736 – Dawn Is A Feeling

Oh dear, that’s a ride! I sit on the train from Carinthia to Vienna, and the only car with electric current is one of these pre-mobile-phone-era cars that are almost perfect Faradayan cages. My internet connection is so flaky that it took me almost an hour to move this image to the proper gallery, assign keywords and write five lines!

Anyway. This is an image of Saturday morning, just befoe the sun came up, shortly before the fog rose. The rest of the day was work in the new apartment in Villach.

It’s funny, but we seem to have problems avoiding politics these days. Ted can’t keep his fingers off Sarah Palin and I have to come back to the recently departed Austrian master populist Jörg Haider.

Saturday was the Day of Jörg Haider’s funeral, and whatever you have read about the Carinthians worshipping him: it’s true! I hate to admit it, but Carinthia has fallen into a collective hysteria that I have never seen before. What they do is nothing short of creating a new Saint. Looking at it from a distance this may seem interesting and peculiar, a local phenomenon that meets astonishment even in Vienna, but from the perspective of a Carinthian-born thinking man it is absolutely disgusting.

It is bizzarre to see how fast history is re-written, how fast it is erased that this man’s strongest talents were to agitate the stupid against the weak and to spend our money with both hands.

So now, that’s our new Saint: a reckless politician who died drunk in his car, speeding at at least 142 kmh trough the fog. What a model for our youth! And still: people seem to love him! I can’t understand it. What is it?

People always adored his frank way of saying things that superficially resembled truth. He was daring. He is the only Austrian politician who was ever seen bungee jumping, one of the few who ran the New York marathon, he was a friend of Lybia’s dictator Gadaffi and he visited Saddam Hussein shortly before the US made an end to his régime. He was rich, independent, knew how to use the media, and in all that he made everybody think he was one of them.

Unbelievable? Yes, but that’s how it was, and though he certainly had liked to live on, what happens now would have pleased him. It’s pretty depressing that someone like him should triumph even in death.

Sorry for the rant, we instantly get soft again 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Dawn Is A Feeling” from the classic 1967 Moody Blues album “Days of Future Passed“. Hear it on YouTube.

4 thoughts on “736 – Dawn Is A Feeling”

  1. …and I had the faint hope that this impression of mass hysteria was only something concocted by the media, somewhat amplified by the long distance. One can only hope that time washes things away and that we are not witnessing the birth of yet another hodgepodge of conspirancy theories gone crazy.

  2. Sure, there are conspiracy theories, but only by few people, those who would believe anything anyway. No, that’s not what is so shocking.

    What makes me breathless, is the deep grief of the ten thousands who have come to visit the place where he died (well, actually places, so fast was he), have stood in line for hours to see him laid out, who have been at the funeral. What shocks me is that they treat him like a benevolent monarch, a bringer of peace, a truly great man. And this although he was nothing of that, least of all a man of peace. Jörg Haider was a malevolent, destructive egoist, a big spender of our money, a nepotist of the worst kind, always bordering legality, routinely defying our constitution and its institutions.

    But they love him. Normal, honest people love him. THAT’s what I don’t get!

  3. just to pick out two expressions of your rant: “Carinthian-born thinking man” and “to agitate the stupid against the weak”

    For any thinking man a certain kind of politicians will always mean utter grief. Unfortunately it is only too easy to come up with an endless row of disgusting politicians that exerted some fascination, the less you want to think the easier to fall for this kind of false charisma. As a born and bred bavarian, socialized in the time of the famous Franz-Josef Strauss I know what I am speaking about. And I have to admit that I myself had fallen to this.

    And “to agitate the stupid against the weak” – that is exactly what extremists are doing, more or less openly all over the world. In Sri Lanka government’s fight against the Tamils it is exactly this mechanism. What causes utmost bewilderment among the thinking ones is that this strategy is so widely accepted.

  4. FJS, of course he is another good example 🙂

    I think what most people are after, are simple, working solutions.

    The problem is, that people at no time understood how things worked. In earlier times it was simply not known and there was no scientific analysis. Now there is, and for a long time we believed that progress and knowledge would eradicate these behaviours, but in fact it has not happened. We know more, yes, but at the same time the world has become unbelievably more complex.

    In order to judge a solution, you have to have a deep understanding of the problem, but our problems are so complex by now, that we more or less have to believe what our scientists say. Honestly, who can judge quantum physics? Of course it is even worse with social sciences. Seen as sciences we attribute exactness to them, but they are never exact. You can “prove” pretty much everything without too much tampering with hard facts. Even the Nazi had sort of a pseudo-scientific base.

    Populism is damn attractive because it provides simple solutions. The problem is, that even though they don’t work, it is most of the time not obvious, and in some cases it needs a lot of scientific scrutinizing to prove that they don’t work and why not. In many other cases it even can’t be asserted, it is only highly unlikely that they could work.

    Now take a someone without the means to verify one or the other, but with a strong yearning for the (often only perceived) simplicity of the past (before the immigrants came, before there were so many Jews in this town, before …). Whom would he believe? The populist who speaks his language or the scientist?

    People glorify the past, people believe that things that once worked will work again, people feel better when they can blame their misery to someone. The problem is that populism is so easy, and in any case much easier than constructive work.

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