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Sunday, October 11, 2015



OK, let's have a litte fun here. In a comment, guess what the poster is saying. (Don't translate, though, if you actually know German!)



Rudy said...

Homeland is wherever people understand themselves.

Am I even close? :)

Linh Dinh said...

Hi Rudy,

You're supposed to mistranslate it, not come close!

I think it says, "Home is where you're understood."

(Olliver, if we messed up, please jump in!)

I thought people would just look at the photo alone and come up with something like, "Oh shit, I'm going to get gang banged by a rabbi and a Neo-Nazi. Should have listened to mom and never left Hanoi."


Rudy said...


I guess I missed the meaning guess. I sort of thought I was guessing, given the little German I recall from childhood.

The picture just looked to me like standard advertising, a guess about which would have been a total stab in the dark. :)

Ian Keenan said...

NY Times 2002: " Nazis favored the word ''heimat,'' or ''homeland,'' and homeland defense forces were known as Heimwehr or Heimatschutz in Austria and Germany from the late 1920's.

"For several decades after World War II, Germans rarely used patriotic words like ''heimat'' and ''vaterland,'' Hans Dieter Lucas, a spokesman at the German Embassy here, said.

''People then were reluctant to say 'heimat' or to be proud to be a native of Germany, but that is over,'' Mr. Lucas said. ''The term was misused by the Nazis -- the notion derives from 19th-century Romanticism, to mean your roots, the region where you grew up, your identity, where you belong, and that is how we use 'heimat' today.''

"In fact, ''homeland'' has far older origins in the Hebrew language -- back to the book of Genesis. "


" But it is part of the political vocabulary in Israel.

''One of the right-wing parties has chosen that name -- the Moledet, or Homeland, Party,'' Mr. Regev said.

"For the United States, the political origins of homeland security go back to the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review mandated by Congress."

I watched all of Edgar Reitz' Heimat 2 a few years ago on dvd, which is I think 16 hours. It was the closest I get to watching a soap opera, about a student avant-garde composer at the Munich conservatory. "The title Heimat (pronounced [ˈhaɪmat]) is a German word meaning "homeland". Its use is partly an ironic reference to the film genre known as Heimatfilm which was popular in Germany in the 1950s. Heimatfilms were noted for their rural settings, sentimental tone and simplistic morality." Its portrayal of the late 60s protest movements was a sensationalist caricature common in films. The Edukators is another German film in that vein, an interesting radical setup that ends up with John Cale's 'Hallelujah' to the montage of the characters' emotions in the third act.

x larry said...

great stuff--would that i could get to so many of the works you reference. i should make a list.
i've been irked to no end ever since little dubya started (well, one clever speechwriter did) using this loathesome word, ever so quickly turned into a downright institution and powerful new government branch. how false and contrived it rang! but, dumb fuck yokels, we MareKins we just keeps on swallowin' shit, just any ol diarrhea or corny bm's as we use ta say.
i'd till then only recalled hearing words like it (fatherland, etc) in reference to laughable nazis and other backward types. no more.
and the neil young song pocahontas, 'in the homeland.... we've never seen', which is from an at least pseudo indian point of view (and incidentally a great song)

Linh Dinh said...

Yo Ian and x larry,

Heimat can simpy mean "home," and I've seen it used here to advertise apartments. Check out this website, for example. They're pitching apartments.

So "Heimat" means homeland or simply one's place of residence, a house or an apartment. It's not necessarily so heavy-sounding.



About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.