Weimar is not an adjective

Can someone please tell this woman that “Weimar” is not an adjective?

Weimar is the name of a German city in the state of Thuringia, which happened to give its name to the first German republic, that lasted from 1918 to 1933, because the parliament first happened to convene in Weimar. Weimar has rich history and was home to both Goethe and Schiller as well as the site of the first Bauhaus among many other things. It doesn’t deserve to be solely remembered for the doomed republic that bears its name and it most definitely doesn’t deserve to be turned into an adjective by some rightwing American journalist. Coincidentally, Weimar itself was never what the author of the article would call a “Weimar city”. Never mind that it’s a stupid label anyway.

If you want to write an article about the city of Istanbul and the politically precarious situation in Turkey, feel free to do so. Though I have to point out that the article is coloured by the author’s latent islamophobia – which isn’t all that surprising, given it’s published in a very rightwing magazine. But please keep 1920s Berlin and Weimar out of it. particularly if you don’t even know what Weimar means.

For that matter, I have never understood the Anglo-American fascination with interwar Berlin anyway. I still remember how utterly disappointed I was that Cabaret was set not someplace cool and glamourous like New York but only in dull Berlin. Never mind that the “dance upon the vulcano” feeling was only part of what Berlin in the 1920s was all about. Berlin in the 1920s wasn’t all nightclubs and gay bars (why are the Americans so fascinated by the gay bars anyway?), there was also galloping inflation, streetfighting between rival political fractions, the abject poverty of the tenement blocks, so touchingly portrayed by Heinrich Zille.

Watch Berlin – Die Sinfonie der Großstadt, which has the distinction of being a lot more true to reality than something like Cabaret, because it actually intended to portray Berlin as it really was in 1927. And yes, the nightclubs and the half naked dancers are there (I don’t recall the gay bars, though it’s been a while since I’ve seen it), but they make up only a small portion of the film. Most of it is dedicated to the worklives and leisure activities of people who would never dream of going into a nightclub. The film has its shortcomings – for example, there is only one shot of an injured war veteran and only one shot of an orthodox Jew, though both groups were plentiful in 1920s Berlin.

But really, watch that and look at a few Zille drawings before going on how cool and decadent Berlin was in the 1920s.

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