Looking For Some Absurdity – Part 2

As previously stated, I enjoy reading plays. The tiny, very dark yet alert place in my head is the perfect venue for my own personal theatrical showcase. I’d even go as far as to say that reading a play is my idea of fun, a good time, perhaps even comparable to paying for sex. For those who don’t/can’t understand the pleasure of paying for sex, then you can also compare my pleasure to taking care of your/a Schrebergärten. Of course, reading a play isn’t as easy as hoping in your car and driving to the theatre to see it. Yes, being able to go see a play is the only result I can come up from all the wasted welfare funds channelled into Germany’s support of “culture”.

Whoopee.

You might be asking the question: why do I pick on subsidies and culture? The federal corporate government of Germany has the right to piss away tax Euros as well as any nation. But, beyond the fact that I believe A L L authority must be questioned, there is the simple premise that “culture” should be a dynamic constant and not a static one. That’s why today, after living in Europe for almost twenty years, I laugh at all the corporate Americans visiting Europe and saying things to me like: Wow, there’s so much culture here. I usually ungracefully correct them by stating: Sorry, dude, but that old shit you’re gawking at is dead history; it’s a bunch of dusty stuff at a standstill; culture is something that (should be) alive and well.

Which brings me back to the question alluded to in Part 1: with all the subsidy money dumped into German theatre, what’s come of it?

Keep in mind that there are basically three pillars on which theatre stands. This is pretty basic stuff so you don’t need a compulsive college degree (or Abitur?) to understand it. The three pillars are: acting, directing and writing. That’s it. I mean, come on, one should ask: why is it that western culture began writing stories in the form of dialogue and not in the form of narrative? I don’t really know what the answer to that question is. But I’ll bet it has something to do with simplicity. Another simplistic thought is this: in order to make three a crowd, two have to become a horde.

The biggest hurdle I had when it came to writing for the stage – beyond being (worst)writer – was the fact that the directors (and theatre management) and actors have, over time, delegated the writer to being the weakest link in the triad. The two have horded together because, by default, they are the ones that occupy the stage. This, my worst-reading friends, is one of the reasons that Peer Fucking Gynt and Woycek and King Lear eat up so much subsidy money each year and Germany produces no new playwrights.

Hell, I’d go even further. The triad mentioned above applies to a lot more. Lo & behold, there’s even a current example. The anticipated film The Baader Meinhof Complex is about to be released. My reaction to the movie is the same as my reaction to so many other movies released under the German flag: Oh boy, the same producer, the same director and the same fucking (made for TV) actors. The German film/theatre scene is so monotonous that I feel like cutting off one of my ears – or stabbing out one of my eyes? Add to that the repetitiveness of writing/producing a movie ABOUT a part of West Germany’s recent history instead of using that history as a springboard to something creative…

Well, I’ve already mentioned how creativity has been stifled by the wealth of welfare. There’s no need for Bernd Eichinger to produce movies like Name of the Rose or The House of the Spirits (Geisterhaus) anymore, right? He’s made enough money and position in Hollywood to be his own judge, jury and audience when it comes to creative work.

Right?

The good news is: in a welfare state all failed playwrights and writers like me are able to find some vindication. It is in the form of a simple question. Where are the writers that didn’t make all the errors that I/we made? Where are the writers that wooed all the thinking-actors out there – you know, the actors that could probably write “it” better? And the directors, born out of the waste that is/was Heiner Müller’s inability to write something original and instead regurgitate the work of others in the name of populism (and not creativity)?

Have I mentioned fuck you yet in this post?

Well, I guess, if I can’t be the/a playwright created out of the nurturing of creativity via taxed Euros, then who should it be? I suppose I might have answered that question in Part 1. Or at least I provided some fodder from which an answer could be derived. Yet I still stand by my hugely rude and pretentious assumption that Germany is unable to produce a playwright for the world stage even though it spends more tax money on theatre (movies?) than any other country in the entire galaxy – because it is indigenously lacking in creativity.

Enter stage left a 20th century dead communist writer. Should he be granted status as the new German playwright deserving of all the subsidy praise – even though he doesn’t breathe anymore? My selfish answer is yes. Peter Hacks is dead; but long live Peter Hacks the playwright. At the least, he is one of the first writers to prove that subsidies can actually produce a good writer.

Isn’t Peter Hacks, in affect, a new German playwright? For one, I find it astonishing that someone could write so much and do it almost solely in the name of politics – and yet still not bore me to death – as is the case with Heiner Müller, Bertold Brecht and, goodness forbid, Botho Strauß. (You’re off the hook this time M. Rinke!) I mean – what a waste of writing talent those guys are! I can’t help but ask: who the hell did they write for? Was it for an audience? Was it for the critics? What about writing for the next guy that can spell or formulate a complex sentence? OK. Maybe they all wrote for themselves. Yeah. That must be it. All German writers writing for themselves and they are the cream of the crop…?

Of course, Hacks was a student of Bertolt Brecht. Dare I complain about Brecht’s work being idealistic krapp and boring! After reading Hacks’ and, perhaps, seeing through his ideological façade, I have come to this (for me) misconstrued but standard question about playwriting:

– Is there room anymore for theatrical effectiveness vs. literary value?

Now, I’m no student of theatre science. In fact, I’m no student of nothin’. What I am is a failed playwright that, according to my bookshelves, has read a play or two. One thing I can say as a failed, well-read playwright is that theatrical effectiveness and literary value are not necessarily what determines if a play is actually good. To me the thing that makes a play good is simple: creativity. Hacks writes with impeccable skill underneath which might be a hidden creative agenda the likes of which Brecht only dreamt of. Unfortunately, Hacks’ creative prowess might have been hindered by the politburo. Still, compared to the various aforementioned German playwrights, Hacks is in every way as good. The simple fact is, compared to Botho Strauß, Hacks’ work is readable to someone that does not want to become German to understand it. That’s also an indication that his work transcends. That is, you could actually produce any of Hacks’ classic plays outside of Germany. I think that’s neat!

I may be wrong. Or, at the least, I’m just confused. Reading Hacks has taken me back to the days when I battled with reading plays written between ancient Greece and the end of the 19th century. For the longest time I could never understand why no one challenged why all of that krapp is required “study”? Then I started reading authors like Ionesco and Beckett. Not only did “study” turn fun, but theatrical naturalism, reality and most importantly, absurdity was fruit to my soul. In fact, it was so good that I began to emulate it. Yes, absurdity became a way of life for me. I loved it even more as long as I could properly get it down on paper. Obviously, I failed.

Yet the hope/dream lived on. And suddenly I’m thrown in to a situation that I have to read a communist writer. I hate communism. What a bunch of nothingness! And then, all of the sudden, I’m thinking, how does one come up with the idea of writing about one of Goethe’s chicks as though she were a woman scantily admitting to the fact that women aren’t the de facto harbourers of love? The only way a man can come up something like that is if he writes with his hands tied behind his back. Or?

And with the play I just finished, Die Fische (The Fish), I kept yelling as I read through it: man eats himself, man eats himself! Yes. There is a beauty to writing when an author sets the scene in the middle of kings and noblemen fighting for land rights and in the middle of the battle is a whacked out scientist trying to discover a hybrid human that may bridge the gap to man’s current state of mind and the lost thoughts of evolution.

Will Hacks eventually get the recognition he deserves? To me he is one of the only writers I’ve ever encountered that has bridged the gap between the classic and the absurd. What a great thought, eh? I know, due to his political position, that such recognition will be a hard pill for western publishers/critics/theatre managers to swallow. But who knows? I’m sure the world will do much better if it stops the compulsive learning of classic literature and starts impulsively learning … something else.

I’ll be the first to admit that what killed off playwriting were the writers themselves. I mean, as previously mentioned, they don’t really write for an audience. I’ll even go as far as to say that while audiences were advancing, playwrights were heeding the calls of their pocket books and/or the whims of the pocket books of their producers, publishers and theatre managers – to no avail. Sure, so much practice gave us perfectly skilled writers like Brecht, Botho Strauß but who has ever heard of a perfectly skilled creator?

I actually tried to explain this whacky pseudo-theory about the death of playwriting to someone once after we drank too much Italian red wine. It’s come back to me now since discovering again the pleasure of reading plays. Obviously I didn’t get very far with my theory – which is the case for many thinking non-academics. But that’s neither here nor there.

Really Helpful Person: Tom, you’ve written so many plays and none of them have had any success. Why don’t you take a course or something?
Me: A course?
Really Helpful Person: Yeah, you know, in creative writing.
Me: Sounds like a contradiction.
Really Helpful Person: You see, Tom, that’s part of your problem. You don’t understand that you can actually learn to write.
Me: Oh yeah.
Really Helpful Person: Yeah. Maybe then you can write some plays that people want to see.
Me: Oh, right….
Really Helpful Person: And then all that writing you do won’t go to waste.
Me: Will they teach me how to be creative, too?
Really Helpful Person: Huh? Tom, you are so difficult and you’re a snob.
Me: Oh, that’s the best thing you’ve said to me all night.
(Gulp, gulp, gulp.)

So who stood up one morning in a bad mood and declared that playwriting had to be… I don’t know… thorough? Was it those that subsidize culture? Perhaps it has something to do with compulsion that we call life these days. Nothing is done on a whim anymore because anything worth doing cost too much, right? Yeah. Everything costs too much except reading – and maybe even writing – a play.

At this point I can only assume that Peter Hacks wrote his classics because, well, the/his politburo, in one way or the other, told him or allowed him to do so. He didn’t only write some great plays but I think he also outsmarted the censors. One can’t even get close to saying the same thing about other German playwrights whose names are bigger and supposedly faced no politburo.

It’s not enough for me that Hacks’ plays have literary value. And at this point in my own failed attempt at becoming a playwright, I don’t actually care if Hacks’ work is theatrically effective either. The only thing I do care about when reading a play is if the author can take me to that perfect place that is between his imagination and mine. It looks like I have found a communist with that ability.

Yes. Indeed. I have reached a new low in trying to understand the art of playwriting. But I suppose that doesn’t matter: playwriting is dead.

Rant on.

-tgs-

Looking For Some Absurdity – Part 1

Before I get into the whole seeking absurdity thing and why Peter Hacks isn’t an absurd playwright but should be, I’d like to rant a little about something that will eventually cause my death or might just linger in my soul like a bad bowel movement. Oh yeah, and before I forget. This rant might also finally get me deported. But I’ll try to post part-2 before that happens. Now. Before I get into explaining everything, let’s first have a quick English language course on the expression “fuck you”.

“Fuck you” is an interjection. According to most sources an interjection can be a figure of speech or a word that expresses emotion. With that in mind, “fuck you” is a derogatory emotional expression that is said because something bothersome motivated a speaker to say it. Now, if that bothersome thing is only one sided, that is, only one side is bothered, that means whoever receives the “fuck you” cannot simply throw it back. I mean, come on, there has to be rules out there, right? Otherwise all we’d have in this world is a bunch really smart, well earning career people out there saying nothing but fuck you to each other all day.

Moving on….

I enjoy reading plays. In fact, I enjoy reading them more than actually seeing them performed. Call me a fuddy-duddy or even uncooperative, but I’m usually disappointed when I go to German theatre and watch a bunch of compulsive addicts put on a play. The attitude I have is in part due to living in Germany and attending so many (too many!) German state subsidized play productions over the past twenty years. Add to that the bitterness I have of being rejected by German theatre houses because… Well, I guess they reject me even today because I’m (worst)writer.

Needless to say, I’ve given up on German theatre for basically two reasons (beyond the one already mentioned). German theatre, like an incorporated radio or TV station, is completely unoriginal and uses economics as an excuse for the products its sells. (Yes, theatres do sell products other than sweets and 1,- Euro coat hanging services.) With that said, how many fucking times can Peer Gynt, Woycek or King Lear, etc., etc., be produced? I’ve got nothing against these plays. They are great. But who gave them free-reign to occupy German stages as though they were post WW2 GIs? (And fuck all those theatre subscribers!) In fact, for every production of one of them so-called classic plays there should also be a production of a new, original play. Is that asking for too much? You bet your knickers it’s asking for too much. Just try and have a rational conversation with a German literary manager (Dramaturg) or, goodness forbid, a Theatre Manager (Intendant) about seeing something original on a major stage. You’ll be rewarded with a birds-eye-view of how theatre tussies think economically. Oh boy…

Me: Excuse me, Mr. P-H-D Intendant, I have a question.
P-H-D Intendant: Jaaaaaaaaaaa.
Me: why don’t you perform an entire season of original plays with all the money you get from my taxes?
P-H-D Intendant: Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. H. Cough. Choke. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. (Walking away). Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. (Even further away; farting.) Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. (Fade out.)

Anywho. When I want to see “theatre” and my partner and I can afford it, we go to London or NYC to see theatre. At least in those places there is SOME originality! Other than that, as I said before, I read plays.

And while I’m on the subject.

Did you know that Germany sticks billions of Euros a year into theatres? Seriously. They do. It’s obviously such an attractive undertaking that German politicians think that they somehow really should support the dramatic arts because, well, it has something to do with “culture”. The German corporate government seems to treat theatre as though it were an aside, perhaps even an entertainment park – at the least the corporate government of Germanland treats theatre as a pseudo adult Disney place, I guess, less Micky & Donald and Uncle Scrooge (Dagobert), where the dead souls of Beamten-Ärsche can rest their heads as though they actually deserve no eternal shame. I mean, those fancy and very old German theatre houses are certainly the perfect place for overworked corporate servants to fall asleep for a few hours. Right?

I’m not against the tax money being put into these houses, you know. I’m just against the lack of creativity that comes out of it all. But who today is really interested in creativity?

Perhaps the question is: what the fuck else you going to do with all those historic buildings that have so many comfy seats that perfectly scratch your asshole if you allow your hips to dance in them? Sarcasm aside, if theatre in Germany is really about art or culture or creativity, shouldn’t there be a result from the German corporate subsidies? I mean a result that is somehow measurable or at least definable? No? OK. Forget measuring anything. That would probably be too complicated. Just go to a play…

The fact is, Germany subsidizes what it calls culture. And I don’t think that’s good – especially because it has nothing to show for it. For me it is nothing more than Arbeitbeschaffungsmassnahmen (a work procurement program). I mean come on, the whole Arbeitbeschaffungsmassnahmen works well for the Autobahns or Hospitals or ditch-digging. The only problem is, with Autobahns, there is at least a result from all that spending. That’s right. I can drive as fast as I want at 3a.m. But where are the results from the work procurement program that is German theatre? What? Oh, Peer fucking Gynt is playing. Gee, I’d rather drive the Autobahn free of traffic in the wee-hours and forget about the last time I heard King Lear in German!

My biggest gripe with German theatre – after experiencing it since the late 1980s – is basically that Germany, with so much subsidy-wealth, has not produced a playwright worth mentioning on the world stage. OK. Playwriting is a dying art-form. Today “writers” work for TV or corporations in need of some fictional dialogging to fill their shareholder meetings. Can anyone counter me here? No?

Let’s see. Is Botho Strauß a playwright that has earned world-wide recognition? What about Moritz Rinke? Has anyone ever heard of Christina Kettering? No. Sorry. None of them are worth a hoot because their plays, unlike really good plays, do NOT transcend that whole German-ness thing – a subject which has enough coverage in recent history, I’d say. (But I actually do like Kettering – she’s kind of hot for a writer-chick!)

Here more about what I think of German theatre.

Almost moving on…

German theatre is nothing more than a dead-end, non-creative bureaucratic and compulsive vassal comparable only to two things. One is the corporate government running the whole show, i.e. the giver of subsidies. The other thing is a kind of pussified, bohemian mafia that adheres to the idea that culture is about displaying stuff and not about creating it – just go talk to the people who run the theatres, they’ll give you an ear-full on theatrical economics! What a shame, really. It’s all even more a shame when one considers the answer I give to those who bother to ask.

Those who bother to ask: Tom, what brought you to Germany in the first place?
Me: Well, are you sure you want to know?
Those who bother to ask: Of course.
Me: Beer and easy pussy.
Those who bother to ask: Ha. Ha. Ha.
Me: Just kidding. Ok. You asked. (Short pause.) I came to Germany because I tried to be strategic about my future. You see, I had this dream of writing for the stage. When I was in America I tried to go to small-time theatres but no one would talk to me. That’s just the way theatre is, you know. When the reality of young adulthood hit, I realized that my dream of working in theatre required a different approach. One does have to earn money, right? To make a long story short, I visited Germany in the mid 80s. The one thing that surprised me was the fact that there was/is no place in the world with so many theatres in such a small area. You need a fucking counting machine to count all the theatres between Hamburg and Munich. After that summer in Germany my plan was to go back to America, pack up everything and somehow, somehow, somehow find a way to live in New York City and work in theatre. But then I met someone that knew someone and the next thing I know, I got a job offer to work in Germany.
Those who bother to ask: Wow. So you were able to get a job in a theatre in Germany?
Me: Fuck No! German theatres are as stuck-up as American theatres. The job offer I got was for a firm that required someone to look up library resources using computers.
Those who bother to ask: So you got a job working with computers and that’s what brought you to Germany?
Me: Shut the fuck up you Krautsalat and pay attention.
Those who bother to ask: Jawohl.
Me: Dude, this was the biggest miscalculation of my life. Choosing this path sucks. And it sucks because I thought – at the time – that this might be a “different” thing to do. Go to Germany – where I could actually have a job – and then try to work my way into theatre from there. There’s like a gazillion theatres in Germany. I’ll even be able to finally learn German. I’m young enough. There’s plenty of time to go to New York… Blah. Blah. Blah.

I worked during the day and wrote plays at night. I sent plays here and there and everywhere. No one and I mean no one from any theatre EVER in Germany even talked to me about my work. For more than twenty years I tried to get some attention from a state subsidized German theatre. There weren’t even people there who would bother to listen. And so eventually I was forced to say…

Fick Dich ins Knie, Du Scheiß-Wichser!

Beyond that, after all these years, I don’t give a fuck what anyone says about my playwriting. Maybe my writing does suck. Maybe I am the worst fucking playwright ever. But the one thing today, after so many failed years, that keeps me going as a writer is the fact that ALL the plays I’ve seen on arrogant and non-creative German stages are no better than my work. Fuck you Moritz Rinke! And that piss-head Botho Strauss can kiss my ass, as well. All you fucks born in Germany, under the pacified hat of your comfy German welfare state, can kiss my ass. At least I can claim that my work transcends, it goes beyond borders and beyond a mentality that is stupid enough to believe that capitalism is sustenance for socialism. (The first is about economics and the latter about politics; two completely different things! But who’s interested in such social political details in a country like Germany where people think it’s their right to have vacations.)

But what does any of that matter? I played my cards and lost. So fuck me, too, eh?

In part-2 I might address the play “Die Fische” (The Fish) by Peter Hacks and why I think at least this play should be on as many stages as Peer fucking Gynt or King shit Lear.

Rant on.

-tgs-

How To Runaway From A Sinking Ship

There are two things that I’ve grown afraid of since living in Europe/Germany. One of those things is Beamtentum. It’s more of a concept and, perhaps, a way of life then it is just a word. It translates to something like authoritarianism in the form of officialdom. I guess, in a way, it’s like civil-servant-hood – but with a touch of royalty. Without Beamtentum there would be no Germany, certainly there would be no Bratwurst or Roasted Chickens at Oktoberfest. Beyond that, Beamtentum is comparable to communism and so Germans uniquely cloak it under a veil of what they call “Social Market Economics”. With that in mind, The Federal Republic of Germany is the last bastion of communism in the West. And you can quote me on that.

The second thing that scares me is cynicism – that is: popular cynicism. In other words, Europe is full of a newly defined cynicism that panders to pop culture. The French have it and the British have it, too. But the difference to the Germans having it is that the other two are actually comical with it. That is, their cynicism is believable because it can be easily connected to satire or irony or sarcasm. Those are tough things to bring across in the orderly German language. It all coincides perfectly with the fact that Germans are not funny people.

To try to be a bit more clear, here a few definitions of cynicism:

1) Cynicism originally comprised the various philosophies of a group of ancient Greeks called the Cynics, founded by Antisthenes in about the 4th century BC. The Cynics rejected all conventions, whether of religion, manners, housing, dress, or decency, advocating the pursuit of virtue in a simple and non-materialistic lifestyle.

2) In pop culture, the word cynicism generally describes the opinions of those who see self-interest as the primary motive of human behaviour, and who disincline to rely upon sincerity, human virtue, or altruism as motivations.

3) On the other hand, the Oxford English Dictionary suggests as the usual modern definition (per cynic): showing “a disposition to disbelieve in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions” and a tendency “to express this by sneers and sarcasms”.
(Source of all the above: Wikipedia.)

To me a REAL Cynic is someone that thinks and by doing so “deconstructs”. The original Cynics sought answers through the craft of dialogue and debate. The point to their endeavours was never to simply find right or wrong. Instead it was about the process. Of course, today in this burgeoning new authoritarian world that so many people subject themselves to in the name of “careers” and/or “family”, this process is long gone. Although we all do things like talk a lot (and some of us write too much), what is said equates to nothing more than the passing of time. (I write so much because I like the sound of my fingers dancing on a keyboard.)

But is the idea left to us from Cynics really gone? In fact, I’ll go as far as to claim that real Cynics are once again among us – but they are not what you might think. Much of what can or should be deconstructed in order to find answers are very comical – but not in the conventional “comedic” sense. For example, the late Bill Hicks was a great Cynic and if you listen to any of his stand-up (look him up on YouTube!) you might agree. Another might be Robin Williams. Moving beyond America, for you international folk out there, how about the late, great Peter Sellers? To me, one of the greatest cynics of all time was Stanley Kubrik. Am I the only one to have understood the Devine-like comedy AND Masonic message that was his movie 2001: A Space Odyssey? And let me not even get into talking about Dr. Strangelove.

There are, of course, many other examples of REAL Cynics among us, and thus far in my reading of him, I’m starting to think that Peter Hacks might also be one of them. Who knows, eventually he might just make my international list of great Cynics. On the other hand …on the other very sad hand, there is another side to this idea of being a cynic (accentuate the word not being capitalized, please).

The motivation to address the issues of cynicism and Beamtentum (i.e. West German Communism) derives in part from reading Peter Hacks. After reading Hacks’ so-called “classic” works, I thought it time to expand my horizons and try to read something other than a play. Of course, he’s written a huge body of work. Even though I plan on reading a lot of it I wasn’t sure where to turn. So, in my search to find something new and interesting, I started asking around.

Unfortunately, it took almost two weeks and visiting various books stores before I could find someone that even knew Mr. Hacks. But I did find someone, and I think I got lucky. “Oh, yeah, Peter Hacks,” he said. “He’s that religiously Marxist guy.” Oh, I thought, that’s an interesting way to put it. He said that he hadn’t read much of his work but that he recalled the controversy that ensued after The Wall fell and Hacks basically rejected the idea that it was the fault of “communism” that caused it. Eventually this guy recommended the anecdotal story “DieDinge in Buta” (The Thing s in Buta). This particular printing of the text is combined with the beautiful drawings of Rudi Hurzlmeier. It’s a kind of picture book, albeit for adults. Now, after reading this very short story, on the last page of the book are blurbs of the author and the artist. Since I am already well informed regarding the author, I went straight to the artist. And this is where the bad daydreams of Beamtentum and cynicism compelled me to rant a bit.

You see, I think I might be starting to idolize Hacks. That’s right. A guy like me, as far away from anything Marxist as you’ll ever get, is starting to choke-up when I read his work. I mean, I really like the way this guy writes and, with the way things are going in the West right now, it’s kind of neat to be reading someone that is basically undiscovered and whose work can be applied to the newly forming authoritarianism that will soon become our world – post Stalinist/Marxist communism and post Sept. 11. I mean, get this. Here is a question Peter Hacks asked of someone (as printed in one of his published letter collections):

“Where is the Politburo in Washington, D.C?”

What a fuckin’ great question! I’m not sure but I think the question was asked close to Hacks’ death – which means he could have asked it after Sept. 11, 2001, which in turn makes the question significant. Of course, if he asked the question before nine-eleven then the question moves from significance to clairvoyance.

OK, I’m starting to think that Hacks is a cynical genius in the classic sense, you know, as defined by 1. In a political sense he’s a bit of a turd blossom. And because I perceive him through such contradictory glasses, I want to somehow, at least in my own mind, protect him. I want to protect him because of what happened after reading “Die Dinge in Buta”. On the back cover of the book there is a simple blurb on the artist Rudi Hurzlmeier, who drew the pictures in the book. And guess who Rudi works for? Oh boy. Start the drum roll. He works for Titanic, the infamous German “satirical” magazine.

Here is a Wiki link in English about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanic_(magazine).

The first thing I thought: Oh, shit! Maybe my German isn’t good enough. Maybe because I miss this verb here or that noun there or because I almost suffocate while trying to read long-winded German sentences without breathing (which interferes with my ability to concentrate), I don’t really understand Peter Hacks. But if a guy who works for a magazine like Titanic understands him…? I know, I’m over doing it. But like I said at the beginning of this rant: there are some things about Germany that scare the beejeebees out of me.

What I do understand is that Titanic is NOT a “satirical” magazine. Indeed, it is a great example of pop-culture cynicism gone amok, as defined by 2 or 3 above. Although it’s been quite a few years since I purchased a copy, the one thing I remember about the magazine is that it is atypically West German – that is: a lot of talk and no action. I mean, it’s quite popular and the voice it uses must speak for such populism. Or?

Seriously, after living in Germany all these years, I have met a lot of big mouths that, if required, couldn’t find their way out of paper bag – unless the United States instructed them on how to do so. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against things being critical – especially of politics or society – which a magazine like Titanic is. But for how long can making fun at the personal expense of others be funny? Obviously, a lot of Germans love this magazine. But you also have to keep in mind that idiots like Oliver Pocher are also very popular in this country. Although I’m no a fan of anything G.W. Bush or of American neo-con politics, there is a simple way of looking at life that comes out of conservative America and it goes like this: if you can talk it you should be able to walk it. For whatever sad reason Germans just love shitting on people just for the sake of doing it. Maybe that’s why they created Schadenfreude. Maybe that’s why there are no Cynics in this country – nor is Titanic JUST a satirical magazine.

So… have I made a mistake about Peter Hacks? Should I even like him? Should I stop reading him? I certainly gave up reading Titanic once I learned that it had nothing to do with satire but more to do with destructive personal attacks and taking advantage of something or someone just because you can. Also reason to give up on German TV hosts that are incorrectly called “comedians” – but that’s another rant.

I came to this country with blind hopes, which is obviously a mistake that I have to deal with. Beyond that, whenever you move somewhere else it takes a long time before you actually see beyond that grass that you thought could be greener. I’ve been through a lot with Germany since early 1989. A lot of stuff has been positive but most of it has been VERY negative. Like the sour-puss faces and bad attitudes, or living amongst a people that are completely incapable of thinking and acting individually. And what about all the negativity and complaining that is the German national past-time? It seems to all come together for me while reading Peter Hacks and being reminded of the disgusting addiction to cynicism and Beamtentum – by a sinking ship! If anyone should be a disgusting and destructive cynic – it should be me!

Ironically there is hope for Germans. And that hope might be in the form of Peter Hacks. But in order for that to happen it must be prevented that Hacks’ work fall into the wrong hands. Religious Marxist or not, Hacks seems to know all about the deal that we now face. That is, he was well versed in the dealings of authoritarian government. At the least, it is a major theme in the works of his I’ve read thus far. And while the authoritarian part of Marxism is being adopted by the West right now, it’s important that a writer like Hacks does not fall into the hands of a bunch of big-mouth, do-nothing smart-asses – who get a kick out of sinking ships.

But what do I know? I probably haven’t understood a word of what I’ve read. And all these years of living in Europe – the Disneyland for perverted adults – has not played well on my sanity. But I did like the dirty pictures by Rudi Hurzlmeier. If only he’d work for a different magazine….

Now I’m off to read “Numa” and “Die Fische”.

May all Germans with a job and a nice income live long and prosper under the veil of their Beamtentum!

God Bless America, too.

Rant on.
-tgs-