The 70s were funky – despite the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon, Baader-Meinhof and Chomeini as a finale. The 80s began with a marching rhythm as a prelude, namely the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the stationing of cruise missiles in Europe, escalated to the cacophony of the American Iran-Contra Affair and ended with Punk, No Future and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The 1990s brought Nirvana’s “Nevermind”, the end of apartheid, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the supposed end of history and the realisation that history continues even without the Iron Curtain – inevitably. For example the second Gulf War and the war in Yugoslavia. The daughters and sons of the 90s understood that compared to their parents, there was little to earn for them. All the more they were intoxicated by the hope of eternal fun and defiantly celebrated against the threatening end of their means.
2000 started with Eminem’s machine gun rap, a bad aftertaste called Bushido, Robbie Williams lonely run and the sobering realisation that every party has to end once. The only question now was how? The answer came by plane. And on September 11, 2001, it hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center, symbol of Western prosperity and growth.
In 2007/2008 came the next blow: the bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers with bankers carrying file folders out of the office. Beyoncé raised with “Irreplaceable” the question: Where do I put things now?
With the beginning of the economic crisis, the ground is shaking worldwide – not only on the financial floor of the stock exchanges.
At the turn of the year 2008/2009 Kanye West appears “Paranoid” and broadcasts “Nightmares” through Autotune. But the wave of shock ebbed away. New bonuses are being granted. The hunger of those who want to hoard before the shortage comes. No trace of new consciousness and course correction! And once again the economy took off for another boom! Hooray for the numbers like in old times!
Now in free fall. It sounds like a bang before the requiem.
Imagine all of humanity is sitting together in one car. Since the 1950s, the car has been picking up speed. Accelerating in the 60s and 70s, driving in laps of honour in the 80s and 90s, braking briefly at the turn of the millennium, stopping in 2001 for a minute of mourning, braking again in 2007, but rushing from 2008 into 2009, accelerating again 2010 and running with full speed from 2011 to 2018. Directly towards a wall.
A girl steps in the way in protest. She holds up a stop sign and speaks plain words. They are meant to encourage pausing, but humanity just keeps racing, past her and straight towards the wall. Everyone knows what this wall is made of. Unleashed capitalism, advancing climate change, increasing poverty are perhaps the most important elements. Ignorance is the mortar that holds them together. There is an urgent need for humanity to slow down. But the car just keeps on racing.
What do we hear now? Squealing tires and the glassy sounds of Billie Eilish and Aurora.
The passengers in the car hold on to each other. As if to confirm that they are the kings of the road and thus the masters of the world.
Anyone who is now thinking, well I stepped out of the car because Greta is right, should honestly ask her- or himself: Did I really get out of the car or am I just pretending or imagining it?
In fact, the car is still driving. Not quite as fast as before, because it was decelerated majestically by Corona, the microscopic queen and new ruler of the world. And now the occupants of the car are thinking about how they can leave this crown on the left hand and drive around it on the right to be able to race away from this ugly coeval as fast as possible. Namely further and directly towards the wall.
The order of the day would be to stop, get out and continue on foot. Or even take a bicycle.
What might happen if we refuse?
Perhaps Simon & Garfunkel’s “The sound of silence” will be heard in a modern version: “Hello darkness, my old friend …”
Civilisation, as we had it, if it would be accelerated to high speed again, will drive us on crash course against the wall – if we don’t listen and get out of the car.
What we have learned through viral deceleration: getting out of the car seems possible.
This is the opportunity of the day. Yes, I am optimistic: this is a turning point.
All the more so as we are aware of it.
Stay healthy! All my love!
Yours – Otmar Jenner
P.S. Dear readers, English is not my mother tongue. If you find striking mistakes in the wording, please let me know (email@example.com).
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