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  • Seymour Gris: 2013 so far – Anti-Semitism, airport, Bowie


Seymour Gris: 2013 so far – Anti-Semitism, airport, Bowie

With only eight days behind us, the year is young. Still, a few things have happened in Berlin in such a short time. Gris highlights the most ridiculous.

Image for Seymour Gris: 2013 so far - Anti-Semitism, airport, Bowie
Still from David Bowie’s “We Are We Now?”

The year has started well. Three talking points for the week.

1. Anti-Semitism: Look deep into your soul and you might find it too

Professional Nazi hunters are running out of Nazis to hunt, so they’re digging deep to find them: right in midst of the German left-wing media establishment.  Another anti-Semitism debate in Germany – which has now been picked up in Israel – has flared up about the inclusion of Der Freitag publisher and Der Spiegel heir Jakob Augstein in the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s annual list of top 10 anti-Semites (the list includes the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian president). German intellectuals should be outdoing themselves to get onto the list – to make a mockery of it. Why does a supposedly dignified institution like the Simon Wiesenthal Center need to put out end of year Top 10 Lists anyway? Is it anti-Semitic of me to say that?

What makes the listing of Augstein truly pathetic is that they cite German “journalist” Henryk Broder to support it. Broder once called Augstein “a little Streicher” (after Nazi publisher and propagandist Julius Streicher). Broder, who writes exclusively for the right-leaning Springer Verlag, has made a career out of unearthing latent anti-Semitism in Germany. But in the last few years, he’s turned seriously crackpot. I tried to discuss his book Forget Auschwitz on the phone with him last autumn but he hung up during the interview.

Note to the Simon-Wiesenthal Center: here’s a real Nazi to hunt.

2. Wower-wrong

Hooray! The opening of the new airport been delayed for the fourth time. Now, instead of October this year, they’re talking about “hopefully sometime in 2014”. Berlin’s teddy-bear-in-chief Klaus Wowereit will be forced to resign for overseeing this mess. I predict Wowi will disappear into his Ku’damm apartment eating nothing but Haribo and oysters all day, only to crawl out at some point to triumphantly re-launch himself as host of a celebrity chat show on TV Berlin called Rich But Sexy.

3. More Bowie Berlin

Dear David Bowie, thank you for including some random images and thoughts about West Berlin in your new video for the song “Where Are We Now?” Dschungel Club in Nürnberger Straße? Where the hell is that? “Lost in time near KaDeWe”? Know the feeling!  “Potzdamer Platz?” After your song “Neuköln”, you could have found someone to spellcheck your work.  Can we invite you to a vegan cupcake next time you’re in town? Nice song, by the way. Love the siamese muppets. Heroic.