White Christmas

Two good points this week – the dreaded German censorship (sorry, the protection of minors) law, which would have meant the closure of this blog has died. Unfortunately, like the bloodsucking vampire it is, it can still rise from the grave once more, so beware… But for the time being, German bloggers can peddle their wares without fear of being hounded by fortune seeking solicitors.

The second piece of good news was that Julian Assange was granted bail yesterday. Now I’m aware of the opprobrium surrounding this case, and that Assange has quite possibly a more than unsavoury role in his demise, but the fact of the matter remains that a damoclean sword hangs over him in the form of the retribution being sought by the US, the so-called bastion of free speech. This sword makes it almost impossible not to see this as a crusade against both the man and the ideals of free speech he has come to represent.

This little respite in an an otherwise wayward world gave me pause to peer out of my window onto a snow swept landscape and remember that they forgot to cancel Christmas again…

So, in honour to all you Christmas muffles out there I wrote this little ode. You can read it here.

Whoa – bad news, Germany’s bringing in new censorship laws for the internet, well at least for people who offer content from Germany, which includes me. All content has to be categorised according to its suitability for children, just like in films. This means I will have to display a sign which looks a bit like this:

Now, of course, I’ve got stuff that could be judged as not being suitable for little children, but I’ve also got stuff which is, but the best bit about the law is that they say themselves no-one really knows what’s suitable and what’s not – it’s up to you to decide and for them to prosecute if you get it wrong…

Now, since the fines go up to €500,000 (and they’ve already prosecuted a couple of artists, not for that much, but even so) then I’ll just have to say sorry little German children you can’t read my poems and stories, but really, it’s probably for the best…

It’s still a bit ominous hearing about German authorities prosecuting artists for questionable aesthetics, it brings back dark memories – but I’m sure they have their reasons. Just as they have their reasons for sending people “home”. Anyway, I thought, since I’m here, I might as well write a poem in the language of my hosts: here it is, together with a little translation:

Der Himmel bebte
Als das Flugzeug ihn küßte.
Es wäre in Ordnung
Wenn wir nicht schlafen müßten.

Der Himmel grollte
Als meine Frau weinte.
Sie saß im Flugzeug
Und wußte nicht wohin.

The heavens quaked
As the plane kissed them.
It would have been alright
If we didn’t need to sleep.

The heavens growled
While my wife cried.
She sat in the plane
And knew not whither.

© Andrew Rossiter 2010