Yesterday while my friend Erin and I were waiting in line at Space Mountain (yes, sometimes I like to go to Disneyland for 3 hours in the afternoon instead of watching "Law & Order" while my brain unwinds from a week of seminar, do you have a fucking problem with that and is that in direct conflict with my disdain for the idiocracy of the present portrayed in the post below? Who cares? Argumentative writing is for wusses) we thought about opening a German Literature Theme Park–we don’t have a title for it yet (Germania is taken, unfortunately, and so is Germania II), so it will have to just be Untitled German Literature Theme Park I. Here are some of the attractions we’ve planned so far.
Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre: The Ride. A la Mr. Toad, in this ride patrons sit in a little buggy and go very, very, very slowly through a bunch of dioramas–well, a few dioramas. There’s one with a horny girl in a white nightgown, and one with a bunch of flamboyant actors, and one with a mysterious secret society of boots-wearing cool guys, and one with a little kid. And you go through the diorama loop approx. 400 times.
Fontane: The Ride. This ride is exactly like reality, so what you do is enter a house that looks exactly like your house, and sit down on a bed that looks exactly like your bed, and check your email and watch "Law & Order." Someone might get pregnant, but only if you are also pregnant in real life.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: The Ride. Right next to the Wilhelm Meister ride, this is the one ride at the theme park that everyone feels like they "have" to go on in order to have the full Germanistik theme park experience. Like if you don’t go on the Goethe ride people will say, "You went all the way to the Untitled German Literature Theme Park and you didn’t go on the Goethe ride? What’s the use?!?" Accordingly the ride will have a long line and take a very long time to go on and make you a little queasy, but it will simultaneosly be a little bit creepy (if you are a teenage girl, especially creepy) and vaguely disappointing. When you get off the ride you will be a little deflated about your decision to go to the park in the first place. The best part of it is the Schiller’s Skull Room.
The Nietzschan Abyss. On this ride you walk into a big huge dark room and sit on a bench and do nothing for five minutes. Eventually a massive eyelid appears, blinks, and disappears again. At some point you notice that the ground underneath the bench has disappeared and you may or may not be upside down. This ride last for the rest of your life.
Arno Schmidt’s add * VENN >>>>/shur. This ride consists of walking through an overheated room while animatronic men in creepy glasses kick you in the shins. At the end someone feeds you some really shitty soup from a mix. This ride sucks, but once you survive it you never tire of telling everyone else about it in great detail and insisting they have not lived until they go on it.
Uwe Johnson’s Mutmaßungen Mut-Tacular. This ride has several simultanous endings, all of which are mutually exclusive and yet concurrent. Only the coolest people in the park are allowed on it.
Der Ride Ohne Eigenschaften. This ride includes dioramas of brothers and sisters having sex and decadent intellectual elites planning the escape of convicted hooker-murderers (that is, you can just reuse the defunct parts of the Hall of Presidents). It is the greatest ride ever built, but pack several meals and do some bladder-strengthening exercises before you board, because it takes 96 hours and just kind of peters out and spits you out on the other side without "ending" per se.
Kafka: The Ride. Before you can take this ride, you have to wait in a very long and convoluted line. Some people seem predestined to be able to cut the line, but not you. The line leads through squalid little streets and disturbing pastiches of hunchbacked whores and grimy painters and dancing naked old dads and guys jumping off bridges, and just when you think you’ve reached the end of the line, you realize you’ve just reached the beginning of an even bigger and more cavernous line (see again: Space Mountain). What’s worse, other people keep getting off the ride and going, "Man, that’s the greatest ride ever!!!" and you ask them what it was like and they just laugh at you. When you finally reach the end of the line, the guy takes your FastPass and thanks you for experiencing Kafka: The Ride, since the line was the ride, and how could you not have known that?