Friday, March 28, 2008

Post Titled: all kinda poison.
Watched a great film- which is unfortunately re-titled in English as "The Edge of Heaven" (should/could be "On the Other Side")(Deutsch:" Auf der anderen Seite" Turkish: "Yaşamın Kıyısında") while suffering from some pretty gnarly food poisioning as a result of buying some on-sale joghurt at a Türkish market (aforementioned shopping post), ugh- so not cool. Although this movie really presses all one's emotionally vulnerable buttons and has those certain cringing things= I mean scenes where long lost so and so is searching for long lost so and so and we, the viewers, see them pass on the street, just missing one another, (*clench toes*, WHYYYY didn't they SEE each other, THEN everything would be OK!!!!!!) The movie really does a lot in terms of addressing and bridging German-Turkish gaps in understanding, -issues that are usually swept under the carpet here. On top of that Nurgül Yeşilçay is lovely in a very tomboy-ish sort of way.
Anyhow, the film really hit home- but nevertheless spent almost 24 hours runningback and forth between bed and bathroom, staring off into space, sweating and when I could actually focus: getting in my freshly downloaded fix of Battlestar Galactica season 3 in HD from skyone, thank ye internet Gods.
Admittedly, I was greedy. THe Battlestar Galactica HD downloads was over 21 GB and took 4 days- that is 4 days of connectivity, so I kept trying to play it before it was finished, ooh- that is creepsville, BUT it gave me a better understanding of how torrents work. If i tried watching the video before all the torrentedinfo and files and bits and pieces had been berry-plucked adn reassembeld then the result was a freakshow of mutated digital morphod action- people appearing in the middle of their own faces, space battles bursing in blocks and chunks from Admiral Adama's pockmarked cheeks, the blonde cylons nearly nude ehrything in bloodbath bikinisbeachdigidigi -yuck! a real bad (digital) trip if you open thos unripened torrents- fascinating nevertheless. Audio without image, image gone amock. ouiyoui. I do like how season three deals with ethics of torture and biological warfare, though.

In other exciting news, not entirely unrelated to the film mentioned above the blog got a really great anonymous comment a few posts ago:
"xcuse me? you have yourself a pretty rasist conversation and sport some "pretty fixed" ideas on the germans, too. you have proven very vividly that respectless people are to be found everywhere, from some random girl on a train ride , who happens to be german or a blogger who seems american. isn t that some nice ass paradox, hunh?"

This commenter is actually right, by US standards some of my posts are totally unacceptable, but here I am in Europe, where race issues are still -well- sort-of, uhm- unfolding. When I post things which are wildly critical of the Germans I do cringe a bit, sure -but- as is my policy, I do not remove content from this blog, so even if somthing is totally effed-up, like me pointing out how a young German woman has been effectivley brainwashed by her society into a reborn sort of order-obsessed fascist, well- what can I say? It ends up as a subjective/objective post, that is - if I were German witnessing the incident I would probably think along the same lines of the woman yelling at the guy, which is: "Get out of that seat you lazy old Slavik &§%#! You didn't pay for a reservation, you must move / you have no right to sit there!" but, since I sorta despise that sort of order-and-speißig obsession (especially with the €2 it costs to reserve a seat) and the fact that someone has to crate have and hate all over a long trainride full of tired people on Easter Monday, -a holiday- my reaction is "Wow, -you are SO CRAZY and you don't even know it."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like how you quote me. BUT i have to say. I am German, and i do not think along those lines... i would think: gesus you re a freaking mess.

To actually believe that all Germans do think along those lines is racist -as you re generalising- depicting, that this specific girl is of german heritage, isn t. I really have to cringe whenever no difference is made, whenever people talk about THE GERMANS or THE AMERICANS.

And have you ever asked yourself: why you seem so obsessed with condeming THE GERMAN or THE AMERICANS.
I believe the impact of displaying the dilemma of cultural interaction, with a true understanding and sympathy for both sides is much stronger and forceful, as no one feels hard-pressed.
Everyone knows that a reaction to accusations is always the defens, so you actually really hinder yourself and your writing (which i very much like) to make Germans and Americans think, as their first reaction will be the defence.

1:12 pm  
Blogger "Post-Google" by TAR ART RAT said...

Yes, I know, I know there are millions of amazing and clever people in both countries- and
Once again, thanks for the level-headed comment,
to explain a bit more the strange need to criticize: I have been bouncing (living) back and forth between Germany and the US since 1993. I go through phases where I cannot stand the US and phases where everything in Germany is awful adn annoying as well, it is a strange phenomenon- there are even (rare) times where I feel like they are essentially the same, but basically since a young age I have been comparingthe two- now it is just a bad habit.

8:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one important point needs to be made: while speaking of people, or of cultures, in general, necessarily misrepresents specific individuals, this is part of the nature of defining what a group is, i.e. the group is something distinct from the individual. Clearly, one could disagree with the way in which Germans are portrayed in this conversation, the conversation could be accused of displaying a certain lack of cultural sensitivity and the inerlocutours could be said to be culturally ignorant, but I do not think it can rightly be described as a racist conversation. An idea of German culture is criticised, but nothing having to do with race is even mentioned.

By what standard are the Germans a race? Is Germany today not a multiracial country which confers a single political nationality on the many? Why must race so often be confused with culture? It is perfectly reasonable to describe a culture as being either better or worse than another--ranking being a natural human pursuit--and this can (and should) be done completely apart from any unchosen racial qualities a group might possess, racial qualities not determining group (or individual) character. In other words, it is completely possible to critique culture without resorting to outdated, weak and irrelevant racist modes of thought, that is without being a racist.

3:25 pm  
Blogger Jenfeld Cowboys said...

Well, you re probably right. Racist might be a word much to strong. Even so, it is pretty stupid to conclude that this behaviour is specificly German. Maybe narrow minded would hit it off, most probably biassed and prejudiced. I ve been reading this blog for such a long time and i m struck by your resentment, often bitterness because clearly your able to be so curious and vivid, too. But thnx anyways for doing what you do. The Germans do often need a correction of the self-image, i guess that s what you deliver.

5:04 pm  
Blogger "Post-Google" by TAR ART RAT said...

It is true, there are always people whom one may encounter who seem to embody the things you like or dislike most about a culture. NK, (my wife, a German herself), and I had a talk last night about our friend who had moved to Stuttgart last October- they are now are really struggling with the decision to stay. I had almost forgotten about- what is the word- (I forget)but how everyone is expected to (basically MUST) sweep the sidewalk and street out front of thier house every Saturday, which botheres me for two reasons:
1.this level of tidiness is an aesthetic choice and should be that: a choice. People should be free to operate differently and have different standards of cleanliness and tidiness, right? I actually had to do this as a teenager adn I tought it was the biggest waste of time- I mean, sweeping/vaccuming indoors made sense, but outdoors was way too much. This also extends to obsessive trash-sorting, so much so that NK mentioned that people lock their trashcans to avoid interference- I mean, locking your house and car is one ting, but locking your waste... is fascinating.
2.Social pressure to conform. I once attempted to mow our lawn on a Sunday afternoon (in our small Germna town) and a neighbor ran out and stopped me. Stopped me from doing something becaue it was Sunday... so, once again: freedom of choice. Likewise, if a shop or business wnats to be opnened Sunday should'nt it have the right to choose? hm.
3.To a more severe extent- and this is slightly off-topic- when Nadine and I got married we were not allowed to change our name to a hyphenated last name. It simply wasn't allowed. Also, -unless things have changed very recently- there is a list/book of approved names that you can give a baby, any others are not allowed. Not allowed... what business is it of the government or some office what you name your baby?

Overall, The thing that NK and I couldn't figure out was where the seed for this way of being comes from within the society- what makes it need to be this way? So self-regulating to such an extreme...?
And of course there are things in each and every ountry- I am sure examples just as unusual and mindboggling to make one say "what ARE they thinking over there...?" but this just happens to be my/our current reality.

5:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you completely on that point: to suggest that any one particular characteristic were specifically and uniquely German—i.e. to say that being German and having a certain attribute were one and the same—would be foolish in extremis, but I don’t think anyone makes such a claim in the conversation; on the other hand, to say that German culture possesses a certain quality is at least a debatable point, whether the point be accurate or not. For example, I could say that German culture values order, and we could discuss whether this is complete nonsense or not, as well as whether or not it's ever justified to try to make observations about large groups of people. I would argue that with cultural observations we’re never getting at anything like absolute truth, but I would also say that that’s not really the point. Honestly, we need more nuanced ways to discuss levels of truth and meaning. Perhaps we should return to ancient Greek… If anything, the guilt in the conversation lies with a certain degree of mental laziness, which often comes out when discussing issues with friends casually. I think the problem is that coming from outside the conversation, it simply appears stupid; and, hell, maybe it was…

10:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess so, it is a question of regulation or no regulation. If you choose the regulation it will get to the point just by its own drive, where things will -very unneseccary- be regulated. But again the other way round in a lot of countries the anarchy rules and the weak suffer under the strong -all in name of the free choice-. In my impression, in a lot of ways, is America one of them.
For example the shop opening hours. Seriously does any one of the immigrants in Kreuzberg or Neukölln bother with this kind of bureaucracy, i do not think so. But employees of chain shops need to be protected, single moms need to be protected. This doesn t happen without rules, it gets nasty and inhuman.

I can only second guess, that your neighbor tried to save the last day of peace and quiet in Germany the sunday. And isnt that really a luxury too. To have a well protected day of piece and quiet, which would never happen by coincidence. The trash cans, yes might seem wierd, but thats how revolutionary Germany gets these days :D idiots setting trash cans on fire.

Stuttgart very special place, but then again, you have the choice of living there. I guess in Stuttgart people gather, who pretty much agree on the same life-stile. Only the rules make our social systhem possible as it is rihgt now. I think it is a try of living together and people who dislike it might as well leave, or be at least constructive about it. After all you re part of this society by choice, so contribute in a positive way, you re responsible. Dont just sit there in your daily life denouncing the others. You might as well have stopped the girl. Maybe she would have learned for life?

I get really frustrated with the people who moan and moan, but arent willing to change a single thing, as it is so easy to sit back and critizise all day long. Nice and save.

You can always say, i told you so.

Nice and save.

Artists need to be daring. Willing to reach a certain hight. To risk something. Where is your risk with this blog?
You claim you re an artist.

Are you?

10:58 pm  

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