(Thomas Mann in 1937 - A few choice words about responsibility in troubling times)
When I first began Newstalgia, one of my first entries was an excerpt of a Thomas Mann address, given at the 1937 dinner in honor of The New School For Social Research in New York City. At the time, I was going through YouTube and could only play a ten minute clip of the address. I promised myself I would play it someday again, in its entirety and without edits, and I'm happy to say I'm doing that right now.
Thomas Mann: “It is easy enough to say that the imaginative writer has nothing to do with politics, that he can entirely disassociate himself from them and that he actually derogates from his high calling by paying any attention to political developments. That is nonsense. For firstly, as if any imaginative writer would interfere in politics today wantonly or for his own pleasure, as if it were not a matter of the most direst necessity, it is pairing protest against the wicked aggressions carried out by politics upon this most sacred servant, upon spiritual freedom, upon mankind itself.”
One of the greatest writers and philosophers of our time, whose works were condemned as degenerate and burned by the Nazis, forcing Mann to flee to Switzerland and eventually to the U.S. where he settled during the years of World War 2.
Here is the entire address given by Thomas Mann from April 15, 1937 as presented to a dinner honoring the New School For Social Research.
True words then - true words now.