From: Stephen Lauf
Subject: Ludwig and Otto -- architects of reenactment
Date: 2000.03.22

Paul states:
Ludwig had little appreciation for architectural quality. Most of his several domains are museums of kitsch. Ludwig was more of the romantic Wagnerian school of Gesamptkuns[t]werk...

I don't see any way that Paul can qualify that "Ludwig had little appreciation for architectural quality." Saying that Ludwig's "several domains are museums of kitsch just isn't enough of a critique, and indeed is closer to a falsehood than to truth. Kitsch, like taste, is a very relative aesthetic qualifying category, and Paul's assessment of Ludwig's architecture is more informative about Paul's own intentions (which most often stand very close to accepted common opinion, with a strong dose of pedantic propaganda). For example, Paul misleads when he says "Ludwig was more of the romantic Wagnerian school of Gesamptkunstwerk" because the truth is that Ludwig II, via his patronage, himself instituted the Wagnerian school of Gesamptkunstwerk. [Let's give credit where it is due, rather than display prejudice and denial. Indeed Paul's latest post is full of prejudicial and denying subjectivities: continually calling Ludwig "mad" when he was more correctly eccentric; calling Bavaria a northern province of Italy, as if Bavaria were somehow unable to engender its own identity (and this points directly to Paul's inability to see Royal Bavarian architecture as architecture); "Ludwig's stuff is Disnoid"--isn't this putting the cart before the horse?; and the notion of "architecture strictly defined" coming from someone who is very loose with their own definitions.]

Perhaps I am just being overly partial to Ludwig II and his architecture because I myself have a Bavarian born brother named Otto, who is also mentally ill, or because it was in Bavaria that my parents married and started a family after each of them spent five years in Stalinist Russian prison labor camps, or that I would have been born and raised in Bavaria myself if my parents hadn't moved to America in 1954. I know exactly what it is like to think about what was, and what might have been, when it comes to being a Bavarian (architect).

Moreover, I know a thing or two about reenactment, having witnessed a reenactment of my own birth. Twenty years and 2 days ago (20 March 1980), my by then schizophrenic brother Otto was in a severe automobile under a truck highway accident. After 45 minutes he was finally cut out from his car and from under the truck, and rushed to Osteopathic Hospital. This all occurred in the very early morning hours. As I and my parents where drinking a last sip of coffee before heading to the hospital, my mother said "We were doing the same thing exactly twenty years ago." For a split second I wondered how on earth my mother remembered what she was doing on a morning exactly twenty years ago, and then it hit me my mother and father were then getting ready to go to the hospital because I was about to be born (at the older Osteopathic Hospital). The three us arrived at the Emergency Room just before 7 AM (I was born 6:52 AM). To our surprise and horror, Otto not only remained conscious throughout the entire accident and its aftermath, but was still violently fighting and screaming to be released from the gurney he was strapped in--Otto's entire upper torso was covered with cuts where you could still see the pieces of glass glinting in them, six ribs were broken, and a lobe of his back left brain was so damaged that a lobotomy was performed on Otto that afternoon.

You might say that I more than received my doctorate from the Ottopian Universe/City of Reenactment.

One of my intentions will henceforth always be to promote the knowledge and understanding of the architecture of reenactment (especially the Bavarian bred).

Stephen Helmut Anton Otto Lauf



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