What would Germany be without the Oktoberfest? Definitely not worse off, I’d say. Under most circumstances, I couldn’t be tempted to watch a historical drama series with the Oktoberfest as a backdrop, but the Munich Wiesn innkeepers’ irate responses to the series have piqued my interest. Apparently, they feel that the Wiesn is hallowed ground and that its past and present virtue must not be disgraced. So lo and behold and without further ado, I present Oktoberfest Beer and Blood.
When I started studying at Leuphana University Lüneburg, I eventually went into the library and couldn’t help notice the quote by Thomas Jefferson on the library staircase. The words and possible meanings were resonating with me. By studying here, I imagined, I can create a better future. No matter how dark the past is, we can make the future brighter.
Now that a few semesters have passed, I recently started to question the quote. By only looking into the future, don’t we neglect the past? What kind of quote is this to put in a library, which basically consists of works of the past? Is there a deeper meaning to why a quote by Thomas Jefferson was chosen? And is it suitable to put his words on our walls? What else is there to know about Jefferson and his dreams for the future? Read more »
As an American writer living in Berlin, I strain to understand and express some of the differences between my two homes. So many exceptions to any rule, no broad-brushstroke of a short essay is going to begin to capture anything but the most basic generalization. Still, let me try. Here’s a story plucked from memory.
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….
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.