Guten Tag von Deutchland

I R IN UR GERMANY, EATING UR SCHNITZEL

I’m back in Germany for work this week, and unlike the three-week sitzkrieg the last time I was here, our participation is a very compressed week-and-a-half blitzkrieg, so very little time for touristing. You can refer to my travelogue from last year for details about Weiden in der Oberpfalz, the town where I’m staying. I’ll post a couple of new pictures if I can.

So far, the weather has been temperate, murky, and damp, with occasional rain showers. Bavaria seems to be about a month behind our early springtime in Kansas City. The grass is just beginning to green and a few tentative buds are unfolding from the branches of the trees.

On the cultural front, Hunger Games fever is alive and well here. The books are prominently displayed in bookstore windows, and the local theater is plastered with posters and a notice about advance ticket sales. The movie is called “Die Tribute von Panem” here, for some reason known only to the marketing wizards.

Almost everybody likes this story, regardless of where they stand on the social, philosophical, or political spectrum. This is odd. You would think a movie featuring children dragooned into a televised battle to the death would be polarizing, but it seems to have the opposite effect. I was thinking about this the other day and had an epiphany.

The Hunger Games is like a gorilla. It arouses both anxiety and sympathy, and it’s fascinating to watch. Who doesn’t love a gorilla? King Kong terrified people, but he also moved them to tears. People of any stripe can embrace this story wholeheartedly without fear of offending their favorite interest group and can use it as an illustration supporting whatever ideology they wish. And it’s entertaining, to boot. To summarize (click on the chart for a full-sized version):

See? Something for everybody.

I’ll have to wait until I get home to see the movie, but I’ve reviewed the first couple books in the series here and here. I think they’re pretty good, and they wrestle with some themes that will resonate with people of any age and any culture.

About the only folks who I expect won’t find something to like are the sour grapes crowd, who pile onto their soapboxes whenever they encounter something everybody else is enjoying: “People like it, people are evil, ergo, this must be evil.” Let ’em fume. Macht’s nichts.

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