Tuesday, July 5, 2016
A German in Name Only
It was time for a change of the blog photo. The previous one, shown below, was taken by guide and photographer Jake Quinones of Las Cruces. It was early morning on the Taos steppe, standing next to Eggbert and I was working at opening a can of stout Jake had offered.
The next one, the one this tale is about, showed me fully-clothed in front of Phoebe (the Geo Tracker) with the German flag.
Here's the story...
Many years ago I had an office in a division of the University of New Mexico's College of Education called LLSS. Formally known as Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies, it was an agglomeration of 22 professors who taught teachers, primarily graduate students, to teach cultural diversity. There was a Buddhist, a Jew, a Fascist, quite a few from the Native American community including the Pueblos of Zuni and Cochiti. Many were/are famous authors.
There was a Chinese woman who came from somewhere in the western part of the country who when I asked if she spoke Mandarin, huffily informed me there were over 27 languages in China of which she spoke six, including Mandarin. There were also several lesbians: a militant, a moderate, and a sensualist, each, of course, with a unique view of patriarchy. The rest were mostly Spaniards, descendents of the Conquistadors.
I, a mere administrator, designated myself The German-American and taped a brown paper sack with the German eagle on it to my door.
After my four-hour stint, I would cross the street to run my art gallery (NW corner of Central & Pine). My boss, the department secretary, came from an entrepreneurial family of Italians who'd immigrated to Gallup to be miners. Over the years she allowed me to run several businesses...as long as the faculty were kept happy.
When we first returned from Germany in '62, we went to Nashville, Tennessee. I was almost ten and had never encountered racial prejudice. Living through the Stokely Carmichael and Martin Luther King riots I saw first-hand the hatred and violence of Whites toward Blacks. Today, in an era of nationalism that reminds me of Germany in the 1930s, I occasionally fly the German flag as a mark of individuality, a symbol of pride in German neo-culturalism. It's nothing like being Black, or any of the flavors of sexual orientation, or -- there but for the grace of god go I -- FEMALE, but I like to think when folks see it, it'll give pause for thought. Maybe they'll wonder what those Germans are doing over there! (They presumably know what everyone else is doing.)
Once, when I was flying it, the flag that is, on the bluff above the Takhini River in the Yukon, my girlfriend, said, "There's no place for politics in the wilderness." I agreed and attempted mollification (she's Dutch) by saying it was a joke. She didn't think it was funny. And frankly, neither did I. But it's the best I can do in the face of the lines being drawn.
Finally, Wahnfried was the name of Richard Wagner's (the composer) home in Bayreuth. It means madness-free. Nomadicism has done the trick for me.
It's hot here in Moab, but at least it ain't raining.