Friday, November 12, 2004

Follow-Up: Wim Won't Go!

Despite George W. Bush's re-election, German director Wim Wenders has announced to the magazine Focus that he will probably not leave his “adoptive home”, the United States. As noted here, on a German television talk show two days before the elections, Wenders declared that America under Bush had become a “fundamentalist, totalitarian country” and predicted that under a second Bush administration “the country will implode like a giant balloon”. But fundamentalism, totalitarianism and the impending apocalypse notwithstanding, (adoptive) home is (adoptive) home. Incidentally, in an interview given to the German weekly Die Zeit a few weeks earlier, Wenders noted that upon returning to Germany in mid-September and learning that the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD) had won nearly 10% of the vote in regional elections in Saxony, he found this “not so bad at all.” “When one comes here from America, namely,” Wenders continued, “German democracy, despite such a greeting, seems like political high culture.”

In his Focus interview, Wenders also offered an explanation for the Bush victory: “Bush perfidiously exploited September 11 for political gain and was able to assure that the country lives in fear for the last three years.” The fact that Osama Bin Laden in his recorded pre-election pitch offered “security” to those American states that voted to his liking - thus implicitly threatening any state that dared vote for Bush - suggests exactly the opposite explanation: i.e. that, if anything, Americans – and, more specifically, Bush voters - were in the face of threats moved by a spirit of defiance, not one of fear. Although most of the major media obscured this implication of the Bin Laden video through a dubious translation, thanks at least to some outlets controlled by evil media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, such as the New York Post, the story did come out. I can report, for instance, that I first heard of it on the eve of the election, when in a dark dismal corner of poor fearful America, a total stranger told me, “Osama says he is going to bomb any states that vote for Bush” – and then broke into peals of laughter. When I responded “Wha?!?”, my informant’s hilarity only increased and he repeated the scoop.

It might also be pointed out in this connection that in a survey of American military personnel conducted by Army Times Publishing in September, respondents favored President Bush over John Kerry by a 4-1 margin. If Wim Wenders believes that those people are motivated by fear, he well and truly is out of his mind.