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Another weekend with no game...sigh. Here's your Sunday morning 'long piece' a day or so early.

 

 

Today's musical accompaniment is Hannah Georgas with 'Enemies'. Takes a while to get going but grows on you, kind of like a modern Suzanne Vega.

 

 

Living with other people isn't always easy. Look at cities - the number of urban dwellers who look for ways to escape tells its own story: living with other people creates tension. So it's no wonder that many of the 20th century's finest thinkers on cities and how to live in them from countries which suffered the most devastation to their cities: having seen their countries convulsed for the better part of the entire 100 years, you can't be surprised that so many French and German intellectuals turned their minds toward how to improve the world for the future.

 

Le Certeau, Foucault, the wonderfully named Lyotard...but what about the Germans?

 

Unfortunately, for many Brits raised on a TV diet these last 40 years, mention of the word 'Germans' brings on a kneejerk reaction where an image of Hitler appears unbidden in your mind, either sauntering 'neath the Eiffel Tower or giving it laldy at one of the lads' night's out he and the rest of the gang were fond of. There he is at the podium, one fist turned backward on his left hip, his right hand karate-chopping an imaginary swarm of bees as he yells 'Niemals! Niemals! Niemals!' A strange man, indeed. But hardly the definitive image we want to take forward of that country, surely?

 

Adolf's ubiquity on British cable TV is now such that it is only a matter of time before someone decides to hive off another arm of the History Channel into a dedicated Hitlery Channel. They may as well: from serious, academic studies such as The Nazis: A Warning From History or The World at War, through well meaning but poorly (cheaply) made cut-and-paste jobs like Secrets of the Nazi Gold to the recent, alarming trend in US low budget movie making to use Nazis as almost a comedy stooge - Nazis From the Moon, anyone? It's a real film, although even it is eclipsed by the appalling bad Nazis From the Centre of the Earth. What Jake Busey, so effective as the ghostly psycho the in Michael J Fox movie The Frighteners, is doing in this trash is anyone's guess: but any answer other than paying off a gangster's bill will reflect very badly on him.

 

Hopefully America, given it provides pretty much the cultural compass for the world, won't go down the Nazi obsessed route the British media is addicted to. If you think the next four years, with day by day accounts of World War One are going to be full on, just wait, if you're old enough, until 1933 - I should think you will have a minute by minute account of what Herr Schicklegruber was up to from the day he assumed power until the Fuhrer's butler served up the cyanide and Lugers in the bunker. Given I'll be 63 in 2033 I imagine I will be either (a) dead or (b) gaga so it won't matter to me. I don't envy the rest of you, though!

 

I suppose it shows how getting your image, your public perception out from under some kind of media imposed identity is not easy. Hence the reluctance in Britain to take people seriously who have names like Mearsheimer, Gadamer, or Bauman. Stuck in a Dr Strangelovian timewarp, we see them as sinister candidates for the experiment room rather than people who may offer something positive. Michael Schumacher, it's true, was popular, but his popularity in the UK was of the grudging respect kind last seen in veteran Desert Rats when they were talking about Rommel.

 

In my lifetime I can think of only Prof.Heinz Wolff, woolly-haired boffin of TV science-fest The Great Egg Race, who has been accepted in Britain. Even he was looked upon with grave suspicion by my mother, although admittedly she was bombed out by the Luftwaffe in the 40's and has never forgiven 'the Germans' since.

 

We as Bluenoses know all too well that if you don't control your own image, others will happily control it for you, and those others will almost certainly have nefarious intent. Our current status in the game - if this were India we would rank somewhere between pariah dog and untouchable street sweeper - have led many, me included, to adopt a defiant stance of 'get it up ye!' and to hold ourselves apart from the rest. They'll need us more than we need them, I have said, and meant it. Now, I'm not so sure.

 

When veteran sociologist Zygmunt Bauman recently took a look at urban life, he diagnosed it to be suffering from two separate but connected illnesses, which, in the time honoured fashion of the intellectual, he gave the unfriendly names of mixophobia and mixophilia. The former sees fear of other groups than one's own run rampant, and those who can do so barricade themselves into gated communities with security guards, gradually losing the ability to communicate with the others outside, the fear of whom grows the more they become unknown. A self-perpetuating cycle where no one wins except, presumably, Barratt Homes.

 

Mixophilia, meanwhile, seems a bit optimistic to me, a happy city with lots of mixing between classes and sects, Bauman foresees 'benign, and often deeply gratifying and enjoyable daily encounters with the humanity hiding behind the frighteningly unfamiliar scenic masks of different and alien races, nationalities, Gods and liturgies'. I remain doubtful how enjoyable daily bumping into hordes of celtc fans would be, especially in a city with trams, but I do take his point: hiding ourselves away in a ghetto will, in the long run, do more harm than good.

 

Hang on , though, I hear you cry. What about Timmy? When O'Neill appeared, they drew back into the cultural enclave, they've never come out of it since and they're doing alright, aren't they? Well, not really, no.

 

Although they have people at the top of the game and are very much the country's strongest side, there are two caveats. First, obviously, we handed it them on a plate, both due to our implosion and our mismanagement of the game during the SPL period. If we were to pursue the Germanic theme of this piece a little further, you could call the SPL period the Weimar Republic and the present lot the early days of Adolf. It certainly looks like a one party state, anyway. Given the delusion which appears to run rampant through their support - 'we bring smiles wherever we go' must rank up there as one of the best lines of this or any other year - perhaps Stalin's self-delusional Soviet Union would be a better comparison.

 

Secondly, in broad terms they are dying every bit as much as the game as a whole. Although many Bears see the Sectarianism Legislation as directly only at them, it reflects a wider belief in Scotland that the day of Old Firm bigotry is past. Teams may be multicultural but the fans you are obliged to step past, usually pished and almost always giving it something from some idealised Irish folk history song book certainly are not.

 

Scottish society, which seems to have been taking a look at itself in recent years (probably due to devolution and the independence referendum) has clearly concluded that shibboleths like the Old Firm are shibboleths no longer and must either change or wither. I think we're both doing a pretty good job of withering at the moment, crowds or no crowds, the mutual hate and societal impact of recent events causing disquiet among those who are fans of neither club.

 

How appealing will the present antipathy be to the generation which comes along after us, which has to have the last few years explained and which, like all new generations, will probably look at us with the same unconcealed contempt my son directs at me when I tell him to cut his nails or tidy his room. Certainly it will keep me going for years, this hate, but as a long term marketing strategy it is lacking. We exist in the Scottish leagues, and we're going to have to come to some kind of understanding with the Scottish leagues.

 

Hans Gadamer, in a book called Truth and Method, explained that mutual understanding can only occur when there is a 'fusion of horizons' between peoples. This fusion can only come about through shared experience and that shared experience can only come about in a shared space: if we exist in a vacuum, our horizons, whatever they may be, will be ignored in favour of everyone else's. Given how much everyone else's appear to accord with those of celtc FC, this is a genuine worry, but more broadly, if the OF continue on their road to cultural isolationism, they may well both be victims of the rest of society's impatience and end up moribund. This may seem needlessly pessimistic to celtc given their CL money, but it goes out as soon as it comes in and even it is far from guaranteed.

 

Another German, philosopher Emmanuel Kant, talked about a general association of mankind: 'allgemeine vereinigung der menschheit'. For this Scot, who suffered at school trying to get his bunged up nose and gutteral, throaty accent around the romantic cadence of French, German is a godsend - it is basically 'say what you see' and none of that Froggie rubbish about silent letters or nasally stops. It even sounds like English. How two countries with so many similarities as the UK and Germany ended up so far apart is one of the great questions of the century gone by, but it's generally ignored in favour of endless programmes about Hitler, Goering and the rest.

 

Unless we take steps to address our current position in the game: no power, no influence, no friends, nothing other than a sometimes useful chip to throw down for small clubs looking for a payday - we may end up more a curiosity rather than a vibrant player, and contribution we might have to make ignored in favour of bone-picking over the last few years.

 

Given the present shambles that is the club, any kind of future vibrancy may seem like lunatic optimism but we fans have a duty to at least try and shove the club into engaging with the outside world. A voice which is constantly telling everyone else to go stuff themselves is unlikely to win many arguments. I suppose at some point we have to engage: even if the ultimate aim remains the annihilation of certain clubs,we don't have to shout it from the rooftops.

 

The AGM is coming up: there will be a possibility of change, though it varies from day to day and depending on who you read. How I hope we seize this chance, for the alternative is terrible: Rangers from the Centre of the Earth, anyone?

Edited by andy steel
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I guess I am leading in the front line when it comes to making a new bond with the Germans. I can only say they are super friendly people but I have to admit bureaucratically they are 20 years behind Holland. Possibly Holland is the wrong parameter to judge any country on as it is small and change comes far easier. While it used to be Hitler that was in power the land has now been taken over by the Chimney sweeps. Believe it or not the chimney sweep is close to being the most powerful person around. If the Germans ever launch another attack on anyone they will be dressed as Chimney sweeps and attack from the roof tops probably singing chimchimeree.

 

Everybody talks about the Duitse Gründlichkeit which means thoroughness but I have still to witness that. I would go as far to say it is the German equivalent of the Loch Ness monster. Everybody talks about it but has only been seen by a few people who are willing to believe.

If I was going to look for a Rangers Celtic look alike at the moment I would look to the modern warring factions the motorcycle clubs The Hells Angels and No Surrender. Luckily football supporters have one brain cell more than these people as Liquidations seem to be a weekly thing in these groups

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A few points ... tongue in cheek ...

 

'allgemeine vereinigung der menschheit'

 

That would be: "Allgemeine Vereinigung der Menschheit"

 

German is a godsend - it is basically 'say what you see' and none of that Froggie rubbish about silent letters or nasally stops. It even sounds like English.

 

Well, we never suffered the "Great Vowel Shift" or "Grimm's Law" in the late Middle Ages. Nor did we invite the Norman French words in any great abundance. That said, modern day German is littered with English words, more often than not German-English compounds, who will mess up the minds of the pupils at school who try to get their head around a correct pronunciation of German, not to speak of English.

 

the Duitse Gründlichkeit

 

That would be "Deutsche Gründlichkeit" :onetoomany:

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A few points ... tongue in cheek ...

 

 

 

That would be: "Allgemeine Vereinigung der Menschheit"

 

 

 

Well, we never suffered the "Great Vowel Shift" or "Grimm's Law" in the late Middle Ages. Nor did we invite the Norman French words in any great abundance. That said, modern day German is littered with English words, more often than not German-English compounds, who will mess up the minds of the pupils at school who try to get their head around a correct pronunciation of German, not to speak of English.

 

 

 

That would be "Deutsche Gründlichkeit" :onetoomany:

 

Yep sorry I was looking at it from my Dutch side. Not very good in German as yet.

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We invited in the Normans about as much as the French invited the Prussians in 1848!

 

And, interestingly, it's only in the last 40 years or so that Scots has become virtually standardised with English, due to television mostly. Prior to that the regional dialects to be found around Scotland (and England for that matter) were diverse and, in the main, of Norse/Danish (and so Germanic) origin, although Wales and the Devon/Cornwall region are more Celtic/Brythonic iirc.

 

I could never understand why I was forced to endure 'la salle de la maison' French lessons at school when I would have far rather done something about Danish or German. Beowulf would have been easier to read in the original Anglo-Saxon for one thing.

 

Pete - is there really a Motorcycle gang called No Surrender?

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Another outstanding piece of writing. Utterly outstanding. I may pick up on a few things after I get back from work, but for the time being I shall merely observe that your somewhat rosy view of the German language is almost certainly the result of never having studied it.

 

I highly recommend Mark Twain's views on the subject: http://german.about.com/library/blmtwain01.htm

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We invited in the Normans about as much as the French invited the Prussians in 1848!

 

And, interestingly, it's only in the last 40 years or so that Scots has become virtually standardised with English, due to television mostly. Prior to that the regional dialects to be found around Scotland (and England for that matter) were diverse and, in the main, of Norse/Danish (and so Germanic) origin, although Wales and the Devon/Cornwall region are more Celtic/Brythonic iirc.

 

I could never understand why I was forced to endure 'la salle de la maison' French lessons at school when I would have far rather done something about Danish or German. Beowulf would have been easier to read in the original Anglo-Saxon for one thing.

 

Pete - is there really a Motorcycle gang called No Surrender?

 

Yes They started in Canada from the Bandidos club I believe and now have grown to other countries. It was seven members who refused to run from the Hells angels and were killed. That gave the name of No Surrender. They are always fighting with the Hells Angels.

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Great piece Andy - superb.

I'm in complete agreement but in my moments of browsing through other less cerebral forums (on both sided of the divide) I seriously doubt if ditching the mutual baggage is an option in the foreseeable future.

It takes two to Schuhplattler, and I don't see anyone rushing up to the dance floor.

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