Friday, July 3, 2009

Stay on the internet

Despite what your superego tells you, it's never the right thing to stay off the internet.

For example, you could be writing an essay about histories of GDR design and 'everyday life' and miss something like this: a Der Spiegel-related special on GDR design. Then, hypothetically, you could submit your article without realising that there was fresh new meat online to churn through your analytic sausage machine. Then, speculatively, you could finally get around to reading all those saved 'tabs' you accumulated in Firefox during the essay writing - when the battle between id and superego was at its most frenzied - and find the meat, just laying there, a little grey now around the edges, a few flies (other hackademics?) buzzing around the slab of historic carcass.

Fleisch-laden bitterness aside, this A-Z of GDR design is pretty interesting. There's an English translation and summary of the text here.

Interesting, of course, but problematic. As my essay argues. I have intentions of posting bits from it here one day, so I won't preempt too much now. It is worth pointing out though that all this harking about the consumables of the GDR is a peculiarly capitalist way of telling the history of that state. So we continue the usual oscillation between a history of the Stasi state and a history of the consumer shortage state. Invasion. Privation.

Also, once you're done ogling, a new survey:
Glorification of the German Democratic Republic is on the rise two decades after the Berlin Wall fell. Young people and the better off are among those rebuffing criticism of East Germany as an "illegitimate state." In a new poll, more than half of former eastern Germans defend the GDR.
Academic narcissism makes me happy about this. "My topic remains relevant. The media says so!" One day they'll be asking me for rubbish quotes. Specialisation has its rewards.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

And on, and on:,1518,634495,00.html