Yes, I said, the Cultural Senate is full of assholes

From Thomas Bernhard’s account of his receiving The Austrian State Prize for Literature (My Prizes, pg67):

The people who spoke to me about the prize all assumed I had naturally been awarded the Big Prize and each time I was faced with the embarrassment of saying to them that the one in question was the Small Prize which every scribbling asshole had won already.  And each time I had to explain to people the difference between the Small Prize and the Big Prize, and when I did, I had the impression they simply didn’t understand me anymore.  The Big Prize, I kept repeating, was for a so-called life’s work and one gets it closer to old age and it’s awarded by the so-called Cultural Senate which is made up of all those who have previously won this Big State Prize and there wasn’t just the Big State Prize for Literature but also for the so-called Fine Arts and for Music, et cetera.  When people asked me who had already won this so-called Big State Prize, I always said, All Assholes, and when they asked me the names of these assholes I listed a whole row of assholes for them and they’d never heard of any of them, the only person who knew of them was me.  So this Cultural Senate, they said, is made up of nothing but assholes because you say that everyone in the Cultural Senate is an asshole.  Yes, I said, the Cultural Senate is full of assholes, what’s more they’re Catholic and National Socialist assholes plus the occasional Jew for wind0w-dressing.  I was repelled by the questions and these answers.  And these assholes, people said, elect new assholes to their Senate every year when they give them the Big State Prize.  Yes, I said, every year new assholes are selected for the Senate that calls itself a Cultural Senate and is an indestructible evil and a perverse absurdity in our country.  It’s a collection of the biggest washouts and bastards, I always said.  And so what is the Small State Prize? they asked and I replied the Small State Prize is a so-called Nurturing of Talent and so many people have already win it you can no longer count them, and now I’m one of them, I said, for I’ve been given the Small State Prize as a punishment.  Punishment for what? they asked and I couldn’t give them an answer.  The Small State Prize, I said, is a dirty trick if you’re over thirty and as I’m almost forty it’s a huge dirty trick.  But I said I’d sworn to come to terms with this huge dirty trick and I had no thoughts of declining this huge dirty trick.  I’m not willing to give up twenty-five thousand schillings, I said, I’m greedy for money, I have no character, I’m a bastard too.

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