The evening of October 26th has been full of surprises. I went to a dinner party which included a speech by Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. I disagree with pretty much everything he said and published about digital topics, especially about the ancillary copyright (Leistungsschutzrecht) for press publishers. As a publisher I am convinced that this is the worst idea anyone who cares about publishing could have.
Anyway, I wanted to hear what Oettinger had to say about the challenges of the digital revolution. You never know. First I was surprised about his ability to speak freely and be entertaining at the same time. But then his speech got an unexpected twist.
Suddenly he spoke about „chiselers and chinky eyes“ (Schlitzaugen – a snotty German word for Asien people) we should be afraid of. And his speech turned partly in to a racistic, homophobic and sexist piece of political polemic. I started to tape it and here are the „highlights“.
I am ashamed by this German representative in the EU commission. When he left I took the chance to thank him for this refreshing piece of racism. He didn’t understand what I meant. He doesn’t even know that he is saying offensive things. Behind him stood Gunther Bonz, president of the Federation of European Private Port Operators, trying to lecture me by saying: „There are not only do-gooders (Gutmenschen)“. I responded: „When this word becomes an insult, we are lost“.
It has been a disturbing evening. Some guests clearly disagreed with what Oettinger said, some very much agreed and enjoyed it, and many defended his insults as some kind of punchline to make a point. A guy at our table wanted to convince me, that an offensive speech can be the basis for a good discussion. Surprisingly when I became offensive and called him ugly and told him that his suit looked cheap, the quality of the discussion did not improve.
After this evening I had the impression that Günther Oettinger is an inhuman asshole. Much worse though was the reaction of the people. Few stood up against the mean stupidities Oettinger said and way to many agreed with him. This is not the world I wanna live in. I want my kids to become people that show respect and decency to everybody. Much more than this failure of an EU commissioner.
Marquardt sei nach der Veranstaltung zu Oettinger gegangen und habe ihm für „das erfrischende Stück Rassismus“ gedankt. Oettinger habe ihn verständnislos angeschaut und erwidert: „Ja, was denn? Es ist doch so.“