Friday, November 28, 2008

Karl Kraus, Prankster

From the biography of Karl Kraus titled "Karl Kraus: Apocalyptic Satirist":

"Kraus had an outstanding gift for ironic impersonation. On several occasions he succeeded in hoaxing the Neue Freie Presse by sending in fictitious readers' letters. The aim of these letters was to show up the intellectual pretensions of the newspaper and the gullibility of those who produced it. One of the masks Kraus adopts for this purpose is that of 'Zivilingenieur Berdach', an expert on earthquakes who writes in elaborately pseudo-scientific style about 'tellurian earthquakes' which he measures with the aid of a compass. In another of the letters, he assumes the identity of four Viennese housewives, fanatical supporters of the Liberal Party eager to storm the bastion of clericalism. In both cases Kraus's parody was so skillful that the letter was printed in the Neue Freie Presse without demur." (164)

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