September 27, 2021

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As the Germans themselves see: good-natured and clumsy

As the Germans themselves see: good-natured and clumsy

Rough and awkward, but always direct and honest: Literary scholar Ulrich Breuer wrote a book on German embarrassment.

Metaphor for clumsy German: a bear that doesn’t want to act against its nature Photo: photo

Those who demonstrate their strengths in public and are able to hide their weaknesses are considered adept. However, the opposite is also true: presenting oneself as clumsy in order to give one’s intentions the appearance of naive goodness; Of course, it is best to use both strategies at the same time. More recently, Wolfgang Thierse has done an elaborate job on the countless debate about the alleged division of society brought about by “left-wing identity politics”.

Thiers did not mention a word in his notes – nor did anyone else mention either – that more than any gender star was jointly responsible for the project of the most radical political division in modern German history – the so-called Hartz IV reforms – in a groundbreaking report. The position in the state and the Social Democratic Party. And that they may indeed be “pseudo-cultural fronts” that he regrets that alienates the last of today’s supermarket cashiers: in social democracy, but it is indisputable that it was Hartz’s deliberate insult to skilled workers that made the Social Democrats a breakaway party.

The fact that Wolfgang Tyers crossed this rhetoric smoothly with his strategy of innocent, subtle, Catholic-Ratzinger rhetoric can also be traced back to his strategy in the 1990s. Titanic A classically entrenched role as the clumsy “Aussie Bear”. According to his own statement, “not the worst” that could happen to a politician – Show known writing.

Oussie, as the newest relative of the evil German Michael Michel, occurs only in a negative way, as he is constantly deceived and lying by foreign powers and then simply cannot help himself, because he is a wild, disheveled teddy bear across this artificial world, so he is compelled to abolish civilization – all These motives can be taken from Ulrich Breuer in the fullest sense of the word for the great historical study “Clumsy: A Case History of German Literature” in contemporary discourse; And of course it is at your own risk and not on Breuer, even if he prefers bears in studying it as the motto: “I looked into the past in the German bears’ forest ”(Friedrich Hebel).

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The authority of the legitimacy of nature

The author has made the most important reassessments in the history of German follies of the early Enlightenment completely downward. It goes hand in hand with “the increasingly resolute rejection of the culture of the courts and their formal conventions that are defined by France,” as the chapter “Dancing Bears” says. It is the “authority of legitimate nature” that is invoked in favor of “German folly,” while unfortunate dancing bears are forced by practice to act against their nature.

As an example among many other bear tales of the time, Breuer analyzes Goethe’s poem “Lillis Park” (1775) in detail, in which a fond bear is supposed to wear a Rococo zoo for his beloved, but then defiantly backs off – or tries anyway – until We do not have to come to terms with social norms, to be a “real bear”, and remain “independent” and “a man.” Male prudence and the resulting retreat and misogyny are intertwined with dire consequences for German history, and Booth Strauss continues to be a “German idiot,” according to Brewer.

What the University of Mainz literary researcher presents is the story of deception in German literature. From the end of the Middle Ages to the recent past, it traces the change in the term in dictionaries and artistic texts. “Foolishness is attributed specifically to the Germans. It has been part of building and painting a German national character” since Tacitus’ ancient ethnology “Germania” was learned and rediscovered and appropriated by German humanists. Exactly why this attribution is accepted and why the national figure of the colossal German Michel became unspecified by Breuer.

At least in the early modern era, Luther appears, a German who fondly describes himself as a “barbarian among the barbarians” and begins to develop fundamentalist ideas at a time when Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Luther established the German scheme that one could easily carry others to death with his data if one were only convinced that one was right, in his clumsy Latin: “sermone sum imperitus, rerum tamen non sum imperitus”.

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Against the unreasonable demands of the new

Inside hui, outside ugh, Breuer changes “slang phrases” – and it is advisable here to insert a hint that anyone afraid of (and looking for) terms such as “affordability” and “bifurcation” does not have much fun with Breuer’s book would be possible .

The most serious element of Breuer’s book is where the German discourse on embarrassment is harnessed in the defensive struggle against modernity. The predominantly Christian Germans of the nineteenth century see themselves mired in rapid innovation and necessary adaptations and are building historically a glorious Germanic and barbaric past in order to be able to meet the demands of emerging liberal innovations and freedoms; Since such a retreat from reality can only make one unhappy, he needs an enemy, the Jews.

Ulrich Breuer: “Clumsy. A Case History of German Literature.” Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2020, 769 pages, 69 euros.

According to Breuer, they are delighted and adept at dealing with new freedoms after centuries of ruthless persecution and oppression: “In the interest of their rich past, German Christians are allowed to neglect the present, leaving it to increasingly envy and hate. German Jews.” In the literature of the nineteenth century it manifested itself in friendly strangers and foolishness, in the reality of the twentieth century, this led to the collapse of civilization due to the Holocaust and the war of annihilation.

Let’s jump straight into today. Those who behave in a clumsy way break social rules; Which raises the question of our recent past and present – “modern digitization” -: in light of the continuous dismantling of regulations regarding official behavior since the 1960s – that is, even a furniture store – you can still assume social responsibility. ?

Do baby boomers accept the challenge?

The The dispute over “the language of sex” is also a conflict full of shame, with some having new vocabulary and wanting to make it binding, while others are also shaped by autobiography by the decades-long trend towards informalization (“Ok Boomer”), interested in the application The new that Terrain can’t and won’t behave unethically at first and the question you should ask yourself is whether you want to positively upgrade your embarrassment in a German romantic tradition (and thus always look a little like Friedrich Merz) or whether you can accept the challenge.

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It is possible that the unification process will take place in the next few years, with its political symbols and promoting it in black and green, which will create a new democratic natural language that everyone can use without discrimination, rudeness and skill at some point.

One final note. Legitimacy for this review was not accorded by the German studies degree, albeit with a higher degree, because not only in bad times, at the end of a 20-semester masters degree, they got everyone who was not completely clumsy. No, when I got this book in my hand, I remembered the dreamy elementary school student who left the apartment early in the morning with a gym bag in his hand and the garbage bag that his mother had delivered to dispose of with the other hand, then took his sneakers out of the garbage bag while doing gymnastics he wanted to pull – and shy. How comfortable it is for Breuer to provide a description of Adalbert Stifter of embarrassing young Theodore who “took off his hat to go for a walk, then put his hat down and went away with the brush.”

Overcoming clumsiness does not mean excluding them from the realm of human possibility. If you stumble, you also have a “one foot in the future”: tripping is stupid, but it’s also a lost hope that not only those who walk the straight path will reach their destination.