July 03, 2008

Where Discord Is Good

Bayern Munich introduced their new coach to the media this week. He’s none other than my favorite Californian, Jürgen Klinsmann. According to the AFP, “some 20 photographers walked out of the press conference in protest over Bayern's insistence they had just three minutes to photograph the new coach.” There’s obviously strife between the institution trying to manage its public image and the reporters expressing dissension, at least among photographers.

That’s good! Bad things happen when there’s accord and collusion between institutions and the media.

In Heinrich Böll’s 1974 novella, The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, the police leak expurgated evidence about an innocent protagonist to the Zeitung, an allusion to the real-life Bild Zeitung, the most widely read newspaper in the country. Katharina Blum is a cleaning lady whose friends call her “the nun” because of her prudishness. During a drunken carnival party in Cologne, she has a one-night stand with (unbeknown to her) a suspected RAF terrorist. The press humiliate her, incriminate her, brand her a dangerous communist, and eventually instigate her murder of the vulgar and insensitive reporter Tötges. Why does she become violent even though more reputable newspapers are out there exhonerating her? The answer lies in the fact that everyone only reads the Zeitung in Katharina’s world, the working classes and the petit-bourgeoisie. Böll’s novella is a fitting warning for American society and the ascendancy of Fox News, which recklessly colludes with the military and White House.

2 comments:

Mama V said...

Nice new look, Brains.

Nayan Marie said...

Amen.