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 gfrancie
, and 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.