Rammstein fans are by no means alone in their emotional neglect. They represent a minority that always wants to march on.
“The storytellers go on, the auto industry goes on, the workers go on, the governments go on, the rock ‘n’ roll singers go on” – yes, just those, last but not least.
If one wishes to grasp the sentiment radiating from contemporary Germany, perhaps the poet with the uber-German name Rolf Dieter Brinkmann is a place to start with this excerpt from his much longer litany of perpetual going on. It has something senseless, something self-forgotten like in the game, but also something defiant and snotty: The Rammstein fans seem like children, who just don’t want to believe that papi hits mami, because no judgment has been made yet, which they are not able to make themselves in their mental immaturity and emotional dependency.
Not even by simply staying away from the spectacle do they manage to show respect and compassion for and with those who undoubtedly suffered and are suffering, who were injured – beyond the question of their own joint responsibility and the criminal relevance of the events. The fans would literally have to do nothing to provide stadiums and arenas in which the Rammstein company could deal with its own emptiness.
A simple, if not friendly, wait-and-see no-show would be enough to show a little awareness, a little decency and to express a tiny desire that the members of Rammstein do more than hide behind lawyers like behind the Berlin Wall and weave taunting references into their lyrics. These fans don’t have to do anything – but they aren’t even able to do that. One may attribute this emotional coldness to neoliberalism or to the Neanderthal gene – the decisive factor is to look realities in the eye.
They don’t care about the future
Because these fans are by no means alone with their emotional neglect. They represent a mood in the country, not that of the majority, but of a very strong minority, which – Rammstein’s music suits this very well – always wants to keep marching on, come what may. In the past they would have been called followers, but the follower hopes to get out of a social mess personally by hiding in the crowd.
The Rammstein concert audience, the supposed protest AfD voters, the combustion fanatics: they all have in common that they form a kind of avant-garde of meanness that is no longer interested in one thing – the future; not that of their sons and certainly not that of their daughters, but not their own either. They want to celebrate the final party with bang and bang, bang, bang, rational objections and moral considerations only get in the way.
Colleague Andreas Rüttenauer recently called this clientele the “normalitariat”, i.e. the people who cavorted at the Erdinger heating demonstration and who jubilantly listened to the hate speech against democracy by Deputy Bavarian Prime Minister Hubert Aiwanger. Quote Rüttenauer: “And the others? They are ‘abnormal’, as Hubert Aiwanger said. What would he do with the abnormal if, as promised, he took back democracy? You don’t want to know. Erding scares.”
Rammstein doesn’t scare. Rammstein is just a rocked-out party combo who have now come full circle on their ironically begun and economically extremely successful tour of Germany’s past: They now appear as unironically cold and scornful as SS men, pinched and cowardly stylizing themselves as victims. And the cuddly keyboarder just keeps playing the key fucker, most intimately with his eyes shut tightly. The people who don’t manage to turn away – yes why not – sad and disappointed, to change direction, are scary.
The answer: 51 percent
And what, is the logical question, to oppose a possible ‘dictatorship of normality’? The answer is sobering because it is sober. It reads: 51 percent. We can’t count on people who don’t care about their own future or that of their children – because that’s how they act and, as we all know, acting is like talking, only more blatantly – being persuaded by arguments. Nor can we systematically change them or force them to be happy in a totalitarian way that they do not want. We can only democratically give them an unattractive place – that of the minority.
We have enough to do with that and we also need and have role models for this: all the women affected who spoke up in the Rammstein case, reliving the horror and overcoming shame, are heroes of the majority who want to live and pass on the idea of the good life. We have to be attractive, courageous and open, although looking at the world gives little reason to do so. We have to resist the temptation to just let things slide and say goodbye as a species with a bang, even though that sometimes seems so tempting: that’s what makes him – did I mention that? – quite suggestive Rammstein sound.
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