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Degenerate Art in New Normal Germany

Degenerate Art in New Normal Germany

One of the first things totalitarians do when they set about transforming a democratic society into whatever type of strictly-regulated, utterly soul-deadening totalitarian dystopia they are trying to transform it into is radically overhaul and remake its culture.

You can’t impose your new official ideology on a formerly democratic society with a bunch of artists running around loose, making fun of you and your propaganda. No, you need to get the culture business under control, and dictate what is and isn’t “art,” and what types of art are “harmful to society,” and demonize them, and the artists who created them, and censor them, or otherwise erase them.

The Nazis went about this process in their characteristically ham-fisted fashion…

In September 1933, the Nazis created the Reich Chamber of Culture. The Chamber oversaw the production of art, music, film, theater, radio, and writing in Germany. The Nazis sought to shape and control every aspect of German society. They believed that art played a critical role in defining a society’s values. In addition, the Nazis believed art could influence a nation’s development. Several top leaders became involved in official efforts on art. They sought to identify and attack ‘dangerous’ artworks as they struggled to define what ‘truly German’ art looked like.” — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

One of the most ham-fisted events in the course of this process of ideological “synchronization” (a process known as “Gleichschaltung” in German) was the Entartete Kunst (“Degenerate Art”) exhibition in Munich in 1937…

New Normal Germany is not Nazi Germany, so there is no “New Normal Chamber of Culture,” and no new “Degenerate Art” exhibition. The New Normal is a new form of totalitarianism, one which can’t afford to be perceived as totalitarianism, and thus the Gleichschaltung process works a bit differently.

I’m going to use my prosecution as an example, again. I apologize to any regular readers who are sick of hearing me go on about it. I know, I promised not to go all “Late Lenny Bruce,” but the Germans keep providing me with new comedy material.

If you’re not one of those regular readers and thus are unfamiliar with the background of my case, you can read about it in The AtlanticMatt Taibbi’s Racket News, and in various independent media outlets.

The short version is, back in 2022, I posted two Tweets criticizing mask mandates and making fun of Karl Lauterbach, the German Health Minister. Both Tweets included an image from the cover artwork of my latest book, The Rise of The New Normal Reich: Consent Factory Essays, Vol. III (2020-2021).

The German authorities did not appreciate those Tweets, so they (1) had them censored by Twitter, (2) had Amazon ban my book in Germany, and (3) dragged me into criminal court and prosecuted me on trumped-up “hate crime” chargesI was acquitted of those charges at my trial in Januarybut the Berlin State Prosecutor has appealed the verdict.

The latest bit of comic material the German authorities have provided me with is a copy of the prosecutor’s grounds for the appeal. In it, the Oberstaatsanwältin als Hauptabteilungsleiterin (i.e., “The Senior Public Prosecutor and Department Head”) argues that my Tweets do not express opposition to the Nazis, which … she’s right, they don’t. They express opposition to the mask mandates, and lies of the German authorities, and their violation of the German constitution.

My Tweets do not express my opposition to the Nazis because my Tweets assume opposition to the Nazis. They assume that all decent people understand and take it for granted that the Nazis were … well, Nazis, vicious, sadistic, mass-murdering fascists, with zero respect for democracy and the rule of law, who were obsessed with imposing their fanatically insane ideology on the entire planet.

They (i.e., my Tweets) assume that comparing a contemporary group of power-intoxicated, constitution-violating, official-propaganda-spewing psychopaths — for example, the current German authorities — to the Nazis is not exactly a compliment.

The Senior Public Prosecutor and Head of Department, who is clearly not only an expert on the law, and political commentary, but is also an expert on art, and subtlety, and other elements of aesthetics, explains the other problem with my art (i.e., in addition to the problem of opposing the German authorities’ unconstitutional dictates when I should have been opposing the Nazis) in her “Revisionsbegründung” (“Grounds for Appeal”); too much subtlety, not enough “clarity” and “obviousness.”

Here’s an excerpt from the Revisionsbegründung (translation, clarification, and emphasis mine).

The general politically-critical presentation [of the Tweets] does not even begin to express opposition to the NSDAP [i.e., the Nazi Party] and its ideology in an equally obvious and unequivocal way […] Ultimately, the representations express that the accused wanted to emphasize his concerns about the measures in the Corona policy by adding the so-called swastika and the implicit reference to National Socialism. The implication is diametrically opposed to the required obviousness and clarity.”

If only someone had told me about the importance of “obviousness” in works of art when I was back in film school or starting out as an avant-garde playwright in New York City, who knows, I could have been somebody!

Instead, I got myself all confused by artists like … well, for example, John Heartfield. The title of this 1936 piece is “HAVE NO FEAR – HE’S A VEGETARIAN.”

In light of The Senior Public Prosecutor’s argument, I don’t know what to think about this piece anymore. What was Heartfield trying to say? Was he pro- or anti-Hitler? More importantly, was he pro- or anti-vegetarian?

And what are we supposed to think about this? Is Barbara Kruger pro- or anti-shopping?

And here’s an illustration by Anthony Freda, the artist who designed the cover of my book, and who is clearly suffering from a “clarity and obviousness” deficiency!

Oh, and speaking of inadequate “clarity” and “obviousness,” and the displaying of swastikas on German Twitter, here’s a Tweet by Die Tageszeitung, the big “left” newspaper here in Berlin …

Back in November, my attorney filed a complaint about that Tweet with the Public Prosecutor, as an experiment, just to see how they would respond. Of course, they declined to investigate, and prosecute, and cited the same exceptions to the ban on displaying swastikas that apply in my case, and which the judge also cited when she acquitted me in January.

I asked my attorney to carry out that experiment, because, at the time, I was terribly confused about whether Die Tageszeitung opposed the Nazis, or was trying to promote the Nazis, or what exactly all those swastikas and smirking Nazis were doing in a Tweet about “German Muslims” and other “migrant people” and how they think about the Holocaust.

In the end, I decided the Twitter operators at Die Tageszeitung were probably working under the same assumption about how people view the Nazis as I was when I posted my two Tweets, i.e., the assumption that the Nazis were bad and that you do not have to reiterate that to the general public each and every time you include a photograph of them, or a swastika, in your social-media artwork.

But, seriously now, as I noted in court, my case has nothing to do with the Nazis or The Senior Public Prosecutor’s understanding of art. It’s part of the crackdown on political dissent that is being carried out, not just here in Germany, but in countries all throughout the West.

Yes, it’s particularly fascistic in Germany — if you can read German, here is yet another example of a case like mine, but under a different pretext — and it is absolutely focused on critics of the official Covid narrative and the Covid restrictions, but it isn’t focused exclusively on us.

If you can set aside your allegiance to whatever side of whatever you have pledged it to, and have a look at what is coming down the pipe, or is already all the way down the pipe, in the USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, France, and various other countries … well, I strongly recommend that you do that, preferably before we all get “gleichgeschaltet.”

If you need a place to start, I posted links to a few articles on Matt Taibbi’s Notes thing

OK, that’s it. I need to finish this column and go and up my “clarity and obviousness” game. The last thing I’d want to do at this point is post some other non-obvious art and accidentally “delegitimize the state.” I’m already in enough trouble as it is! Thank God I have The Senior Public Prosecutor’s Revisionsbegründung to refer to!

I tell you, I don’t know where I’d be without these Germans!


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