David Hasselhoff, the Great Liberator?

Daniel Drezner is amused at the American television actor David Hasselhoff. Hasselhoff, it seems, is annoyed that he is not given the credit he so clearly deserves for the fall of the Iron Curtain (no, really). But some of Mr Drezner’s commenters feel that Hasselhoff might have a bit of a point.

These commenters point out that western pop culture could well have contributed to a desire for regime change in the socialist bloc. And, to a degree, Hasselhoff would have been part of the pop culture the easterners took in – few Americans, perhaps, are aware (save to the extent they paid attention to Saturday Night Live‘s Norm MacDonald), but ‘the Germans love David Hasselhoff’.

And it’s altogether possible that the East Germans got to share the love. It was relatively easy, after all, for them to see and hear western broadcast media. ARD, the main (West) German television channel, was known jokingly in East Germany as Ausser Raum Dresden – ‘except in the Dresden region’ – because pretty much everybody could receive its signal, except those in the country’s southeastern corner.

I cannot say, though, whether Hasselhoff enjoyed the same near-universal adulation in East Germany as in the West.

(This is all a bit of a joke, actually. Pace MacDonald, though Hasselhoff did enjoy a degree of popularity among those Germans who favour the sociologically highly interesting but musically godawful genre known as Schlager, he would not have been perceived as a major pop idol.)

5 thoughts on “David Hasselhoff, the Great Liberator?

  1. Anyone who hasn’t seen the Amazon reviews has missed out on a treat:

    When it comes to this album, there’s no need to get dressed in body paint and say “Sock it to me,” because this album socks it to me without the body paint and me saying “Sock it to me!”

    But redundant Rowan and Martin references aside, this reader urges you to just sample the wondrous musical world of David Hobbitcock. You will thrill to every angelic note that pours forth from his god-like mouth. As if from a cleft-chinned gravy boat, the songs he sings drench a melody with the thick, viscous sauce of his talent. Eardrums quiver in ecstasy as he honks and wheezes his way through 18 chart-topping hits. I am comfortable in my sexuality to declare that David Hamsterdance is truly a centaur of the pop world. He can ring my dingy anyday!

    The song “Hot Shot City” is particularly good.

  2. Lou Reed, Frank Zappa, Allen Ginsberg, and the Grateful Dead have all been given some degree of formal recognition in Poland, Czechoslovakia, or Lithuania. But I’m old and I don’t know who David Hasselhoff is. (Or is he old too? I still don’t know who he is).

  3. Hasselhoff is an actor who has co-starred with a talking car and, as Antoni correctly surmises, a bevy of talking swimsuits. He also ‘sings’ and it is in this latter sphere that he gained his prestige, such as it is, in the German-speaking world.

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