To the Public (1931)
by Kurt Tucholsky

Dear, dear public,
tell me: Are you really as dumb,
as we hear every day
from all the businessmen?
Directors on their fat behinds
say: "It's what the public wants!"
The men in film: "What can I do?
The public wants these saccharine things!"
Publishers shrug their shoulders and say:
"Good books don't sell!"
Tell me, dear public:
Are you really that dumb?

So dumb, the newspapers, morning and late,
hold less and less to read?
Anxious someone might be offended;
In fear, no one must be incited;
Apprehensive that Müller and Cohn
might threaten with cancellation?
Nervous that finally
some organization will come
and protest and denounce
and demonstrate and litigate...
Tell me, dear public:
Are you really that dumb?

Well then...
On our time weighs
the curse of mediocrity.
Have you such a weak stomach?
Truth disagrees with you?
You'll only eat mush?
Well, then...
Well, you deserve what you get.


Translation by Indeterminacy