Tuesday, March 24, 2009

German Music - a short culture entry

Ever since learning German, I have always had an interest in German music. It can be pretty good at times, but you always get looks listening to it, I figured I would go over a few major German artists.

Die Aertze - Hailing from Berlin, die Aertze is hands down one of my favorite German artists. Translated as "The Doctors", they have been in the music scene forever. Them and "Die Toten Hosen" (or, the dead pants) have regularly been one of the top punk-rock bands. Die Aertze has regularly called themselves "the greatest band in the world" (never more obvious in the song "Rock-n-Roll ubermensch), and this sort of arrogance is not lost in their music. My favorite songs include "zu spaet" (too late), "ist das alles" (is that all), and "Gabi gibt ein Parti" (Gabi throws a party).

Bushido - Known as the German Eminem, Bushido is the bad-boy of German music. His music isn't bad, his lyrics are, at best, offensive. Similar to Eminem's Slim Shady, Bushido also raps under the name Sonny Black. He is from Berlin as well and is of Tunisian and German descent. He is noted for alleged racism against Turks, an issue not uncommon in Germany, especially Berlin. He derides the allegations, as he works often with minorities in his Aggro Berlin record label. He has also been described as homophobic.

Wizo - To the roots of punk rock, Wizo is as good as Die Aertze in my book. They are politically left and quite outspoken about it. One of my favorite songs is named "Kopfschuss" which is German for "Headshot", about the a German anarchist who was assassinated. Quadrat im Kreis or "Square in a Circle" is excellent as well. They were the first German punk rock band to be signed to an American label.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


To Purfle is to
to finish with an ornamental border.
to decorate (a shrine or tabernacle) with architectural forms in miniature.
Also called purfling. an ornamental border, as the inlaid border near the outer edge of the table and back of a stringed instrument.

I would rather not go back to Germany's war-like past, but the first culturally related item regarding "Purfling" is Germany's addition of an ornamental border in the form of the Sudatenland, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.

Germany invaded the Sudatenland and the rest of Czechoslovakia in order to add ornamentation around the borders of Germany. Germany began purfling further when it added Poland, sparking the ire of the rest of the world in 1939, bringing war upon the addition of what it considered it's lands. In early April, Germany began invading Denmark and Norway and began turning what was once ornamentation (Poland), into part of the cloth, interning thousands of Jews at Auschwitz. Germany then overran BeNeLux into France during mid-Summer. Those who believed the ornamentation should be left alone and de-purfled, fought back and overturned Germany at Normandy, then Paris, and Brussels.

Purfling is no longer in the German targets, it is now a patchwork of cloths with the European Union.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


When thinking of the word whipsaw, defined by Dictionary.com as  –noun
1. a saw for two persons, as a pitsaw, used to divide timbers lengthwise.
–verb (used with object)
2. to cut with a whipsaw.
3. to win two bets from (a person) at one turn or play, as at faro.
4. to subject to two opposing forces at the same time: The real-estate market has been whipsawed by high interest rates and unemployment.
–verb (used without object)
5. (of a trailer, railroad car, etc.) to swing suddenly to the right or left, as in rounding a sharp curve at high speed.

In the late 18th Century, the heavily militaristic Prussian empire (which would eventually unite the German speaking peoples under a singular German reign in the midddle-to-late 19th century) whipsawed the Polish state in three partitions in unison with the Russian and Austro-Hungarian states.

This initial domination and expansion of the Prussian state led to the unification of Germany and a new hunger for power eventually culminating in World War I and successively WWII.
This is the partitions of Poland.