HIPPIE BRIEFINGWar Horny
Nov. 15 - The story we're reading in Studieskolen is Er du en af dem ("Are You One of Them?") by a woman named Hjørdis Varmer. I've been enjoying it as a piece of satire, although there's a worried little part of me that suspects it's not intended as satire. It's hard to tell. Satire isn't among the Danes' great strengths. (Although there are notable exceptions, like Ludvig Holberg—Denmark's most famous Norwegian.)
Ms. Varmer's story takes place in 1982 and concerns the love life of a girl named Anette, a proud member of "Women for Peace." Anette's heart was broken two years earlier by Mikkel, and she is now fighting off the affections of a fellow named Hans. Hans is a proud member of "No to Atomic Weapons," so you can see where this is headed.
The setting is some kind of demonstration in downtown Copenhagen. It's hard to tell if the demonstration is supposed to be anti-nuclear, anti-war, anti-Communist, anti-Capitalist, or simply pro-antiness, but that's not important. What's important—or what became important to me in our discussion of the text—was Anette's referral to the pro-war faction as a bunch of gray-haired, krigsliderlige men.
That wasn't a word occurring in our existing vocabularies, so one of my classmates asked for clarification. We all knew krig meant war, but what was this liderlige suffix?
Our teacher explained, with a hint of a blush, that liderlige means "horny." And krigsliderlige therefore means "war-horny."
She wasn't content to leave it at that. She wanted to illustrate by example. "Can you think of anyone who's 'war-horny'?" She asked. "How about George W. Bush? He's war-horny. And Donald Rumsfeld? Very war-horny."
I wanted to ask for the Danish word for "autodidactic," but I didn't dare. I bit my raw and bloody tongue one more time and toughed it out.
The discussion descended into a rhapsodic exhaltation of Hippies. The genus was divided into its several phyla (or vice-versa—I've never been much of a naturalist). Our teacher described the hierarchy of the radical campus: on top had been the Marxists, with their beards and glasses, then came the more strident but less intellectual Maoists, then the plain vanilla hippies. She went on at some length about the intellectual prowess of the Marxists in particular. They got all the chicks.
"If they were so intellectual, why were they Marxists?" I asked.
She completely misunderstood my question, alas, and explained that Marxists read big books like "Das Kapital" and were therefore obviously very bright. She did concede that they had been so strident and obnoxious that she herself had transferred university campuses to avoid them, so I didn't press my point.
Discussion moved thence to love among the hippies.
Our teacher tried to tell us that back in the good old days, love wasn't as expensive for young people as it is today. We asked what that meant, and she said the clothes and hair and cell phones demanded by fashion today were too expensive for young people to find love. It wasn't so complicated, you see, when she was young. Back then they wore beat-up clothes, let their hair go whichever way the wind blew, and threw themselves at one another with reckless abandon.
"I think young people have always thrown themselves at one another with reckless abandon," I said. "I think they did it in Ancient Greece and I bet someday they'll do it on the moon. I don't think price gets in the way."
The teacher shook her head. Wrong again! Apparently today's youth are more discriminating than those of the 10,000 preceding generations, and insist on certain expensive rituals before they'll be willing to fool around with anyone, much less fall in love.
Our conversation also touched on the futility of the arms race, the stupidity of Denmark's current prime minister, and the shallow self-interest of the Danes who had voted for him. And so on. Awful hippie bullshit, on and on, over and over, for ever and ever.
At one point a new student, a Bulgarian woman in her eighth month of pregnancy, said something about the war in the Balkans. "President Clinton wrote in his book that it was the greatest moment of his career," she said.
"No," our teacher said, "he would never write something like that. War is always bad. There's an old saying that there are no winners in war, only losers." (This was being spoken, I remind you, in the capital of a country that had been occupied by Nazis and liberated only by violent force of the allied "losers.")
The conversation then took a turn I couldn't follow (Danish is hard; Danish through a Bulgarian accent is nearly impossible). A moment later the Bulgarian woman was saying something about Albanian terrorists.
"No, we shouldn't talk about that," said the teacher. "That's political."
Let the rich irony of that remark linger for a moment. Savor it. You will not often encounter its equal.
If I had greater moral courage I might have suggested that maybe there were reasons beyond "war-horniness" actuating the decisions of George Bush, Tony Blair, John Howard, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Silvio Berlusconi, their defense ministers, their foreign ministers, and—
But what's the point?
I've just got to learn some goddam Danish, and part of learning Danish is apparently learning how Hippies Saved the World, which subsequently regressed into its current hellish state not because a terrifying movement of bloodthirsty theofascists is rising to fill the void left by Stalinism and Nazism, but because Hippies have not been entrusted with the Running of All Things, and the world will only improve if the nasty old war-horny bastards and the people that support them will allow the righteous Hippies to Save the World Again.
I'm this close to switching classes.
Really. This close.
Another thing our teacher told us was that she was embarrassed to be Danish right now because she was so ashamed of her government. If I were Danish, I'd be embarrassed because of the political indoctrination passing itself off as taxpayer-funded Danish language education for foreigners.
But that's just me, and probably I'm just war-horny.
* * *
For purposes of clarification: I like my teacher. Some of my best friends are, or were, hippies. I don't object to hearing other people's points of view. I actually enjoy discussing politics with people I disagree with. What irritates me—what really fucking annoys me—is having this hippie leftist worldview shoved down my throat as gospel while dissenting points of view are shut down as "political."
* * *
American artist Georgia O'Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887. Ms. O'Keeffe is best known for her colorful paintings of desert flowers that don't look like vaginas.
Others born today include Sam Waterston (1940), Petula Clark (1932), Ed Asner (1929), Erwin Rommel (1891), and William Pitt the Elder (1708).
It's Dynasty Day in Belgium and Republic Proclamation Day in Brazil.
© 2004, The Moron's Almanac