Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Rammstein.


I've written and re-written this entry several times now. And I honestly don't exactly know where to begin or end. The other drafts were long, but I had intended on keeping this entry short. So I'll just start with the basics of what I know: 

I love Rammstein. 

They are my favorite band of all time. They've had a lot of influence over me. Because of listening to their music I went on to study German history, culture, and language--beyond the usual World War II material you get on American TV or in the average history class. 

Listening to their music also helped me get through some dark times in my life. It helped keep my anger kindled, giving me the energy to move on. 

 When I first heard "Du Hast" back in 1997, I felt a kind of awakening and paradigm shift. The radio was actually playing a German band singing in German. No translations. And they sounded great. They sounded like they didn't give a shit that you thought they were German--to hell with your World War II perceptions, to hell with Col. Clink and Sprockets. Germany is reunited and it feels sehr gut!

Oh, and "Du Hast" wasn't even their best song or video. They had other tricks up their sleeve. How dare they make a music video from parts of Olympia. by Leni Riefenstahl...


I just hope somebody out there has watched "Stripped" without knowing where the footage came from. Even it you understand, it's still a beautiful video.

I remember some of the controversy when the debuted here in United States. Not every one was ready for Germans playing metal and breathing fire. It probably also didn't help that Saving Private Ryan came out at around the same time. Then, of course, there was Columbine. Marilyn Manson got most of the blame for that, but Rammstein got caught up in it, too. 

Authorities weren't exactly ready for Rammstein's performance of "Buck Dich", either. 

It was soon apparent, if you listened or followed up on their story, that they weren't Nazis, nor gay, nor did they want their music to contribute to the Columbine shootings.

Still, the fear was there. I can't blame them for avoiding the United States for ten years, after 9/11. The "Ich Will" video debuted on 9/10/2011 (thus making the finer points of the video lost on many American listeners). I really don't know what would have happened to them if they returned. We were all so afraid and yet proud of ourselves as Americans,  and it was springtime for George W. Bush and the Repubican Party.

Back in graduate school, one of my professors said: "To have an inking of what it was like in Nazi Germany, think of the period following 9/11. Think of how unified the country was the wake of the terrorist attacks.  The country was in a state of emergency. Now imagine that emergency going on indefinitely."

And to think Nazi Germany didn't have the 24-hour news cycle to forever keep its populous informed and afraid. 

Again, back to the fear. 

In Domikka, the Imperik race is afraid of a lot of things: The Hazahdians, Goblins of the Woods, Demons of the Earth, Dragons of the Air, Titans of the Mountains, heresy, apostasy, "pagan" and "demonic" religions, and treachery from without and within. I didn't have to go too far for these ideas. 

If you're an athiest, agnostic, of a different religion besides Christianity, or not White with a capital "W", life can be hard here in the United States. Certain doors can, and will remain closed. Things have, I believe, gotten better. But there's still a long way to go. 

I'm not sure where to go from here. Boston was shut down during the manhunt for the Boston Marathon Bombers. The police resembled the police out of Rammstein's "Ich Will." Yes, the bombing was a tragedy. And yet there have been more traffic fatalities in the State of Georgia than there have been days in 2013. I'm not sure to what think about that, except...

I believe we are fearing the wrong things, if we need be afraid of anything. 

In the country, I swear, the Right fears the totalitarianism of the Left, and vice versa. But all of the rhetoric is just a smoke screen, intentional or not, for the real problems that both this country and world face. 

There's so much more to say. But I meant to be brief. 

So let me reiterate: I love Rammstein and their music, and the paths that their music has taken me down.  Some of these paths you can find for yourself, below. 

Further reading and film: 
The Culture of Make Believe, by Derrick Jensen
Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanies, by Jeffrey Herf
Inside Nazi Germany: Conformity, Opposition, and Racism in Everyday Life, by Detlev J.K. Peukert
1984, by George Orwell

Good (2008), directed by Vicente Amorim

"Anakonda im Netz: a Rammstein Documentary," Volkerball (2007, U.S.), by Rammstein



1 comment:

  1. I too love Rammstein, their music, videos and live performances.

    This was an interesting blog post and as a non-American westerner in a country that doesn't enshrine patriotism, I can certainly see the similarity between the level and depth of patriotism demonstrated by many Americans and that of some totalitarian societies of the past. Again, from the perspective of an outsider it can be quite frightening and discomforting.

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