Skip to main content

TBT: We're All Living in Amerika

The first half of 2020 saw a spike in Americans renouncing their citizenship, but my husband and I are still here. In the 2000s, we thought about moving to Europe or New Zealand or some other place where people generally live healthier, happier lives than Americans--with a smaller carbon footprint!--but decided to hunker down in Michigan to raise our child. Although I feel a strong sense of responsibility now for doing what we can for our country of birth (oh no, this is our circus) and a strong faith in the power of grassroots organizing (or maybe I'm still high on maternal hormones), the idea of fleeing this dumpster fire seems more rational than ever. I believe that at this point, the global myth of the United States as #1 is about as vital as the hallucination portrayed in Lindemann's disturbing video for "Platz Eins." (Content warning: not safe for... anyone, anywhere. Ooohooo, do not click! So danger! So wrong!) 😉

When I was in college, intellectuals used to talk about American globalization using metaphors of contagion and disease. Now that the U.S. is the world's festering hot spot for Covid-19, the conversation has become unfortunately literal. This might, however, be the beginning of the end of the world's toxic love affair with American corporate culture.

Sixteen years ago, when I was a college senior, I saw the video for Rammstein's "Amerika" and was sucked into a terminal obsession with Till Lindemann. I had already heard "Du hast" on the radio, of course, and thought it was cool, and I had been intrigued by Rammstein's performance in David Lynch's The Lost Highway, but for some reason when I saw Till growling in slow-motion while wearing a space suit in "Amerika," I was forever changed. It was like he called down into my soul, summoned out my shame over Americanness (and somehow simultaneously my brutally patriarchal and puritanical German heritage), swallowed it whole, and lit himself on fire.

Wunderbarrrrrr.

His hooks caught on all my loose threads and dragged me over the edge of a rabbit hole into the dark pit of his performance art that continues, and escalates, to this day, consisting of embodying various monstrous faces of kyriarchy and then coming up with a sickening variety of ways to take one for the team--burning, whipping, cutting, beating, choking, drowning himself, getting trampled by wild horses, being tortured in an ice-cold prison, drilling a hole through his face, sacrificing himself to assorted creative revenge fantasies, et cetera. But it's not dumb Jackass stunts. Till is a magnificent poet with a voice that inflames my chakras, and his bands work with some of the greatest film directors in the world to create music videos more artful than any Hollywood blockbuster.

I am attracted to cleanliness and order and social responsibility, and I am also attracted to masterful art that explores all of the opposites of those things. So as a young adult, I was drawn to the tidy maturity of real Germanic and Scandinavian societies and also to the flaming chaos of Rammstein (and later, to Till's side gig Lindemann's exquisite second album Frau & Mann).

Although I scrapped my dream of moving to Europe, I did not have to give up my dream of seeing Rammstein live. After I wrote the post below, Rammstein toured the United States twice, once when I was extremely pregnant (and hysterical that I had to miss the epic performance) and again when they came TO! MICHIGAN! I was baptized in the fire, at long last, of the Made in Germany show--precursor to the unreal, Metalocalypse-style, you-can-watch-it-from-outer-space stadium tour that was interrupted by the pandemic.

And now Lindemann is teasing the idea of a United States tour, quite distinct from Rammstein's extreme fireworks display, a dirty little set of small, intimate dive venues, more porno than pyro. I'm both frightened and thirsty.

One thing that is still great about the United States is that all the good concert tours come to us--at least they did, before the pandemic, and presumably will again, once it's over. Even if everyone else abandons us, though, Lindemann might not. They enjoy touring through sad, downtrodden, lonely places like Siberia because the audiences there are so, so hungry for Till to spit in their faces.

I get it. But Till's work is an acquired taste. Don't watch or listen--don't click through any of the links to the music videos in this post--unless you like the pain and you suspect that "Das tut dir gut." You've been warned.

In Wonka voice: "Don't."

But whether you have developed a taste for this kind of trauma processing or not, for better or for worse, it's still true...

We're All Living in Amerika

Wow, I woke up this morning and saw a news clip that revitalized my dream of moving to Europe by age 35: a brief tour of the Vauban neighborhood in Freiburg, Germany, designed around sustainability and car-free living.

Loves it!

Back when it seemed a real possibility that Sarah Palin would become the most powerful person on Earth, Mr. G and I panicked and wrote up an eight-year plan to flee the country. We selected Germany as a potentially easy European nation to enter, as they happily accept foreign workers. Austria was also on our list, as we may be able to fudge our way into citizenship since Mr. G's dad was born there... in a Nazi work camp. THANKS, Austria! In either case, both nations speak German. German is also closely related to Dutch, language of our dream residence, the Netherlands. (Their biggest exports are produce and flowers! Love!) So we went to the local library and checked out some instructional German language books and CDs.

We also set about memorizing Rammstein lyrics. (I love you, Till.) Rammstein singer Till Lindemann is a poet, son of an author and a journalist, and his lyrics are filled with clever triple-entendres in German that we have decoded on internet forums and through the thoughtful translations of a German-speaking buddy.

Speaking of Rammstein, they are on tour in Europe right now. Last I heard, their tour had gotten so enormously huge and sold-out that they had to increase the number of shows by more than a dozen in Germany and Russia. They did not plan to come overseas, but finally agreed to a show in Canada. However, they will not bother with the U.S. Why? Not only is the U.S. generally apathetic about music not made right here in our nation, but word on the street is that the band gets arrested EVERY time they step offstage in Chicago. For lewd acts onstage. (Britney can simulate sex acts with men onstage, but when men simulate sex with other men onstage... naughty naughty!) Yeah, I don't blame them. I'd rather stay in Europe, too.

Don't get me wrong. I love my homeland, my family and friends here, and the many opportunities and benefits of living in America. But honestly, there are better places to live, with higher quality of life and more personal freedoms. Why settle for less? Our ancestors (all those who are/were not Native American) all moved here for a better life. Would it not be natural for me to do the same, as the tides of human history change?

Besides, I really really would like to see Rammstein live. I missed that boat in the '90s when they were cool here for like five seconds. Today, I am in love with the thought of windmills, tulip fields, bicycle taxis, and German hardcore Tanz-Metal.

Please enjoy the video for Rammstein's "Amerika."

Comments

  1. Hi there Recessionista Genie. Amerika needs more bloggers like you, and so I'm happy to nominate you for a Kreativ Blogger Award on http://mariesansone.blogspot.com.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ahhhh, Rammstein. I said if I ever moved overseas, it would most likely be somewhere in the French Alps... well, anywhere in France actually (aside from Paris. Soooo dirty). I like the idea of brie cheese and red wine being a socially-accepted diet. Plus, I can eat chocolate croissants for breakfast. Score.

    My boyfriend likes Rammstein. It's a little heavy for my liking. I stick with bluesy stuff. However, I would like to say that I went to Motorhead on Sunday and wasn't completely scared, so maybe I can be open to Rammstein, as well.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

35 Great Things About Turning 35

The prime of life starts at 35! It's the best-kept secret from younger people, but your 35th birthday is a major cause for celebration. For mine, I have made my own listicle of 35 reasons why experts agree that 35 is the best age to be: You get to say, "I'm 35." The number 35 carries so much more gravitas than 30, but you're only a few years older. At 34, I've started fudging my age--by adding a year. People automatically take me seriously, and if they don't, at least they tell me I look young for my age. (Eye roll, hair toss, "whatever.")    35-year-olds DGAF. Inner chill reaches new heights at 35. Despite its #2 status on this list, it's the #1 response I hear about what's best about hitting 35. My gorgeous friend Nerlie was beautiful and resilient and wise beyond her years in high school, but now, at age 35, she gets to fully enjoy being herself on her own terms. She writes,  "I've survived so much that I don't

TBT: The Magic of Essential Oils

Oh essential oils, beloved friend of loopy-goopy women of my own demographic marketing cohort, along with magic crystals, mystic doulas, organic pesticides, multi-level-marketed leggings, anything labeled as "herbal supplements," and alternatives to vaccination. The essential oil craze is something that has a basis in scientifically verifiable reality but has been endowed with magical, holy, pseudo-scientific properties for marketing purposes. I bought into it wholeheartedly before I learned that not all that crunches is harmless. All too often, legitimate fears based in reality (of toxic chemicals, unnecessary medical interventions, pharmaceutical side effects, etc.) are stoked to induce women like me to jump from the frying pan and into the fire of an "alternative" that may be at least as harmful as what it is supposedly protecting me and my family from. I still use certain essential oils for cleaning and other purposes, and I think everything I've stated in t

Pocket of Joy: Renovating to Love, Not to List

My mom and I have watched Love It or List It for years, and it's no surprise to us that most families choose to stay in their own, customized home rather than move into a new, blank box. The qualities that make a house a home are not the same qualities that make a marketable real estate property. Houses sell better when they are whitewashed into sterile, blank boxes where a new homeowner can come in and add their own personalized color and texture. If you're rich like the people on LIOLI , you can custom build a personalized home from scratch or personalize a market-fresh house in a short time, but even so, it's easier to stay in an already-customized house than to start over.  For regular people who aren't rich, turning a house into a home takes even more creativity, hard work, and time. But working class people certainly can create beloved homes. I've seen dream homes created from the tiniest of tiny houses in the humblest of neighborhoods, in trailer parks, in a

$Monday: Bog Witch Style on a Budget

Autumn in a pandemic is the perfect time to tap into your inner bog witch with wild hair, cozy clothes, forest rituals, creepy cats, fire, books of spells, and Dark Cottagecore home decor mood boards on Pinterest . You don't have to live in a literal swamp. The word "bog" comes from a Gaelic term for "soft," and it sounds nearly identical to Slavic words for gods or divinity with Proto-Slavic roots that refer to earthly fortune. Bog witches burrow into the true goodness of life nestled beneath all the hustle and polish and show of making a living. They focus on soft wealth and spiritual power. The vibe is slow, earthy, comfy, moody, sneakily seductive, maybe sticky, wise rather than smart, preferring old things to new, charming rather than impressive. It's about harmonizing with the natural environment, blending, melting, enveloping, and sinking into earthy, downward energy. Bog witchery vibes with hygge, friluftsliv , and the indigenous earth wisdom of whe

A Lightbulb Moment

All the lights are on! This weekend, my dad finished installing our kitchen cabinets as well as three pendant lights that hang above them. Hallelujah, let there be light! Now we can finally see what we're doing, giving us a boost of productivity by providing both visual access and a more pleasant work environment--which will soon become a warm, welcoming place to cook and eat and converse! This bright, warm light is a great metaphor for something else I've realized over the course my month-long home renovation staycation--which, though hard and busy, has been a clean break from my nonprofit work, my novel-writing creative work, and most of my social life too. I had an "aha" moment about illuminating the kitchen that my family has designed and built ourselves with a set of clear, warm lights that my husband and I chose together, as well as the fact that we are no longer living in other people's stuff. We're approaching 40 now, and we've finally been able t

No Cook Summer Snacks

We've been living without a kitchen for over a month now while we renovate, and while I miss baking and cooking, it's also a little bit nice to not have to cook. My family doesn't have a daily takeout budget (or else we'd be paying someone else to renovate our kitchen, obviously), so we've relied on my parents to share their kitchen and home-cooked meals with us in addition to setting up a makeshift pantry in our living room filled with foods that don't need to be cooked. During a hot summer, even when we have a fully functioning kitchen, it's nice to have some things on hand that don't need to be cooked with a stove or oven--or even a grill outside on scorching days. Whether or not you have a lovely kitchen that works, anyone can stay a little cooler and enjoy a little more time to relax this summer by stocking up on no-cook snacks such as... in-season fruits and veggies that can be enjoyed raw hummus, salsa, liquid nacho cheese (no judgment), or any ot

Pocket of Joy: Heirloom Tomatoes

Among the joys of homegrown veggies and fruits, heirloom tomatoes rise the highest above their grocery store cousins. Nothing cultivated to survive mass production and shipping to supermarkets can compare to the flavor of a homegrown heirloom tomato. Heirlooms come in a startling variety of shapes, sizes, and colors with great variation in flavor and texture as well. The bright, shiny, red, smooth, uniform-looking tomatoes that show up in grocery stores have been hybridized to enhance production and durability at the expense of flavor. There isn't anything wrong with eating grocery store tomatoes in terms of health, but once you taste the sweet, brilliant complexity of an heirloom tomato, you understand right away how different and special they are. If you can't or don't wish to grow heirloom tomatoes yourself, and if you don't have green-thumbed and generous family or friends willing to invite you over for grilled bruschetta this summer (oh, the tragedy!), you can usua

Pocket of Joy: Old Books

Old books! You can judge them by their shabby chic covers, because they function as objets d'art and objects of desire on a shelf no matter what stories they tell inside. Books with leather bindings, books embossed and edged in gold, books with plates and illustrations and fancy lettering inside, books that give off the subtle scent of an aged library, books with fraying ribbon markers and tactile spines. Old books are charming, comforting, and, when they aren't first edition antiques, they are usually cheap. The stories told inside of old books can also be wonderful and so thick and rich that you can revisit them again and again, each time discovering something new or forgotten, as fans of Jane Austen and George Eliot know well. Those were stories built to last the ages. An old book can be a roundly multi-sensory experience. I once picked up an old maiden volume by Anthony Trollope that had never been read--and I know, because I had to rustle up an antique book knife to cut ap

Pocket of Joy: Hot Gourd Summer

The corn has grown past "knee high by the Fourth of July," and so have the sunflowers. The delicious bean plants keep trying to climb up their tall sisters' stalks, though the cute, fuzzy creatures of the neighborhood keep trimming them down. And in one very green corner of the garden, the zombie trash gourds have returned! Last year, they volunteered to take over my compost and apple wood stick piles, and this year, they popped out of the front yard garden (after I spread compost there) to say: it's time for another hot gourd summer! The Fourth of July fireworks are all used up and done; it is now legal to look forward to Halloween. Pumpkin spice girls and bog witches, rejoice with me! And pray to every curly shoot and warty bump that by the time these decorative gooseneck gourds ripen, my witchy kitchen will be finished and ready to display them on rustic cherry open shelves against shady green walls. Until then, it's a joy to let the gourd plants' broad gre

Check Out My...

Pantry! We slapped in some fun and easy, removable wallpaper and dug around in the garage until we found this functional beauty, a commercial-grade speed rack abandoned by a former roommate long ago.  The wallpaper is also pretty old, leftover from a project in my parents' former house. Weirdly, I just saw it featured in a bookcase in an episode of Love It or List It . As seen on TV! While we renovate, we've been going through lots of old stuff in the garage, attic, and shed to donate, throw away, or, occasionally, use in the new kitchen. I've unearthed some VERY interesting and exciting treasures from deep inside the garden shed, which I hope to show off soon.  Things are getting very bog witchy around here indeed!