Monday, January 18, 2010

Ulrike Meinhof

Germany has never been my thing. I tried getting into krautrock in my teenage years and only got as far as Neu!*

The Deustch aesthetic encompasses a different kind of sensibility for me. I've found it challenging, ambiguous, and a little too intellectual and serious for me.

Perhaps I've heard of Ulrike Meinhof before but during this past holiday, I was formally introduced to her in Chris Kraus' first novel, I Love Dick. An epistolary novel, I Love Dick was very thrilling and fun to read. I loved how cultural theory and criticism were used to drive the plot. Now I'm reading Kraus' second novel, Aliens and Anorexia, which further delves into the life and activism of Meinhof. It's a pretty wild book.

Without realizing what it was about, I went to a rare screening of Yvonne Rainer's amazing Journeys from Berlin/1971, which also explores Meinhof and her gang. At times super abstract and dense, this film was so unwavering in its examination of personal and political identity and power. I was in over my head but learned a lot and left a little bit bewildered and light-headed which was very exciting. And the word "terrorism" was never mentioned once in the film.

The next day, I told my precocious filmmaker friend about it and he was like, "Oh, you don't know about the Baader-Meinhof Gang? They were really hot."

He's totally right. They were dangerously hot and sexy. I wished someone had told me of their handsome countenance years ago because I would of instantly read up on them (or in this instance, google imaged them).

Here is Andreas Baader and his equally hot girlfriend, a fellow RAF member, Gudrun Ensslin.

And here is Ulrike Meinhof. Smart and sexy.

Weirdly, Meinhof died on the same day as my birthday.



*I believe this genre was more of a British conception which was not found amusing by those making said music. I find the term a little disconcerting and derogatory for my taste. Would people be okay with "chinkrock"?