Tuesday, March 2, 2010


"I think you are even more famous than I am," said Kaiser Wilhelm, when Grock, a once celebrated and still legendary clown, was introduced to His Majesty. Grock answered: "Why not? I am funnier."


  1. This story represents the nemesis of the Kaiserreich. Without any nonchalance it could not survive.

    It is this kind of very short stories, that sustains our knowledge of complex systems. In my family the Kaiserzeit is characterized by another story, the visit of Auguste Victoria (the wife of Wilhelm II) to my grand-grand-parents. They had a newly installed elevator in their Berlin flat, that even was used by the Kaiserin. Her rising was very smoothly, but not her fall: The elevator suddenly became stuck.

  2. I love anecdotes of this kind. I am not sure for what concerns the lack of nonchalance...

    We know all over the world that Naples is a place where not only nonchalance is at home, but also spirit, wit and humour.
    In Germany you can find so much constant daily spirit, wit and humour only in Berlin. Nevertheless, abroad Berlin has become a symbol of the lack of humour. Especially in Italy - our former fiancée when Italia and Germania were like Bonny and Clide -
    the idea that out of all german cities precisely Berlin could be the funniest place in Germany, is considered unsane, and even more unsane considering past times, when Berlin still was the center of Prussia.

    But when I read in the wikipedia the article on Wilhelm Voigt, the Caporal of Köpenick, I can't stop laughing this very day, especially when I read the article in the german wikipedia. Even the Kaiser is reported to have burst into laughter and to have said "This could happen only in Germany" and he amnistied Voigt after two years of prison which - given the sympathy the prisoner enjoyed all over Germany - probably were not the hardest years of his life.

    But you are right anyway cs, our weakness is in some way - as is our strength either - stiffness and the lack of nonchalance. The wonderful thing of Berlin is, that there you can find both: a good blend of the lack of nonchalance and of nonchalance itself.

    Negative cliches are like filters! One should not demolish them completely.

    They keep stupid people far from Berlin and from Naples.