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Why is there money for yet another stonkingly loud but inherently vapid Michael-Bay-Transformers-nassacre but not enough to develop films, or Cthulhu forbid!, a fucking telly series based on The Culture?
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In case you are wondering what is a hot topic in Berlin at the moment:

Berlin Café bans strollers (amongst other things)

Und dit janze nochma auf Deutsch

Of course this is turned into a huge discussion at the moment with the panicked mothers in one corner and those that never run out of people to hate in Prenzlauer Berg in the other.
I suspect that this may be nothing but a publicity stunt or more to the point an attempt to give the cafe a clear identity in an area that is brimming with cafes anyway. Admittedly it is a good one, effectively banning everything that is associated with those people that spend a gret deal of time in the area's cafes (iPads, children, sugar). The way to go would possibly be to also hire some people to chainsmoke Gaulloises inside for the proper french elite feeling, but alas, German law would not have that.
It ties in nicely with the current anti-mother/anti-tourist/anti-hipster-sentiment that can be found in many long term residents of the area but it certainly is no example of a growing intolerance against mothers/children etc. It is just one café that will not allow you to do what you are free to do in the other ten cafes to be found within a minute's walk.
And why not?
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I actually blame RomComs and their predecessors to a certain degree, too. There still seems to be this ancient idea present in some guys' heads that in order to "win a woman's heart", you have to "conquer it". The metaphor alone tells you all about what is wrong about this idea and why, besides harrassment of the above kind, it also gave rise to the oft-discussed "nice guy fallacy".
You do not "win" or "conquer" a woman's heart by being forward, by "getting into her good books" through favours, much less through supposed "chilvalry" or "wooing". A "heart" (or more to the point, a woman. This is always about possession and control, isn't it?) is not something which you can "win" or "conquer", much less by wiles or strength.

Of course you will tell me (and yourself) that you are only doing the woman a favour by praising her beauty but this is not what this is really about.
You don't want her to notice that she is beautiful, you want her to notice what a swell guy you are for saying these things to you, in effect not validating her but your own self-worth. Sorry that it makes you angry when your ego is not stroked in this way but don't take it out on somebody who only has something to do with all of this in your head.
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There is now a special pink Kinder Suprise, "just for girls".
What has the responsible office been smoking to come up with this fantastic idea?
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So, apparently there is going to be a new film version of Starship Troopers, and this time round it is going to be less violent and more faithful to the book, says producer Toby Jaffe. So instead of a hyperviolent black comedy parodying the Nazis (and showing parallels to some more recent war-mongering), we shall undoubtedly have a "Yay! Military!"-film with thrilling action but avoiding displaying too much of the potential danger of ending up wounded/maimed/dead.
Reading a conservative/reactionary intention into this or even suggesting that Goebbels' spiritual heirs are sitting in modern Hollywood making quite a living might come across as excessively cynical until you read that one sentence from Mr. Jaffe talking about Heinlein:

"Y'know, one man's fascism is another man's patriotism..."

Yes, indeed. That is sort of the point.

And then you get friends from the UK, who you otherwise think of as reasonably intelligent and levelheaded, share shit like this and my first thought is "You'd just have to translate this into German and adapt the silhouette and it would be prime Laibach material". But that sort of irony is normally lost, I guess.
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I don't know, is ist me or is there something in the air affecting peoples' eyes and brains? Just days after the run-in with Conservative Girl, the SO decided to buy a new pair of trousers, a quest I accompanied her on. The sales lady was possibly slightly egocentric, possibly a little pushy, but definitely very verbal. Cheerful, too. She sold the SO a pair of trousers whic definitely looked good and attempted to also sell her one which nobody but the sales-lady liked. She probably would have tried to sell me one, as well, had it not been for the SO's fast thinking. So far, so good. Then she asked us whether we were heading for the CSD later one. After I told her that no we weren't, as we were having a friend come over later, it finally dawned on her that we were not in fact a lesbian couple. Apparently it was once more the hair that did it.

Yesterday then, as I was taking the tube across town I then found myself at the receiving end of some interesting lewd gestures from some young bloke of migratory background. At least I think he meant me. Possibly his energetic tongue was directed at the female half of the couple next to me, who were a little more embarrassed by the experience than I was.
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Ich geh so die Straße runter, vollgefressen mit asiatischen Köstlichkeiten, da rollert an der nächsten Straßenecke ein kleines Mädchen (persönliche Einschätzung auf Grundlage der äußeren Erscheinung und traditionellen Kleidungsnormen) und starrt mich eine ganze Weile an, bis sie dann fragt:
"Bist Du'n Mann oder Mädchen?"
Ich halte an, frage: "Hm?" und gehe etwas auf sie zu.
"Bist Du'n Junge oder Mädchen?"
Ich hatte mich zwar darauf eingestellt, daß ich diese Unterhaltung noch gelegentlich führen würde, aber eigentlich nicht hier und mit jemand so jungem.
"Na, siehste doch: 'n großer Junge."
"Hu...., siehst aber aus wie'n Mädchen."
Vielleicht hatte ich bislang die falsche Einstellung. Vielleicht war es falsch, bei kleinen Kindern den Welpenschutzinstinkt zu haben. Schließlich war sie nicht mehr so jung und überhaupt, wenn sie ihre formenden Jahre seit Anfang des Jahrtausends hatte, hatte sie erst recht keinen Grund, solche veralteten Ansichten zu haben. Nichtsdestotrotz und obwohl der Zorn langsam in mir hochstieg, beschloss ich das Ganze ruhig anzugehen.
"Das ist aber eine sehr konservative Einschätzung."
"Das sieht komisch aus. So lang."
Die richtige Antwort darauf wäre natürlich gewesen: "Na, mir gefällt das Kleid, was Du da trägst, auch nicht.". Aber versuche ich es nochmal mit einer klaren Demonstration ihres Denkfehlers. Also streiche ich die Haare, die auf die falsche Seite gefallen sind, rüber.
"Nee, guck mal. Auf der Seite lang, wie'n Mädchen und auf der Seite kurz, wie'n Junge. Das ist dualistisch."
"Sieht komisch aus."
Ich wollte ihr dann erklären, daß ich das seinerzeit mal aus Liebesgründen gemacht habe, dachte mir dann, aber, daß das vielleicht doch nicht angebracht ist (und ja auch nicht gut geendet ist) und ging so meiner Wege.
Zur gleichen Zeit rollerte dann ihre Schwester (wahrscheinlich) an mir vorbei und sagt zu Mädchen #1, daß ihre Mutter sie suchen würde. Das hieß, daß die beiden hinter mir her rollern mussten, weil die Mutter etwas die Straße, die ich lang musste, stand.
Aus der Entfernung hörte ich dann noch "Guck mal, Mama, der Mann sieht aus wie ein Mädchen.", worauf ich mich kurz umdrehte und rief: "Das ist sehr konservativ."
Weil ich aber keinen Ausdruck des Verstehens auf dem Gesicht der Mutter sah, beschloss ich die Diskussion nicht weiterzuführen.

Und sowas war mal ein Stadtteil für Künstler. Sind wir im Jahre 2012 nicht schon etwas weiter? Was wird Kindern eigentlich heutzutage noch beigebracht?
von_geisterhand: Monika küsst Jörg. Sie liebt ihn. (kiss)
BILD erklärt falsche Frau für tot

Eine tote Frau macht sich eben doch besser, wenn sie still ist.
von_geisterhand: Monika küsst Jörg. Sie liebt ihn. (kiss)
We went to an alternative culture place yesterday to listen to a lecture about Neofolk and its supposed inherent right-wing tendencies. In fact, let's just quote the entire text advertising the event here:

Thursday 07 June
EAG-Tresen Diesmal mit Infoveranstaltung ab 20.00 Uhr. Die „Schwarze Szene“, wie sich das Milieu der Gothics und „Gruftis“ selbst bezeichnet, wird wegen rechter Tendenzen immer wieder von Antifaschist_innen kritisiert – meistens völlig zu Recht. Besonders unangenehm fällt in diesem Zusammenhang die Stilrichtung „Neofolk“ auf, der unter anderem die bekannten rechten Musikprojekte „Death in June“ und „Von Thronstahl“ zuzurechnen sind. Der mit ein paar Bildern und Hörbeispielen garnierte Vortrag wird darüber informieren, was Neofolk eigentlich ist, woher die rechten Einflüsse kommen und was das Ganze überhaupt soll.
Danach noch ein bisschen düstere Musik und gruslige Cocktails wie „Zombie“, „Suicide“ und „Bloody Mary“ (angefragt).

For a start, the mentioned cocktails were not served and those that were, were lacking in quality. But that's besides the point now and in any case, beer was cheap.
Even if I had no particular feelings about Neofolk, I think I might have been enticed to attend on the strength of the first sentence. Allow me to translate: "The 'Black Scene', as the subculture of the goths calls itself, has repeatedly been criticised by anti-fascists due to its right-wing tendencies - mostly absolutely justifiedly."
That is quite an accusation to make, isn't it?

The lecture that followed did not live up to this level of vitriol, was rather half-arsed, not terribly well researched and preferred to suggest and insinutate rather than analyze any band or song in detail. In fairness, I have heard worse discourse on the subject but remain convinced that I could have made a better case accusing the bands of using images and ideas questionably while defending them than the speaker did just accusing them.
Where said speaker really let himself down, though, was when we corrected him on certain details and disagreed (politely*) with some of his suggestions. As he later told us, he had not expected to have somebody who already knew about the subject present and would have much preferred if we had not been there. Of course he would, it's much easier to "teach" people if they just unquestioningly accept all you tell them.
Will I have to write the final word on neofolk myself?

To cap it all off: You will have noticed that the lecture was held in the context of the "EAG"-group. That's short for "Emanzipative und Antifaschistische Gruppe", in other words: anti-fascist and anti-sexist. And ye verily, out beloved speaker did say at several points that he really wasn't all that interested in what artist said what when and why (after doing just that making his case) but that he was rather interested in equal rights and lack of prejudice.
At the same time, his girlfriend was spreading flyers advertising her events all over the place, which sported the picture of a woman cutting the throat of another, deep-clevaged female on the front. Lesbians as psychos, psycho females, the male gaze on the suffering female, the murder of the confident female, you take your pick.

*Okay, slightly less politely when he suggested that Current 93 are actually a Nazi band. Why? Because they have a song and an EP ("a whole album", in his words) called "Hitler as Kalki". What is that song about? He could not tell us.
You do not insult David Tibet lightly in my presence.
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Hm, at the moment, I seem to be very critical when it comes to talking about cultural events I have attended.

It started with the 32nd anniversary party of Einstürzende Neubauten last week at the .hbc. To be fair, it's the second event have attended at that venue and more and more I feel like it will have been the last. The idea of the party was okay. There was a sort of alibi exhibition of pictures/photos spanning the whole 32 years but truth be told, it was rather minimal and repetitive. Certainly, there were at best three pictures I didn't know yet.
The rest of the programme included some piano music (which sadly I missed), Max Dax reading from "Nur was nicht ist ist möglich" (not the best of readers), an opportunity to dance to all kinds of Neubauten tracks you don't normally hear in discos (Playlist here) and .... Neubauten karaoke.


Sadly there were only about five tracks ("Seele brennt", "Sabrina", "Let's do it a Dada", "Installation #1" and one I can't remember), some of which didn't really lend themselves to Karaoke very well but I made a valiant effort tackling all of them repeatedly and those three people who actually saw me liked it. So that's a sucess, I think.
What really bothered me was the fact that about 90% of the people there made the impression that they had never really heard of EN and were only there because the hbc is such a hip place and to celebrate (and photograph) themselves. There was a small contingent of old punks but mostly it was Mitte-people, all flailing cigarettes and egos at the ready.
I hope the 33rd birthday party will involve the band again. Or a more extensive karaoke.

Then there was Laibach live in concert. Which was good, for what it was. They have become completely techno-pop now, discarding any pretenses of once having carried a political message or being associated with punk. It's not that it was bad, it was just very prectictable and empty. The "keyboard babe" got to sing a few songs and the singer did what he always does. No paradigmns were shifted and no expectations disappointed. In essence they are now a DAF-cover band. I am very happy to have seen them but I will be in no hurry to see them again or buy their latest album.

A similar case could be made for "Iron Sky" (featuring Laibach's music). Yes, I had been quite excited about seeing it and how can you not be? Moon Nazis! Making fun of American policy! Udo Kier! Surely this cannot fail!
Well.... no. It did exactly what the trailer promised but nothing more than that. The Nazis return, the scenery is cool and Sarah Palin is mocked. Udo Kier is on a diet in regards to scenery-chewing, though. He does appear but gets to do very little besides.... well, appearing.
You do get the idea that the whole film was mainly created by the scriptwriters making a list of things they think would be cool to do in a film, but without the patience to actually do anything proper with any of these things. Towards the end, the end even hints at deciding to add a more serious note (with a message!) but just as quickly as it pops up, it's gone again.
So yes, it's watchable but left me feeling like it could have been so much more.

In all fairness, though, many of my friends really enjoyed the film and I am fairly difficult to please when it comes to films about Nazis, religion and the Apocalypse. Plus, I still have this idea for something that Udo Kier really should do. ;-)

Current 93 were good, though. I enjoyed their concert much more than the one last year. They even played a thunderous version of "Lucifer over London" as an encore.
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Thanks to the lovely Marleen, I had the chance to catch up on a few series I had missed so far recently. The whole thing awakened in me the memories of uni-days together with a longing for feeding my head in this insane manner more often. Instead, I have become "one of those guys", always having to consider the SO in my plans and spontaneous decisions. You can never just ask me whether I have time, it's always "us". And the SO obviously does not share my tastes in these matters.
So this was, on the whole, a very pleasant opportunity.

All in all I was exposed to:

"Sherlock" Season 2: Which I liked on the whole. It is a badly kept secret that I am a major fan of Moffat's work, particularly "Coupling", and that in my youth I read a fair few of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, so this really was a "must watch". And I wasn't disappointed. I thought that "Hounds of the Baskervilles" really was the weakest of the three while "Scandal in Belgravia"'s ending really could have done with being just a smidgen less twisted. I enjoy a good double/triple/quadruple-cross but this was just bordering on silly.

State of Play: In one sitting, I hasten to add. It was worth it. It's good to be occasionally reminded of why John Simm, Polly Walker and Bill Nighy are held in such high regard. There is a small voice in my mind that is trying to urge me to watch the remake with Russell Crowe but at the moment I have my doubts about the wisdom of this step.

Black Mirror:"15 Million Merits": Hm, I think I liked that. The idea and excution certainly were interesting but in terms of length it was getting close to outstaying its welcome. There is only so much you can drag out of the concept in terms of character development, so you either had to keep that to a minimum or make something more significant out of it. The fatty-hating colleague is a case in point for this. He came across as a single arse rather than the representative of an obnoxious society as a whole.
Watching this film made me feel dirty for a while though, despite the fact that I don't really watch a great deal of casting shows.
The National Anthem: Which worked on the whole, I thought. An outrageous idea, no doubt, and solidly handled, but not offering any revolutionary insights into society or the human psyche. It mainly made me wonder why something like this would never stand a chance of being produced for german telly.

Nathan Barley: Which I mainly watched because Marlene mentioned that she normally like Charlie Brooker's work but had bee disappointed by this. Well, and because on the basis of the cover art, I would have guessed this to be an abomination on the scale of "PhoneShop" but other than that really had no idea what to expect. Having said that, I thought that it was actually not bad... for about two episodes, after which it was just more or less repeating the same sortof joke over and over and over. Still, as a parody of the sort of people you can encounter in Berlin as much as London, this worked for a while, even if it mainly came off like a diluted version of a "Jam"-sketch.

Cruise of the Gods: Sorry, I see what you were trying to do there and it's not entirely without good bits but as a whole, it did little for me, except for making me feel that James Corden actually isn't all bad (Still haven't forgiven him for "Lesbian Vampire Killers").
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Einige der Kommentare lassen mich mal wieder mächtig mit den Zähnen knirschen, aber die Menge an Blindheit/Blödheit, die die Asta hier an den Tag gelegt hat, darf man sich ruhig mal ausführlich auf der Zunge zergehen lassen.

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"Von ihrer Ästhetik her ist ,Death in June' eine rechtsextreme Band", sagt der Sozialwissenschaftler Martin Langebach, der sich mit Rechtsextremismus und Jugendkulturen befasst. Die Gruppe ziehe auch Publikum aus dem Milieu der intellektuellen Neuen Rechten an. Das Problem: Ihre Texte ließen sich nicht wie bei anderen Rechtsrock-Gruppen klar zuordnen. So wurde ein Album der Band 2005 indiziert, weil ein Text darauf als Leugnen des Holocaust gelesen werden könne, so Langebach: "Sie sind uneindeutig." Für Anetta Kahane ist der Fall dennoch klar: "Es sieht aus wie Rechtsextremismus, es hört sich an wie Rechtsextremismus, es ist Rechtsextremismus", sagt die Vorsitzende der Amadeu-Antonio-Stiftung, die sich gegen rechte Gewalt engagiert.

Also in anderen Worten: "Wir sind der Meinung, daß es sich hier um eine Naziband handelt, stehen aber vor dem Problem, daß wird das nicht nachweisen können, weil es keine klaren Beweise/Hinweise dafür/darauf gibt. Da sie aber uneindeutig sind und es uns ärgert, daß wir sie nicht klar zuordnen können und weil wir gerne der Meinung wären, daß sie eine Naziband sind, beschließen wir jetzt, daß dem so ist.

Ich glaube, sowas nervt mich ganz besonders, weil ich eigentlich ganz gute Argumente zur Unterstützung der "Das sind doch Nazis!"-Fraktion habe. Wenn man sich dann noch nicht mal dieser guten Argumente bedient, sondern stattdessen schlechte oder eigentlich-noch-nicht-mal-Argumente benutzt, ist das eine Enttäuschung.
Ich mag gute Diskussionen zu sehr, um mich mit solchen faulen Abkürzungen abzugeben.
von_geisterhand: (Default)
....you can watch somebody from the Daily Torygraph jump to random conclusions.

Lou Reed and Metallica's sick poster has no place on the London Underground

Let us disregard the questions about the musical necessity of Metallica and Lou Reed collaborating for the moment, and going into detail about Wedekind's "Lulu" here would probably lead to a whole other discussion that would sooner or later necessitate the mentioning of Lars von Trier. Which nobody wants, and which really is not relevant here, anyway.

My favourite sentence is "Children, unstable psychotics, abused women and simply people already suffering from a sweaty armpit and a 20-minute delay should not be exposed to a bloody torso.", as it combines the ever-popular "The children! Who will save our children?" with the just-as-popular feeding the fear of all the "psychos" that might lurk on YOUR! street, ready to snap at any second, about to pounce and commit heinous acts of barbarism and monstrosity. The only way to keep them at bay is to keep as quiet and civilised as possible. No sudden movements, no loud noises and for God's sake, no disagreeable culture please!

....while happily disregarding that the exciting and special thing about "psychotics" is that you don't know how they will interpret something or what will finally make them snap, if snapping is what they are about to do. Your worldview might not match theirs, strangely enough.
But let us leave the area of sarcasm and the garden-variety psychotic.
There is always this sickenly vague fear of what "they" might do, always just a vague possibility, but you never know...

What I think really aggravates me about this (assuming that I have not fallen foul of a major act of subtle satire here) is the sheer bluntness with which Lucy Jones interprets what is basically an artistically ambiguous image solely according to her own wishes/thoughts/prejudices in order to jump to conclusions. There is a definite difference between an image of a partial shop mannequin, to all intents and purposes a broken doll, which has long been a popular image, and interpreting it as being "dismembered, cut and bruised" and a likely trigger for violence against women*. Yes, I can follow that train of thought but IMHO this train is a fair few stops beyond where it should really have terminated.

*Yes, I know how the play "Lulu" ends. But I doubt that Lucy Jones does.
von_geisterhand: (Default)

Simply no.
There is no center.
The center does not hold.
There no longer is a reliable authority on what is "Normal" and what is sticking your neck out too much.
There is only fear of being perceived as "weird". Fuck the fear.

Yes, I dress in black and yes, I do have a haircut which is designed to draw the odd glance (although not as much as it would have five years ago, as I realised recently). My outfit/appearance, besides being the sort of thing I would like on somebody else and besides being what I feel very fucking comfortable in, is designed to a certain extent to say "No, I am not all that interested in completely blending in and no, I am not out for your approval, either."
It would be hypocritical of me to bemoan the fact that my appearance draws looks and it would be unrealistic to believe that all of them are approving. And yes, some people might even find the outfit ridiculous but chances are good that I don't think all that much of their style choices, either. Do I tell them or point and stare? No. I might well make fun of them to a friend and quietly and, hey, they are free to do the same.
But without a reliable authority on Normality you can never model yourself on it, only take parts of yourself away until you feel inconspicuous enough. Which works only as long as you don't meet somebody else with a different center of normality.
von_geisterhand: (Default)
(Okay, so this might well be considered a german-specific post but I will still write this in English. For no good reason whatsoever.)

Now, I remember a major hooha from some years back about drink cans being very, very wasteful, both to produce and to recycle and that therefore they should be avoided as much as possible. This was the Nineties and this was Germany. Those were 0.33l cans of Coke and as far as my perception went, they disappeared from the streets of Germany. Dosenpfand came after but it did not touch the Coke-cans of my youth because they no longer existed.
And everyone was happy.

But recently, the Coke-cans came back, except that the now only contain 0.25l. Whose bright idea was that?


Oct. 21st, 2010 12:57 pm
von_geisterhand: (Default)
Gene Simmons Declares War on Anonymous

*sigh* You know, I realise that there are two sides to the whole copyright-issue and that maybe the justifiable use of the "free path" requires a little more self-questioning and common sense than some of its travellers exercise. Nevertheless, I find Mr. Simmons' statements on the topic totally objectionable and quite frankly, given the choice between publicly agreeing with him and never again listening to any KISS, I would quite happily say farewell to "I was made for loving you", even though musically I quite like them.
But that's just me.

What I really object to, though, is this always popular homophobic sub-current frequently used when threatening somebody with legal action/prison time:

"...First, they will be punished. Second, they might find their little butts in jail, right next to someone who's been there for years and is looking for a new girl friend."

Yes, Gene, thank you. We know you have a huge penis and a wife who used to be in softporn. Your masculinity and heterosexuality is established. You do not have to make up for the fact that you are in the campest of rock-substrains, we believe you!

Threats of this kind always remind me of a case some years back where a policeman tried to get the victim's location from a kidnapper by threatening him with being "locked in a cell with two huge spades". That wasn't clever, either, and that did not end well.


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