Monday, November 25, 2002

Some quick comments on the day's comments.

On the problems of being a christian evangelist from the US in an Islamic country:
"N.S. ... baby",  which in my father's version meant not 'no shit' but 'no sympathy.' Has there ever been an evangelical movement not linked, if only at the level of psychology, to economically expansionist policy?  If one is not produced by the other, they're twins. Religion expanding by trade between equal partners is one thing, but the "free market" philosophy of religion is as specious as the philosophy of economics proper.

From Richard Bernstein's review of of Amos Elon's new book on the history of the Jews in Germany:
"But [German acceptance] was not to be, because the conformist tyranny that Germany was unable to put into the past (until the Allied conquest of World War II)[sic] is exactly what prevented the emancipation of the Jews."
How does war end"'conformist tyranny"? Did the Civil War end it for the American south? The diplomatic courtesy is silly. The German's never understood democracy and don't understand it now.

Again and again over the past 50 years democracy is described as being needed, as being necessary for Germany as castration is seen by some as necessary for a sex offender. But the underlying assumption, the banality of democracy, is never opposed. Germany is an autistic country, emotionally numbed by the past and actively engaged in the production of production, of order, engineering and design, but unable to create a new emotional order out of the physical world. Gerhard Richter, the country's most famous living artist put it well when he described why he believes in nothing: believing in something is too dangerous. It leads to extremism (for Germans).
But one can still wonder, why not 'believe' in democracy?

Examples of this struggle abound in German culture since the war. Since when did Fassbinder ever believe in democracy? Watch Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire and listen carefully to the conversation between the two angels sitting in the car in an automobile showroom. Even Heinrich Boll is more a celebrant of martyrdom than of democracy.

Finally it's conformity, not democracy, that's allows Germans, and Europeans generally, to express their dislike for this war. Do readers here understand the irony?