Sep 14, 2010

Communist swimwear

communist swim wear from Eastern GermanyIt was 1985, before the Berlin Wall had come down, and I was visiting at the Rockefeller College of the State University of New York at Albany. They had arranged for an apartment for me, owned by a physics professor from Union College, Schenectady, who would go to CERN for a sabbatical (yes, click it, and click here, as well). What I did in Schenectady? I learned how to pronounce "Schenectady!"

There was a TV in my apartment, and on the TV, one fine evening, a commercial appears. It's a fashion show with a female man-eater (are all man-eaters female?) who pronounces the words "day wear" with a heavy Russian accent, while a mousy model comes on stage in a shapeless gray garment, and disappears again. The light dims, the man-eater flashes a torch-light, pronounces "night wear," and the mousy model re-appears in the very same outfit. The light comes up again, the man eater pronounces "swim wear," and the mousy model makes her last appearance, this time with a swim belt wrapped around her hopeless dress. CUT. A male person, with an unaccented voice, proclaims:"Wendy is better; Wendy offers choice."

Two days later, Wendy, a fast food chain, pulled the commercial, "because it had raised controversy." I never understood. I thought it was very funny, and very true. Especially the accent was very funny, Zwim-Weaarh,  Zwim-Weaarh. By the way, I forgot to tell, with each appearance of the model, the Stalinist man eater (obviously a member of the Tea Party) would raise her hands and clap enthusiastically while gazing triumphantly at the audience, that would then chime in, reluctantly.

But now I do understand why Wendy pulled the commercial. Because, you know, the swim wear under communism was much better that I (we?) thought---as the newly discovered picture from the former, communist Eastern Germany, published in Der Spiegel, exemplifies.

-"If only the Tea Party would know, it would change their outlook completely."
-"It could mean the end of the culture wars."
-"Communism is OK, really."
-"Moderates, independents, centrists, whoever is out there, draw your Tea Party friends to this post and see the world change."

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