W.he likes to have a say in online conferences, but doesn’t want to hold his face in the camera, needs good arguments. Aesthetic considerations are not included. They are suspected of being headbirths by capricious types. Moral reasons, on the other hand, are at the other end of the scale and can hardly be ignored. So if you say that you are always so badly lit in a web meeting, your colleagues roll their eyes. Things look different when you mention that with fifteen virtual meetings of sixty minutes each week, 9.4 kilos of CO2 per month are generated – provided that the participants can see each other. Without a picture, the balance is 377 grams.
Since the personal contribution to saving the world is now a matter of honor, such facts are a kind of instructions for use for a clear conscience. Its curator, Eckart von Hirschhausen, provides many more figures in his audio book “Mensch, Erde!” From an article in the journal Nature, he learns that the electricity consumption caused by Bitcoins is sufficient to heat the climate by two degrees in the next thirty years. Elsewhere, you can read that air pollution caused 8.8 million premature deaths worldwide in 2015. The author learns from Deutsche Umwelthilfe that 7.6 million disposable coffee mugs are disposed of every day in this country. Because their inner walls are made of polyethylene, in the end only microplastics are left of them.
A wild mix
None of this is new. Nonetheless, Hirschhausen is keeping up with Karl Valentin: “Everything has already been said, just not yet from all of them.” In less than three hours he takes care of an entire bouquet of themes. The now fifty-three-year-old doctor, magician, activist and cabaret artist informs about bird death and global warming in the style of the quiz master he is, the behavioral scientist Jane Goodall and the environmental scientist Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Covid-19 and eating habits, our sense of time and the sense of loss known as “solastalgia” that creeps up on people who witness their homeland being destroyed.
Hirschhausen is aware of the pitfalls of such a mammoth program, which is why he explains: “Climate protection, species protection, health protection – without being prone to conspiracy theories: there is a connection! Therefore, this ‘subjective non-fiction book’ is an attempt to remove part of the boundaries within which topics are often negotiated. That is why you will find a wild mix of factual information and stories, private, political and poetic here. “
Does the broadcast-with-the-mouse sound sabotage the cause?
Which brings us back to the question about aesthetics and morality that was asked at the beginning. The message of the audio book appeals to the dutiful citizen in us and cannot be repeated often enough: The earth is doing badly, we are to blame and we can help. To increase motivation, Hirschhausen lists good news from the past few years in the booklet, for example that in 2020 more meat was eaten in Germany than it has been for more than thirty years. However, the form in which he dresses his ambitious manifesto corresponds to the eternally mischievous attitude that one is used to from him: “Guaranteed 10% less funny than before” can be read on the back of the double CD.
In this respect, the author allows himself a tightrope act, in which he relies on E in terms of content, but on Jux-U aesthetically. The joke proves to be the easing agent of choice. Is this merger allowed? The question, put in this way, ignores the point, as witty knows no bounds, as is well known. The real question is: Do content and form interlock, or does the broadcast-with-the-mouse sabotage the issue?
A perfectionist of small art
In any case, the possibility of embarrassment seems to be a long way off for Hirschhausen, otherwise he would have reduced the density of his punchlines: “Why doesn’t anyone get upset about the fact that we run away earlier because of fine dust?” – “Sweat is the coolest Invention of evolution. ”-“ Do we really care whether we throw away the spoon after stirring it or rinse it off? ”-“ If a point doesn’t fall out of the crown of creation. ”
Hirschhausen helps the listener, who is constantly being addressed as if he were a child, when his attention is particularly needed – by laughing at him. Nobody has mastered this peppy cabaret more perfectly than the author of “The liver grows with its tasks”. You have to pay attention to the nuances, because tiny modulations can mark a difference around the whole. A short laugh might mean: Gag, please smile along. However, it could just as well be called: This is very sad now. A little stretched, it signals greater absurdity. If it can easily be mistaken for a hiccup, it is a rhythm generator.
That Hirschhausen confesses that he has to “almost cry” every time he hears Louis Armstrong’s song “What a Wonderful World”, then – touched by his own emotion – quotes the text, but incorrectly states the date of its publication: given . It is foolish that he, the doctor, criticizes Angela Merkel’s Corona policy in a humorless manner and claims that the Chancellor dismissed the entertainment industry as “irrelevant”: “Health comes first. Clear. But health is not just about the absence of viruses and disease. ”You cannot tickle yourself, it takes some“ show ”to unleash“ healing powers ”. In view of more than ninety thousand corona deaths in Germany, such a simple calculation is surprising, especially from a moralist. But we remember: This time he’s guaranteed ten percent less funny than before.
Eckart von Hirschhausen: “Man, Earth!” We could have it so beautiful. Der Hörverlag, Munich 2021. 2 CDs, 157 min., € 14.