The Curse of the Pseudo-Intellectual


Somehow, I managed to paint myself into a corner again.

The big thing in Germany now is the new film by Dani Levy, "Mein Fuehrer," supposedly a comedy about Hitler. It is big because it is a sign that Germans are losing their guilt feelings about the past. If they can make frivolous, funny films about Hitler, that means they are no longer overloaded with guilt feelings and are free to look at the subject from a distance. Which means they are normal, are part of the outside world, have paid their debt and put the past behind them, etc.

So what I want to know is what the normal average Germans think about the movie. Did they laugh? Were they horrified? Are they "normal" now? What?

Unfortunately, I can’t get any of my friends to see the damn thing. Don't get me wrong – normal, average Germans are going to see it. It's becoming a hit as we speak. But my friends are pseudo-intellectuals, and that means they are slaves to the reviews, and all the reviews were bad. Most reviewers thought the film was simply not funny – including me (I reviewed it for the Hollywood Reporter). And all my friends read the reviews and plan their lives accordingly.

That means I am completely out of touch with the real German world. All I want to do is have a beer with an average-Joe-German and find out what he feels about the movie. But I can’t get any of my friends to go see it and tell me about it.

I guess being completely out of touch with the real world is just the price I have to pay for wanting to be an intellectual.

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