but which eluded

Leo Tolstoy
,

James Joyce,
Rainer Maria

Rilke
,

Jorge Luis Borges
, and

Jean Raspail?

The obvious answer: the

Nobel Prize
for

Literature
. All too often the

Swedish
Academy has bestowed the prize on deservedly
obscure authors, while neglecting world-class ones.

Some prize-recipients—Thomas
Mann
, William Faulkner,

Boris Pasternak
,

Czeslaw Milosz,
T.S. Eliot,

Sigrid Undset
—fully deserved recognition for their
artistic achievements. But the vast majority of those on
whom the prize has been conferred can be easily
forgotten without artistic loss.

It has also become common in the
last few decades to distribute the prize multiculturally,
presenting it to Third World authors with hard-to-pronounce names, whom Western critics and (one
suspects) the judges barely know or can only pretend to
appreciate.

Another litmus test intermittently
applied means awarding the prize to Western authors who
defy their societies by joining the

Communist Party.
This may have been a consideration
in awarding the prize to

Pablo Neruda,


Quasimodo
—and now the Austrian novelist Elfriede
Jelinek, who joined the KPO, the

Communist Party of Austria,
in 1974 and then ran
around for years as a pro-Soviet

“peace activist.”

There is not much in Jelinek`s
scant literary output—three undistinguished novels, the
last

The Piano Teacher
 (in English translation)
showcasing

feminist issues
—which can justify the Nobel Prize.

As a devotee of

German letters
, I picked up  Jelinek`s first novel


Die Kinder der Toten,
several years ago—but then
put down. The narcoleptic preachy prose gave me as a
reader of contemporary German prose a sense of irritated
boredom.

From what I can tell, Jelinek`s
major accomplishments to date have been hanging around
with Gunter Grass and other German leftist opponents of
German reunification in 1991, calling for more German
atonement for the never-to-be-atoned-for past—and
expressing her displeasure over the anti-immigration
populist, the Governor of Carinthia and former head of
the Austrian Freedom Party, Jörg Haider.

A typical German establishment
reaction came from the leftist German newspaper

Süddeutsche Zeitung
(October 7, 2004), which
published a fulsome appreciation of Jelinek`s career
“fighting the German tendency to suppress the national
past.”
It reported that, born in 1946, the daughter
of a Czech Jew who had survived the war working in an
Austrian chemical industry, the new Nobel Prize laureate
has apparently dedicated her life to

“anti-fascist”
causes. Her communist politics
are apparently seen as a means to pursue this end—an
expression of her willingness to pull out all stops.

In

recent years
the most scowled-at

bad guy
in Austria has been Jörg Haider, Jelinek
reproves for

xenophobia
in a monologue published in 2000,

Lebewohl
(Farewell). It is
amazing how this monologue, prepared for the stage, has
fared in the guilt-ridden, politically-correct
Germanophone society out of which it emerged. Presented
initially in its premiere in the Vienna Ballhausplatz
Theater on June 22, 2000, and sponsored by the
self-appointed Embassy of the Concerned, Jelinek`s
“Haider-Monologue”
has now traveled on stage to
several German cities, most spectacularly to Berlin,
where every prominent Gutmensch (bleeding heart)
was on hand.

It is interesting to ask why Haider,
who never jailed his opponents and has been a consistent
defender of liberal freedoms, is regarded by Jelinek and
apparently Süddeutsche Zeitung a graver
threat to constitutional government than the

Soviet dictators
whom Jelinek fronted for.

The answer lies in the prevalent
ideology of our age, which allowed the Clinton
administration to huddle with European xenophile
governments full of communist ministers in 1999 to
decide on measures to deal with an Austrian coalition
that might have included Haider.

Better sometime

Stalinists
spouting open borders and multicultural
propaganda than constitutional democrats who may not
seem sufficiently contrite about the German past—and who
show this by trying to close Germany`s borders to
further immigration.

It tells volumes about Germany`s
modern political culture that Süddeutsche Zeitung
and other German newspapers not simply hid Jelinek`s
dirty political linen, but if anything regards it as a
point in her favor.

Jelinek, in the introduction to her
most famous creation, explained that she penned her
“Monologue”
while in “rapt absorption and perhaps
madness.”

She surely knew whereof she spoke.


Paul Gottfried
is
Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, PA. He
is the author of


After Liberalism
.