EXBERLINER Issue 122 (December 2013) is sub-titled ‘The Berlin Book Issue.’ It is largely about publishing and personalities associated with book retail sales in Berlin (and not so much about books.) I’ll begin my ‘review’ of this issue with the ‘not books related’ article on Berlin’s so-called gentrification, move superficially through the articles on publishing and wrap up cover of BERLINER issue 122 with giving the presumed ‘expert’ political commentator Konrad Werner the attention I’d promised at the close of my last review of this stealth ‘chic’ tabloid (in guise of socially responsible news outlet.) Let the review of EXBERLINER begin with Dan Borden’s crocodile tears:
“A snowball in hell” is Dan Borden’s title for an article encapsulizing the ‘gentrification’ of Berlin with a short (very short) essay on the demise of Hotel Bogota. Speaking of snowballs and the area the article locates in, Kurfurstendam, if I had an Olympic arm, I could have nearly hit the armed guard standing outside Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle’s apartment, from outside my window in Charlottenberg (November 2010 – March 2012.) So, I know the neighborhood.
Borden’s article is a thumbnail sketch of Hotel Bogota’s history and lament of loss. Kurfurstendam is already lost to so-called ‘gentrification’ and I question why, however historic, a nearly un-noticed remnant structure in a 3 kilometer stretch of marble and glass, bearing no resemblance to the area admired by my friends with Cold War past as ‘spooks’, is the focus of the article. Shouldn’t the focus rather be on what can be saved in Berlin as opposed to what cannot? Hotel Bogota stood no chance of resisting swallowed by the Russian mafia influence which actually controls the district (when purchased by the corporate mafia which must accommodate this.)
Perhaps a more remarkable omission is brought up with mention of the ‘occupied’ hotel’s Nazi past as site for the Rich’s ‘Chamber of Culture’ deciding which film’s adhered to Hitler’s ‘code of decency.’ Nazis are not my favorite people (ranking right up there with certain present day German CSU personalities’ apparently never extinguished closet ambitions) but nevertheless one should be careful in any LBGT (Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Gay and Transgender) friendly publication to present carefully balanced facts, not only point to past extremes of persecution.
The person most empowered to reverse the ‘gentrification’ trend in Berlin and its phenomena of skyrocketing rents breaking up and driving out (persecuting) long established communities, is that man who has participated most egregiously in selling Berlin to the highest bidder: openly gay mayor of Berlin; Klaus Wowerweit. This is entirely overlooked (perhaps excused?) in Borden’s article. Responsible journalism as presented in LBGT community friendly format, should not come across to the outside reader as ‘cloistered’ or ‘removed from reality’ as I’d mentioned in my previous review of Issue 121. This ‘there are no sinners among us’ journalism of omission cannot pass muster.
Borden’s less than candid article is followed on by the ‘Best of Berlin’ two page section on some of Berlin’s hot spots, in this case four scenes people might like to check out.
Dodo Beach in Schoeneberg does nothing for me, but if your into the old school ‘long play’ (LP) records and have some ancient high fidelity stereo equipment, I suppose you could be entertained here for hours on end. It is a front for commercial promoters of concerts (EXBERLINER states this more ‘gracefully’), in which case I will avoid this venue on account of my appreciation for Nine Inch Nails statement on their music: “Steal this album” when in conflict with (and protest of) commercial rip-off of customers by music publishing houses.
The Russian sauna scene in Marzahn, TEREMOK, seems inviting, perhaps I would actually check this out for myself.
Club Marx is a shameless rip-off appealing to the faux-left upwardly mobile liberals and is to be avoided in any case of search for intelligent life, would be my best guess. But if you don’t mind paying a ten Euro cover charge for the right to buy drinks and dance with the ‘suits’ inside, well, that’s your problem, not mine.
The last mentioned place, a jewellery shop, I won’t bother to name, only mention 90 tonnes of crushed rock in community poisoning cyanide heap leach in 3rd world countries produces enough gold to make a single wedding band. Way to go EXBERLINER! I think we know now just how serious a magazine this is, in relation to social (and related environmental) justice.
The next (one page) “Fashionistas” section begins with “A Bold Reality” which is dedicated to a clothing label inspired by the ‘gifted’ degenerates William S Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Heroin junkie and CIA reject Burroughs shot his wife dead in a “William Tell stunt gone wrong” (one of the times he wasn’t getting 12 year old boys drunk while seducing them or maybe to shut her up over his habit of getting 12 year old boys drunk while seducing them) and the compulsive liar & rabid misogynist Kerouac had his own litany of comparable crimes to live down. So what did Burroughs and Kerouac (together with their resolute compatriot Allan Ginsberg) do to get ‘some’ people to forget these ‘small details’ and become great? They adopted the left, together with an anti-war stance, to en-noble themselves. Perhaps this section should have been better named ‘degenerate fashionista-ettes on the left.’
The following sections on agents, e-publishing and whatnot, are (mostly) worthwhile reads about (mostly) smart, strong women in Berlin’s publishing scene, and other publishing specific information that might be helpful or useful to aspiring authors. These sections are of little interest to myself personally, since I fired my publisher and these days all of my literature is free on the net. This free (and highly entertaining) literature includes ‘Penucquem Speaks’ with its rave review by a truly honest and great personality on the left: Howard Zinn. But if you wish to be in the book market in Berlin, have a read of EXBERLINER Issue 122, you might see opportunity and the break you are looking for.
‘Best Niche Bookshops’ section is correct to include Marga Schoeller (lovely people to do business with, my personal experience) but misses Dave Solomon’s ‘Books in Berlin’ at Goethestr 69 (Charlottenberg) where you’ll find the often distracted, nearly always disheveled, truly caring in cause of social justice (this should count for something), helpful and well informed shop proprietor. Give Dave your business and be entertained, whether he is in ‘stark raving mad’ mode or merely level mood.
And FINALLY we can get to EXBERLINER’s political ‘expert’, Konrad Werner (I am so glad to be nearly finished with this blog.)
Werner appears to have ‘tried hard’ to get it right in EXBERLINER Issue 122. But he did not win any cigars. Only promotion from ‘expert moron’ to ‘aspiring competent amateur.’ But I fear he will relapse. Werner is an incorrectable idiot because he is an idealist (like myself) but not a realist (unlike myself.) In Werner’s political column in Issue 122, he deplores the present day co-opted state of democracy with “imagine inventing a cure for cancer and then not giving it to your children.” And then goes on to propose repair to the failed western model of government. Hurdle number one to Werner’s desired democratic ideal is this:
“In any democracy, ethics, self restraint, tolerance and honesty will always play second fiddle to narcissism, avarice, bigotry & persecution, if only because people who play by the rules in any democracy are at a disadvantage to those who easily subvert the rules to their own advantage” -Ronald Thomas West
Mister Konrad Werner, I must inform you that ‘democracy’ is a failed experiment on account of this maxim (preceding.) So while correctly inferring the idea a return to fascism is a clear and present danger, in the meanwhile you had better pull a miracle cure for democracy out of your ass, to move western society forward intelligently. Or come up with a better idea (than western society.)
Then, Werner presciently proposes his cure with ‘referendum’ as true democratic model for future. Not. Even. Close. Refer to preceding maxim and consider ignorance and bias in the population responsible for voting and… who creates the referendum language? Which ‘free speech’ protected corporate media lies and related bought off politicians beholden to EADS, Boeing and other war profiteering corporations milking ‘humanitarian violence’ for all it’s worth, will spin your ‘referendum’? All of the preceding and too many more criminal corporations and bought off politicians to count? (again, refer to maxim.)
You see, dear readers, when ‘free speech’ in western media is not lying to you deliberately, they are lying to you by default when, as Werner (and EXBERLINER) does, they lie to themselves about the possibilities…
One end note: my preceding review of EXBERLINER (Issue 121) had noted the CSU in Bavaria was set to profit from re-publication of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. In the one month and few days since I’d pointed this out, it appears a panicked scramble had taken place (Hans-Peter Friedrich‘s people read here, this I know) and now the plan has been scrapped. That is result of effective journalism (even if the dropped plan is covered by a self-serving CSU lie.) This, my friends, is actually the important news about books.
Omission note: the article on the striking shop-workers somewhat defied explanation. Somewhat similar to the German psyche often defies description. Or perhaps it was my simply being disgusted with the rank cowardice and often shallow hypocrisy (by the male writers particularly) in EXBERLINER and this had caught up with me. I thought of comparing the events described in shop-workers striking to the ‘Keystone Cops’ or a so-called ‘Chinese fire-drill’ but satire failed me. So, in the spirit of lampooning nearly anything (my forte) I have simply decided to put up a select video (substitute for article coverage) with eye to outrage the feminism aligned editors of EXBERLINER; in spirit of suggesting having a psychologically castrated requirement as prerequisite to men writing for the magazine will have the inevitable result of unintelligent product.
Post Modern Teutonic Vision (a.k.a. Werner blogged me!)
A Mephisto assessment of reality