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Culture War Roundup for the week of May 27, 2024

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EDIT: my club HOR linked turned out to be fake. How embarrassing. This protest movement probably does not have hipster appeal.

In Germany, it's illegal to sing songs that can be considered hate speech or aligned with Nazi ideology.

Several days ago, at a beach club in Northern Germany, a video went viral of a bunch of drunken Germans singing along to dance music track with lyrics that say "Germans for Germany, Foreigners Out"

Authorities have announced criminal investigations in response, though this does not appear to be silencing the hipster youth of Germany from enjoying the song. More recently, this popped up in an "underground" techno broadcast at Club HÖR

Is this an actual hipster event? Yes. They have their origins in illegal parties being done in basements or warehouses where everyone is hurrying to get their dance on before the authorities shut it down. Though they're much more popular now, they have kept the subversive raw industrial space motif.

Isn't this scene aligned with gay and otherwise leftist social mores? Yes. Typically, German techno is LGBTQ-coded and events can feature anything-goes public displays of sexual activity.

Are they just dropping the track because its beat is sick? Absolutely not. The song was originally produced by an incredibly cheesy Italian producer-DJ as a club anthem. In the hipster spaces this is as cringe as it comes. You would have to kill yourself if you dropped this as a place like HÖR. Perhaps the sickening cheesiness of the song is having its sign flipped because the insipid romancey lyrics were replaced with illegal German nationalism?

Hot anti-immigration thoughtcrime breaking out into the subversive mainstream but still fashioning-itself-as-underground techno scene in Germany is an unexpected development, though it did not come without foreshadowing. The "far right" Alternative for Deutschland party (AfD), is apparently now the most popular party among 14-29 year olds.

via Google Translate:

According to a study, adolescents and young adults are more dissatisfied and are turning more towards the AfD than in previous comparative studies. 22 percent of the 14- to 29-year-olds surveyed would vote for the AfD if there were a federal election now. That is more than twice as many as two years ago, according to a representative survey presented on Tuesday for the study "Youth in Germany 2024". In 2022, nine percent voted for the AfD, compared to twelve percent last year.

For most of its life, the AfD party was previously associated with square, middle-aged, clearly uncool xenophobes.

The parallels between this and the alt-right in the US around the early Trump era are noticeable. It appeared that the youth of America was so tired of cringe progressivism that their parents were into that the alt-right acted as a kind of new punk, though in the US the alt-right evaporated fairly quickly after Trump was elected.

In Germany in 2024, aligning with nationalism may be analogous to a kind of new punk that will definitely freak out your parents and set you apart from the older lamer generations. Can this translate into a revolution? As above, being the most popular party among young people in Germany doesn't say much because young people are not the biggest voting bloc, and unlike in the US there are many more political parties.

Still, this is probably going to stump historians of techno for years to come. (Or not! Since my hipster club link is fake. The other one with the preppies is probably real though)

Authorities have announced criminal investigations in response

Insane how far things have gotten in Germany.

In Germany in 2024, aligning with nationalism may be analogous to a kind of new punk that will definitely freak out your parents and set you apart from the older lamer generations.

In my mind, right-wing is the true counterculture. But I am a contrarian and most people are not.

I think the model of young people as rebels a bit flawed. In many ways young people are slavishly conformist. Think of a high school clique. Or think of the various social movements that became purity spirals, with people cast out over tiny doctrinal differences.

Young people do want... something. They're not sure what they want exactly, but they know they want it hard. This energy can form the base for many political movements, but it's actual direction can be molded from outside. Mao realized this when he created the Cultural Revolution, weaponizing the energy of the young to cow his rivals.

Maybe today's new "rebels" will be a true counterculture, like the hippies of the 1960s, largely an organic movement undirected from the outside. More likely, the rebels will be completely co-opted by the people already in charge, and will be used to fight their intra-elite battles. It's pretty amazing how today's Antifa members have nearly the exact same ideology as a Harvard professor or WaPo journalist. "What do we want! The current regime – but even harder!", they chant as they throw a trashcan through a Starbucks window.

In my mind, right-wing is the true counterculture.

Can you say more about why you think that?

It holds every value of the current zeitgeist in contempt, and values things that the current zeitgeist hates. The CZ wants a libertine society and the youth are off insisting on traditional values and culture and religion. The youth are so trad at thins point that not only are they religious but in the case of catholic youth, they’re going for Latin Mass and fighting popes and bishops to get it.

I'd be interested in his answer too, but the basic case is pretty simple: being a part of that subculture puts you at risk of exclusion from polite society, therefore it's a counterculture. Calling it "the true" counterculture might be going to far, I'm sure there's plenty of other groups that can lay claim to being countercultural, but this one's by far the biggest.

It doesn't exist enough to be a "subculture". Being a right-winger is like being the class clown or something; you may be counter, but you're not culture.

In many ways young people are slavishly conformist.

I don't know if younger people are more conformist by nature but they are undoubtedly far more sensitive to social pressure from their peers. In most cases this manifests as conformity to whatever's popular, but it also means the returns on bold individualism can be far greater.

but it also means the returns on bold individualism can be far greater.

Yes, in absolute value, but the sign is negative.

Bold individualism in the sense of pioneering a new musical genre of style of clothing etc.

Sure, but unless the counterculture is classically liberal/in the middle of a genuinely prosperous age (which is generally the cure to "social pressure from one's peers) it just turns into "boldly advocating for 50 Stalins". One of the more visible new youth styles of clothing, "men in ill-fitting dresses", is ultimately (and perhaps ironically) more conformant to social pressure than not doing that.

True, but we do live in funny times. I'll admit I'm not an expert on the history of such things, but my understanding had been that it was teens who pioneered things like punk, grunge etc that weren't exactly aligned in every way with the Cathedral of their times.