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Preview: Arnon Grunberg - Blog

Arnon Grunberg - Blog

The day-to-day life of Arnon Grunberg



Sat, 17 Feb 2018 16:29:58 +0100



A Fawlty Towers moment at Restaurant Lincoln earlier this week.
“I’d like to start with the tartare, the hamachi,” I said.
Waiter: “Yes, the price is right here.”
“Yes, I’d like to order the hamachi, if that’s possible. So I start with the hamachi.”
“As you can see it’s 26 dollars.”
“I’d like to order the hamachi. I don’t want know how much the hamachi is, because I can see that it is 26 dollars. I’d like to order it. I’d like to eat the hamachi.”
“Oh yes, of course, that’s also possible,” the waiter said.



Fri, 16 Feb 2018 07:07:18 +0100



Declan Was in NYT on the President and compliments, among other things:

"Mr. Tillerson’s approach contrasted sharply with that of his predecessor, John F. Kerry, and with Mr. Tillerson’s boss, President Trump, who has called Mr. Sisi a “fantastic guy,” going as far as to compliment his choice of shoes at a meeting in Saudi Arabia last year."

Read the article here.

This is the essence of diplomacy. If there is nothing better to say about the president of a befriended nation that received billions of dollars from you and has an abominable human rights record, just compliment the president on his shoes.



Thu, 15 Feb 2018 02:05:33 +0100


5th Avenue

Today I bought a typewriter for my girlfriend on 5th Avenue.
She was desperately in need of a typewriter. And as it turned out in the shop above a deli: she was not the only one.



Wed, 14 Feb 2018 06:13:38 +0100



Walter Reade Theater, Sally Potter's "The Party" with Q&A with Sally Potter afterwards.
An utterly pleasant movie, maybe even a great movie, thanks also to Bruno Ganz. What's the strength of the upper middle class? The elaborate attempts to disguise loneliness.
Life is an esthetic experience with some nervous breakdowns in between.
Highly recommended.



Tue, 13 Feb 2018 07:12:48 +0100


First time

Ronen Bergman in NYT on Syria, Israel and Iran:

"The events on Saturday made two things clear: First, Israel will no longer be able to act in Syria without limitations. The joint forces opposed to it will from now on react with vigor. Second, if anyone was not yet aware of it, Russia is the dominant power in the region.

This weekend’s events brought the confrontation between Israel and Iran into the open air, making the prospect of a bigger conflict more immediate and more menacing. Israel has demonstrated in the past that it is forceful when it feels that it has been left to fend for itself.

On Friday morning, for the first time ever, an Israeli prime minister will attend the Munich Security Conference. Mr. Netanyahu and his Mossad chief, Mr. Cohen, who will accompany him, hope to make it clear there that the current configuration in Syria is unacceptable — and to warn the United States and other countries that if Iran is not reined in, Israel will attack its bases in Syria.

Israel is the strongest military power in the Middle East, but wars are unpredictable. And everyone — from Moscow to Jerusalem to Washington — should want to deter an even more serious conflagration in Syria before it’s too late."

Read the article here.

It's slightly ironic to ask the current leaders of the US, Russia and Israel to avoid a war. Although the military establishment in Israel appears to be wiser than the prime-minister over there and perhaps the same thing can be sais about the military establishment in the US, perhaps, ironic it is.

There is a lust for destruction in the air, and what's probably even worse, a lust for self-destruction.



Mon, 12 Feb 2018 05:11:34 +0100



Ziad Doueiri's movie "The Insult" is about, among other things, the destructiveness of pride.
A.O. Scott writes in The Times: "The more complicated truth is that everyone who holds a grudge does so for a reason, and fears that letting go of it would mean the loss of something precious."
Exactly, the grudge is for many their most precious possession, their reason for life. Especially in the Middle East where the grudge is even more valuable than elsewhere.


Yam Yam

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 06:54:04 +0100



On Friday night we had dinner, a tradition by now, in restaurant Yam Yam to commemorate the third anniversary of my mother's death. Most but not all of her caregivers were present.
The last years of her life my mother was in awe with sweetly sour candy belts, so we ate sweetly sour candy belts. At least some of us.



Fri, 09 Feb 2018 23:52:56 +0100


All human beings

"De Mensendokter", the doctor for all human beings answers all kinds of question in the monthly magazine, once upon a time a weekly magazine, Vrij Nederland.
See here.
As of February 1st the "Mensendokter" will not be able to answer your questions via e-mail anymore, the "Mensendokter" will come to your place and will try to solve your problems within three hours. A report of this visit will be published in Vrij Nederland.
Are you living in the New York metropolitan area? Are you interested in a session with the "Mensendokter"? Send an e-mail to:



Fri, 09 Feb 2018 00:49:40 +0100



Freud on Moses, the father and guilt:

'They deserved nothing better than to be punished by Him, because they did not observe the laws; the need for satisfying this feeling of guilt, which coming from a much deeper source was insatiable, made them render their religious precepts ever and ever more strict, more exacting, but also more petty.
In a new transport of moral asceticism the Jews imposed on themselves constantly increasing instinctual renunciation, and thereby reached at least in doctrine and precepts ethical heights that had remained inaccessible to the other peoples of antiquity. Many Jews regard these aspirations as the second main characteristic, and the second great achievement, of their religion.
Our investigation is intended to show how it is connected with the first one, the conception of the one and only God. The origin, however, of this ethics in feelings of guilt, due to the repressed hostility to God, cannot be gainsaid.'

Translation:Katherine Jones.

One of the great insights of Freud is that the dead father is more alive and more repressive than the living father.
The hostility towards God is not an exception, it's the rule. He needs hostility in order to be God. He cannot survive on a diet of love.



Thu, 08 Feb 2018 00:43:22 +0100



A meeting with a spokesperson and a police officer at the Amsterdam Police Department about racial profiling.
The officer said that the official guidelines are clear, racial profiling is illegal. But he admitted that it is hard to get rid of this habit, also because cops can use their discretion in deciding who they are going to pull over.
And he added: "We made it easier for citizens to complain."
The Dutch electorate voted for a tougher police corps, but the police officers - at least some of them - appear to understand that this has many negative side effects, for society and for the police.