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15th of April, 2024



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Grey Day

It’s about as warm and cheerful as a dead hobo clown outside, here in lovely Augsburg. I still haven’t gotten the hang of the metric system, but I can tell you that 10C is the temperature at which the will to throw the baseball around freezes. It’s June 20th, about 6:00PM in the workers’ paradise, and it’s butt-numbin’ cold. It’s even colder in my dank, ground-floor apartment. It makes you want to defenstrate yourself.

Things That are About as Joyless as a Cold and Grey June 20th

  • Filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

  • Cubs Fans

  • Watching the Last 10 Minutes of Old Yeller, Over, and Over, and Over...

  • Greenpeace Rallies

  • Franz Kafka, Right After His Cat Died

  • Laurence Olivier’s “World At War” Voice-overs

  • Robert Fisk

  • A Morrissey Concert

  • Masturbating While Looking at Pictures of Your High-school Sweetheart

  • Dachau Field Trips

  • The Augsburg Entry in the “Culture Capital of Europe” Contest

That last item actually cheers me up, just because of the absurdity of it. For those who either don’t know or don’t give a damn, Europe’s having a marketing contest between various cities to see which can show that it’s the cultural center of the continent.

Augsburg is a fine city, no question, but it’s a little out of its league. Its own site (linked above) begins with the following burst of positive thinking:
“Cultural Capital of Europe”? No doubt about it: Paris, London, or Madrid. Maybe even Berlin. One thinks of the Louvre, and of Covent Garden, and impressive architecture and internationally-renowned artists. But Augsburg?

Optimism that borders on arrogance. It reads like a newspaper article, written by someone hostile to the project. But it’s their own damn page! Their entry was quite possibly the most sniveling, humorless, depressing, and obsequiously “artsy” film short I’ve ever seen. It consisted of grey- and blue-toned shots of black-clad old men and women reading passages of Bertholt Brecht. Brecht! For those who aren’t familiar with anything but Mack the Knife, Bertholt Brecht was a famous communist from Augsburg. He moved to Hollywood in the 1930s to escape persecution by the Nazis. After World War II, McCarthy chased him out of the country, so he moved to Soviet-controlled East Germany, where he famously assisted a crackdown by the Russians on students and intellectuals, assisting in the murders of dozens of protesters. A Brecht wikipedia entry gives some rough facts about him, but makes the predictable attempt to whitewash his support of Soviet communism by relating it to Nazism.

But I digress.

The contest itself is a sham. They’ve taken it upon themselves to steal money from taxpayers all over Europe, even ones that would never have a chance to win, and give it to the one city that can suck up enough to the snobs of some kind of unelected committee. Absolutely breathtaking immorality. And you just know that, when there’s money involved along with government, it’s eaten up with corruption. The winning city will have to bribe the judges, hire their cronies to produce their entries, give them kickbacks on the award money, you name it. All in the name of culture.

But really, what is culture? Looking at the contest, you would think culture is just paintings and movies. Culture is not just art; it’s also language, currency, history, religion, philosophy. It’s whether or not you leave a tip when you pay your bill (they don’t); it’s whether you’re monogamous or promiscuous.

Probably the most insulting thing about the whole program, is that it’s for all of Europe. Europe is made of many cultures. Germany alone has several: Bavarian, Hessian, Westfalian, Prussian, Jewish, Saxon. France is actually pretty homogeneous, if you loosen your definition of culture to include “just being a pussy”. >/cheapshot<. So what they’re actually doing is having a contest to see which culture in Europe should be appointed, by a non-elected committee, as the Master ber-Culture.

There! Now I feel better.


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