Category: Persons

One Last Time

I really hope that at some point in the future, when the Leader of the Movement will be dragged out of his court formerly known as the White House, preferably by his balls, historians will come to the conclusion that things started to go totally bonkers for this “administration” when the head of the FBI was sacked.
I think it is the time to get this orange ham out for real & seriously now. It is in the interest of the state, more damage needs to be averted, and the damage already done needs to be controlled and repaired.
I read in different articles that some months ago at a private meeting the Leader of the Movement asked the now sacked head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to express his loyalty towards the newly elected Leader.  The policeman found his spine and offered honesty. Seemingly not enough.
It was often mentioned that positions in the new “administration” were given to people not based on skill & qualification, but owing to the grade of loyalty they had shown to the Leader while he was fighting for the office (“Kampfzeit”). And this made me draw some not so nice parallels.
In the 19th century the German “Gelehrtenrepublik”, the republic of letters, was not especially known as a stronghold of forward thinking politics. But when a new king was appointed in Hanover some eggheads showed remarkable spine. The crowned ox demanded all officials to take an oath on him personally, but the officials had sworn on the constitution previously. While most people thought this to be a mere formality some professors in Göttingen decided not to swear and get into a personal binding to the neo-absolutist crowned idiot. They were called the “Goettinger Sieben” (Ger., Eng.), and I am proud that Jacob and Wilhelm GRIMM, the founding figures of German Volkskunde, were among them. They had to emigrate to Berlin, the rest is history.
In the 20th century another democratically elected, German Leader of the Movement, the Reichskanzler and later Fuehrer Adolf HITLER, demanded that all German soldiers swear an oath to him personally (“Führereid”, Ger., Eng.), so binding them to his person and fate, making them “faithful” (what a word in this connection !) to him. In my opinion the American Leader of the Movement demands nothing else.
This kills the basis of what we call “state”. The basis of state is law, not personal binding to the ruler.
If this story mentioned above is true – and I have no doubt that it is –  it shows clearly the nihilism of the actual American “president” : Nothing counts but the personal relationship, and this has to be based on loyalty. Alarmists may see this as another sign that what we see & watch is nothing else but a coup d’etat. The rule of law is in the process of being replaced by the rule of “loyalty” to the elected Leader of the Movement. The democratic state, hated by large parts of the “elite” and misunderstood by at least half of the populace, is not in the process of being rebuilt, it is in the process of being abandoned. It will be replaced by something new that is focused on and legitimated by the will of The Leader only.
In the historical science we call this “Diktatur”, dictatorship.
And I fear that half of the USAmerican populace is absolutely content with this.
And I wonder where the opposition is ?
The Democrats and those parts of the conservative party, who are still in command of their brains and not yet totally corrupt & morally rotten, should work together – for the goddamn state – or do they all want to watch as it is turned into a branch of & a vehicle for the Leader‘s (and his cronies) businesses ? Doesn’t his son-in-law already sell “golden visa” to rich Chinese ?
Yes, fake news, of course …
To make it clear : This “Leader of the Movement” is a danger, not only for the United States of America, but for the whole world. A man is in control, who can not control himself, who shits (excuses) on anything “democratic” and or “legal” as long as it is outside his limited understanding and not in favour for his “interests”, a man who simply does not share the values of enlightenment that are the basis of the modern state – Amerga once was the role model for this : She is based on this !
I already said it here, I say it again : Sometimes around 2007 Vlad bought “the Leader”, and this is the result.
The lever may be “this Russian thing”, and the health of the Leader – I seriously think that he is in the early state of dementia, Old Knudsen said it first.
In a way the “Leader” is unimportant, boring, & even predictable – it is much more important what the opposition does, if anything : If something new can come out of this terrible rule of scum.

Okay, this was it. Next post will be about books, I really need some ease, the last days were … interesting.

If You Write It, They Will Read It

Now let’s imagine you are a nobleman, living at the beginning of the 16th century in Middle Europe. You hang around the court of the Emperor and help to administer the Reich.
Your ruler decides to promote you and sent you as ambassador to the Czar.
What do you do ?
Certainly you turn to your database – that is the library – and look for a tome, manuscript or print, that describes what you need to know, like where to go, how to travel, whom to bribe.
Shock Hubbub, Panick & Confusion – no such book : You have to write it yourself !
Enter Sigmund von HERBERSTEIN (1486-1566) (Ger., Eng.).
Sigmund was a third son, so his chances to inherit a lot were pretty small. But his father took care to give his son a good education, and – what is even more important – this education fell on a good soil : Sigmund was interested in nearly everything, and very curious.
From 1514 on he lives at the court of Emperor Maximilian I. (1459-1519) (Ger., Eng.), he stays in service until 1553, for nearly forty years.
At the beginning of the 16th century existed only few permanent representations, usually a ruler choose one person for a special commission, a special envoy. HERBERSTEIN carried out 69 such missions, 30 saw him visiting Hungary, 15 took him to Poland and two into the Moscow State.
The first major journey was not successful. He was sent to Denmark in 1516 : Isabella (1501-1526) von Habsburg was married to king Christian II. of Denmark, who had earlier met an Netherlandish girl, taken her to Copenhagen and lived openly with her. The girl’s mother, an innkeeper called Willems, seemingly run the state. The king not only deeply insulted his wife, but also the house of Habsburg in toto, and there was no successor in sight due to a lack of consummation. Within a few years this remarkably dumb sovereign had insulted all rulers in the neighbourhood, was forced to flee the country and take asylum in The Netherlands where his legal wife died.
HERBERSTEIN should admonish the crowned ass, what he did to no avail, but in such a way that the king was not upset (and not cancelled his connection to the House of Habsburg). Interestingly Sigmund’s last mission in 1553 was to accompany another young Habsburgian princess, Catherine, to Cracow, right into another unhappy marriage.
Also Sigmund’s second mission in 1517 was not successful, when he was sent to Moscow to broker an armistice between Poland and the Moscow State. Nevertheless he showed great diplomatic skill in this mission – and he stayed in business. He reported to the Emperor personally, and old Maximilian seemingly was fascinated by the stories about this strange land & country in the East. So when a second mission to Moscow was necessary in 1526, now under the emperors Charles V. and Ferdinand I., it was only natural to have Sigmund take part in it – even Madrid (Charles V.) proposed his name. HERBERSTEIN was not only sent over in diplomaticis, but Ferdinand told him to collect any information about the country, the society, and put special emphasis on the religious situation. In the end Sigmund von HERBERSTEIN was sent to write the first regional and cultural study about unknown Russia.
He returned back to the Emperor’s court at the 13th of February 1527, and shortly afterwards presented his report. Sadly we know nothing about this report’s fate. In the 1530s Sigmund was looking for a humanist to work on his text, to have it stylistically improved, but we do not know what came out of this. It is not clear if the text that was finally printed 22 years later – in 1549 : Instant success, 20 more imprints until 1600 – is identical or, if not, how close related to the first version.
HERBERSTEIN lived on to see the success of his book, and in his autobiographical writings, which are also very instructive, he mentions that knowing the Slovenian language was very helpful for him. Sigmund was born in Wippach in Slovenia, and he put a lot of effort in learning the language of his peasants as a youth. So knowing a Slavonic language was very helpful for him on his travels in the East, less perhaps in Poland where the nobility was fluid in Latin and Italian, two other languages Sigmund verifiably spoke.
His text * is an interesting read, still after five hundred years.

* I used : HERBERSTEIN, Sigmund von : Das alte Rußland. In Anlehung an die älteste deutsche Ausgabe aus dem Lateinischen übertragen von Wolfram von den STEINEN. Mit einem Nachwort von Walter LEITSCH. Unter herausgeberischer Mitarbeit von Paul KÖNIG. 2. Auflage Zürich 1985 (Manesse Bibliothek der Weltgeschichte) (Rerum Moscoviticarum commentarii).
LEITSCH (1926-2010) was an Austrian professor of history at the university of Vienna, I used his Nachwort / postface.

Two Men

The Professor is lucky. Despite his old age (he is over ninety now) he is still in full command of his body and his brains. He is the doyen in my discipline, and of course may smile when some over-enthusiastic scribbler describes him as the one “who single-handedly renovated” our field, because he was not alone – and I think he’s the first to acknowledge this. But without his institute things would have taken a different course.
When he took over the chair of a small institute in a sleepish Suebian provincial town 57 (!) years ago, das Fach was marginalised, not least because of its unfortunate history in those twelve years. When the professor was given the emeritus status some thirty years later the limited “German” horizon was opened towards an European perspective, and the 19th century “Volkskunde” was replaced with “Ethnology”, a different set of methods and approaches – without a doubt results of a process started by his institute in the late sixties.
He saw colleagues come and go, friends and adversaries. And of course it was time to step aside for the next generation, but that would not mean to fall silent, curl up, and die. A university owns this & that, he was given a working place in a dependance of his former institute, a nicely situated house in an up-market neighbourhood with gardens and narrow alley ways. There stands the desk he visits daily, the house (originally a residence house) holds some collections, a library, you get the idea.

The Ghost was nicknamed by neighbours, they called him the Schlossgespenst, the ghost of the castle, seemingly because he spoke to nobody and silently swished by on his bicycle. The Ghost was in his late sixties, and had studied a lot, among other subjects philosophy and history. As it seems, he never graduated.
Academia is not only filled with happy stories and success, there are always people who, well … are not so lucky. Some simply can not stop being a student, some can not get their stuff together and write a Magisterarbeit or a thesis, some struggle with mental problems, some simply meet an ill fate.
Whatever it was with the Ghost, he simply never left the university. He worked in different institutes as “Hilfskraft” over the years, but a “student temp” in his forties or fifties or sixties – alma mater can have a wide heart for their stumbling sons.
He occupied some rooms on the second floor of that old house more than ten years ago. I think he worked for this institute for very small money, and lived from benefits, Sozialhilfe. As I already said, mother Alma may have a big heart, but …
They offered him another flat, several times. They  threatened with eviction. Finally it was the job of a bailiff (“Gerichtsvollzieher”) and a man from the Ordnungsamt, the municipal authority responsible for public order, to get him out and clear the rooms.
The Ghost waited for them on the balcony. He took out a gun and shot at them, thankfully hurting no one, but a bullet went through one man’s sleeve. While the two men on the ground covered behind a car they noticed that the Ghost’s flat was burning. He had set fire to the appartement he should leave. They watched as he tried to go back into the rooms, but he finally decided to escape via the balcony. He slipped, and fell six meters to the ground, finally to death.
And while an emergency doctor tried to save his life, the fire brigade tried to reach the house, situated on a hill with nice gardens and narrow alley ways. When they finally arrived the fire was happily munching through the old wood beams, all that nice paper – in the end the building was totally gutted with only the outside walls remaining, declared unsafe by technicians and forbidden to enter.

All this happened last week. As I read the Professor was still travelling, on a voyage in Africa, unaware of what happened, they could not reach him.

Cosmic Tipple *

The “festive” days are over, Saturday will be the last day of this strange year 2016. No worries, this will not end in a review of the year’s strange events or a list of the deceased.
I try to keep links to blogs, even when I do not read them regularly any more, or when the blog falls silent. The latter may have different reasons, like a change of the writer’s situation – especially when the blog was used e.g. as an outlet for emotions in a crisis situation, or when, generally speaking, the purpose of the writing is reached. Others simply use interest.
So I sort these links a bit, there is the folder with the daily “round”, another folder with blogs I look at now & then, and one with links to blogs I used to visit, that are silent or on a hiatus. With some blogs one knows that they have come to an end because the author is dead. It is either announced in one way or another, or is very certain, for example when the author was pretty old – a break of perhaps three years then allows the assumption that she or he died.
And then there are some blogs I keep close, visit, and hope that it is not over – and sometimes it rattles a bit, and – bang ! – there we go again. This was the case with the blog of Kabuki Zero, the man who told the world. After a small break of three years he returned to blogging, only to die after some months. This damn year seems firmly determined to kill as many creative, artistic people as possible. And it is not yet finished.

The time “zwischen den Jahren” / “between years” feels very strange this year. It is much too warm outside : When I look out I see greenish vineyards, a grey sky, and have the impression of an early spring day perhaps in March. The birds are confused, sing in the morning, I even saw first buds on a Magnolia. No snow in sight, no silence in reach.
One hears stories about people doing very strange things – not at the end of the world, but in the neighborhood, or within the circle of friends. So Kabuki-san’s surprising and unexpected death in a way “fits in” or “blends in” to this times of strangeness.
Perhaps the wobbly uncertainty & kind of alienation I sense around me, the uneasy outlook, the feeling that a bit more than usual, bizarre things happen on this old earth – perhaps it is a trick of the mind, and nothing changed, except my perception. But the possibility remains that the world in total, and my segment of the cosmos too, became a bit more peculiar than usual, uncertain, less predictable.
One should give attention to the dreams in the twelve nights between Christmas day and Epiphanias, and the strong winds each night seem to confirm the idea of the Wild Hunt passing through the area, blocksbergbound. But for the first time in ages I can sleep through, dreamless and undisturbed, missing out on the opportunity to learn about my future in the coming year – tah !
To make the outlook less gloomy here is some Poudre d’Or, ground by Mr SATIE, applied by Anne QUEFFÉLEC (Eng., about). [And, just for fun, a version played by Pascal ROGÉ (Eng.) for comparison.] I hope you enjoy the music.

I want to thank You for all the good Christmas wishes : Thank You.
I wish You all, my venerated readers, a Happy New Year 2017 !
Live long and prosper !

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* Many thanks to MSScarlet for bringing this interesting word to my attention.