Sunday, July 27, 2008

Satirical article from the Tageszeitung on Obama

Where the Tageszeitung, which is like the Village Voice but on a much bigger scale, is pretty much positive on Obama's Berlin speech, somewhat dismayingly considering he wants to bomb Afghanistan further and possibly attack Iran.

The Article Translated automatically is very strange, like something that I can make out is a hip alt. weekly satirical column like they'd run in "The Stranger" here in Seattle, but that's really different because of the different cultural context. And the really bad autotranslation.

It's called "Obama, Kant, and Star-Trek", subtitled "Pop Strategy of the Candidates"

"Obamas Love Parade rhetoric and his plans for Afghanistan have more to do with each other than we think: Kant's perpetual peace behind it. And a little bit Star Trek. by Ulrich Gutmair.

The Love Parade is a several day long rave-esque type of festival of techno music that happens in Berlin...sometimes countered by the "Fuck Parade", which features drum and bass that's banned from playing in the regular parade. Kant's plan for perpetual peace is a widely known document, which Gutmair is sending up in the article. I think the author is saying that it's really fucking naive.

Here is my interpretation of the column:

"The question was whether it would succeed Barack Obama, including a German youth awakening to comparable experience. If we can then say: Yes, I too have seen the light?"

Translation: the question was whether Obama could succeed in having German youth/twenty somethings see the same light as American supporters have seen.

"The Americans at least Obama has promised a light that appear on Washington, when America united again. However, it must credit him that he had this light, with its associated person: "Change does not happen from the top down, it happens from the bottom up" "

I think that could be rewritten or summarized by saying that Obama has promised that the light will return to Washington when people are united, but that everyone must acknowledge that he was the one who came up with the idea, expressed in his slogan: "Change does not happen from the top down, it happens from the bottom up." There's irony there, in case you missed it.

"In Berlin, Obama, now becomes citizen of the world agreed to share his unit rhetoric to the whole world and therefore extended at first sight a speech in the spirit of the Love Parade. The motto of his World Tour is: "A Global tsunami for Change".

In Berlin, Obama who has now become a citizen of the world, agreed to extend his self rhetoric to the whole world and therefore gave a speech that looked at first sight like a Love Parade speech.

"The walls between rich and poor countries, locals and migrants, Christians, Muslims and Jews should fall, he demanded. The applause of the masses it was at this point safely, quite deep down he reminds us well to Lieutenant Uhura. His vision knows at least some adult Germans from "Star Trek", where a confederation of good interplanetarisches reach a peace built. In keeping with Immanuel Kant, said, the eternal peace be no empty idea, "but a task that their goals consistently closer." Because the states but not really become a world republic unite, Kant concluded, only the "negative surrogate" of a federal continuous "stream of rechtscheuenden, stop hostile tendency."

Translation: deep down, he must remind some Germans of Lieutenant Uhura. His vision must remind at least some Germans of Star Trek, where a good interplanetary federation has built peace. In keeping with the spirit of Immanuel Kant, Obama said the idea of an eternal peace is not just an empty statement but "a task and a goal that we must continually pursue" He's making fun of Kant's idea, which is really abstract and naive in light of the power politics of the last century. Kant said that because a world republic couldn't be realized that there must be a federation of states acting together to enforce common civil world order.

"It looks as Obama, and "Star Trek" is not different, because tomorrow somewhere in the Exsowjetunion herumliegendes uranium or the secret plans of a scientist in Pakistan to build a bomb could lead detoniert in Paris. That is why we could no longer afford divisions, called Obama. No nation, however powerful, can tackle these challenges alone. That's good. The call for early scrapping all nuclear weapons and saving the world sounds good. And of course we want to stand up for human rights of the blogger in Iran."

Translation: It looks like Obama and "Star Trek" aren't different, because tomorrow somewhere in the ex-Soviet Union, with all the uranium scattered around, or with the secret plans of a scientist in Pakistan, a bomb could be detonated in Paris. That's why we can no longer afford divisions, declares Obama. No nation can tackle these challenges alone. That's good. Calling for Nuclear Weapons to be scrapped and for saving the world sounds good. And of course we want to protect bloggers in Iran.

"The Popstrategie Obamas based on the fact that people only hear what they want to hear. But he leaves it does not help and also calls for an end to the nuclear ambitions of Iran and the resolute fight against the hostile inclinations of al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Here, where he consistently Kantian Unpopulärsten and is, at least Dr. Motte in the victory column like Obama is the most pleasant. "Honesty," says Commander Kant, "is better than all policy.""

Obama's pop culture strategy is based on the fact that people only hear what they want to hear. But he doesn't leave it at that [being against nuclear weapons etc...] he's against Iran and Al-Qaida in Afghanistan. Here, where Obama takes Kantianism to the most unpopular conclusions, and is least like the founder of the Love Parade at the head of a victory column, is where Obama is most sympathetic. "Honesty," says Commander Kant, "is better than all politics" Which is an ironic statement.

So what does it all mean? It's hard to summarize the tone of all of it in English. I know some basic German and am working with an automatic translation program...

Basically, the author executed one of those fabulous rhetorical somersaults that German language satire is known for by turning Obama's talk about world peace on its head and declaring that his betrayal of progressive values is actually his strongest point because he's pursuing truth in his wanting to bomb Iran and keep bombing Afghanistan, he's pursuing his own policy to its logical conclusion, to it's own truthful end, and not worrying about "politics".

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