Sunday, November 12, 2006

"We like American Music best, baby"

I first noticed this issue back in RI, when watching films for my German summer course. Every one of the twelve or so films screened for us was written and produced in Germany, with German actors, directors, etc. However, we all noticed immediately that at least 85% of the songs in these films were performed in English. Not always American (although Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" was in two films, and the original version by Leonard Cohen was in another), but English language. We thought it was strange, and none of the Germans in the program had any explanation. That in itself was unsettling, because they always had an answer for everything.

Now it is several months later and the same phenomenon is popping up everywhere. Every day when I watch TV, most of the commercials and programs feature music with lyrics sung in English. And I'm not talking CNN Asia here, I mean German programming. I find this weird. There are many talented German musicians, and I would think the media here would want to support them by using their songs. Guess not.

Translation on TV is odd, too. I can't for the life of me figure it out. American films are ALWAYS dubbed, but some TV shows are not. "The Simpsons" (called "Die Simpsons") is dubbed. A huge mistake, because most of the humor is lost and it makes a classic show into a boring waste of time. MTV shows usually have subtitles, like "Date My Mom" and "Pimp My Ride International." Yet, other shows like "Made" are dubbed. I don't know which is more ridiculous: the fact that someone takes the time to dub such shit programming, or the fact that German kids are reading furiously to see which Mom says the worst things about her daughter.

They change titles indescriminately also. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" becomes "Harry Potter und die Kammer des Schreckens," a literal translation. However, "You, Me, and Dupree" becomes "Ich, Du, und der Andere" or "I, You, and the Other." Some titles are left in English, and others renamed entirely. I don't really care, but the inconsistancy is confusing because, hey, this is Germany. For a country so bogged down with nit picky laws, officials, and stacks of paperwork, I thought for sure there would be regulations for this kind of thing. I can't even pick up my mail without opening it in front of customs officials now. So nobondy send me anything that could be percieved as a threat, or I'll be arrested.

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