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Precarious in Kaiserslautern | TIME ONLINE

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Violence and shame play in Christian Baron's autobiographical novel A man in his class an important role. The shame about the violence experienced humiliates more than the violence itself. The latter can be devoured and pushed away, but the shame brings the outside world into play: that in the eyes of others, one is considered anti-social.

In Baron's world of origin, violence is something that can break out at any time when the father stumbles home drunk – it is like a thunderstorm, in which one does not ask why, but let it rain down. The worst thing is when the children are already in bed but have to hear their mother's head bang against the wall. Then little Christian buries his head under the pillow to get as little as possible. Like the neighbor from above, who sits on a Walkman whenever he walks past Christian's parents' apartment in the stairwell.

Once Uncle Ralf Christian and his brother Benny pick up by car, a Ford Taunus, it should be a surprise tour to the Holiday Park. Everyone is in high spirits. Uncle Ralf has his favorite CD with the title Gröööhl! inserted, smokes and sings along with all the drinking songs when the windows are open. There is high spirits, the children also stick their heads through the windows into the wind. The trip with the uncle is a vacation from violence at home. But when they stop at the traffic lights, Christian sinks into the seat, he doesn't want to be seen by a teacher who could accidentally come along the way.

When they stand in front of a traffic light, an SUV stops next to them. The driver winds down the window and screams with a scowl: "What are you fool?"

Uncle Ralf: "Do you have a problem?"

The off-road vehicle driver: "Somebody should punch you in the mouth!"

The men get out. The guy is a giant. When he sees how small Ralf is, he is almost a bit irritated: How is this supposed to be a sensible fight ?! "Has children in the car and smokes," he finally says: "What Assi."

The publishers have already wrestled with this book, since it only existed as an synopsis. Its author, editor at Friday, wrote his own story. He hits a nerve with the times, because our present is plagued by a guilty conscience that he is only interested in the middle class and does not get to see the realities of life in other milieus (in which the much "more real" life may be playing).

There are (at least) three reasons for this guilty conscience:

First, the social establishment tends to reproduce itself. Six years ago Florian Kessler wrote an excellent polemic about the literary institutes in Hildesheim and Leipzig with the ironic title "Let me through, I'm a doctor's son! ". His criticism: If you look at the students and later lecturers in Hildesheim, it can be seen that only the children from the upper educated middle class prevailed. This is not only unfair, but also impoverishment of the worlds of experience that German contemporary literature is cheated of in this way. There was a lot of contradiction in Kessler's text, but everyone felt guilty – as if they had been caught.

. (tagsToTranslate) Culture (t) "A man in his class" (t) Literature



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