Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Integrity of Berlin Wall

While visiting the Newseum in Washington DC a few weeks ago, fellow classmate Jared Magill and I(Jack Waters) stumbled upon this gem near the Berlin Wall exhibit.



Notice the fine print on the sign, in order to maintain the integrity of the Berlin Wall, please do not touch

I had to double take, and sat wondering if any passersby noticed the interesting wording of the warning. I took the photo to accompany the story I tell others, to avoid tall-tale status. It's legit.

7 comments:

Scott Abbott said...

Nice. The fact that this part of the Berlin Wall is in Washington could mean, I guess you're saying, that the Berlin Wall's integrity has been breached and that no amount of touching will change that. By the way, I've got a piece of the Berlin Wall myself, and am proud to have helped ruin its integrity.

Torben B said...

The "integrity" of the Berlin Wall :)

Jared M. said...

Probably stating the obvious here but what I found striking about the choice of wording on the sign was that the political role of the Berlin Wall as a physical border--as opposed to the imaginary ones we are accustomed to--was a function of its structural integrity. But there were many who considered the structural integrity of the wall to be completely devoid of moral integrity. Once political forces on both sides of the wall acknowledged a lack of moral integrity, the structural integrity was dimantled into pieces, the pieces scattered to the four winds only to have a few segments of the wall end up in a museum in Washington D.C. which now seeks to preserve some other form of integrity presumably possessed by the wall. It's interesting.
I think the recycling of the language vocabulary word integrity in multiple contexts indicates the finite capacity of one language in expressing the infinite range of human thought vocabulary. We touched briefly on this subject in class when we discussed the Japanese adoption of the German word for work. I think they borrowed the German word to increase their ability to express their thought vocabulary. Perhaps the folks at the Newseum should do the same. What's the German word for integrity?

Evolutionary Adaption of Revolutionary Adaptation said...

It isn't uncommon for some kind of organization to take one thing and call it another. I'm sure we'll look at things such as that when we discuss propaganda.

If they want you to support the war, they'll ask you to support the troops. If they don't want you to touch a broken piece of wall, they'll tell you not to compromise the integrity.

Did you touch it anyway? I really hope so.

Scott Abbott said...

As you might expect, there are various German words for the various meanings of integrity: Ganzheit (wholeness), Vollstaendigkeit (completeness), Unversehrtheit (undamaged-ness), Echtheit (genuine-ness), and Rechtschaffenheit (honesty and uprightness).

Jack (h2oetry) said...

It seems as if we can count on the Germans for their various flavors of integrity. In the same sense that we have many different words for "war," and eskimos have many different words for "ice," it seems as if integrity is something the Germans have(or pretend to?).

Oh, and I did touch if briefly. I "accidentally" lost my balance to place my hand on it in a leaning fashion.

And to make the corny joke, looks like the Wall must have taken a while to knock down, because it had plenty of "heit"

Grabloid said...

haha...that sign made me laugh out loud...
a funny, and probably unintended pun...

and in response to Jack about 'war' and our many words for it, 'ice' and the many words that eskimos have for it...Alex will tell you that Sardinian sheep herders have something like 14 different words for 'dusk'.

...i would think that this diversity is created out of a necessity for more detail, or in the case of war maybe to cover up the reality, or to mislead...definitely good for conversation when you discuss propaganda, i'm jealous of this class even though i took it last year. i'll be sitting in several times over the semester.