An interesting issue for Marxist social anthropologists is the way nationalism seems to survive as an ideology – despite quite a lot of factors that one might think would go against it. Most of all I’m thinking about the increased amount of communication across country boundaries which has been made possible through the internet. Another factor is probably the cutbacks in social services and the universal upgrading of the military and police power of the states, which both should make it hard for a large part of the population to identify with “their country.”
< %image(20051030-du_bist_hitler.jpg|1024|640|You are Hitler!)%>
However, somehow nationalism (in the broad sense meaning simply that people identify as being part of a “nation” that usually has a state of its own) seems to survive, although in new forms. Now it is of course questionable how strong it actually is at any given time and whether the national identity people carry is their one and only or primary identity, or whether it is just one out of many identities — much in line with what many current Marxists like Eric Hobsbawm have been saying for quite a while.
Nevertheless, the cases one can observe can be quite funny — I have just seen a Norwegian and a German of it. I’m not going to analyze them very much. Just read and be amused!
It started snowing here in Oslo about 2 days ago. So forgive me for some of my more sentimental comments lately, but I have been sitting in the dark looking at the snow on the trees outside my windows the last few night – and since yesterday with a few candles spread about in my room. I really like both the weather and the candles and the whole atmosphere with Kahimi Karie’s “Photosong”, Serge Gainsbourg’s “Ballade De Melody Nelson” or Margo Guryan’s “Sunday Morning” playing in the background – the first and the last of which I only heard quite recently. (Today some of the snow melted again, so I won’t be able to make pictures right now, but it’ll probably be back and I promise pictures for then.)
But it also makes me sentimental, and crying is really popular with me these days. And I staretd watching some movies (most of which you can download yourself!)
has been real nice to me lately. About two weeks ago I send her a two page letter. Or rather I left it on the kitchen counter after cleaning both bathroom and kitchen real throroughly (thought I had wirtten about that). I basically said that I feel we have a weird relationship as we don’t ever talk and then I explained how I had been cornering my previous neighbors and how it was so much easier cause they usually either were guys or had boy friends that I could corner. But neither applies to her, and that’s why it’s so hard to get into contact with her without it looking weird or as if I was up to something completely different.
I put the letter there in the eveing, and it was gone in the morning. Since then she has been really ok. Like today she was making food and all my crap was still floating all over the kitchen. And she didn’t say a thing! Well, she wouldn’t have before either, but she would have made it clear by the way she would look at me and move around the room that she would be really irritated.
However, we still don’t really talk. But when she says “hey” she has started to drag the word out – like “heeyyyyy!”. Before, she’d only give a sharp “hi,” and only when talked to. Now one can actually hear what kind of mood she is in, or at least i think I can hear it.
Also I think she seems to be totally up for talking even more – if only I would start. But I used parts of the letter sayng that I wouldn’t pressure her into talking, and so I’m not going to do tat. Although it’s such a petty! I just hope she gets exchanged with some male foreigner pretty soon.
And even now, although we don’t talk, when I hear her moving around the kitchen I feel comfort in the thought that she would be there if anything were to happen to my right now. All I’d have to do is scream real loud, and she’d feelobliged to check on me. I am not alone, and therefore I am
Last night I had another dream that I believe had some kind of significance, and interestingly, it was again a night before I was to go to a conference of the Pedagogy Students. However, I happened to miss the bus and they couldn’t call me cause my mobile still hasn’t shown back up. But it’s not that far this time (in the “city” of Halden, close to the Swedish border), so I’ll take the train there first thing tomorrow morning. I don’t know whether the prospect of attending those conferences (with the overly high percentage of women/girls that know no greater joy in life but hanging around small screaming pre-school kids all life) give me a sudden flash back to my own current situation as a single, or whether it’s just that I happen to remember the dreams on these exact nights as I wake up abruptly, and not through the normal cycle which usually makes one forget about ones dreams.
< %image(20051021-johannes-dream.jpg|1920|1986|Johannes dreaming)%>
In either case, last night I was presented with yet another dream for me to interpret. This time it wasn’t quiet as crazy and open to interpretation as last time, but it still left me somewhat confused this morning…
It took quite a while, and it used up quite a bit of my summer this year. But now it is out: The Norwegian Social Anthropological Yearbook 2005!
Besides trying to teach poetry analysis and US history to a 12th grade, trying to finish my master thesis before November 15th, producing a bunch of mid-term papers, engaging in minor political struggles on institute and university level as well as planning for those on an even higher level, helping to get the distribution of this book going has been my main occupation lately. I personally have contributed with a few months of setting plus one article which tries to compare Douglas and Flensburg in a Marxist analysis, and then there are twenty other articles from all over the country (and yes, they’re all a lot better than mine, but nobody dares say anything cause they’re afraid to loose their setter for next year’s edition)! So please, go on and buy it (click on it)! It’s only 100 NOK for those of you who are are in Oslo (you can get it at the institute office), but we’ll send it anywhere if only you pay the postage. We have already received orders the anthropological institutes from the universities of Bergen, Oslo and Copenhagen, so hey, we’re important.
< %image(20051016-dog-misses-you.jpg|1467|1341|Olaf Hansen's dog? It's really my parent's Rita!)%>
As some of you probably know, we just got a new government in Norway, and so now the “Socialist Left Party” is part of the government. While they held talks, we were a few that did some theatric action around the place where they were talking (seepost a few days ago).
Well, now they are finished talking and have released a new plan for the Norwegian part of the occupation force in Iraq. The plan is now to leave a grand total of 1 soldier in Iraq. Yes, you read correctly, there will be a Norwegian occupation force of ONE (O-N-E) soldier in Iraq!
Now, this is ridiculous, and of course it’s meant to be just too little for anybody in Norway getting mad at it, while Bush can still list Norway as a supporter on his “war on terror” in Iraq.
Now what should we do about it?
I didn’t think Norwegian subways could get that crowded, nor that they could ever pose a threat to me in any way. But unfortunately, on Friday my mobile phone disappeared while I took the subway just one single station. I started calling it immediately, but nobody took it.
Fortunately I can check online who I have been calling, and so I could see the following three numbers having been called since Friday 1600, when I lost the phone: +48774162530, +48888203385 and +4798416477. The first two numbers are in Poland, and the person on the third number either speaks only Polish or pretends to only speak Polish.
Anyway, I find it fair to suspect that it is some poor Polish migrant worker who probably only needs it to call back home, and given the wage level that it has been revealed several of them receive here in Norway, I can totally understand that.
But when I lost the phone, there were about 150kr on it, and now there are about 74kr on it, so at the current rate it will probably be empty within a day or two. And by then I’d rather want it back then ending up in some trash can, with my entire address book and everything. So if you have any knowledge of Polish, or just some spare time that you don’t mind using on the phone, just start caloling those above numbers. My mobile number is +4794352594, by the way.
I just got this from another Caro-fan (see a few posts below). It’s the text for the Caro advertisement that was send in TV (and radio?) advertisement in the late 1980s (maybe also somewhat later). You have to know German to understand it of course.
Ich mag das Schöne dieser Welt, ich mag den Wind im Roggenfeld
- Ich mag es, wenn der Tag erwacht
Und die Sonne dazu lacht
Ich mag Plaudern am Nachmittag, Obstkuchen mit Schlag
- Ich mag die Lichter meiner Stadt
Diskutieren bis in den Tag
Lass mich von deinem Duft verführ’n
Deine Wärme spür’n
- Caro, ich mag dich! Du bist einfach gut!
But the important part is anyways not the text in itself – the important part is the time period that West Germans connect to it.
Oh my, these last two experiences really made me loose the last little bit of faith in “the system” (OK – granted, that’s a lie, I lost that quite a long time ago, but it makes it sound more dramatic). It’s really not meant to be read all the way through- if you fall off some time in thereyou really got my main point
< %image(20051014-administration-building.jpg|323|420|UiO Administration Building - straight from hell!)%>
The situation that I want to tell you about is about a friend of my from Douglas, AZ. I met him there when he was about to graduate high school, and now he has been attending Cochise College for almost three semesters. He has good grades and all, and he thought that he could just come over here under whatever program they have in place. So he asked me to find out what possibilities there are, and this is where the fun starts… We have this building called the “Administration building” and it looks very much the way I remember the office building that Asterix and Obelix (a very popular comic book series in Europe) have to enter in their tour to Rome when they have to get just one form for some reason, but they are send back and forth and up and down the stairs as they always need just one more form to get the form they request, etc. .
Now I don’t know whether they modeled the comic drawings after our building or whether they build our admin building according to the comic or whether simply all bureaucrates make their buildings look that way, but the similarity seems striking to me.
<%image(20051010-Angela_Merkel_stalinist.jpg|276|368|Angela Merkel - stalinist by heart!)%>
As most of you probably got by now will Germany’s next chancellor be a female – Angela Merkel. Although she represents the Christian democrats (=Conservatives), she has a past from the political system of the former East Germany (DDR). In the youth organization Free German Youth (FDJ), she was a “secretary for agitation and propaganda”. Now whether that was on a local level or on a higher level seems to be hard to figure out. In either case, that position is something that you wouldn’t just do, if you didn’t believe in the system on some level. So she is not the first woman to take that post – she will also be Germany’s first Stalinist to become chancellor! Congratulations!
In general, the elections went just as I had predicted, with the Left Party gaining enough votes to make both a Social-democratic/Green and a Christian-democrat/Libertarian coalition impossible. However, what I had not believed was that Schröder would completely ignore the Socialists. This means that the majority that SPD/Green and Left Party hold will actually turn into a government with the CDU having the upper hand.
However, I certainly hope Bavaria’s arch-conservative Stoiber is right in predicting a radicalization of the masses. This should hopefully mean an even bigger Left Party next time, but even more importantly it should mean the build up of an opposition movement outside the parliament. And I must admit that I am impressed by the German left – they usually seem to have so little interest in cooperating and they split all the time over the most bizare issues. But right now they really look like they are about to make it! Congratulations!