Photo by Seymour Gris
The pope's fatherland gig has been a bit of a let-down so far. I hardly noticed it, and I watched it on TV. Of course, we're only one day in, so maybe he doesn't want to shoot his load before he gets down to his Bavarian heartland. But the way things are going, it'll probably just be more choir-singing and maybe some children handing him things they've made out of paper.
Personally, I'm hoping for a tie-in with Oktoberfest. Perhaps he could slaughter a ceremonial ox and douse a virgin in its blood in the Schottenhamel tent? The pope said something today in the Bundestag about protecting European culture (don't ask me what exactly, my brain dehydrated while I was listening). It's high-time Christianity re-connected with its pagan roots, and where better than the bacchanalian fortress of Oktoberfest?
In ancient Alexandria, when Cleopatra had a parade, people waded in rose petals and they had processions of zoo animals and dancing girls throwing commemorative coins. Something like that would be good. He could also have giant gold statues of Jesus with fires burning in his eyes. Come on Joe, we know you've got the cash. Live a little.
The British media, or at least Sky news, went a bit more bonkers last year than ARD are doing this year. They were determined to make us see and hear every singing nun in an old people's home, every war veteran, every school child, everything that Ann Widdecombe had to say, and every detail of the obligatory Hyde Park gig. Germany just doesn't seem to over-saturate in quite the same way. When it comes to over-hyped event coverage, one thing that hampers TV journalists here is the way they are not willing to make things up.
For instance, at this point during Thursday's Berlin shindig, the commentator runs out of things to say, and wonders half-heartedly what Klaus and Ratzi are talking about as they amble across the running track at the Olympic Stadium. "It's a very friendly mood anyway," she offers lamely. "Maybe we'll find out the odd detail later." Then she adds, "Sometimes it's good if such talks remain confidential."
No, no, no, it isn't! Guess, woman, guess! This is 24-hour news. You have to keep talking, even if you don't have the dimmest notion of what is happening in front of you. What you should be doing here is simply imagining what Klaus and the Pope might talk about. "I imagine Mayor Klaus Wowereit is now complimenting his Holiness on his choice of slippers on this majestic September evening." That would be a good start. "Benedict XVI is possibly asking the mayor whether there are any good restaurants in the area, as he fancies a Chinese." Might work. "And now I can see Mr. Wowereit is offering the Pope a miniature Brandenburg Gate made of marzipan. But he is advising him to save it for after his dinner."
Anyway I think the least we should expect is a papal appearance on Wetten Das...?