Victor Klemperer on “the printed lie”

Victor Klemperer
Victor Klemperer

“On countless occasions during my spell as an assistant in Naples I heard people say about some newspaper or other: è pagato, it’s paid for, it lies for its client, and then on the following day these very same people who had cried pagato were absolutely convinced by some obviously bogus piece of news in the same paper. Because it was printed in such bold type, and because the other people believed it. […] I also know that a part of every intellectual’s soul belongs to the people, that all my awareness of being lied to, and my critical attentiveness, are of no avail when it comes to it: at some point the printed lie will get the better of me when it attacks from all sides and is queried by fewer and fewer around me and finally by no one at all.”

— Victor Klemperer, The Language of the Third Reich: A Philologist’s Notebook (trans. Martin Brady)


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