Sunday, 29. October 2017
In Julia's half century

Julia, ageless, contemplative, in B&W Actress Julia Roberts, once again voted World's Most Beautiful Woman by PEOPLE, turned 50 yesterday. She still has that killer smile, although she makes use of it more seldomly nowadays - older and wiser, it seems to me.

I suppose most cinemaphiles love Julia, and can name the movie that did them in - into their personal "love her forever!" phase. <3

For me it wasn't the movie she is most cited for: Pretty Woman. She was overwhelming in that, cementing her particular non-classic brand of beauty. However unreal the plot might have been - every man was pretty sure, he would have clicked just as Mr. Gere did, in his rich-man-for-poor-girls role.

No, my personal wowing cinematic kick in the gut was Erin Brockovich. Single mothers are the true heroes of Western society, I feel, and here the super-mom not only does right by her kids, as well as she can, but her sense of what's right locks jaw on the terrible thing she's discovered working for her new boss. And then, with his flabbergasted help, she takes on the legal world without so much as one page of a bar exam in her pocket. This movie was a lot more grown-up, and her role pressed all the right buttons for how I love a woman to be...

Other faves of her long - & still strongly ongoing! - career for me: Pentagon Papers, Notting Hill (!), Closer, Ocean's 11/12, August: Osage County.

P.S.: When she came into the world, I had just begun tuning into U.S. (TV & comic) culture as a child. I have had a long-running positive resonance with that culture, and many other aspects of that country. But right now, I notice how that good feeling & basic trust is beginning to slowly shatter - if Trump or Pence can bring the world to the brink of ruin in just a few months or years, that's also the fault of a much-too-traditionalist recipe of dealing with the world's incongruities, countrywide. Always repeating parrot-like a Dream, that essentially always tells you whatever the country does as a whole is right, is not particularly astute! This inherent nationalism is breaking out all over over there and all nationalism tends eventually toward extremism. As we Germans have (hopefully) learnt from having gotten badly burnt - twice in the "nasty German" half-century before Ms. Roberts started on hers...

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Thursday, 28. September 2017
The Hef's final toodle-oo

I just tried to post a German version of the following text as a comment to TAGESSCHAU.de's eulogy to Hugh Hefner, who died peacefully of ripe old age in recent hours... and it was denied (no explanation given - I feel an impulse to seek a small bridge nearby I could huddle a while under).

So it'll have to go in here - sorry, Jeeves!


R.I.P., Mr. Hefner! Esp. because of your magazine in the 60's & 70's, that was pretty monumental at the time, and helped me, teenie, a lot toward achieving a much "broader" world view. There were the photos, of course - which however were deemed to be done in good taste by most of the women, some of them definitely not unknown, who had themselves captured/enraptured by the camera. Some of the best photographers were women, too...

But, in addition, the texts in the mag issues were eye-openers! A lot of noteworthy political interviews appeared, and others with important pop idols like John Lennon! There were great essays, e.g. one about Jesus surely being a humorous man, who often laughed. And some pretty ingenious short stories, i.a. by Asimov; one or other non-Fleming Bond short remains in positive if spotty recall.

Concerning further beyond-paper enterprises by the founder, they left little impression on me, because I essentially didn't get to know them at all. Concerning the Bunnies, and their many days of judgement, I find a 90's commentary by one of my favourite musicians, Laurie Anderson (who is for me the quintessential feminist!), enlightening:

(Okay, admittedly, the "enraptured" I added during translation!)

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Saturday, 16. September 2017
Who (not) to vote for in the Berlin republic

I am putting this as a question to myself - in just over one week, I'll have to decide, on paper in the election booth.

The "not" is in there because I know a lot of parties I won't be giving my vote in times of Trumpian "foreigner" bashing... Merkel selfie with a landed refugee in Germany, in '15

  • The CDU/CSU ("Christian" parties), headed by our mostly spineless lady chancellor, have been making a lot of disconcerted moves in one direction or another, but almost always opportunistic & to benefit their economic clientele (currently esp. car makers are in the news - the C parties have been upping the maximum nitrates in the air spewed out by Diesel engines for years, totally uncaring about consequences for lung-challenged people like me). Her ladyship did something right for once when she showed a bit of humaneness to war refugees 2 years ago (cf. above photo, taken at that time) but is now constantly rolling back in fear of the far right noise, i.a. made by her supposed partners in the South (yeah, that's the Bavarian C offshoot with the S in the name - guys who are economically potent, but constantly flirting with the far right). Her current election posters are once again totally bland, minimally texted, as in many elections before; can't overwhelm the small German electorate mind with content now, can we?
  • The SPD, a near miss for my cross in previous years, has been dithering about, and letting its partly good work in government be "owned" by the CDU. Until recently they had a pretty opportunistic party chief, who is now our foreign minister; this guy also took part in the Diesel scandal as economic minister for years (workers' votes are more important than general health). Because of their dithering on the "foreigner stampede" thing, they are massively losing votes as I write this. Mine, too...
  • The FDP is coming back into parliament with a bang (the prognoses say), overtaking both remaining left parties in percentage points. But I see no difference to the old FDP, that got pushed out of parliament because of their all-too greedy posturing & client-serving. Instead of being a real liberal party in the mode of their great old boys & girl, like Baum, Hamm-BrĂ¼cher & Dahrendorf. Now they've even jumped on the "foreigners leave!" bandwagon to fish for votes of Germans afraid of losing their status quo to those o so criminal "foreigners".
  • The AfD, that far right demagogic bunch alluded to above, used to be a plain somewhat-conservative anti-Euro economic-"reform" party. But it was quickly taken over by extreme far-right populists, at least one of which is now implying to forcibly get rid of "non-Germanic" politicians in speeches, to make Germany grate again... But they will have one of the biggest parliamentary debuts in terms of votes in 8 days that the F.R.G. has ever seen.

Germans need to go vote just to reduce the last-named idiots' section in the Bundestag as much as possible.

But who should I vote for? Basically, of the parties that remain with a chance of getting into parliament (i.e. get more than 5% of the vote - an important German voting laws restriction to keep small extreme parties out of parliament), only the Greens & the "Left" (a more socialist splinter off the SPD after Germany reunited) remain.

I more or less hate the former, whom I voted for a lot in younger years, because they've turned out to be a lame, status-quo-keeping interest group for ex-"revolutionists" and '68ers; and of course they support the Climate Change hype (cf. some previous blog posts on that theme to know where I stand). But they are the only ones who are in line with my wishes for how to deal with "foreigners" in our country, having been an immigrant in another country myself for over a decade. One of their party chiefs is a pretty opportunistic guy who already stepped down once due to attempted embezzlement, it seems; I really don't like that guy.

The last party I mentioned, the "Linke" (= "Left") is okay, mostly, if always a little too heads-in-the-cloudish concerning how their many dreams for a better (socialist) world would be financed. When it comes down to it in the end, I only hate that they - and esp. their thorough-bred electioneer, a pretty lady called Wagenknecht - always give the impression they much prefer to be in the opposition than ever actually taking part in government; hey, it's so much easier when you don't have to follow through (incl. all the messy real-life consequences) on your special priorities - thus setting prerequisites too absolute for other parties to ever build a coalition with you. The latter has already made them steadily less electable for many still-wavering voters.

And one thing I do not want to do this election is throw away my main vote by giving it to a party that will have no chance to form a government. We need more civil common sense up there, NOW! We need enduring backbone to deal with old (Erdogan) & new (Trump) tyrants, and not just the temporary variant for not quite two years Merkel proved to have re war refugees. We also need backbone to sell the hard story to Germans in the near future that we can't keep living like royalty on the economic backs of others; i.e. living standards in Germany - & some other parts of the EU - need to generally start coming down nearer those of the rest of the world.

So, Greens or Lefties it will have to be, with set teeth & stiff upper AND lower lips... Damn!

(The photo is a reduced version of a larger one
in the archives of the German news broadcaster, N-TV.)

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