Tuesday, November 20, 2018




I had lucked out, most improbably, and found myself living in an unimaginably – I could not even have imagined a more idyllic spot: a Dutch flower-farmers former flower shed at the end of an agave-lined dirt road at 1500 feet above the Pacific Ocean, a pepper-tree sprinkling pepper corns and a Juniper dripping sap onto the tin roof; song-birds, Colibri; a south-facing beach and the swell from the south-sea storms pounding at long intervals, a distance-muffled sound that spelled what the former inhabitants of these hills, the Chumash, had called Ma-li-bu – huge carpets of water, wave-swells breaking in stages, the ultimate whale-tail slap onto the beach is was what did it. Windows at the south, ocean facing, and on the west mountain sides.
I had lucked out, most improbably by taking a side-road to escape Los Angeles Freeway madness – madness the experience of finding myself in ten-lane traffic after years it seemed in the sanity of  Wild West Billie the Kid world – dirt roads, gravel. From the pacified Wild West via Interstate 10 via and 29 Palms to unpacified traffic madness, I had been terrified. How do I get out of this and to the ocean? Ah, there was a State Route, # 23, that would do the trick, and what a tricky mountain road # 23 turned out to be that evacuated me onto PCH and the beach in Ma-li-boo; Malibu  part of an itinerary that was designed to take me North. - I had been in Malibu, nearly 20 years ago, to visit a room mate whose mother had a beach house – an experience that had not made Malibu part of prospects of mine.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018


also see the weekly standard's irmscher piece

As the translator of three Hesse novels – Beneath the Wheel, Peter Camenzind and, with conviction, DEMIAN  – perhaps you will allow me to comment on what I regard as the customary superficial manner in which Adam Kirsch discusses the work of German language authors.
       I came to translating Hesse, via Roger KIein, Harper & Row editor, as someone who had translated some Brecht,  stylistically demanding later Ernst Juenger with Louise Bogan, and as a Musil translator [ also a dissertation subject, to whose work I was drawn notby the customary literary references but via my interest in physic, A. Mach] and thus I found Peter Camenzind as well Beneath the Wheel to be stylistically anachronistic  thus unrewarding  on the linguistic level, whereas Demian, written under the aegis of a Jungian analysis -Kirsch absolutely needed to note as much if he read the book - that familiarized this translator with the concept and practice of projection, was also stylistically more agreeable.
 Thus what I chiefly find lacking in Kirsch’s reductionism of Hesse’s life and work to an on-going adolescent revolt is not only sufficient note he takes of the development of Hesse’s lead characters from Camenzind to via Emil Sinclair and Goldmund and beyond, -by way of the wild civilizationally unhappy  Harry Haller, the Steppenwolf, who goes  - prophetically it evidently seemed to Hesse’s American followers through a wild drug- & sex filled revolt against modern life

[“ The story in large part reflects a profound crisis in Hesse's spiritual world during the 1920s while memorably portraying the protagonist's split between his humanity and his wolf-like aggression and homelessness.[1]]] Kirssch also fail to note Hesse's– his development as an artist from moderately realistic beginnings to the very considerable complexity of Steppenwolf and to the amazing formalism of Narciss and Goldmund. That is, maybe you never find another story but your adolescent trauma but you can find ever more beautiful and interesting ways of telling it & that is where your efforts and neglect of your wife are then devoted to!
 However, Kirsch is spot on in noting that Hesse never wanted followers, I recall editing a selection of Hesse letters for Farrar, Straus, a firm to which I then brought two of my translations and 20 Hesse titles after Roger Klein ended his own life prematurely, letters where Hesse keeps advising all those who beseech him that they are asking the wrong person. Hesse I think will be an author who will continue to be fruitfully read , as he was by the American kids of the 60 and 70, who project their own wishes onto a writer who certainly knew a thing of two about projecting within the on-going American night mare. Sincerely, Michael Roloff, Seattle

Monday, November 12, 2018

Cynthia Ozick’s CRIME & PUNISHMENT

Re Cynthia Ozick’s CRIME & PUNISHMENT
Ms. Cynthia Ozick use of a history of recent assassins and then segue of her focus to a writer and one of his most famous novels CRIME AND PUNISHMENT elicits a twofold comment,  first on assassinations, then on the novel, the first novel to make an impression on me as a youngster  - both part of my comments obviously running under the aegis of “thou shalt not kill” a matter that some authors who regard themselves existentialists regard as a big hurdle proudly leapt, act gratuits? in their lives and their books. - I also want to remind of Brecht’s great and playful Lehrstueck The Measures Taken that addresses this forever conundrum of within a revolutionary situation. – Note how cleverly Brecht deals with the House Un-American committee!

1- Assassinations have become routine under fascist regimes or as they develop and maintain their hegemony. The NAZI party was an assassination party, most famously of Rathenau; Obama was an assassination president who routinely blew a lot of wedding parties of CIA designated grrists to kingdom come and thought doing so was “a no-brainer” helping a whelp hosts of vengeful grissts; Peron was an assassin; no end of US supported dictators have been assassins; Stalin most famously of Trotsky; the US sought to assassinate Castro numerous time – assassination having become a routine state instrument would seem to me to be a more important subject than tying the variety of disparate assassins to Dostoevsky and one of his major characters - a good analyst might have cured him and Raskolnikov of their confusions… in which case of course we might not have those hair raising novels!... Lincoln’s assassination, McKinley’s , Kennedy’s … all committed for alleged idealistic vengeful reasons – the word assassinate of Arabic origin and Muslim practice--

a member of the Nizari branch of Ismaili Muslims at the time of the Crusades, when the newly established sect ruled part of northern Persia (1094–1256). They were renowned as militant fanatics, and were popularly reputed to use hashish before going on murder missions.

– Thus “oh how awful” when they do to us what we do routinely!...  There is the murderous overthrow of the Iranian regime in the early 50s, the numerous US assassinations in Central America, I forget how many thousand Swedes St. Olaf killed during his conversions to the murderous Christian faith! Then there is Che Guevara killing capitalist whore-mongers instead of trying to re-educate the irredeemable. Himself assassinated by the CIA. What would a trial of Osama bin Laden have been like, if you see what I mean. But it might make for an interesting political play within that important post-WW II German tradition that reaches back as far as Buechner.

.2. Ms. Ozick’s wonderful reading of the novel reminds me that Crime and Punishment was the first novel to make a lasting impression on this avid reader of fairy tales and sagas about a decade into my traumatic childhood – reading it this would-be killer of his emasculating [Ms. No] governess [she had tried to force feed an otis media bed-ridden me and a kick had left her moaning on the floor; what’s worse, the grandmother to whom I rushed to report what had transpired, it seemed not to matter ] and thus I realized that I felt guilt ridden qualms, and must have not been entirely uncaring for the governess,  and thus Crime and Punishment would seem to be a worth while educational tract as all the other matters that it is.

Sunday, November 11, 2018



Uwe Johnson (1934–1984) grew up in the small town of Anklam in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. At the end of World War II, his father, who had joined the Nazi Party in 1940, disappeared into a Soviet camp; he was declared dead in 1948. Johnson and his mother remained in Communist East Germany until his mother left for the West in 1956, after which Johnson was barred from regular employment. In 1959, shortly before the publication of his first novel, Speculations About Jakob, in West Germany, he emigrated to West Berlin by streetcar, leaving the East behind for good. Other novels, The Third Book About AchimAn Absence, and Two Views, followed in quick succession. A member of the legendary Gruppe 47, Johnson lived from 1966 until 1968 with his wife and daughter in New York, compiling a high-school anthology of postwar German literature. On Tuesday, April 18, 1967, at 5:30 p.m., as he later recounted the story, he saw Gesine Cresspahl, a character from his earlier works, walking on the south side of Forty-Second Street from Fifth to Sixth Avenue alongside Bryant Park; he asked what she was doing in New York and eventually convinced her to let him write his next novel about a year in her life. Anniversaries was published in four installments—in 1970, 1971, 1973, and 1983—and was quickly recognized in Germany as one of the great novels of the century. In 1974, Johnson left Germany for the isolation of Sheerness-on-Sea, England


den Uwe hab ich durch seinen damaligen Lektor bei Grove Press, Fred Jordan kennen gelernt und fuer Metamorphose inteviewt, -

das Interview hab ich als PDF und versuch es separat hochzulotzen -

gibts auch bei Suhrkamp, auch die Ursula Molinaro Uebersetzung vom DRITTEN BUCH ueberarbeitet. Die eresten Buecher waren zu demanding allgemein, und Jahrestage mit dem NY Times Zeug las sich als zu zeitgemaes. Ausser dem war der Uwe dem Suff verfallen und extrem paranoid. Da kommt nichts mehr war die Helen Wolf Meinung als Uwe ihr Autor und als Harcourt Brace Lektor arbeitet.


    Uwe Johnsons Roman „Jahrestage“ wurde 48 Jahre nach Erscheinen ins Englische übersetzt, und das Goethe-Institut macht großen Bahnhof in New York. Eine Figur wie Gesine Cresspahl kommt dort gerade zur rechten Zeit.

Gute Bücher haben immer ihre Zeit. So sollte es jedenfalls sein. Der Markt für sie aber ist weniger unbestimmt. Da ist die Zeit für ein gutes Buch möglicherweise schnell vorbei. Oder noch gar nicht angebrochen. Und so ist es nicht ganz müßig zu fragen, warum Uwe Johnsons „Jahrestage“ erstmals jetzt vollständig ins Englische übersetzt wurden, 48 Jahre nach Erscheinen des ersten Bandes, 35 nach Erscheinen des letzten und fünfzig Jahre nach der Zeit, in der dieser Roman spielt – zwischen dem 21. August 1967 und dem 20. August 1968. Was hat es damit auf sich?
Verena Lueken
Redakteurin im Feuilleton.
Die Amerikaner haben, was Bücher angeht, immer schon einen immensen Exportüberschuss zu verzeichnen, während die Deutschen auf diesem Gebiet eher im unteren Mittelbereich liegen. Aus der aktuellen belletristischen Produktion wird sehr wenig für den englischsprachigen Markt übersetzt. Aus Gründen, die nicht immer durchschaubar sind, entdecken die Amerikaner dann aber plötzlich einen deutschsprachigen Klassiker für sich und sind selbst erstaunt, warum es so lange gedauert hat. Vor einigen Jahren war das Stefan Zweig. Davor Joseph Roth. Davor W.G.Sebald. Jetzt ist es Uwe Johnson.

Großer Bahnhof, aber wer wird es lesen?

Seine späte Würdigung durch die Amerikaner ist besonders rätselhaft, spielen doch seine „Jahrestage“ in New York. Die „New York Times“ hat eine der Hauptrollen. Vermutlich war einiges, wenn nicht vieles – die Schlagzeilen aus der „Times“ sicher, die Dialoge wahrscheinlich – ursprünglich Englisch und wurde von Johnson ins Deutsche gebracht. Es nützte offenbar nichts, obwohl sich das Ganze deutlich kurzweiliger liest, als die Länge von mehr als zweitausend deutschen Seiten, die im Englischen auf 1720 schrumpften, vermuten lässt. Es gab Versuche, in den siebziger Jahren, in einer längst vergriffenen Ausgabe. Übersetzer und Verlag gaben damals auf, als Uwe Johnsons Schreibblockade das Erscheinen des letzten Bandes um mehr als ein Jahrzehnt verzögerte. Umso heroischer das Engagement des Verlags der „New York Review of Books“ und aller Beteiligten für den neuen Anlauf und die vollständige Fassung. Immerhin neunhundert Seiten, so der Übersetzer Damion Searls, waren bisher nicht übersetzt, der Rest wurde gründlich überarbeitet.
Bei der Buchvorstellung im New Yorker Goethe-Institut wurde die Frage „warum jetzt?“ weder gestellt noch beantwortet. Wahrscheinlich gibt es auch keine Antwort außer dieser: Der Verlag hat es eben jetzt gewagt. Damion Searls hat, neben vielen anderen Dingen, die er tat, eben jetzt die Übersetzung des Riesenwerks abgeschlossen, das am Abend in zwei broschierten Bänden im Schuber für dreißig Dollar verkauft wurde. Ein Schnäppchen. Dazu gibt es bis zum Ende des Monats ein Filmprogramm, unter anderem mit Margarethe von Trottas Verfilmung, eine Zeitung, eine Installation, eine Playlist mit Songs der Zeit, eine interaktive Wanderung durch das New York der Gesine Cresspahl, der Hauptfigur, alles produziert, arrangiert, organisiert vom Goethe-Institut. Großer Bahnhof also, aber doch – wer wird das Buch lesen, das hier „Anniversaries“ heißt und von einem Autor stammt, den selbst in New York niemand kennt?

Die etwa sechzig Menschen, die ins Goethe-Institut gekommen waren, um den Übersetzer im Gespräch mit der Schriftstellerin Renata Adler und der Literaturwissenschaftlerin Liesl Schillinger zu hören, kauften zurückhaltend, aßen und tranken aber gern, was danach geboten wurde. Auch dafür wird das Goethe-Institut in New York geschätzt: Es gibt immer freie Drinks.

Dass niemand nach Sinn und Zweck, dem öffentlichen Interesse und dem Zeitbezug fragte, sondern sich alle damit zufriedengaben, über ein Buch informiert zu werden, das in seiner Anlage einmalig und seiner Zeit voraus war, das von Deutschland, und zwar von beiden Teilen, ebenso handelt wie von New York in jener Zeit und von seiner stolzesten Zeitung und den Nachrichten dort, immer wieder aus dem Vietnam-Krieg – es spricht nichts dagegen, das für ein Zeichen der Reinheit des literarischen Interesses zu nehmen. „Auf Augenhöhe“ mit Tolstoi nannte Searls das Kapitel, das während der Heuernte in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern spielt.

Und dann gab er den Zuhörern doch noch einen Hinweis darauf, was dieses Buch so wertvoll für einen Zeitgenossen macht – dass Gesine Cresspahl eine alleinerziehende Frau ist, eine Immigrantin, berufstätig und ständig aktuell über die Zeitläufte informiert und nachdenkend: Das ist eine großartige Frauenfigur, ein Vorbild, so Searls, umso mehr, als sie von einem Mann erfunden wurde. Das alte New York ersteht dadurch nicht wieder. Aber der Geist der Gesine Cresspahl ist angekommen.

I got to know Uwe via Fred Jordan at Grove Press for whom I was doing outside work in the early 60 and then did an interview with him in  New York and in Boston at my fellowMetamorphosis place and published the interview in Issue # 3, it has been translated into German and published by Suhrkamp; I myself have a PDF that Tom McGonigel made for me from the Issue # 3 in the NY Public Library. I saw Uwe then in Berlin and he was helpful in apprising me of the lay of the land of East German Lit circa 1970 where I was the first American Scout [for Sam Lawrence at Atlantic Monthly, and then for him at Knopf] to venture , Aufbau Verlag, a Herr Kaspar who told me had become a communist, not as so many did as Russian POWs, but as an American prisoner of war picking cotton in Arizona with what he described as American black slaves. One of the more memorable days I must say in every respect. And Aufbau then sent me all the books I wanted and I read them at my German haven that year, Villiprott, outside Godesberg, while my retired OSS/CIC/CIA CORS OF ENGINEERS  stepfather was memorably once once again engaged in spy work amongst all bevy of spies that circles the US First Secretaries abode, while getting himself a masters in German lit.

In Berlin Uwe was a severely depressed alcoholic and I always regretted, once I did a psychonalyis that Suhrkamp had not put him in contact with their own great author analyst Mitcherlich - [Inability to Mourn, the Fatherless Generation ]- and once more memorably in New York, early 70s, I gave him a ride back from a reading from TWO VIEWS at Columbia to the Iroquis Hotel, for those who don't like the stiff Algonquin fees. TWO VIEWS made me think about the spy business in Berlin, my mother had been such for the German 20th of jury resistance as of 1933, and finally been entrapped and fortuitously survived the siege of Berlin in her Gestapo prison; through her and my OSS stepfather I had made early acquaintance with Rainer Hillebrandt of the Kampgruppe gegen Unmenschlichkeit, a concentration camp survivor who had founded a group to fight their now operation by the Soviets, whom OSS/now CIA was turning into a terrorist organisation to blow up East German invfrastructure - and Rainer later ran the Checkpoint Charlie museum - and I - who had declined a CIA invitation in Berlin  in 1957 - wanted to talk a bit about all that with Uwe who - judging yby TWO VIEWS knew his way around these matters in Berlin - however, the mere mention of Rainer Hillenbrandt and Uwe leapt out of my Pontiac Firebird convertible, top up, and lumbered, his alcohol fattened being,  just like a Rhino was my impression,  toward the Iroquois. Deeply paranoid, and for reason judging by Kaspar's reaction when I divulged to him that his list of writers matched the one that Uwe had provided me.  No wonder of course that his wife might have an affair, writers are problematic husband and wives, but if they come home drunk at night... Also re-wrote Ursule Molinaro's pretty good translation of that extremely demanding text THIRD BOOK ABOUT for Fred, and it would be great if maybe the NYRB could do those first perfect novels as a boxed set???  Michael Roloff


Friday, November 09, 2018


Der Fall “His Majesty Enzensberger – HME“ erfordert so etwas wie eine „Kritik der Reinen Intelligenz“ - von einem Feld zum anderen jagd sie, weder Windhund not menetekel Dackel erwischt

mit der ich zum ersten mal bei Ruth Landshof-York
einer diesen intelligenten Berliner Freundinnen meiner Mutter Alexandra – Lexi – von Alvensleben, 1961 in New York Bekanntschaft machte – ein guter Zuhoerer bemerkte ich - der verwandte Graf York, der für Chase Bank arbeitete, hatte die Lesbischen Jüdin geheiratet um ihr in der USA zum Überleben zu helfen   – eine Bekanntschaft an die sich die Enzensbergerische Intelligenz aber gegenüber Blubach‘s Die vielen Leben der Ruth Landshoff-Yorck. Insel Verlag, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-458-17643-5
nicht erinnern wollte – eine Intelligenz dessen Erinnerungsvermögen sich manchmal unglaublich dumm einschränkt waehrend sie von ziemlich weit Links beinah zur Reaktion gewandert ist. Inzwischen viel gescheit provokantes
 The Civil Wars

Beim 1066 Princeton Treffen der Gruppe 47 bemerkte ich dass die Intelligenz ganz schnell noch Chinesisch zu ihrer Sprachkenntnissen addierte; und auf meiner berühmten 1971-2 halbjährigen Frachter Hellenic Splendor Reise halb um die Welt war die Intelligenz die

verfasst hatte angenehmer Compadre, trotzdem die Mannschaft eines solchen Frachters alles anderes als dumm ist. Trotz der Freundschaft von Robert Silvers und HME und ihrer Zusammenkunft in Cuba machte nur New Left Review Vorabdrucke dieser brisanten Essays – ach, ja auch sein schönes Nelly Sachs Essay hab ich als Einführung von meiner Nelly Sachs OH THE CHIMNEYS übersetz; sowie die schöne Einführung zu der Neuausgabe von de Las Casas Short History of the Indies. Als Geschenk dafür bekam  ich bei der Gründung von Urizen Books

seine Mausoleum Balladen die zur 1075 New Yorker Zeit Arbeit in New York Public Library erforderte.

auch hier wollte kein Schwein was vorabdrucken oder rezensieren

aber sein Verhöre von Havana hatte ich wenigsten ans BAM gebracht.

Es dauerte bis 2017 bis das NYRB Notiz von Enzensberger sowie von der Frankfurter Schule nahm
fasst sie!

und es gibt Leute wie Elizabeth Ruge für die Robert Silvers sowie NYRB Vorbildlich sind – nur aus großer Weite ist das möglich.

Das die Intelligenz dann ihr Titanic Gedicht an einen anderen Amerikanischen Verlag gab ohne mich davon zu benachrichtigen nahm ich ihr Übel – nur der Wunsch dass jemand Dr. Charlotte Pommer für mich in München auffinden könnte

hat uns wieder in Verbindung gebracht, die Frau die zusammen mit Dr. Albrecht Tietze meinem Vater das Leben retteten als die Gestapo ihn im Berliner Polizei Hospital einlieferte. Daran und dies berühmte Pommer Manuskript wollte HME sich dann nicht erinnert als es zur Frage eines Endorsements kam. Auch dem Castroschen Cuba war er ja nicht lang treu – also eine er huschende treulose Intelligenz, dem Handke Neid ganz ekelhaft verhasst. Aber einer meiner Lehrer! Er und ich trafen einen Amerikanischen ex-Justizminister beim PEN  so um 1077 herum der mit Handke dann im Karst noch auf Justiz für Serbien in der Morawischen Nacht warteten! Ich erinnere mich auch, dass ich als ich Amerikanischer Suhrkamp Agent einmal bei Unseld uebernachtete am folgenden Morgen Unseld und HME sich ueber Nacktphotos von Kommune 2 im Kursbuch stritte, welches ab dann von Enzensberger verlegt wurde.



Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The whole point of publishing such a self-berating piece like Ghomeshii's is to leave it as RAW AS POSSIBLE!


It is good and entirely fascinating to see letters from those who objected to the Ghomeshi piece

which I find equally fascinating

as it is fascinating to see the letters expressing dismay at Ian Buruma’s departure

On reflecting on the uproar and its consequences, I as editor – for the achievable approximation of clarity - would have set the piece within a precis of the context of its Canadian origins, not that difficult an editorial task

 The accusing voices, I would say, have merely broached that context, thus leaving it more muddied than it would have been had the NYRB at this point troubled to establish it.

 “Piece within context” would have been an entirely other proposition, and for that a known American case would have been far preferable if the NYRB wanted to weigh in on the #MeToo phenomenon.



I continue to feel that the whole point of publishing a piece like Ghomeshi's is to leave it as RAW AS POSSIBLE! - certainly not to subject it to communal editing.



By publishing – what strikes me in astounding defensiveness – a bunch of letters from his accusers and those who weigh in on their behalf, the NYRB has actually managed to muddy the waters much more than if the Ghomeshi piece – as an example of a former celebrity dealing interestingly with his shunned status  - had been left to stand alone.

“On March 24, 2016, the judge delivered the verdict. Ghomeshi was acquitted of all charges, on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Justice William Horkins stated that the inconsistency and "outright deception" of the witness' testimony had irreparably weakened the prosecution's case.[56] "Each complainant," he wrote, "demonstrated, to some degree, a willingness to ignore their oath to tell the truth on more than one occasion." Referring to a witness' excuse that she was merely trying to "navigate" the proceeding, Horkins replied "'Navigating' this sort of proceeding is really quite simple: tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."[57]


One of those letters claims that Ghomeshi avoided conviction on a technicality – which is clearly not the case. The judge’s estimate of the amount of – possibly entirely unnecessary but certainly self-defeating untruthfulness deception and collusion among his accusers, points to the Erinyes aspect of the #metoo movement which - knowingly or unknowingly - strikes me as yet another of these once a decade resurgences of American Puritanism as it has sought to re-assert itself ever since the onset of Women’s Liberation from the threat of pregnancy that used to accompany love-making.

Thus what puzzles me about cases like Ghomeshi’s and Cosby and many like them is why in an age when women can be quite forward in expressing  their sexual wishes and successful men have access to no end of eager lovers these men need to assert themselves as descendants of Genghis Khan.

Best as I can tell from the objections to Ghomeshi’s piece that the NYRB published, there was no way he could ever satisfy his beraters short of hara-kiri or castration - no there is nothing that such an obsessive-compulsive self-confessed status through fucking seeking Bengal Tiger can or could do to satisfy those who detest him - and  I think Buruma - not the magazine it turns out - did a real service in showing how a Hashtag tries - not all that badly or uncontritely or entirely lacking all self-understanding  - to deal with being shunned, that is what made the piece interesting to for me.  

But who are these aggrieved lovers, how many of them started off as his groupies? In the one instance of Ghomishi’s admission – not “assault” as the NYRB now has it – he confesses to inappropriate work place harassment – Ms. Borel was never charmed, not seduced, but Ghomeshi, so I gather, was never one to take no as no.

He’s not bad looking fellow, he had an enviable position. Unless warned you could not have guessed that you might be tangling with his like. - At least one of the letter writers who objects violently to the slightest overture would have been better off donning a nun’s habit at the onset of puberty; little awareness of the animal passions that sexuality can unloose, in Ghomeshi’s case rather instantaneously; nor of the pornographic heart of Eros. “Rape and Pillage” it was for a long time. The Red Army was given permission of that kind as its vengeful reward for its 1945 victory in Germany. Apocryphally perhaps, we kids heard of horny Russian Army women forcing German p.o.w.s at gunpoint to fuck them – what a way to find out that women’s sexual needs might be like your own masturbating adolescent kind.

Best as I can tell, Ghomeshi’s tastes run toward rough sex, he was then done in but not convicted because of the excesses of the Erinyes who will also ruin whatever good will come from the #metoo movement.



For me Ghomeshi’s case is a very mixed bag, but it brings to mind that in the early 80s in my “area” – artistic not yet gentrified” TriBeCa - where good all-around and non-violent sex had become as easy as breathing - S&M suddenly – at least from my experience – became fashionable – several women friends, not lovers - just as little as S&M is my style - with whom I discussed the phenomenon of their being tossed about like ragdolls, did not seem to mind, which seems in line with what Ghomeshi’s kind of “rough sex.” -   Not a taste of mine ever: “Chacun a sa gout” was my conclusion, “different strokes for different folks” I think goes the line from the song - I myself being fairly terrified and disturbed when a girlfriend asked to be spanked – I had been brought up never to lay a hand on a woman – and I never did except once, defensively, when the woman a harridan it turned out I was living with - who had learned by threatening suicide that she could get her way – ironically in this context – sought to keep me from meeting up with Bob Silvers to attend a dissident meeting: we were about to publish - and the episode proved so traumatic that I cannot recall anything about that meeting.




    “Strawberries” playfully administered especially by the “kids on the block” – recent prep school graduates, no reports of Kavanaugh Jesuit preppies and their “no means yes, yes means anal” or of surreptitiously administered Quaaludes or Bacardi 151 added to drinks – practices, among the variety of punks that flocked to our wide-open spaces. Anal sex in violent form of all kinds were the practice a mile or so further north at venues called Anvil I was utterly shocked to read in the Village Voice and I recall a woman gently introducing my penis into her anus – most women it turned out and wanted “anal” but gently once they were ready. However, some had been anally raped! So that was going on. Perhaps ever since Norman Mailer’s Time of her Time


However, publishing George Bataille’s Story of the Eye  

a book to which one of my most educational sophisticated lovers had introduced me, introduced entirely new dimensions of playfulness into the area; the Chinese laundries flourished, and there was as Annie Sprinkle. – My American friends would try anything once, the experimental film maker who did publicity one morning in her room at the office was boiling the eggs while a young film maker was about to record and without having got the film rights as I pointed out to him and let them proceed!

The deep puzzlement about “spanking” came prior to reading Freud’s “A Child is being beaten…” and realizing that Anna Freud was punishing herself in her dream for her - as far as I was concerned - utterly comprehensible Oedipal sexual wishes considering how impressive and desirable Father Freud must have seemed to his daughter. And it appears my excessive fear then kept me regretfully from a delightful tigerish sessions with my very hot and naughty lover.

I can’t say I heard of Ghomeshi types in our area, nor of rapes – not that there wasn’t at least one   emotionally cruel fellow – I am thinking of an Irish-Colombian friend who thought this was the macho way to manifest your dibs. But he stood out among that crowd yet had otherwise admirable qualities, great looks, a good pool stroke,  an overgrown delinquent. Later I withdrew from the friendship with a writer whose work I was translating because he became a serial emotional abuser – and was old enough to know what he was doing thinking that that was the way to  prove that women could love him – a Viennese and on the West Coast!

I mentioned that sex had become like breathing, easy - think of it as accompanied by Toots and the Maytals, its anthems “Long Tall Sally”, “What’s love got to do with it, Secondary Notion?” and, at closing time, Patti Smith’s “Because the Night” - so it was at least for a while: excepting for frequent romantic breakups all that tempting promiscuity made for a fine forever roundabout and a fair amount of heart ache. Thus, “There will be a heartache tonite” is perhaps the most memorable anthem of them all. It was also a pretty egalitarian scene, women were often more forward than men, I regret that I was not always in the position to respond to propositions that fall in the category of groping. Astonishing in entirely professional settings where, say, I was discussing a piece of work of mine with an editor – who had sex on her mind whereas, hard as it may be for the reader of these words to believe, it was entirely absent from mine. Women seemed to find me attractive, and I am not Richard Gere, but you may not have witnessed the reaction of the lassies when Richard Gere appeared in the Odeon in the early 80s. However, one reason I left New York in the mid-80s was because my flesh is weak and, after all, there is no greater pleasure than to make love to a beautiful woman – “a beautiful woman is a gate to heaven” Peter Handke writes in his  2017  epic “Alexia the Fruit Thief" – but I also loved my work and had huge projects, among other complications. 

As of, say, 1970, in a certain Manhattan milieu, if – prior to going to bed-  you even bothered to go out on a date, going-out meant that you did so also or perhaps only to sleep with each other, which brings to mind the now infamous Asiz who resides on the once very urban-pioneering


Franklin Street, but one of the earliest to gentrify, Asiz  who seems to have been in an inordinate rush to get laid, a matter that during the 70s until about 1985 was such a matter of course that it would have been incredibly uncool to rush - unless of course the happy smiles both could not wait – that is, unless mutual desire took its instant “From Here to Eternity” course.

     Though I can’t recall a single Tiger, I do a few man-eaters, women who discarded you the way you might have a one-night-stand, whereas you yourself might be interested to continue to meet up… who wanted to pass you on to their room mate or sister… Women and their “Secret Garden” struck me as a lot less repressed or affected by repression than men, including myself.  

  Surprisingly, with women expressing their desire or lack and so very liberated it seems that the males Genghis Khans impulse has not been thwarted, with no end of women available

men like Bill Cosby appear to need to have them all or whoever they wish at the moment. How foolish! Poor Harvey Weinstein too ugly ever to get laid as a young man of course is beyond the pale – though I would love to read whatever he might have to say about his behavior if  able to articulate.

  That is not to say that the #metoo movement is not problematic, I tend to agree with the opinion that Ian Buruma expressed in his Frije Nederland interview that a good thing can have its excesses.

Among women friends who had hundreds of lovers and never a bad experience yet I know of two utter hypocrites, stunningly beautiful hussies who were sexually exceedingly forward and promiscuous who now complain that some men became presumptuous. Hypocrisy will prevail






As to the matter of the NYRB editing in a communal manner - one alleged reason for Buruma’s dismissal being his neglect of this practice – I must say “oh if only it had been instituted earlier in the publication’s existence! In particular I have in mind Marcus Handke piece that led to the end of Bob Silver’s and our palship

because he refused to publish a rejoinder; or for that matter Kirsch’s post Silver travesty  on Handke’s Moravian Night

In the area that interested me as book editor
who of course was keen on a fair reception, the NYRB in instances such of the early Handke and Sam Shepard and of Norbert Elias was nicely responsive, but it took nearly 50 years of the NYRB to take notice of the Frankfurt School and of that brilliant chameleon Hans Magnus Enzensberger. Michael Brodsky and much else wonderful stuff that I managed to get into print during those now long ago days.

I happened to know most of the founders of the review and welcomed its appearance, however, I was never under the impression that the NYRB was more than the efflorescence of a particular clique many of those interests and likes I shared for class and educational reasons; and though certainly an improvement on the New York Times Book Review, the NYRB is scarcely a truly cosmopolitan intellectual journal.

Michael Roloff, October 2018, Seattle




THERE IS THAT HUBBUB ABOUT THE Ghomeshi essay THAT IAN BURUMA PUBLISHED & accusations that it did not enjoy the NYRB usual rigorous editorial processes, the whole point of publishing such a self-berating piece is to leave it as RAW AS POSSIBLE! That Buruma is out as an editor for such a honest act speaks badly of the current publisher of the NYRB Rea S. Hederman whose name is all over the masthead.

also see my post on bob silvers

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MICHAEL ROLOFF exMember Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website


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