There is a Pale proverb that says: ‘Right now, God too is a Serb.’ This pronouncement contains at least two essential assumptions of the Pale aesthetic. The first says that it is most important to know that you are a Serb. Once you have grasped that, there is nothing more to learn. You are left only creative practice in the field, using the knife and the tank. As Milan Gvero would say: ‘In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost – fire!’ You are left with nothing else to do but to bombard maternity hospitals. To shell and kill mourners at funerals. To rape seven-year-olds and force hodjas to eat pork. To throw the corpses of butchered Muslims – to which you have previously tied their living children – over the Mehmed-Pasha bridge in Višegrad. They are all vital ways of showing that you are a true Serb writer.

The Pale writer is a Serb for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, twelve months a year. He is a Serb when he writes and when he sneezes, when he is in the assembly or in bed with his wife. The Pale writer, sitting in his Serb chair at his Serb desk, dips his Serb pen in Serb ink and writes on Serb paper about Serb birds that fly in a Serb way into the Serb sky and about Serb fish that swim in the Serb style through Serb waters, while puffing Serb smoke on his Serb pipe and letting it float into the Serb air. This is because the Serb people is the best in the world – full stop. What remains inexplicable is why God, having finally created a Serb in his test tube, went on to create the other 5,000 peoples on earth; for it is as if you started to write in a powerful style, like Njegoš in the first poem of Luča Mikrokozma, only to fall down miserably to the level displayed by Todor Dutina in his book of odes composed to the glory of national heroes – Serb, Muslim and Croat – of the Second World War.

But the Pale proverb that promotes Jehovah into a mighty Serb is by no means original. Which, after all, it does not try to be. This saying is in fact a quotation: around a century and a half ago, a heavy Serb priest wrote the famous verse:

The sky is of the blue Serb colour

Where a Serb God sits

Surrounded by Serb angels

Serving the Serbs, their God!

Three axioms of the Pale aesthetic

Author: Marko Vešovic