The Model Pupil (Der Primus)

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Recently, in a public meeting in Paris, which was incidentally very German-friendly, one of the speakers said something really charming, of which I made a note. He spoke about what Germans are like, analyzed them not without skill, and then said, just incidentally, “Germans are like the model pupil.” If the Leipziger Neuesten Nachrichten hadn’t forbidden it, I would have cheered.

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Eight o’clock in the morning (Morgens um acht)

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I saw a dog recently. He was on his way to work. It was a sort of stuffed sofa cushion, decorated with long tassels of skin, wobbling down the Leipziger Strasse in Berlin. He was dead serious, he looked neither to the left nor to the right, he sniffed at nothing, and certainly did nothing else. He was definitely on his way to work. What else could he have been doing? Everybody around him was doing it.

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The Great Families (Die großen Familien)

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In the trial of our friends Küster[1] and Jacob before the Imperial Court, the State Prosecutor, Herr Jörns, rose, and spoke to Berthold Jacob[2], „Do you have a brother in Paris?” “Yes.“ „What is your brother doing there?“ „He is studying literature and history. He is about to publish a book.“ The prosecutor, „Does your brother have contacts to the French General Staff?” “No.” “To the scond level of the French General Staff?”

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The Essay Writers (Die Essayisten)

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St. Clou, 25th June 1721

…I received a long letter from the postmaster of Bern, Fischer von Reichenbach, with the newspapers, but his style is quite foreign to me. I don’t understand the words it contains. For example, „We take the liberty of charging the postage recently introduced by His Royal Highness‘ general postal authorities on all international sendings.“ That’s some writing if you ask me, I can’t understand a word of it, it makes me quite impatient. Is it possible, dear Louise, that our good, honest Germans have gone so crazy as to completely ruin their language, so that no one can understand it any more?

Liselotte von der Pfalz

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The Red Marking Pen Scissors (Die Rotstift-Schere)

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The battles which Heine[1] and Börne[2] had to fight against censorship were battles against the red marking pen. The censor crossed out. The battles which film has to fight against censorship are battles against the scissors. The censor cuts. We don’t have freedom of the press, if one asks, “Free from what?” But we do have a sort of freedom of book publication.

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