from Wien! it's... die Pfennigs!
Karl Kraus, that exquisite moralist of the German language, wrote that a patriot is someone who goes forth to greet the foreigner in his own tongue. It’s an insight that still bears weight in Vienna, where the pressure to be culturally German often brings on a moral backlash. Just as a self-respecting foreigner in Vienna does his best to speak the language, so too, self-respecting Viennese try their best to speak the universal common language (which at this moment happens to be American English), especially in a delicate moment like this, when thousands of Middle-Eastern and African refugees arrive every day: meeting the Other in his or her language is one way to set yourself apart from the fascist propaganda that demands respect for unsere Sprache, unsere Kultur.
It's the Thought that Counts Prize.
[Translation: ”Trade unionists demand access to the labor market for asylum seekers.“] As another flyer explained, “This is not addressed to people with a refugee background or it wouldn't be in German only.”
On October 4 the jury for the Prestigious Pennies Awards for Excellence in Protest Posters met in secret. After due deliberation we are proud to announce the following prestigious winners:
The Prize for Meeting Foreigners Half-Way
to the chant that led off the march:
The Prize for Linguistic Subtlety:
This sign alludes at once to a right-wing slogan (Deutsch statt nix verstehen), and to Fassbinder's movie about migrants in Germany, “Angst essen Seele auf” [Ali: Fear Eats the Soul.] It also implies a subtle pushback of class and regionalism: the word nix (for nicht) which the fascists condemn as “not German,” is good Viennese as opposed to German spoken correctly, commonly called Nach der Tinte spucken, “spitting along with the ink.”
The Confusion Prize:
A woman in hijab along with a child bearing a balloon promoting the Neos, a new and so far unsuccessful political party promoting a neo-liberal agenda. The Neos themselves are a good indication of where next week’s election might head: two weeks ago they were pretending to be just like the fascists with different leadership; now they’re claiming to be the best way to fight the fascists. Did the toddler and his mom understand all this—or is it just that toddlers like balloons?
The Expand the Struggle Prize:
Through the union of migrants, political refugees and undocumented workers, of which there are huge numbers in Vienna and throughout Europe.
The Sign of Trust Prize:
to the recent arrivals making their own demands known.
The Welcome in Three Languages Prize
to two groups that followed and answered one another, blissfullfy indifferent to the fact that “refugees welcome” does not mean the same thing in English as “you're welcome.”
The Frank Zappa I Don’t Believe It Prize
to the large number of hand-made signs suggesting nothing more political than Love. The one on the right reads “Together we are less alone.”
The Prize for Linguistic Obtuseness.
One anarchist group carried a banner denouncing Barack Obama as a [vulgar expression designating the female genitalia]. Um, guys…
The Universal Language Prize :
The beer label reads “Ottakringer.” That's the local proletarian brew. Like Karl Marx said...
10/6/2015; last revised 9/15/2016
Ththth.. at's all, Völker!
The Pennies! Mightier than the Sword!