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Interviews  Robert Menasse
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"Billiards at Half-Past Nine"

Robert Menasse in conversation with Michael March

Robert Menasse

Brecht said, "Whoever is smiling hasn't heard the latest news." What's your latest news.

A piece for the theater, called National Theatre, in which I find a legal loophole, a way to assassinate a fascistic leader legally as a prelude to saving lives.

And the necessity of war.

A duel between two concepts of progress: the progress of things and the progress of freedom-- the duality between science and humanism. War is a protean choice in two acts.

And our myth of freedom.

Freedom is the fixed idea of those that have it. It only exists for them.

So why literature.

Back to freedom. I wanted to be able to sleep when I wanted to, and wake up when I was ready. I wanted to sit in a coffeehouse and read a newspaper. To be depressive and not have everyone assume it's because of the stock market.

Free as a bird.

I used to think people instinctively envied birds. But now I know better. Like cockroaches, people only want to survive. Hitler's Reich was to last one thousand years-- and funnily enough-- that was the whole program.

Perhaps society must occasionally self-destruct.

Our roots are plastic roots. We hardly have them. Societies aren't uprooted. They grow entirely new roots.

And fur.

For sex in Vienna.

For the sexually starved facing war in Iraq.

This is the end of U.S. hegemony, the fall of Rome.

Why is Europe unable to stop the unstoppable.

I don't know. At least my lifespan is shorter than the consequences of the decisions of the President of the United States.

Are the orders correct.

Orders are as human as eating and shitting.

And shitting on.

On the level of human achievement, it's a dead loss.

We must bring back the ancient Greek myths to fight against globalization.

The oldest contemporary myth being Marxism. At the moment of its death, it is being recalled to life to support the economy of war. Killing all the slaves to adopt a slave consciousness. Sounds like ancient tragedy.

What's more helpful to culture-questions or answers.


Questions destroyed Europe. They are necessary and empty. So permit an empty question: Is man condemned.

It's top secret - takes up space.

So space offers some solace.

I'm my own astronaut. I do it even without oxygen - only with alcohol.

Observable limits.

I don't have limits, I have holes-holes in me to other places. I don't attempt to reach my limits. I try to find my holes.

Vienna, October 2002

Last modification of this page: 10th March 2003 16:06

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