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The Swedish academy between the ideals of literature

In the case of the Swedish Academy, it is the conflict between the ideals of literature and the monstrosity of abuse that becomes decisive.

This evening, Thursday the 12. April 2018, then the Swedish Academy imploded almost open screen. There are 11 of the original 18 members left, too few to distribute the literature prize 2018, explained STV.

Abuse and corruption. These are the consequences MeToo and many years of sexual and recent financial abuse allegations very close to one of the academy's members. Thus, abuse and corruption, which a majority of the 18 have wanted to cover. And it is very disappointing that author and literary theorist Horace Engdahl has thought that one should join in on the mysteries and lies: What good is it to have dealt with Mallarmé's principles of poetry in poetry when you do not understand the relationship between freedom and necessity in ethics and politics? – From Touch ABC to illiteracy in the modalities.

But basically this breakdown is good, because big moves are ahead of us, and it's crucial to start "from above," from Hollywood or from the social-democratic aristocracies of Northern Europe: According to the Washington Post, Bollywood is starting to discuss decades of abuse: Indian child actors, there was rape all the time, and young talents who, regardless of gender, had to engage with the genitalia of instructors and producers to move forward. And according to Le Monde, the situation at Chinese universities is almost as obscure; here it is the female students and researchers who are the exposed and abused.

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And at the same time, all this is also very disgusting, showing a world of power and mucus that can only be destroyed by the uprisings. That it had to begin in the United States, ie from above, from the Western aristocracy, contains its own logic. Here the riots have neither run out into the sand nor been annihilated by Russian bombing and regimens gassing the civilian population as in the Middle East. So the US had to show the way:

The exception states are in the process of establishing themselves as conventional legality.

Towards more authority. But that can only be the beginning. And it suddenly becomes very clear why one dictator after another wants unlimited power these years: Erdogan, Putin, Xi Jinping, Orbán and so on. Even in Macron's recently drafted constitutional draft, the executive must be strengthened vis-à-vis the legislative: more state and smaller parliament in the name of efficiency. These are the exceptional states that are setting themselves up as conventional legality, but without all the collapsed "counter-terrorism" like alibi. State efficiency for the sake of state efficiency.

#MeToo, Black Lives Matter and others, thus, hold the pinnacle of a power imperative, which tends toward more authority and often also towards total authority (mainland China, Saudi Arabia). With gender and race, however, they have hit so accurately that these movements will last for a few more years, and perhaps longer, if other uprisings occur again.

Back to the Swedish Academy: For one of the undersigned who has lived in Italy for ten years, you could see more than just the mafia intimidation and a deal with offers that could not be denied. Should the villain resign, the prosecutor must also, regardless of whether the testimonies towered and corroborated the charge. And no one would be "fossoyeur" or "fossoyeuse" for such a "crowned" institution? And what about the literature? Would not the assessment of it suffer irreparable harm?

Work and sense of life. Absolutely not and on the contrary: Prices are not good and cash prices are worse. It goes without saying that it is the works that apply: Scripture and reading, interpretation and understanding when it can be done. But again and at the risk of being pathetic: Writing and reading have no price. The validity, writing and reading that can be achieved relates to only one thing: the sense of life and its hardships.

So it is rather the conflict between the ideals of literature and the monstrosity of abuse that becomes crucial in this case. Just like in the movie in the US or India, or in science like in China. So what can bring understanding to this conflict is once again found in America, and we can resort to the country's natives and their myth of trickster to reach it. In particular, the Raven Circle of myths from the North Pacific Coast and the Coyote Circle of the Great Plains. Thus, Coyote embodies an unlimited appetite and gathers all its burdens: It is "cruel, deceitful, and miserable," as the Divine Susan Feldman wrote in her introduction to The Story-Telling Stone – Traditional Native American Myths and Tales. In many tales, Coyote is portrayed as the rogue survivor who seduces his own daughter and grandmother by scams. And note: Coyote is ungrateful, a big fake player who betrays his loved ones to devour anything and everyone and penetrate them after lust and indulgence. So, in a way, one was trickster just too much for the literary institution in Stockholm. Only one insurrection would have been able to make cabbage on the coyote.

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Carsten Juhl
Juhl resides in Copenhagen.

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