Thursday, March 30, 2006

Garden Gnomes in Germany

I couldn't resist posting this Der Spiegel article . It begins, The French blockbuster "Amelie," may have made him trendy abroad in recent years, but nanus hortorum vulgaris, has been a regular fixture in German culture for more than a century. Created in 1872 in the small town of Graefenroda in the German state of Thuringia, none of the kobolds, trolls and sprites that populate Teutonic mythology has endeared itself to Germans like the common garden gnome. Experts estimate that some 25 million of the glazed ceramic creatures now inhabit German living rooms and perfectly manicured flower beds.
But the common garden gnome has fallen on hard times in recent years, his reputation tarnished by campaigns led by mean-spirited elitist intellectuals and even perverts. To intellectuals and other touchy types, he's despised as the embodiment of kitsch and petit-bourgeois parochialism. Some outsiders have even sought to savage the image of the gnome by plunging him into a world of decadence, violence, and sex. There are pornographic gnomes, one-eared Van Gogh gnomes and "Scream" versions à la Edvard Munch ...


Pam said...

Go googling for links to the Garden Gnome Liberation Front. There's all KINDS of hilarity out there.


woman wandering said...

Well I did and couldn't believe it. I should add it as a seperate link ... it's crazy stuff, as you said.

I was once party to stealing a friend's gnome. It travelled the world, sending 'dad' photos from international flight decks and famous places.
New Zealanders and things that amuse them ;)