Category: germanic


when i can’t get kendrak as my handle on a website, i often use halbstark. i picked it up from reading about german youth movements in class. here’s a clip of the yankees playing their hit, “halbstark” on beat club. who knew it was on youtube?

years ago i tried to adopt halbstark as my dj name on kalx. nobody liked it. everybody thought i meant “half shark”, and they’d call in and tell me i should stick with kendra k. ugh. they won.

hitch says grass a huckster

i’ve already sort of weighed in on günter grass admitting he was in the waffen ss. my pseudo-intellectual boyfriend christopher hitchens (i say this in jest, i don’t agree with him on everything and my real world boyfriend cringes everytime i call hitch that.) wrote a good assesment of why people are upset by grass’ admission in slate this week. i meant to post it earlier, but i’ve been busy with freaking out about work. it’s the big story on slate right now though, so why not check it out. for those who haven’t had to devote your undergraduate career to the nazi problem, or talk about how awesome grass is for making germans think about their role in the third reich, or the required fawning over willy brandt, grass’ owning up to his past now might not seem so odd and so crass. i think hitchens does a good job of conveying that, and you don’t have to agree with him on iraq at all! it’s all very old school hitchens.

in slightly let related news. i’ve decided to try to add joe scarborough to my arsenal of conservative tv dudes i like, but his show is horrible. maybe if it was actually about politics, but i can’t stand his hollywood gossip. chris matthews is still #1. i’m waiting for a day like that one day when chris matthews had hitchen and andrew sullivan on his show… that was a show to remember.

scorched grass

in odd news, i’ve yet to fully digest, günter grass has come out as a member of the waffen-ss, auf englisch.

what does it mean, what with his autobiography, beim häuten der zwiebel coming out next month. i think it’s a good thing, but it’s also odd. grass was one of the most prominent authors in post-war germany and something of a moral authority for the “vergangenheitsbewältigun”.he is only human though.

maxed out

dickens and i “watched” the movie max tonight. it sucked. seriously, it was one of the most over-wrought, plodding, dull movies i’ve seen recently. i doubt it was intentional, though a fitting critique of hitler in some ways. the whole movie was just a john cusack vehicle. look! it’s lloyd dobbler all grown up! you know, i think i’ve gone off mr. cusack. he’s got one type of character in him, and it’s no longer cutting the mustard. it’s sort of like how i decided i’m over elvis costello. we’ll always have the good old days, but you’re off the radar now.

the funny thing is, in the move hitler was obsessed with his bangs. i wonder who’s like that? hmmm? also it sturck me that had he been in his place from the movie (under employed, disgraced, army corpral after a military defeat and a wannabe artist) today, he’d be one of those artsy indie kids. all about poetry, philosophy, art, and the likes of elliot smith, stephin merritt, and ian curtis. sorta weird to think about. maybe had he been born in the 1980s instead of the 1880s, he’d have become famous for his eanestness and brooding. but then again, superman could be a nazi.

thought crimes and such

this week, david irving was sentenced to three years in prison in austria as a “holocaust denier”. the term is a very dirty one and should make anybody squeamish. i know i’ve complained about irving before, and for good reason too- he’s a bad historian. his research and dedication is of note, but his analysis is flawed beyond credibility.

i agree with people who think that is a bad example of a western paradox. i don’t think jail is the answer for holocaust deniers or anti-semties, though i do understand why countries such as austria, germany, and israel have those laws. i hope some day that these types of laws will be considered unnecessary, but i know that the world’s not there yet.

that said, david irving is an irresponsable “self-taught” historian who seems to pander for drama and press. i guess he and daniel goldhagen are cut from the same cloth.

trials for humanity

i’m watching the american experience: the nuremberg trials, which focuses on the exchanges between jackson and goering, which show, as the narrator said, “that justice can prevail over evil.” it’s hard to watch this without thinking about the current trial for humanity- saddam hussein’s. i’m not sure if it’s quite there yet, but who knows. only time will tell.

the world’s fascination with the third reich isn’t really suprising, but it’s getting to be a little stale- not that we shouldn’t remember and discuss nazi atrocities, but because we have done it to the point that it’s becoming rote and losing its meaning. i’m at a loss as to what to say about about it. there’s not much more that can be said about men like hitler, himmler, goering, and goebbels- there’s nothing redeeming as seen through their actions. other, like speer, are more enigmatic and interesting to study and discuss as they are far too human. everytime i get suckered into a conversation with somebody who will proclaim that anybody associated with the nazi government was as guilty as those named earlier i usually counter with, “so you would have done something differently?” it’s like when people tell me their grandparents were of money (say, the junker class in bavaria) yet were in opposition to the nazis, thus with clean hands, i roll my eyes and try not to get into an argument. of course i don’t know what those people did to survive, but i doubt they were edelweiss piraten or sheltering jews or other political prisoners without some punishment. i guess it’s just part of the discourse now to rewrite history and lie to yourself- think that you wouldn’t do what everybody else did because you know it’s wrong.

i’ve thought about what i would have done, were i living in nazi germany. my verdict? i really don’t know. there’s a decent chance i would have fled or sent to the camps early based upon my last name and probable political affiliations, but that’s not for certain. it’s nice to think i would have resisted, but i probably would have just scraped by, assuming i wasn’t hauled off for having a jewish name.

back to the original point of this post- i’m tired of the third reich, and i’m tired of all the cliches used to talk about nazis and the holocaust. i guess this comes from over exposure and frustration from listening to the same arguments for close to 10 years. i won’t go so far as to say that it doesn’t matter like it did 60 years ago- clearly it still does- but people need to look for the relevance and meaning as it applies to today/all time, rather than repeating the sound bites gleaned from pbs/the history channel. it’s just so easy to either blame everybody (any german alive from 1933-45) or the big names (hitler and his senior officials) but course the world isn’t that simple. this is why i find the period after the war- the nuremberg trials, the denazification of the allied zones, and the establishment of the bundesrepublik under the provisional government- more interesting. what are the implications of nazi atrocities on humanity? how are people supposed to act after the fact? what is a nation to do? i think the world should look more closely at post-war germany (1945-1955) as a clue for similar rebuliding efforts around the world. luckily, through vergangenheitsbewältigung, there’s already a discourse for this sort of thing.

allright, my head is about to burst. i’m going to go read voegelin’s autobiographical reflections, and think about what it means to be a human which is to err and deal with the guilt.

a, b, c, d, e, fuþark

so tonight i wake up from a long sick nap (sick in that i feel like schesise), eat some hot and sour soup, and see joe reading something from boing boing about the evolution of the latin alphabet. of course the timeline is very “classic”-centric in that it goes directly from phonecian to greek to latin. nevermind that the timeline seems a little off. the full distinction between i and j didn’t happen until well after the renaissance, (which is why washingon d.c. doesn’t have a j street.)

ok, now my dedication to the history and quirks of germanic (west) languages isn’t really a secret. of course the first thing i thought upon seeing the time line was, “of course those culture snobs wouldn’t know about anything cool like futhark!” futhark is the germanic runic alphabet. of course this doesn’t really have a big impact upon the latin alphabet, but it’s often overlooked and underappreciated.

there’s some runic stuff written in the women’s bathroom at the cock ring- weird.

julie andrews gave birth to a wingnut?!?!

memepool posted a link recently that is the website of somebody talking about the ties between julie andrews and hitler. it starts off,

Hello! My name is Mikko (Michael) Juhani (John) Jack. I am Julie Elizabeth Andrews’ (Wells) firstborn son. Are you surprised? Well, as one poster of her movies says: “The whole of Paris was talking about her, but they knew half of the story.” This is the controversial story of secret bloodlines, public hints and hidden relics. I don’t know what’s the final truth, but you are welcome to search it with me. The point is not what they can keep from you but what they reveal to their test subjects in order to see what really moves people’s minds and hearts. What you read is not a joke, but don’t forget your sense of humour that is always a sign of intelligence. Finally, I don’t try to get my real mother but the evil system itself that has left her no choice but to collaborate or become “vaporized”.

yeah… and it just goes on and on from there with pictures to boot. some of “ms. andrews”, some of hitler, some of star trek, and even some of michael palin. (seriously!)
he closes with this:

There were three great intolerant ideologies in the 20th century: communism, fascism and feminism. A communist wanted to get rid of the bankers, a fascist wanted to get rid of the Jewish bankers and a feminist wants to get rid of the male bankers. Communism and fascism were crushed, but the feminists removed her sons from Julie Andrews’ life so that “the girls could have their fun”, but also the boys need their mother.



i’m not sure how many people who read this blog are aware of the international sensation known as schnappi das kleine krokodil. he’s from egypt, if you didn’t know. the schnappi album was a huge sensation internationally this past year, and it was totally deserved.

now that i finally have the schnappi album (he’s yet to make a huge impact over here), i’m totally in love with this little guy. he’s the coolest crocodile! i’m even digging his christmas album.

the main reason i’m blogging about schanppi, is because of a weird illustration on the english site. all the more reason to live a vegan lifestyle.


by the power of the union of charity…

most of the librarians here are lapsed catholics, and as such we talk about catholic ritual quite a lot. despite not really being catholic (i’ve never done ccd or anything formal), i seem to know a lot about catholic rituals. ok- old catholic rituals. blame medieval history, since most of it was recorded by catholics.

today two of my bosses started talking about something that sounds sorta neat- the living rosary.

The Living Rosary is endowed with great power before the throne of God through the union of charity which flows through its members. Immense are the graces and merits obtained daily by every member when united and animated by the Fire of Divine Love in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. One who prays the Rosary alone receives the grace and merits of a single Rosary, but if he or she is united with two million members, then all of the graces and merits of the whole are gained.

doesn’t that sound like some catholic super powers? i actually own a rosary, but i’ve never done it. maybe i should in order to practice for the living rosary. i could have super powers too!

also, the rosary brings up something i love linguistically. the etymology of the word bead:

1377, bede “prayer bead,” from O.E. gebed “prayer,” from P.Gmc. *beðan (cf. M.Du. bede, O.H.G. beta, Ger. bitte, Goth. bida). Shift in meaning came via beads threaded on a string to count prayers, and in phrases like to bid one’s beads, to count one’s beads. Ger. cognate Bitte is the usual word for conversational request “please.” Also related to bid (O.E. biddan) and Goth. bidjan “to ask, pray.” Sense transferred to “drop of liquid” 1596; to “small knob forming front sight of a gun” 1831 (Kentucky slang); hence draw a bead on “take aim at,” 1841, U.S. colloquial.

pray in german is still bieten. neat, huh?