Wednesday, 26 January 2005

TSP’s salute to totalitarianism*

I feel a need to confess a strange and bizarre fetish. No it’s not some deeply suspicious sexual practice involving asparagus, it’s about a country. For some unexplained reason I’ve always been a huge mark for East Germany.

Disclaimer: Before we start I’d like to point out that as a lifelong capitalist pig I’m not actually sticking up for the evil shit that went on there, I’m aware that people mysteriously disappearing after being spied on by their grandmother is hardly an ideal society to be living in but and I shouldn’t think I would have enjoyed living there myself but bad luck I like it anyway.

First things first - DDR is the most attractive short-form national description ever. Bar none. CCCP is just too long and democratic nations tend to stick to deathly boring “first three letters of country name” versions. North Korea’s “DPK” is the best going around at the moment.

In an era where national anthems bore most of us to death the krazy kommies came up with one that made you want to go totally totalitarian on somebody’s ass. In all fairness the West German one is pretty jaunty too but it doesn’t make me want to denounce my math teacher for not adhering to Marxist-Leninist principles.

The flag was another plus. Eschewing the boring and simple hammer and sickle design of the USSR they instead opted for a hammer/compass/grain combination that looks as if it would have destroyed any kid who tried to draw it for a school project.

Here it is in all it’s glory,

I’d so raise that if it was socially acceptable and didn’t totally stand for a repressive regime that enslaved thousands. If the devil gets the best music he also scores the most stylish countries as well.

Their dictators may not have been attractive - far from it in fact - but their lawmakers had some sense of occasion. The national constitution, as useful as such a thing is in a dictatorship, declared the country a “Republic of Workers and Peasants”. Beautiful wording. Shits over anything John Howard ever came up in the way of a preamble. Not only that but their military parades were so much more restrained than the Russian equivalents - no need to show off by rolling ICBM’s down the street. Just a tank and some perfectly choreographed soldiers will do thanks.

You’ve got to retrospectively love the Wall (only after it came down of course). But I’m prepared to concede that for the full experience it was probably better to approach it from the Western side where you could get up close and personal and do whatever you liked with it without the clear and present danger of being shot in the back. So we’ll give that one to their opposition. Speaking of walls who amongst us doesn’t see those documentaries about life behind the iron curtain and secretly admire the decore?

The Stasi may have been an evil police force stacked to the gills with ex SS and Gestapo members but what an acronym. What other murderous government agency can boast a better name? KGB, CIA, Mossad. Pissweak one and all. Poland’s was called the UB for fux sake - there’s no fear radiating around that. Until they kicked your door down and put you to work on a state farm you probably would have thought they made ice cream. Stasi, on the other hand, trips right off the tongue AND gently whispers ‘terror’ in your ear at the same time. Then there’s the cars that you had to apply three years in advance to buy! Fuck the Ford Falcon bring back the Trabant and the Lada (Russian, but who cares?) NOW.

And who will ever forget those man-beast female athletes they used to produce? Years before the Chinese women’s swimming team came up with the genius idea of getting on the gear and coming to the pool looking like the forward pack of the Brisbane Broncos the ‘ladies’ of the East were packing a giant set of testicles and suspiciously clean drug test samples. My favourite was the one woman wrecking ball Kristen Otto and her six gold medal haul in Seoul. Of course it’s only ALLEGED that she was on the gear - and has claimed she never knowingly used any performance enhancing substances but you can make your own mind up there. Level playing field and Australia’s golden shower be fucked I want my junked up Germans back. There was a similar man-beast from Hungary - but nobody cares about Hungary.

So, in conclusion. An evil country yes. But sexy at the same time. German Democratic Republic - we salute you.

* Yes, it’s probably better described as authoritatian but that wouldn’t have made as good a headline.

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