Marcel Winatschek

Germany Is Fucked

Germany Is Fucked

If this is Germany, I don’t want anything more to do with this nation, I think to myself as, for the twelfth time in a row, the annoying Telekom commercial for a concert featuring pop singer Mark Forster comes on. All I wanted to do was watch Pamela Reif’s latest fitness video on YouTube - for reasons that have as little to do with health, sport, and proper nutrition as the double-stretched dürüm kebab, extra hot, and with cheese on top, which I shove into my wide-open mouth as far as humanly possible.

Nazis, conspiracy theorists, and coughing vaccination opponents are not yet bad enough to finally turn my back on this nation, but Mark Forster, no, that’s not possible at all, shakes me deep inside. Even a daring jump out of the open kitchen window becomes more attractive with each additional beat, with each word.

Mark Forster’s music, if you want to call it that, is artistically right up there with cottage cheese and chives. The only thing that’s more boring is driving the waste paper to the local recycling center, looking for a parking space, getting out, opening the trunk, unloading the bundle of yellowed newspapers, magazines, and porn magazines and then throwing them into the correct container before exchanging two or three sentences about the weather with the local city employee. Although I would like to have a scientific basis for this claim before I commit myself to it.

If anyone out there asks me why German pop culture isn’t remotely as successful as the American, British, and even South Korean, then I show them 194 Länder by Mark Forster and they understand the suffering, the powerlessness, and the creative dystopia that this, well, machination exudes.

Their gaze drops, a brief nod, a heavy sigh, before they flee back into artistic civilization with their Kendrick Lamar, Dua Lipa, and BTS records under their arms - the main thing is to get away from here, this black hole of media diversity, as quickly as possible. With Mark Forster you feel as if your uncle touches you indecently in the crotch, while he whispers softly: You are great! into your ear. And you ask yourself: Is this still abuse or already the new normality?

Ever since I learned my first three English words, dog, tree, and cock-cum-cunt, I’ve wanted to turn my back on Germany. Inspiration radiates from the West, from the East, from the North, and from the South, but one thing is for sure: it’s not here. Here’s only brown bread, RTL, and Mark Forster. But the further away I go, the stronger my urge for home throbs.

And by home, I certainly don’t mean values, pride, or slogans. For me, home is the techno CD of the Smurfs, it’s the poorly dubbed anime on RTL 2, and it’s being snapped at by both the next customer and the impatient cashier at McDonald’s because you had a brave day and wanted to know what kind of white sauce is on the rancid Big Mac.

In Germany, nothing - absolutely nothing - is cool. Movies, series, the vanilla I-fuck-your-mom-hip-hop. Even Mongolian YouTubers are probably more interesting than what has independently bred within our borders on this platform continuously dubbed as forward-looking from a pool of now completely irrelevant amateur comedians and is now first feared and then celebrated by an entire generation of media creators, almost as if they were suffering from digital Stockholm syndrome.

Rezo says something about the incumbent chancellor and is then dragged through every talk show with more than five viewers who are still alive at first glance, because he is the politically and socially critical voice of the youth. After all, there can only be one of them. The ZDF viewers, who are slowly rotting away, can’t remember more than that. The guy with the blue hair, that’ll have to do. Wasn’t there another one who wanted to save the climate? Oh, never mind. I don’t even want to get started on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, because everyone who has spent more than three minutes on the Internet hates those services - and rightly so.

You can see in every single second that German actors would rather be on the theater stage than getting shot down here for the twelve-thousandth Tatort. But what can you do? ARD pays better than the vaudeville theatre in Buxtehude. People have been ranting about German television ever since it was created, including and especially the people who make it. To say another word about it would be like beating the proverbial dead horse, spitting on it, and then letting a stupidly grinning TikToker dance over it.

Incidentally, with this digital-critical comment I just want to prove that at the beginning of the year I learned which new, hip social app 12- to 12-and-a-half—year-olds are using these days to fidget around half-naked in their Ikea-furniture-cluttered kids’ rooms for their 15 seconds of fame. By early next year, it’ll be a different app. This is, after all, the unstoppable cycle of social media.

By the way: Pretending to be only marginally concerned with the advancing evolution of the digital revolution instead of admitting that you’re just too old, too fat, and too ugly to make it on these new platforms and therefore crying yourself to sleep night after night with a bucket full of chocolate ice cream in your arms is just as sad, as publicly blurting out over and over again that you don’t own a TV, have deleted Facebook, or will be baking bread yourself from now on because that’s what you’ve always wanted to do. For whatever reason.

People who bake bread at home are the ones who meanwhile play Mark Forster’s new album, listen to his pseudo-wise words, feel, bob along. Man, when will I finally see you? I’ll send you a heart in red! Wow, so romantic, Mark. Some things come and go and never come back, and that makes it worth even more! Wow, so profound, Mark. I say goodbye to the old life, monkey dead, shut up, like the kids in India, I make a shoe! Wow, so... um... okay, that’s too high even for me.

I’d like to tell the people who voluntarily listen to a complete album by Mark Forster, from front to back, who nod their heads in agreement at his concerts, who snuggle up to their boyfriend or girlfriend and finally feel thoroughly understood, who sing along with philosophical perfections like We are forever, forever, from now until the end, I'm not going away, never ever, I'm with you, if who is looking for me! and mean it, look deep into their eyes, directly into their head, and really, honestly understand what fatal decisions they have made in their life, to stand now, here, in front of this stage, and listen to the lulling wisdom of Mark Forster, instead of literally experiencing anything else.

They could have, literally, done anything else on this planet and beyond, but no, they made a conscious decision to buy tickets over the Internet, get in a car with three or four friends, drive to Deutsches Eck in Koblenz, to listen to songs like Übermorgen, Chöre, and Wir sind groß for two hours, and to like it, and afterwards to buy a tour T-shirt and a poster, so that all remaining friends, colleagues, and acquaintances would know that they were with Mark Forster. And instead of being ashamed of it, they are proud of it.

On the whole, it is exactly this average attitude of bank employees who fly to Mallorca every year for a week, and if they are foolhardy, even to Thailand, that contributes to the fact that German pop culture can no longer be saved. And I’m not talking about the mainstream or that only those who listen to psychedelic 70s underground rap metal from Finland are great people, because that’s the only thing that makes the meaning of life clear to you.

Mark Forster, just like Helene Fischer and Andrea Berg before him, is the absolute zero of those who have never looked even a millimeter outside the cultural box in their lives. Who let their musical tastes be dictated to them by Spotify, Antenne Bayern, and the culture section of grandma’s TV guide, who have absorbed into their shallow personalities the first thing that’s been thrown at them: some harmless pop rock hit crap that scrapes so close to the creative flatline that even the busy signal on the phone is more exciting.

If you can listen to the radio for an hour straight in the afternoon, from one newscast to the next, without going completely insane, without feeling the urge slowly rising inside you to rip the receiver out of the car or throw it out of the open-plan office you’ve somehow ended up in, then you know, that your life is wasted, that you will never create or achieve anything meaningful, that you are walking the same path that millions have walked before you, without even once thinking that maybe you don’t always have to walk straight ahead, but could take advantage of one of the countless forks in the road.

But that would be far too risky, who knows what awaits you there. So you’d rather keep listening to Mark Forster, whom you only meet if you’ve never taken even a hint of a risk in your pitiful existence, and have long since gotten used to this indecent touch somewhere deep in your soul drowning in mediocrity. Or as Mark philosophically adeptly puts it: There goes a bus.