Thursday, October 04, 2007


I went to a philosophy colloquium-retreat in Umbria a few years ago. Lots of deep and meaningful conversations amongst the cedars etc. There was an extraordinary chap there called Rasmussen from Denmark. We bonded over Rilke, except there was an imbalance between us. While I've memorised a couple of his poems, Rasmussen could remember anything Rilke wrote as soon as he had read it. He could recite the whole of Sonnets to Orpheus, in English, German and Danish. He went into a kind of trance as he did so. Fucker.

Anyway, one of the days, we were discussing Europe and racism. He opined that Denmark had no racial issues. This pinged a bell in the back of my head, and I gave chase. Eventually, bright as a spark Rasmussen admitted there were actually problems with immigration in Denmark, and that all was not quite equitable in the land of the blonds.

Under the all-is-well skies of liberal Europe and Scandinavia, swirls of racism continue to gather and release, blowing people over from time to time, invisible like the wind. Check the symbolic violence of Germany's equivalent of Red Bull here (thanks PW for the link).


Patrice,  2:34 pm  

Not the best choice of names, obviously meant to be provocative, if not intentionally racially disparaging. It would appear to be a cross between the highly succesful Red Bull and Fat Bastard (wine) labels.

mcunningham 5:21 pm  

Lost Son, a new novel based on Rilke's life and work, was published in June. You might be interested.


Mike,  5:34 pm  

Check out the black chick apparently advertising the stuff under the 'events' tab on their website.....

Anonymous,  5:50 pm  

After having lived in the Eastern US and many parts of the supposedly enlightened Western Europe over the past 25 years, all I can say is that the US is paradise compared with Europe, which I - as a black person - found hellish. There is a certain ceiling on your career if you are none other than white of white (what I call ultra-white), and this is something I found absent in the Eastern US, in places like NY, NJ, etc, where people in the corporate and industrial world are first and foremost interested in your talent and not the color of your skin.

Many Europeans have a terrible racist streak in them, and it's been there for the past 500 years - from slavery to colonialism to fascism to Nazism to Communism. Every chance the Europeans had to rule others, they atempted to wipe them out and rob them of their dignity. Thank God America has become the superpower. A world with European Superpowers could well mean the end of people like me.

It is nice to see that there are people who can see that some Europeans still have a way to go with race relations. When we hear of people like Samuel Eto'o being given grief in stadia across Spain simply for being black, those blacks who have visited or lived in Spain will totally understand.

I am not at all surprised by the "BlackBastard" stuff you posted. It's business-as-usual!

Anonymous,  7:32 pm  

I live in Germany and this is the first I have heard of this drink.

Anonymous,  8:10 pm  

Mein Gott in himmel!

Fred 4:07 pm  

It's massively funny how stereotypical you Artsy-Fartsy brainiacs are: going into a trance as he recited Rilke, indeed! Heheheh … he'd better stay close to civilization, that one. He'd be useless anywhere he can't get his latte at the local coffee shop.

How exactly can a “swirl” of racism gather and release? I think your symbolic language skills need a spiffing, old man.

Every culture exhibits prejudice. Every one exhibits prejudice; and racial prejudice is as old as humanity. Look in the mirror, oyinbo, and tell me otherwise.

Pinka,  8:35 pm  

This looks a prank website set up by a racist as an extreme right wing joke. The drink can't be real. If it is then seems to me we should raise hell about it.

Iyaeto 2:36 am  

does the black girl sitting @ the bar know what she's doing? Or she's just doing it for the money?

Mike,  2:45 pm  

Iyaeto, what do you think the black girl is doing?

Iyaeto 10:44 pm  

@ Mike Working? She seems comfortable wearing dat t-shirt? for how much?

Mike,  7:59 pm  

@Iyaeto - obviously enough, so what's your point?

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