wolfpangs: (dangerous; see also: unlawful)


Next time you feel bad because you don’t fit into some social beauty standard, please remember that dueling scars used to be de rigueur among Junkers and other landed nobility of Prussia, Germany, etc. They were a signifier, a way to let people of your upper class know that you were like them (because you were the type of person who a) could afford to have hobbies and b) had hobbies like fencing), and as a way to show how badass you were (sure, you may have lost the duel, but you can take a blow, which is just as important).

As with most trends, people outside the originating group began to emulate the behavior, and scarred themselves with razors. With a simple cut, it’s easy for everything to heal nicely enough, so some dudes would put horsehair (an irritant) into the wounds, so it would scar up nice and big.

Outside of the social signifier aspects, when the Third Reich was born, it also helped you to look like you came straight from Central Casting, like SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny here.


Tully: Who's Franz Bettmann?
Geismar: Bettman, von Braun...the Kraut brain trust--the guys that built the V-2s.

I had two reaction to this exchange. First, I shrieked out loud. For the past semester (now thankfully over), I've been taking a class in which our sole grade is a mammoth research paper. [So blow that paper, blow the class.] Theoretically, you can choose any topic, but because so much of the paper depends on research, most people choose to cover something Alabama-related (so they can visit relevant archives in person). I chose one of my pet topics, the German rocket engineers who were plucked out of post-war Europe and planted right here in Alabama--the "Kraut brain trust" Clooney's character is referring to. It's good to choose something that you really, really like because you will grow to be really, really sick of it. I went through so many sources--Triumph of the Will, Twilight Zone episodes (and this one, countless newspaper and magazine articles, books in English and German, etc. Wolfram got me German research and helped me translate it. I started writing and got over half the paper done, but then I got stuck.

And then finally, in one grueling day, I spent nine straight hours in the library at school finishing the paper. At times, I started to hallucinate. I am also pretty sure that I wrote at least two pages of it while I was not fully conscious. I snapped back into consciousness, staring at the computer screen, and two pages were staring back at me. Before this, I'd had my oral German final and I spent most of it talking about that wretched paper. My German instructor asked if I had any other finals that day. "Nein, ich schreibe..." and then I couldn't remember the word for paper, so I just made a it-was-this-big gesture with my hands, like one might make to brag about a caught fish.

It's been over a week since I finished that and I'm just now okay with talking about, hearing about, thinking about said Kraut brain trust. So I thought I'd relax a bit and watch The Good German, but I was not prepared for the exchange above. Hence the shrieking.

My second reaction was "Franz Bettmann?!" I'd never heard of Franz Bettman. I was thinking, there is no possible way that there is a German rocket scientist [who would be mentioned in the same breath as von Braun] that I've never heard of. Just ask my millions of tears last Monday. So I googled and Wikipedia said, "Bettmann is only a minor character in the film; he appears to be based on the real Arthur Rudolph." Whew. Thank goodness.

Speaking of good German (Eppy Awards, best segue 2010), I did get my Christmas cards sent out. I apologize for any errant German that sneaked in. I have to always be practicing (I will be continuing to take it next semester), so it seeps into my regular language. Also, thank you to [livejournal.com profile] gfrancie, [livejournal.com profile] commieprincess, and [livejournal.com profile] kaytethinks for the cards you sent me.

Now I am going to get back to my movie. Happy Christmas Eve, everyone.

Oh and that paper? I made an A.

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wolfpangs

October 2012

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