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The first big excitement   in our country in 2020 was the re-sealed song of the WDR children’s choir, which Grandmas referred to as “Environmental Sow”. Of course, one can disagree and also take a critical view of the whole thing. As expected, the Shitstorm did not take long. Spontaneous demos, threats to death threats, the greatest possible escalation. Promptly, pictures made the rounds of the women in ruins who built up the country and made life possible for the children.

My grandma was such a woman: driven out of her homeland at the end of the war. Started again from the beginning with nothing. Worked in the mine. Later in a spinning chord work. A woman who has always tackled and worked. Unfortunately, she is no longer alive.

When the children of the WDR children’s choir sing about their grandma, they are no longer the grandmothers of the war generation. It is the grandparents who grew up in the economic miracle years – with other possibilities and different consumer behaviour. After the privations of the war and the post-war years, furniture and household appliances became more important after basic needs were met. From the 1960s onwards, the car boom and the wave of travel followed. Germany became economically strong and grew – as did the population. Also in the ready-to-wear sizes. Environmental protection was not an issue. Acid rain, super-GAU, forest extinction, ozone hole, climate change… all this came later. This generation now has a pension that is higher than that of its parents and is also likely to be higher than that of its children and grandchildren. This is reflected in consumer behaviour. This is not intended as a reproach. Nor would it do justice to the generation of grandparents who have made many things possible for their children and our grandchildren. But it, like everyone else, contributes to climate change. And that may also be the subject of satire.

What frightens me is this:

  • As soon as someone does not share the opinion of the other, people are mobbed, harassed and threatened up to calls for murder. This is a frightening, unacceptable threat to the discourse.
  • Those who otherwise always claim that one can no longer express one’s opinion in this country and try to disguise their own images of enemies as “satire”, which is finally allowed to do everything, are currently most outraged.
  • Volume replaces mass. The more vociferous a minority (on social networks) expresses itself, the more this is accepted and reacted to as a majority opinion – up to and including interference with the freedom of the media.
  • The majority opinion thus suggested is adopted unreflectively by others and thus actually capable of winning a majority. In doing so, populists manage to work far into the middle of society.

When the refugees reached Germany in 2015/2016, my grandma said: “I don’t know how this is going to be. But we have to help these people. I know what it’s like to have to flee. We weren’t welcome at the time. … The difference is that no one had anything at the time, and we had to roll up our sleeves together. Today we are doing well and the others have nothing. People are just afraid that they will have to give something away.” Smart words from an experienced woman.

Presumably the very demonstrators who demonstrated against the satirical song in front of the WDR and are again demonstrating today (including many supporters of the extreme right) would have suddenly dismissed my grandma as a “quirky old man” who has no idea.

This, too, seems to be symptomatic of our time: support only exists if it fits into one’s own worldview or serves to achieve one’s own goals – in this case, the mood-making against the public media.

Die Reaktionen auf den Satirebeitrag des WDR sind überzogen. / Die besungene Generation ist bereits eine aus den Wirtschaftswunderjahren. / Der gesellschaftliche Diskurs verroht zusehends. / Unterstützung und Solidarität sind zunehmend abhängig von der eigenen Weltsicht.

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