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.)