January 2010


Out of 2000: Disenchanted Speaks

Here are the favorites of Disenchanted:

I guess I’m TQE’s rule breaking friend. I looked through his blog and I can’t pick just one favorite entry. I have to admit that there are two different themes that really got to me – one because it was so incredibly amusing. You see, I would never, ever consider buying used underwear (see here and here) – not to wear, smell, or uhhh, do other unmentionables with. I don’t even think I could bring myself to touch them with a 10 foot pole. It’s bad enough that I have to wash my hubby’s undies. Ack!

But, TQE has also written a great deal about his personal observations on politics and history. His comments on the Berlin Wall – from the Cold War to its subsequent dismantling – are quite intriguing because you get to read about German history through the eyes of an expat. Sure, I have my own views about the Wall, but I have never been to Berlin or seen Checkpoint Charlie. My friend, however, has. For example, in 2004, TQE wrote about his experiences visiting Berlin:

Tuesday afternoon I walked from Alexanderplatz down the length of the street to the Brandenburg Gate, through the gate and into the vista where two of the most important speeches ever given by American Presidents were given. John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner,” which gave hope to generations, and Ronald Regan’s “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear down this wall.”

I paused in the gate, touched the walls, and slowly walked back, going from the free west to the not-so-free east. It was, in a real way, amazing. I had walked through the gate on my first trip to Berlin, but between the fact that I lacked context and the fact that the gate was, at the time, a gigantic advertisement for T-Mobile while the actual gate was undergoing repairs, Tuesday afternoon represented my first real emotional experience. I emerged into the former east and immediately knew that the times had changed.

I spotted a Starbucks.

The area inside the Brandenburg Gate has clearly prospered since the Wall fell. Haute Coulter and Culture is available here, as are run-of-the-mill Bentleys; yet the further east you go, the more you realized that the city has not yet healed from being divided. There are clearly areas that are doing well and areas that are, well, depressing.

More recently, TQE took another stab at analyzing the Cold War – but now, he had the perspective of someone who had lived in Germany for a while. While thinking about the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, he stated:

It wasn’t until I moved to Weimar and started to explore Germany that I think I began to understand the Cold War and the Berlin Wall. I would argue that it is something that is not easily captured in books and television documentaries—not that people shouldn’t try, after all I am trying right here to capture my perspective on history. The best way to try to capture and understand the history is by visiting, seeing, and touching the history; that is to acquire the tacit knowledge.

I agree 100 percent. You can’t really understand history until you have taken the time to stand where it was made. But until I can get to Germany again, I’ll just live vicariously through TQE’s blog.

We’re so close to 2,000 that you can smell it.

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