January 25th, 2012

Attitudes in German politics are changing

Lately I’ve been seeing news articles and YouTube clips spring up, and I realise how German politics has for a long time been an old-people elite that has been marginalising the younger generation for its supposedly anti-social internet-only lifestyle. Now that younger generation jumps onto the stage out of the blue, speaks up for itself and has established politicians utterly stumped. Suddenly they have to defend themselves against arguments that involve modern social phenomena like Twitter which they don’t understand; it is no longer acceptable to simply deride it for geekdom and dismiss it as negligible. All those old people’s unfamiliarity with — and hence inability to appreciate the significance of — the emerging sociology of the internet is suddenly exposed. As one commenter aptly described it, “the more you talk, the more percentage-points you lose to the Pirates”.

In fact, the derision goes the other way now. A Green-Party politician said “I watch internet”, which I’m sure was just a slip of the tongue, but a representative of the Pirate Party seized upon it as revealing of their perception of the internet as a beefed-up TV program and their ignorance of its interactivity. Only 5 years ago such a reaction would have been seen as pedantic and unconstructive, but today a sizable chunk of the audience applauds this felicitous characterisation of their outdated worldview.

I think I’m going to watch a political discussion show about the Pirate Party that was broadcast 5 months ago. Not the most up to date, but we’ll see. With this overdue development finally happening, I think I could potentially get a lot more excited about politics in the coming years.