Everybody Talks About the Weather: Unit 8 Assignment 1 by Alec Stimac

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum

  • !: Terrorism and radicalism were often confused, instilling fear in all citizens due to the political reform and threat of getting attacked in the media or being thrown in prison for any association.
  • ?: How far did journalism go in order to break stories? In this film, the reporter made up a lot of information about Katharina Blum, and even misquoted and found her mother. What were the limits? Was this the most profitable professions during the time?

Baader-Meinhof Komplex

  • !: Violence escalated when RAF leaders like Baader, Gudrun, and Ulrike were imprisoned and on trial without them having any say about it. The new generation went rouge to make a message. The trial was extremely unfair and led Ulrike to argue with Baaeder and Gudrun, being seen as a traitor and “knife” in the RAF’s back.
  • ?: What is the difference between the leaders getting murdered in the eyes of the new factions of RAF versus committing suicide? How does this change the viewpoints and reactionary responses of the new generation of radicals?

“Shadows of the Summit Pointing West” (1960)

  • !: German was trying to abolish the little bit of democracy that still remained standing – to rule against the interests and will of the people, especially through attitudes of casting “shadows of an unholy past back on to the walls” of Germany.
  • ?: What ended up happening in German later history post-WWII: renewing of guilt or constructive politics of peace? How did the RAF and Ulrike attempt to contribute to fixing/worsening this dilemma?

“Hitler Within You” (1961)

  • !: The younger generation must not stay silent nor allow the past to rest, but rather demand answers. In order to define a “new beginning,” one cannot and must not erase the memory of recent decades of history. They must reject ideas and redefine what it means to be German.
  • ?: How did young Germans go about creating reconciliation with former opponents and co-exist with other countries so another World War would not occur?

“Everybody Talks About the Weather” (1969)

  • !: Women struggled to be perceived as unique or irreplaceable beings in this society even after raising the children who are to take over soon.
  • ?: How did these issues get talked about not as the weather would but with real political potency? What transitioned the mindset of the German people, especially in respect to women and children?

“Women in the SDS: Acting on Their Own Behalf” (1968)

  • !: Is it not the fault of “women liberationists” but rather a societal failure in recognizing their importance.
  • ?: How did women gain a sense of influence in history, purpose, and direction in their work? How did this expand beyond Frankfurt?

“Columnism” (1968)

  • !: Profit and prestige factors were vital to how papers gave an “aura” to the audience of importance and truth. However, the claims columnists made reproduced the issues Germans were facing and did not truly seek change in the broken system but rather stabilized it.
  • ?: How are news-outlets functioning differently after the RAF? How do these compare with the propaganda of today? How did Ulrike change the way columns were viewed? What did she do differently to appeal to mass audiences and gain a following?

Unit 8, Assignment 1 – Emily Ezell

Shadows of the Summit Pointing West ! The German citizens’ perspective on the summits and conferences of world leaders following WWII greatly differs from the idealized history presented in history textbooks. ? How did the leaders/members of the summit respond to Meinhof’s writing?

Hitler Within You ! Students bear the responsibility to not let the past rest and to question older generations, placing an emphasis on transparency and confrontation. ? What information/influence from older generations pervade the lives of students today?

Human Dignity is Violable ! A single addition to the constitution had the powerful effect of reversing progress towards an idealized condition of pure democracy and the elimination of all possibilities of war. ? Do the two pillars (democracy and no war) still exist in the German constitution today? Are they as important today as they were in the 1960s

Women in the SDS: Acting on their own Behalf ! We can’t push for equal pay or equal work without first changing the distribution of wealth. ? How do the American and German wage gaps compare?

Columnism ! The columnist guards the originality and individuality of a newspaper, contributing to the profit and prestige of a paper. ? How has the role of the columnist versus the editor changed in today’s shift away from print to online media?

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum  ! The complicated web of relationships and connections in combination with constant distrust and betrayal made it difficult to determine which figures to side with.  ? What role does translation play in the subtitles of the movie? What does the viewer lose in only reading subtitles? 

The Baader-Meinhof Complex  ! The fast-paced, dramatic action of the movie makes the viewer constantly switch sides, and question why they should or shouldn’t support the terrorist group.  ? What differences exist between this movie and an American equivalent? What does German/European film use that American film does not, and vice versa? 

Grant Hearne – Post on Unit 8 Movies and Meinhof Columns

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum

(!) In this movie, “freedom of the press” extends beyond a basic right and enters a space of immorality with a strong disregard for humanity and other freedoms. 

(?) Why does Blum act so calm when the police enter her home and throughout her initial investigation?

Baader-Meinhof Komplex

(!) there were generational divisions within the RAF which brought on new, intense and troubling tactics.

(?) Is revolution sacrifice? Many in the RAF sacrifice their relationships with their families. 

“Shadows of the Summit Pointing West”

(!) Meinhof parallels preparation for the Summit to the game of capitalism, as world leaders are “finding friends and clients.” In her sense, she is undermining the productivity of these meetings.

(?) Does Meinhof support the consolidation and international recognition of power in the Eastern Bloc? 

“Hitler Within You”

(!) “Pro-semitism is only half a response.” Moving away from Naziism required the consistent rejection of the ideas and practices of their era.

(?) Was the resistance to national socialism regional in addition to generational? 

“Vietnam and Germany”

(!) Legitimacy of the Vietnam War was carried solely by the support of Western leaders. This notion plays back into Meinhof’s parallel of diplomacy to capitalism. 

(?) Which news publications participated in the framing of the Vietnam War and what are some of the most shockingly misleading headlines or covers?

“Women in the SDS: Acting on Their Own Behalf”

(!) Oppression of women is noted as having its roots in capitalism. The men are the “functionaries of capitalism” and desire the liberation of women to be privatized. 

(?) The protesting women in Frankfurt were from Berlin. What did the diaspora of the resistance in Germany look like? 


(!) Papers sell because the reader is attracted to the “aura” and columnists give the paper the “aura.”

(?) Do columnists really open up discussion or do they, through rhetorical devices and just enough information, tell the reader precisely what they think you should believe?

Requiem Translations

I found the Anderson translation to be more grand in its account than the Thomas translation which is why I prefer it. Anderson’s translation personally felt like the Sophia Petrovna novel in the way it was able to capture the feelings, struggles and shared experiences of the masses. Though the Thomas translation is not without merit personally it felt like it had a much stronger grip on the emotional feel of the terror and captured the bitter madness that trapped the soviet population. From the dirty imagery of the gulag to the lines of hopeless women in the street hoping for the slightest bit of information. Finally the reason I prefer the Anderson translation is because it captures when ones situation is so bad the body and mind become at odds and insanity is inevitable. The body keeps fighting though the mind can only hope for death of any kind but physically can not give up.

Fake Texts to Summarize. Unit 7, Post 1, Leen K

CHARACTERS: Skylar, Olivia, Emily Evans, and Leen.

(None of these texts were really sent, but I did this as a way to summarize the texts we circulated)

Plenary Reflection:

Exclamation Point: I am very interested in exploring the possibilities of using poetry as a legitimate and official form of political discourse in contrast to the weight and prestige given to the academic essay within the ‘Western’ canon.

Questionmark: and apologies for repeating this question for the millionth time, but, in regards to Sophia Petrovna, what sort of effect does having a narrator who is gullible to the regime have on the (Soviet/Russian) readers who obviously were aware of the brutalities and injustices taking place.

Lydia Catterall Unit 7 Assignment 1

My group chose Thomas’s translation of Akhmatova due to its high artistic nature. We considered both the translations through the lens of the translation panel from Dr. Robb’s unit, remembering that every translation is an interpretation of a work as opposed to a direct copy. The artistic nature of Thomas’s translation compared to Anderson’s translation suggests that Anderson’s work is more directly translated. However, we thought a more artistic interpretation might invoke thoughts and feelings in the reader more similar to those evoked from reading the original work. 

Dr. Ewington’s March 26 Lecture:

! – It’s crazy that poets were still active even though the profession became so dangerous.

? – Were other forms of art similarly censored during the terror?

Olivia Harper Akhmatova Post

While Skylar and Leen prefered the Thomas translation, Emily and I favored the Anderson translation. Skylar commented that Thomas’s translation had a clearer rhyme scheme and heavier wording. Leen prefered Thomas because his translation felt more literal to her. Emily liked Anderson’s translation more because she felt the sentences flowed better while Thomas’s sentence structure was odd. I prefer the Anderson translation because the phrasing felt more organic. The Thomas translation felt stiff and formal to me. I also like how Anderson eases into the rhyme scheme. The first couple of sections do not rhyme but he transitions into rhyme at the latter end of the “Prologue” then goes into a full rhyme scheme starting at “The Sentence.” This transition emphasizes the reality within the poem. At first it just feels like Akhmatova is telling her own story and experiences but then as the rhyme scheme transitions you feel she is telling the stories of a whole nation.

!:  Writers can usually garner prosecution but rarely are poets targeted.

?:  How could poets make a living in Stalinist Russia without publishing purely party approved texts?

Unit 7 Assignment 1- Jamie Aciukewicz

I decided to read the Anderson translation of Akhmatova. My group agreed that this version flowed better and felt more poetic. I found it to be quite visual in description, allowing the reader to imagine the scene. Anderson uses metaphors well and her work feels more like writing down a thought process. Thomas is more literal in his translation, which takes away from the readability. The differences between these two different versions of the same text interested me as they almost feel like separate translations of two semi-related texts.

!: Crazy how her poems were recorded on paper, memorized and then burned.

?: What was the public reception of the unbanning of Requiem and the erection of Akhmatova’s statue?

Translation comparison – Sarah Zhang

Personally speaking, I prefer Anderson’s translation because it it’s easier for me to grasp the poetic aesthetics. For example, Anderson’s translation clearly demonstrates more awareness on rhyme and the structure of sentences.  However, the attention on rhyme certainly limits the choices of words. Also, Anderson’s translation adapts more to the English literary environment instead of presenting the Russian portrayal. His translation took away a lot of Russian expressions and translated them into something that English speakers can easily appreciate. There is no definite guideline for a good translation. Thomas’s translation is for sure more accurate or “true” to the original work. For me a good translation should help me understand the work better, while for Thomas’s translation is makes me feel a little more confused.       

!: During many discussions, I found out that people automatically use the word “wrong” when describing ideological monopoly.

?:Since people’s voices are so restricted, what, and how it, triggered Russia to change? 

Mary Shandley Unit 7 Akhmatova Post

In my AT group with Kade, Carson, and Lilly, we all agreed that Anderson wrote the better translation of “Requiem.” My reason for choosing it was that it had more of a poetic rhythm than the Thomas translation. To me Thomas’s translation felt more awkward, especially when I read it aloud. The other members of my AT group also noted that the rhyming scheme in Anderson’s translation caused it to flow better. After taking a look at the handout that Dr. Ewington sent us, we were able to conclude that the form, style, and technique of Anderson’s translation caused it to portray more emotion, which is why we found it more impactful. Kade looked back through his notes from the translation panel last semester and found a quote from Dr. Denham saying that the purpose of translation is more about carrying meaning than sticking to the exact wording of the original. For this reason, even though Thomas’s translation was more faithful to the literal meaning of the words, Anderson wrote a better translation by using words and phrases that communicated the emotions expressed in the original.

In reference to Dr. Ewington’s 3/26 lecture:

! : In my notes, I came to the conclusion that there were basically five options for writers who opposed the regime: 1) go into exile, 2) go to prison and hope to survive, 3) commit suicide, 4) stay in Russia and conform, or 5) refuse to do any of these and live in fear. There is no good option in this situation. Even the choice to conform can be dangerous, because suspicion killed even the supporters of the regime.

? : Is there a possibility of this kind of restriction of the press happening in America sometime in the near future? Has it happened in the past here?

Akhmatova Translation – Emily Ezell

Rather than studying the different translation as a whole, my AT group decided to focus on a specific poem and apply the differences we found to the rest of the work. We chose the first poem and engaged in a great conversation about the disparities between translations. Thomas translates the poem to read similarly to Akhmatova’s original literary content, as seen in his more passive and linear language. Oppositely, Anderson takes artistic liberty to stretch Akhmotava’s original language into English rhymes. The difficulty of finding equivalent rhymes in two languages appears in some of Anderson’s imperfect rhymes, such as back and wax; brow and howl. Our comparisons led us to conclude that the two translators took different approaches to Akhmatova’s poems. While Thomas used the translation to strictly convey words and phrases equivalent to the original, Anderson bounded his translation to preserving the artistic nature of the original.

! Although Russian artists were fully aware of the strict censorship and dramatic consequences, they were not afraid to use their art to challenge the Soviet regime

? Did these artists use a common collection of symbols/ codes that went unnoticed by Soviet censorship but recognized by the artists’ audiences?

“Post on Achmatova’s Requiem”, Nikolaos Paramythiotis

We had a very fruitful conversation with Alec, Grace, Luna and Prescott, and agreed on the fact that although one can tell the two translations are of the same poem, they are vastly different. To begin with, Anderson’s translation used more simple language and the message was presented in a more straightforward manner, creating a more personal tone. On the other hand, in his translation Thomas makes use of more advanced and metaphorical language, which set the tone as more distant, but also more professional, poetic and lyrical. In this respect, the messages delivered by the pieces are also drastically different; the more emotional translation by Anderson evokes the powerful feelings of agony experienced by the woman whose son is imprisoned, and the more sophisticated translation by Thomas carries out this deeper feeling of hopelessness that the Terror created to the people of the Soviet Union. Moreover, from my experience with original Greek and German poetry, I agreed when it was brought up that Thomas’ translation, having a more cryptic and mysterious tone, felt more like non-English literature, whereas the translation by Anderson, seemed more like it was written by a native English speaker, based on the word choice and structure. Overall, I would say that the simplicity characterizing Anderson’s translation makes it more understandable and suitable for a person that is not familiar at all with Stalin’s Terror. However, Thomas’ translation is aesthetically more appealing to me and is more intriguing, provoking questions and causing the reader to get involved and think.

About Prof. Ewington’s lecture:

!: It is interesting to see how even poetry not challenging the regime was severely censored and fought against simply because it was outside the Soviet aesthetic as created by the constant propaganda!

?: After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, did poets received the respect and admiration that they had in pre-revolutionary times, as the most important truth-tellers?