I’d like to wish everyone in class a great trip to wherever you’re going, be it Paris, Prague, London, Vietnam, Tanzania, Buenos Aires, Brazil, it sounds like it will be an amazing time. Also, I hope everyone keeps their blogs going, even part time, while they’re abroad, especially since I’ll be at the website at least once a week in this class’s counterpart, “The Art of Travel.”
Over the past few weeks, as I think I said in my free post, I’ve had the opportunity to look at the country I’m going to a much deeper degree than I would have otherwise. I think it was good to try and practice challenging assumptions here before doing in vis-à-vis some high level of culture shock (that I’m sure will occur anyhow). Certainly, it would be impossible to experience Germany in the same way that I will experience it over the next couple months but that isn’t really my main concern here. I’m glad that I’m going abroad, and I think that the most important thing to have drawn out of this class, at least for me, are the tools with which I can make my travel/tourist experience more useful and become self-reflexive.
That said, I have two very different topics I’d like to talk about briefly for my final post that I find intriguing:
First, I don’t know if any of you have heard about this Neonazi demonstration/march on Lichetenberg in Berlin, but essentially 600-700 militant Fascist marched to protest, as I understand it, the government not providing for their interests by doing such things as establishing funded community centers based on nationalist-identity and putting a ban on Middle Eastern immigration, especially as the economy sinks. What I don’t understand here is what the Neonazis seek to accomplish through their neostruggle. While, it seems that they are more interested (at least at the moment) in using democracy to serve their goals and not necessarily over-throwing the democracy for a dictatorship that would attempt to make another empire through genocide, they still are using the same ideologies that Hitler used and that failed for him. Haven’t we learned, yet, that scapegoating real economic crises onto already disadvantaged bodies makes no measurable amount of sense? Well, in fairness I guess we haven’t learned that even in the United States… In any case, I guess I can’t be so uncritical of how strongly I’d like to believe Germany, in totality, is entirely past its Nazi past, but I guess that’s the nature of democratic hegemony: there will always be the alternate voice.
On a much, much lighter note, I also became interested in learning about German humor over the past couple of days. Someone had suggested to me that German humor was really strange and couldn’t really be understood by Americans, and it reminded me of how a friend of mine would always say that any Hollywood comedies were markedly American in their humor. I don’t really have much to relate this to except that my understanding of British and Canadian humor is much more dry than American humor, but still translates well.
Anyway, by doing a quick Google/Youtube search, I found a girl defending German humor by saying that absolutely anyone can watch some show entitled “Bernd das Brot” or “Bernd, the Loaf of Bread” and it would be hilarious even without subtitles. I found it rather off-putting, and that, while I did laugh, it was more out of trying to wrap my head around the idea of Germans using this as a defense of how universally-applicable their humor is.
UPDATE: While searching for that video to post the link again here, I found an explanation for it. It’s meant to make fun of this scene. I don’t know if it’s famous or not, but I would guess that it was… although it is on a laugh-track which kind of signifies low production values