Europeans, raise your hands!
Lincoln sent me this link, a transcript of a speech by the German director Wim Wenders. There are a few quotes that ring true to me, but I'm not sure if I really get the point he's trying to make. If you're European and read this, what do you think? Is he right? (Read the whole thing, it's fast.)
"One has the impression
that Europe is a wreck, (...)
if you think back to the constitution disaster,
reflect on Europe's actual political influence
or on the lack of enthusiasm shown by its citizens
for "the European Cause" in recent times.
"The Europeans" have had it up to here with Europe...
On the other hand,
Europe is heaven on earth,
the promised land,
as soon as you look at it from the outside.
Over the last couple of months,
I have seen Europe from Chicago and New York,
from Tokyo and Rio,
from the heart of Africa, the Congo,
and, just last week, from Moscow.
I am telling you:
In each case, Europe appeared in a different light,
but always as paradise,
as a dream of mankind,
as a stronghold of peace, prosperity and civilization."
"Here in Berlin, I am German,
in the meantime with all my heart.
Yet, hardly do you set foot in America,
then you no longer say you are from Germany, France, Italy or wherever.
You come "from Europe," or you're about to return there.
For Americans, this epitomizes culture,
history, style, "savoir vivre."
It's the only thing they feel strangely inferior about.
Even rather permanently. "
I can relate to the transformation into European once you step outside, the lesser need to actually identify yourself as German or Italian or whatever. Why is that?
On the other hand I am also familiar with the Europeans' self-loathing (Ueberdruessigkeit waere das richtige Wort.). Why is that? Why is it commonly so unfashionable and childish to love our own culture? It seems some Europeans cannot kill traditional European culture fast enough, just look at the modern theater and music productions. Or let me say it this way: How much pig's blood on a canvas do we really need?Posted at 11:10 AM on January 11, 2007