Despite being urged to by the German Jewish Council as well as former Bavarian ‘Ministerpräsident’ (comparable to US American ‘governor’) Edmund Stoiber, the city of Munich will not refrain from holding its Carnival parade on Sunday, 27 January 2008 as Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. The city of Regensburg, which originally had planned its Carnival parade for that date as well, has already postponed the parade to 3rd February.

So, what is Carnival? In a nutshell, it’s a festival of celebrations before Lent, the forty-day fast preceding the Easter holiday. The folk celebrations likely adopted customary Ancient Roman and Celtic spring parades and their indulgence in food and drinks (and whatever else may happen under the influence). The Easter date in the Western churches is set to be on the first Sunday after the first full moon in spring, hence the dates of Carnival (or ‘Shrovetide‘) vary accordingly. This year, the heydays of Carnival are from 31st January through 5th February. Carnival is celebrated differently in different areas, and not all areas celebrate it as excessively as the Rhineland, where the season between 11th November and Shrove Tuesday is generally referred to as ‘the fifth season’.

Medieval Carnival celebrations in Southern Europe left a bad taste in Jewish mouths though as they for a long time involved ridiculing Jews as a way of public entertainment. In Cologne, the capital of German Carnival celebrations, the recent generation of Carnival officials (it’s a multi-billion business all in all, mind you) has undertaken the important step of shedding light on the Nazis’ infiltration of Carnival celebrations and the involvement of Carnival officials with the Nazi authorities as well as anti-Semitism being spread by the means of Carneval in Cologne.

Now, the North, East and Southeast of Germany have never really been known for Carnival celebrations liking to those of the Rhineland, where people dress up in fancy costumes (that’s where the masquerading on Purim likely actually stems from) and celebrate in the streets, at private or public parties for days. But apparently, that cake looked delicious enough for other cities to try to get a few slices as well.

Munich, better known for its Oktoberfest, has had some Carnival celebrations as well, but to a Rhinelander, those are bubkes. This year, the city of Munich plans on and insists on holding its Carnival parade tomorrow, 27 January 2008. Munich’s mayor, Christian Ude (Social Democrats) claims the parade could not be postponed anymore because of legal reasons. As mentioned above, the German Jewish Council as well as former Bavarian governor Stoiber have taken offence at Munich’s insistence on sticking to that date for its parade. Please note, 27th January this year is about one week prior to the actual Shrovetide Sunday and is not one of the main days of Carnival.

As probably all readers know, 27th January marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp and is the date of the international Holocaust Remembrance Day. In 1996 former German head-of-state Roman Herzog proclaimed 27th January as the national Holocaust Remembrance Day; the UN followed suit in November 2005. Needless to say, excessive celebrations involving dance, song, alcohol, and lavish feasting do not go well with the sobriety one might find expectable, desirable and appropriate on that day.

What can we do? For now, not much. But in the long run, I suggest you may want to think twice before you go to Munich for Oktoberfest. If they cannot honour your dead there, they certainly should not get to honour your business – and your money – there either.

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  • A mixed picture, eh froylein, with Stoiber– still a prominent figure in the conservative Christian Social Union and its partner, the Christian Democratic Party– advocating the change. And Bavaria remains overwhelmingly Catholic and mostly hostile to the SPD, right? So should we ascribe the Munich mayor’s decision to Bavarians generally?

    As for the Nazi association, good for officialdom to air it. But I’m not sure what it means for contemporary behavior. I for one, for example, am untroubled in playing Haydn’s quartet Op. 76, no. 3 (while preferring the Opus 33 set… but I digress).

    (Check out this week’s Spiegel, btw, on Nazi voting patterns– the NSDAP polled quite poorly in Bavaria.)

    If we eschewed everything that the Nazis tried to coopt, we’d have to rid our museums of Rembrandt (Hitler’s favorite painter), refuse to perform Beethoven 9 (played annually on the Fuehrer’s birthday– I’ve got a recording of Furtwangler/BPO performing it in Hitler’s presence on 4/20/43), etc. etc. There’d be no end to it.

    My advice– kick back in the true spirt of Carnival: screw the German version and buy yourself a clutch of Jorge Ben and Chico Buarque samba records…. Almost as good as a trip to Rio.

  • The NSdAP generally didn’t get much support among Catholics; but Spiegel is not a source I’d refer to, whether I agree with it or not.

    Munich’s not symptomatic of Bavaria, even Catholicism isn’t by far as strong there as in the Bavarian countryside. However, Oktoberfest is a Munich celebration, and the sales taxes out of proceeds go to the city of Munich.

    I don’t claim people should stop celebrating Carnival; I just think it’s tactless to celebrate on this particular date – most other cities have chosen not to hold any celebrations tomorrow.

    Records? Oy, Tom how old are you? Flights to Brazil are as little as 99 Euros from here, and I’ve got family there, too. 🙂

  • I’m well aware, TM. That’s one of the reasons I’m considering another trip to NYC in March. Shopping there is so much fun when the dollar’s cheap. 😀

  • There are plenty of better reasons to make fun of me. And lay off my collection of 78s.

    (btw, Middle– Barack with 55% in SC? Wow.)

  • Tom, I’ll quote the NYT:

    “Mr. Obama, who had built an extensive grass-roots network throughout the state, received the support of about 80 percent of black voters, the exit polls showed. He also received about one-quarter of the white vote, with Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards splitting the remainder.

    Mr. Obama was helped by strong support from black women, who made up one-third of the voters. Mrs. Clinton, with the help of her husband, had competed vigorously for black women voters, but Mr. Obama received about 80 percent of their support, according to the exit polls…

    As we discussed a few days ago, he played the race card here with his attacks on the Clintons. They were unable to counter and perhaps rightly so – there has never been a viable black candidate for President before. Also, I think they were wrong to fight back instead of crying that they’re his victims. That seems to have strengthened the position hinted at with the initial attacks by his associates who brought up this divisive issue in the first place – that he’s the black candidate and the Clintons, no matter how friendly they may have been to the African American community, are…not African American like Obama.

    I don’t know that this contest is meaningful for the rest of the country to the degree the media suggests. February 5 will truly determine the fate of the Democrats. In that contest Hillary will definitely be competitive, although she can now assume that for the rest of the campaign, the African American vote isn’t going her way. The other unknown is Edwards. If he throws in the towel, his supporters have to decide whether to go for Obama or Clinton. I suspect they’ll go for the less established candidate, much as they have for Edwards so far. In that case, Obama may actually have enough to win the nomination.

    I agree with the NYT editorial of a couple of days ago, however, and believe Hillary is much better qualified.

  • Well Hillary did beat Obama in the Jewlicious Poll by 3%. I’m not sure that ALL of Edwards’ votes are going to go to Obama but I do agree that Hillary is better qualified to be President. I also think Obama is a candidate that at least the Republicans believe they can beat. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see – I mean anything can happen – George Bush was elected twice after all!

  • In the end, it’s the Electoral College’s decision. But I do find it worrisome that Obama’s campaigning lacks plans on politics in case if (something we’re very eager to hear about here in Europe). That’s the substantiality that is needed. If being smart, black and handsome were the key qualifications for Presidency, then parties should have asked Denzel Washington to run for them. He’s also marvellous at playing Shakespeare.BTW, I’ve asked around a bit; Muslims (among them many Black ones, too) are not likely to vote for Obama as his conversion to Christianity made him lose all credibility in Muslim eyes. They’d rather even vote for a woman. 😉

  • The conventional wisdom may be right about Hillary’s high unfavorable rating– I’m inclined to think she’d be more vulnerable to a McCain candidacy. (Watch McCain play Hillary’s roasting of David Petraeus last fall over and over again.) But Barack v. McCain… future v. the past… bad news for Republicans, seems to me.

    Meanwhile– will someone tell John Edwards he’s officially a dead man walking? Time to exit stage left, John.

    Middle, I agree about the Times editorial. Couldn’t stand the McCain piece, though, with its way over-the-top attack on Guiliani. There’s a shrillness to the Times these days that’s pretty wearying.

    froylein, I have an Ipod, OK, but I ain’t givin’ up on CDs (not when I got about 2000 of ’em littering my pad).

  • See, Tom, I haven’t even got an iPod, but that’s because I haven’t been too keen on anything that comes with earphones since I had a motorbike accident that caused me a skull fracture. So, what kind of CDs have you got? All classical? Or some folk punk as well? Let’s talk about things we collect. 🙂 Does TM collect something, too?

  • Neat link, froylein…. And don’t you love those viewer comments on YouTube? (‘I’m English but so want to be Irish’ my personal fave, naturally.)

    Middle being Middle, he doesn’t collect anything, because collecting is fundamentally an irrational and unhealthy activity. I’m unhealthy, and aspire to be irrational, so I collect signed first ed. novels, CDs (breakdown is c.1000 classical, 700 jazz, the remainder split bet.Latin–Brazilian and Cuban– and African– mostly Igbo/Nigerian music of the 70s and 80s). Also collect comtemp. photo, mostly portraits, mostly US– actually, the only non-US artist I have is a German (Thomas Struth).

    Middle, I have to take issue with you in assigning Obama the blame for foregrounding race as an issue. In his victory speech last night, he again spoke of overcoming divisions and stereotypes. Certainly, he can’t be blamed for being black or causing blacks to vote for him in such huge numbers.

    I’m fearful that Hillary may become– and even embrace– the role of the candidate of white backlash. One white woman, interviewed leaving the pollw yesterday, said she’d only decided to vote for Hillary in the last days of the campaign, feeling that Obama was ‘unelectable.’ The specter here is of whites seeking cover with the code word of ‘electability’– masking a fear of Barack as the candidate of black folks. He may end up a ‘race man’ despite himself. Which would bring a great story (whether you support him or not) to a discouraging, sobering end.

    It’s going to get even more interesting over the next couple of weeks.

  • Fractured skull? Sheesh.

    There’s something about a woman on a motorbike, btw (unless it’s
    for the Gay Pride parade– though that’s interesting in its own way… )

  • Tom, indeed, it reminded me of a customer I dealt with while I was living in Britain. We had to ask customers’ nationality (for an annual breakdown), and one replied, “I am British, but my heart feels Irish.” His name was something to the effect of ‘Chandra Lal’. It was one of those professional-smile moments while my French colleague was trying hard not to crack up in the background.

    Your unhealthy and irrational behaviour sounds good enough to me. I might even be worse than you as not all my collections are so sophisticated. Besides the natural liking for shoes (about 100 pairs at any given time), I collect NYC mini mugs (currently I’ve got 37 different design ones), books on European Jewish history, jewellery in general, Art Nouveau jewellery in particular, whimsical snowman figurines, odd antiques such as a neolithic millstone for handgrinding grain, an Ancient Roman oil lamp or an Ancient Celtic belt buckle, quality cookie cutters (as I enjoy baking and ironing as relaxing activities when something upsets me). As for artwork, I puchased two original Chagalls over the past two years, and hope to add one more every subsequent year. In addition, I’ve got a weakness for fine chinaware and kitchenware e.g. by Rosenthal, Lomonosov, and WMF.

  • I collect posts on Jewlicious.

    Tom, we disagree. When Hillary and Bill supposedly offended by saying that Dr. King needed a President to get things done and by calling some of Obama’s claims a “fairy tale,” they actually did not offend and they also did not interject race into the contest.

    When Obama’s shills made the case that Hillary and Bill were bringing race into the contest with those two remarks, and then pressed the issue in the press and inside communities across S.C., they were definitely introducing this subject into the contest. The tactic of then having the black candidate who introduced the issue speak out above the fray and call for healing divisions may make him look presidential but does not mitigate the real harm that his campaign caused.

    It seems that race is now going to play a role in this campaign and I assign the blame to Obama and his campaign. Prior to the attacks on Hillary and Bill, the fact is that her campaign’s worst attacks on Obama were to bring up the drug issue. That’s not race and that’s not how the voting broke down, it broke down along racial lines. Obama made himself the black candidate to win SC. Maybe he can bounce back and re-locate the non-racial candidate that he was before, but I think the genie is out of the bottle now and the rest of this campaign will include racial overtones that didn’t need to exist.

    As for McCain vs. Obama or McCain vs. Clinton, in either case it will be a difficult contest for both sides. I think, however, that Obama’s inexperience as a politician is going to cause him to lose whereas it’s tough to make that claim against Hillary. Whether it’s a black or a female candidate, in both cases they are competing against a white male with a strong resume. Then the Democrats will be at a disadvantage if this is what drives voters. It’s a wash during the primaries, however, because both sides are claiming the other is unelectable.

    I don’t think Edwards is leaving soon because he knows this is the last time he gets to have the bully pulpit and the really big race is on Feb. 5. What’s interesting is to see where he kisses ass to try to become the winner’s running mate. My guess is he’ll check to see who wins in early Feb. and then make a pragmatic decision…

  • It’s reassuring to know there’s someone even worse off than I am, froylein!… Chagall’s an interesting guy to collect. Do you have prints or other work on paper? He’s the sort of artist it’s fashionable in some circles to disdain (like John Singer Sargent among Americans– Tchaikovsky’s a non-visual art analogue). Chagall’s often put down as sentimental; maybe it was his misfortune to have lived a long and productive life, because that seems to harm reputations more often than not… Anyway, the art world is all about swings and roundabouts, and Chagall will have his day (again). I like his work– but then, I’m an Expressionist. (I sort of connect MC with El Greco via Kokoschka, Beckmann etc.)

    What is it with women and shoes? This is truly one of the most unfathomable mysteries of your gender.

    I can only imagine the palace you must live in, that you can take on such a staggering array of stuff.

  • You reassure me that Edwards has a strategy, Middle, because I really couldn’t figure it. I have to believe that he’s done after 2/5, because he’ll by then have lost any credibility– how could you even include him in a debate, if he’s polling at 15ish%?

    Mark Shields made a prescient comment last Friday on PBS that Obama’s (expected) win in SC gave him the chance to reset the terms of the campaign– to get out from under the attacks of the past couple of weeks. Obama seemed intent on that yesterday. But you’re right, the genie is out of the bottle. One approach for Hillary at this point is to attack him as unelectable. On the face of it, that’s a reasonable response to his claims to be a healer of division. However, it also suggests that Democrats shouldn’t elect someone who banks so heavily on black support– that Obama’s a fringe candidate, not a mainstream one worthy of being taken seriously by white people. (Dick Morris has predicted this strategy, and he knows the Clintons pretty well.)

    Net net, don’t the Republicans seem in far better shape to compete in Nov. than they did on Dec. 27, or Sept. 27?

    Do you get to vote on Super Tuesday? (I realize that’s asking you to partly disclose your, uh, “undisclosed location’….)

  • I ain’t saying nothin’ ’bout my location. One day, if I’m out your way I’ll shoot you an email and we can do coffee.

    Yes, the Republicans do seem to be in much better shape, and it’s because of the irony of the Dems having two very strong candidates and the Republicans having pushed McCain to the sidelines until recently. I guess it was inevitable that the attacks in the Dem world would become more severe, but it has undermined both Clinton and Obama for the national race.

    The problem McCain has is that he is a true Conservative. I’m just not sure the country is going to want another person who speaks along the same lines as the current White House resident.

    I can’t imagine that Dick Morris is right. The Clintons have always been friends of the black community and even if this is about politics, Obama has just proven that it’s virtually impossible to respond to attacks on race by bringing up race because it makes the responder look mean-spirited and possibly racist. If this is their strategy for the Dem nomination, it will backfire.

  • I think Middle secretly collects masks. 🙂

    I’ve got two original lithos (as opposed to reproductions) by him. I know there are folks who find it en vogue to dislike artists that not only were commercially sucessful but whose names most people can pronounce, but being synaesthetic, I feel drawn to Chagall’s compositions of colours that on the originals I find to be absolutely breathtaking. I mean, this is handsigned stuff. I like different kinds of art, just not too fond of Romanticism (e.g. Spitzweg), Realism and Naturalism even though I can see and appreciate of the respective artists’ brilliance. I also enjoy the Art Noueveau designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and several somewhat ‘plain’ German and Austrian Art Nouveau furniture manufacturers (as opposed to the rather lush French Art Nouveau furniture).

    What’s wrong with men thriving on three pairs? 🙂

  • Check out fellow-synaesthesiac(?) Scriabin’s music, esp. his late stuff for piano. Unhinged, but visceral, very exciting.

    If we can deal with three pairs, why can’t you all?

  • Tom, the mystery of shoes is an easy one. Bluntly put, “Shoes fit.” No matter how bad of a hairday we’ve got, no matter how unforgiving a snug outfit would be of a weekend’s indulgence, no matter how badly hormonal changes may have affected our skin: shoes fit, are loyal and forgiving. Also, heels make us taller, stand straighter, make our calves look more defined, make us move our hips more when walking (if we have any; straight-shaped women usually do a terrible job at walking in heels as the hips are needed to balance the height differences), etc. Also, we enjoy being the object of shoe envy. 🙂

  • Watch it, that’s my senior senator you’re talking about! Local TV trotted out its Teddy footage for the occasion. He’s still ambulatory– barely. Whether he’s together cognitively is an open question.

    Kerry, Kennedy family notables, and the pater familias himself tend to coordinate this kind of thing, so it doesn’t surprise me. And Teddy’s never fully embraced the Clintons. He takes seriously his role as keeper of the liberal flame, and distrusts triangulating, DLC Bill.

    Now, the question is– does the rest of the liberal left, the crowd and the rest, glom onto Obama?

  • Yo, Giyoret– if you like Maria Rita, and all of her stuff is really good (the most recent CD’s a samba album), check out her mom, arguably the greatest singer in Brazilian history: the Little Hurricane, Elis Regina. ‘Elis and Tom’ (1974) and her 1966 album ‘Elis’ are classics!

  • (froylein, that’s what Middle’s told me, but I wasn’t sure to believe it, coming from him….)

  • I don’t know whether Middle’s ever tried walking in high heels himself, but afterall he’s married, so I think you may rely on his expertise. 🙂

  • “Beethoven 9 (played annually on the Fuehrer’s birthday– I’ve got a recording of Furtwangler/BPO performing it in Hitler’s presence on 4/20/43)”
    That isnt correct – 1. That performing was at 4.19.42; 2. Hitler wasnt present.

  • Big aficionado here, Tom–one of these days when I get to Brazil the first thing I’ll do is kiss that blessed ground–there is no music like it, you can feel the whole range of human emotion, and the world is a more beautiful place because of it.
    I swear I can go from 0-60 on the happy meter as soon as I hear the first notes…

  • Let’s hope the 50th year anniversary celebration of bossa nova raises the profile of Brazilian music here in the US, Giyoret…. If you’re a fan, you probably know this already, but Jorge Ben’s Forca Bruta (from 1970, I think) just got re-released by Chicago-based Dusty Groove. Did that guy ever make a bad record?

    I’m still making my way through all the great early MPB stuff from the 60s and 70s– M. Valle, Edu Lobo, Buarque et al. Amazing stuff.

  • I agree–it’s all good. Love Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso..Joao Gilberto!!! Oh, and it’s like there’s no need to even mention Jobim 🙂
    I took Portuguese lessons just so I could sing. I LOVE this music. It is surprising more people don’t know this music here. These artists get big crowds in other places when they tour.

    Happy listening–I’ve got some on right now as I write!

  • Hallo Raphael,

    ich habe schon vorbeigeschaut. Sieht vielversprechend aus. Außerdem freut es mich, noch einen Rheinländer begrüßen zu können. 😉

    Kölle Alaaf!