Lost & Found February

It was supposed to be a normal February. In the end, the month had it all: Putin made his threat, was and invaded Ukraine. The beast war is now raging in Europe. Knuth is still shocked and tries to put the last days into words. Despite all the sad news, he has a few cultural tips for you in his monthly review. Maybe they will brighten up the gloomy mood a little.

#BitterSymphony

February 2022 - The third pandemic spring. The sun is shining outside. There has been war in Europe for a few days. I try to concentrate on my work, but since Putin invaded Ukraine, I keep interrupting my work because the news is flooding me. I am worried. War is not a solution. With each news report, my bewilderment and anger grows. Although I donate and have been on a demo, everything feels wrong. Even writing is difficult for me. With so many ugly pictures, I can't think of anything nice to say.
 
I am preoccupied with the fate of the many refugees. Hundreds of thousands of people are on the run and it can be assumed that there will be more every day. With their wheeled suitcases at the border, many refugees look more like passengers whose ICE train broke down en route, so they have to continue walking. People, like you and me, who a few weeks ago led a completely normal life, suddenly have to run away from destruction and violence. I still have a little hope that the worldwide solidarity and courageous resistance of the Ukrainians will force the Kremlin to rethink. Some of them are standing up to the Russian tanks unarmed. That leaves me speechless. Whether I would muster such courage and determination, I doubt very much.
 
To understand what is going on in Putin's mind, I watch his declaration of war again on YouTube. Huddled behind a mighty, polished and bare desk, flanked by push-button telephones, the president of one of the most powerful countries on earth, framed by two Russian flags, lets out all his fury. This does not look like an imperial nuclear power. It looks like a hotel reception, as one Twitter user later correctly pointed out. Putin looks to me like an old frustrated man at a beer bar who has had a few shots and is bloviating about what he thinks sucks. In my opinion, self-confidence looks different. For many experts, he is a coolly calculating strategist. To me, he looks like a person who has run amok, who has finished with his life and who, in the end, doesn't care about anything. This image and his threats scare me. I don't want war because of wounded male vanity, delusion and emotional stupidity.
 
I am ashamed. In 2014, Russia had annexed Crimea, which belongs to the territory of Ukraine, in violation of international law. War has been raging there for eight years, claiming thousands of civilian victims. All just a two-hour flight from Hamburg. What did I do in 2014? Nothing. Like all Germans, I was looking forward to the World Cup and celebrated the World Cup victory. And afterwards? I didn't do anything either. I accepted it. I could at least have campaigned for Ukraine's accession to the EU. In the last decades, I have made myself very comfortable in my self-love lounge. It was all cool and crassly chilled. Was it really? Wars have come and gone. There have been over a hundred wars since I was born. I got softened up by the PR language of politicians who only referred to wars as regional conflicts or armed conflicts. Sounded less dangerous and was far away, somewhere in Syria or Afghanistan. Over espresso and banana bread, we complained about everyday things and had Anne Will discussions. But war? Whoever called the problem by its name was the killjoy.
 
Climate change, the refugee crisis and the pandemic have already scratched my rosy world, but now with the Ukraine war, the paint is off. I and many others should finally realise that our existence is not an endless Lionel Richie song: cheap energy prices, air travel, free Wi-Fi and limitless consumption are not human rights. Peace, freedom and human dignity, on the other hand, are. It's worth standing up for these values. Anytime and anywhere.
 

 

***

 

It's a sad time right now. Unfortunately, I don't have any good news either. But maybe a little distraction will help you. If I should succeed in doing that, I would be happy.

 


 

tick, tick… BOOM!

 

When I was a child, there were only three TV programmes. But they were enough to provide me with Hollywood classics. This included many musicals like Oklahoma, My Fair Lady or Sound of Music. That was a good school and I am relatively open to the genre. That's the reason why I spontaneously fell in love with tick, tick... BOOM! Hopeful musical composer Jonathan Larson (Andrew Garfield) desperately needs a hit. For eight years he has been working on his play, with which he finally wants to make his breakthrough. It's a wonderful autobiographical story about a kind and talented dreamer, because Larson really existed. He ended up becoming a successful composer. It's a film that makes you feel good. I agree with Der Spiegel, which wrote that it is a musical even for musical haters.

tick, tick… BOOM! , verfügbar auf Netflix

 


 

Diener des Volkes

 

Normally I only present series and films that I have watched here. With Servants of the People I have only just started. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj, a former actor and comedian, plays a teacher who suddenly becomes President of Ukraine. I must say the first episode is promising, it's well done. The irony was that Selenskyj is now actually the president of Ukraine and is rising above himself. He is encouraging his people, standing by them and not running away. When the US offered to fly him out, he replied: "I need ammunition, not a ride."

Diener des Volkes  – verfügbar auf der ARTE Mediathek

 


 

 Meine weisse Stadt und ich

 

 

"ALL, men, women, children, dogs, cats and other animals, wild or domestic, stare at me - ALL the time!" When Vincent O' Carter first visited Europe, as a US soldier, he was hailed as a liberator. In 1953, however, whites in Europe were alienated by the African-American, who had returned to the Old World after his studies to become a writer. He gets lost in Bern and stays there. People grab his hair and children run after him. The Swiss can't imagine a black man wanting to be a writer and offer him a job selling bananas, among other things. He is the only black man in the capital. His novel reads like an ethnological and sociological travelogue about Switzerland. A brilliant trick by O'Carter, so he can deal with his own situation. Great book. Thank you that it has been reprinted.

Meine weisse Stadt und ich  – Vincent O‘ Carter, 440 Seiten, Limmat Verlag

 


 

Multitude

We imagine that on the Tagesthemen the presenter would interview a singer about his new album and his suicidal thoughts. Instead of talking, he would answer her with a song. This is what happened a few weeks ago on the French channel France 2, where the Belgian singer Stromae sang his chanson "L'enfer" (Hell). Here he describes his dark thoughts. But Stromae can also package heavy fare and social criticism in a cheerful way. I like to remember his hit "Alors On Danse" or as now on his current record "Santé", in which he celebrates all the people who cannot celebrate themselves. A fascinating artist. His music and especially the staging of his songs are worth seeing and hearing. Alors On Danse!

Multitude  – Stromae verfügbar auf Apple Music und Spotify

 

 


 

 Angela Merkel – Im Lauf der Zeit

 

"Mum can men also become Chancellor?" A question that little boys asked their parents because they only knew Chancellor Merkel. For 16 years, the childless natural scientist from East Germany ruled this country. That was a long time. Now Merkel is gone. There is a documentary on ARTE that describes her political rise from Kohl's girl to Chancellor. An anecdote from the documentary: Ivanka Trump once asked the Chancellor what she liked to do best to relax. Her answer: "Sitting in the garden with my husband and listening to music." Ivanka Trump was speechless. Doesn't that say a lot about this woman? I learned a lot of new things. How she asserted herself in a man's world is still very impressive.

Angela Merkel – Im Lauf der Zeit , verfügbar auf der ARTE Mediathek

 


 

Economic Words

 

My nephew asked me: "Why do all parents want their children to study something about economics?" Yes, why, actually? For me, business studies was too boring. I even have trouble with economics articles because they contain too many words like "synergy", "result-oriented" or "quick win". Now the artist Anke Becker has convinced me that there is another way. She has crossed out all superfluous words in Financial Times articles with black felt-tip pens until only fragments of poetry remained. "I don't long for love I miss random encounters." Finding the nonsense in the meaning is really fun. Not for NTV watchers and Excel spreadsheet lovers slaving away at their life portfolios.

Economic Words – Anke Becker, 480 Seiten, adocs Verlag

 

Thank you for taking some time to read my post. I hope that I could bring you to other thoughts. Stay healthy! See you again in March. Maybe with better news. See you soon! 


Knuth is a founding member of SoSUE and supports other brands. He himself describes his work as "something with media". The Hamburg native would love to move to a mountain with a beach. You can find out more about Knuth on his website Collideor and Scope.

 


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