In countries, such as Poland and the Netherlands, learning German is on the rise. Yet, in the U.S., it’s been declining for the past hundred years. Numbers of students learning German have decreased from roughly two million in 1910 to a little over one million today. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that German programs have been closing all over the U.S. The very liberal arts college I attended as a bachelor student in Indianola, Iowa – Simpson College – eliminated its German program a few years ago. So in preparation for this German American Day (Oct. 6), I decided to attempt to do some PR for German.
Recently, while I was surfing the web, I came across something that almost knocked me for a loop. It’s nothing bad, just a 58-letter word. So let’s hear that drum roll….
That word is: Kurz-fristen-energie-versorgungs-sicherungs-maßnahmen-verordnung.
After a storm of protests from enraged parents concerning issues of (mis)representation and cultural appropriation in the new children’s movie, The Young Chief Winnetou (2022), the German publisher, Ravensburger Verlag, withdrew the companion book and puzzle to the film. Soon thereafter, the main German TV station (ARD) announced they would no longer broadcast the popular Winnetou movies from the 1960s based on Karl May’s novels. Everyone seems to have their take on the current controversy; yet, there’s been some criticism regarding issues of paternalism due to the lack of Native voices in the debate. That’s why the American Studies Blog has gone directly to the source and interviewed Drew Hayden Taylor acclaimed Canadian Anishnaabe author, frequent flyer to Germany, and creator of the documentary, Searching for Winnetou (2018).
The Marshall Plan has become synonymous for massive help, for bringing about a herculaneum task and having a country rise again from the ashes. Originally designed to help Europe get back on track after the devastations of World War II, it has a much broader meaning today. In discussions about how to rebuild Ukraine at some point in the future, there’s again talk of the need for a Marshall Plan. However, it’s worthwhile to take a step back and look at what the original Marshall Plan was all about.
While her neighbors rush down the street to catch the school bus, 14-year-old Lilah Hadden starts her school day at home. After spending the morning on math and creative writing with her mother, she takes a violin class online, finishing her day with independent reading. For two years now, homeschooling has worked well for her. “I’m getting to … learn more of what I actually want to learn about,” Lilah says, noting that she’s particularly passionate about music. But if it weren’t for the pandemic, the idea to school at home would never have crossed her mind.
Covid-19 forced students around the globe to learn without physically going to school, as entire states and countries went through long periods of lockdown. It’s sparked new interest in homeschooling alternatives in places ranging from Des Moines, Iowa, to Hamburg, Germany, where homeschooling has been banned for over a century. Students have discovered that alternative school arrangements can offer more flexibility to manage differences, pandemic stress, and distractions.
When I was a child, Christmas meant presents. It also meant going to our small town Christmas market. There, we boarded a tiny train to take us for rides around the church. Santa then showed up and gave us chocolate Santas, deep-fried pastries, and gingerbread – anything sweet a child’s heart could wish for. Of course, there was also a beautiful Christmas tree. However, we had something that made my Christmas experience truly different from that of most children in the United States – a Christmas pyramid.
Granted, Babylon Berlin has at its disposition all the means necessary to become a true blockbuster. But it isn’t every day the viewer gets to experience just how phenomenally a big budget can be spent on a TV series – without compromises between bombastic montages and cinematography for lovers, between fast-paced story development and credibly complex characters, that is.
For Babylon Berlin, produced in Germany by German production companies, the commitment to an unflinching and unreserved depiction of a nation on the verge of fascism pays off. As a bit of an inside tip, the show’s spectacular efforts are appreciated far beyond its country of origin, as demonstrated by almost exclusively glowing U.S. reviews.