I often read through various German publications.....of which Focus is one of the better ones.
Today, they had a short article on the Pegida protests (from Dresden), and the comments of a German history professor (Heinrich August Winkler).
The professor? He tends to write over history, politics, old DDR, and favorite political players of the SPD. Yeah, the professor is a member of the SPD.....so he is kind of political in nature. If you drew up a list of 'who's who' in Germany history professors....Winkler would be in the top ten. He's done respected works on labor efforts in the Weimar Republic (the pre-Nazi government of Germany) and the rebuilding years after WW II.
The professor sat down and reviewed Pegida and it's demonstrations. His suggest for the cause of the protest marches? Lack of western TV in the old days of the DDR.
Yeah....lack of TV. I know....it sounds pretty hokey when you first hear it....so you have to sit there and analyze the situation as he sees it.
From the professors suggestion....the folks in Dresden didn't get western TV until 1989 (when the wall went down). These poor valley-people were in a part of German which was unable to get reception of West German TV from either Berlin or West German borders....because of the location of Dresden and mountains around it.
I'd basically summarize his concept this way.....if they had just received West German TV, gotten the proper amount of orientation, game-shows, cowboy westerns from the US, Kojack, detective-murder shows, comedy and safari documentaries....the Dresden folks would be thinking and logically come to the conclusions that the professor has come to and grasped. Then Pediga would not exist today.
I'm into critical thinking. This means you try to use all facts at your disposal. So I sat and pondered about the professors comments.
Yeah, Dresden is in this bowl area and would not have been able to get German TV signal....but they would have gotten plenty (tons) of radio signals....thus getting AM radio. Toss in Radio Free Europe, which freely operated in West Germany and was on the air for twenty-four hours a day.....broadcasting across to all Soviet states in Europe.....all you needed was a radio.
Yeah, having access to western TV does achieve some things. But I can look across at all the areas of DDR that exist today, seeing a fair number of dimwits and idiots, and can't logically associate some upswing or positive attributes to West German TV.
Yeah, the old guys who stand around as retirees now....who ran West German TV knew their audience. But then you ask yourself....the bulk of the shows are documentary pieces over animals, geography, and culture. The top shows prior to 1989? Mostly murder-mystery pieces, sprinkled with romance novels, and comedies. Material that would challenge a culture, motivate people to become inspired, bring tolerance into society, and make people smart? It's pretty hard to tie this type of thinking from the actual evidence at hand. Maybe that two or three hours on Sunday with political chat forums did something to those who sat in a Communist country.....but frankly.....a lot of West Germans skipped those shows because of the boredom....so there weren't big thrills or education invoked.
The professor goes onto label Pegida as anti-intellectual, anti-tolerance, anti-liberal, anti-western.....and that the gimmick of movement for Pegida is slogans. Simple slogans sell. On that part, he might be correct. The rest? Questionable.
There's at least eight news groups or newspapers that have utilized the professor's comments for articles in today's news (Sunday). It does kind of fill space, and give the reader a brief moment of explanation on why Dresden is different....although the logic is lacking on facts and awful weak on a connection.
Society and culture....saved by TV? It's a radical thought process. You'd have to assume that people found the networks carrying something worth watching. If you went to ask a West German about the great choices on TV prior to mid-1980s....they'd mostly laugh. It was mostly entertainment and quiz shows. If one can make some claim that entertainment and quiz shows can carry society forward and onto a better life.....I'd give the humble view that they are stretching it a bit.
So, if you catch some mention of the 'valley-people' of Dresden.....it's basically a connection to the old DDR, and how they lacked western TV. And how Pegida reacts to this? They'd likely label the professor as part of the problem......the 'mountain-people' who seem to know everything better because they live on the mountain.