Friday, 24 June 2011

Political Pride

I don't normally cross-post but as this entry applies to Berlin life in general and to my party blog, I am making an exception for it.

What would you say if somebody told you that you had to like the same music as everybody else? Or wear the same clothes, or sleep with the same kind of people? You would think they were a mad throwback to the Quaker era, wouldn't you? Especially here in Berlin.

In Berlin there is a dazzling variety of individual tastes on display at all times: in music, art, fashion, film, friends, lovers... you name it. And there seems to be a tacit agreement that all variations in taste are accepted automatically, especially around Christopher Street Day. And yet it seems that this same capacity for variety and individual taste is not applied to what goes on inside of people's heads. Expressing my political opinions to other people has led to me being labelled fanciful, confrontational, novel - basically, anything but normal. It seems that mainstream Berlin is not that different from the rest of the Western world on the inside. It can look however it wants and consume whatever it wants but on the inside, the only acceptable state of being is 'blank'.



A crazy assertion, you say? Well if I am wrong then please, tell me, how else do I explain the CSD vs. Trangeniale divide? The mainstream rushes in to embrace the brazenly exhibitionist spectacle of the Christopher Street Day parade while leaving the 'political element' of the parade to march separately, under a separate banner. It's as if the planners decided somewhere along the line, that individual political opinion is just another fetish.... the preserve of a perverted fringe group.

It is not. Just like any other sort of reaction involving a mix of feeling and thought, political opinions are formed more or less instinctively, upon contact with any kind of political viewpoint. To say that one does not have a political opinion is to say that one has never encountered a political viewpoint. Either that or a vegetable and/or lobotomized.


I get how political opinions can be difficult, uncomfortable things to possess. They are so loaded with connotations of corruption and power; with expectations of intellectualism and snobbery. If people dislike the context though, there are other options. Create a new context. Re-cast politics in the mould of your own individuality. Simply hiding from one's opinions and hoping that they will go away is not a solution. It leaves the political decision-making to the types of people who don't want any involvement from the public, who try and complicate politics to the point where everybody just give up thinking about them. And those are exactly the kind of people who should not be making political decisions at all. The fact that most of them are politicians should not put people off of thinking - it should motivate them to do it more often!

I just don't get why else people would lie about having an opinion in the first place. Why bother buying the weird retro clothes? Why bother programming the obscure I-pod list? Why bother hanging out at subversive parties? Why bother studying, twittering, or even living, if you're just going to backpedal away the second that somebody notices you and say, "I'm no different than anyone else, really. My mind is empty." There's only one word for someone who neither thinks nor feels: a vegetable.

Even if ones only political opinion is to be disgusted with popular politics well, hey, that's still an opinion. You're either for something or against it, or else you're dead and somebody forgot to send you the FYI. Or that's what I was taught in school, anyway. If that's not what people are being taught anymore (either in school or in the media sphere) then everybody should be pretty alarmed.

This weekend, Berlin's queer community is going to flaunt its dazzling sexual diversity for all the world to see, in every colour, shape and size. We should follow their lead and flaunt our opinions, our politics, with just as much pride. Just for one day, we should accept that the thoughts in our heads don't have to be bigger or better than those of the person next to us, or the guy on TV. They don't have to be capable of winning a war or ending a debate. They can just shine together, as part of our individual makeup, like colours coming together to form a rainbow.

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