Thursday, February 28, 2008


I go into the cafe at Möbel Hübner, order a latte, open Adorno's Minima Moralia:

Was einmal den Philosophen Leben hieß, ist zur Sphäre des Privaten and dann bloß noch des Konsums geworden, die als Anhang des materiellen Productionsprozesses, ohne Autonomie und ohne eigene Substanz, mitgeschleift wird.

What was once life for the philosophers has become the sphere of the private and then simply of consumption, which is dragged along as an appendage of the material production process, without autonomy and without its own substance.

I read on for a paragraph or so, happen to look up. My eye falls upon a brochure for designer sofas, which announces:

Auch ein Sofa kann eine kulturelle Einrichtung sein.

Even a sofa can be a cultural installation.

I pull out the brochure, open to the first page:

Deutschlands berühmte Sofas

Bekannt ist das Sofa nicht nur als Möbel in privaten Räumen, sondern auch als eine wichtige Requisite unseres Kulturlebens. Denken Sie nur an Goethes Diwan, der die westliche mit der östlichen Kultur verbindet. Oder an Freuds legendäre couch zur Psychoanalyse. Oder das Jugendstil-Sofa, auf dem Loriot seine Bonmots präsentierte. Auch Talkshows kommen kaum mehr ohne ein (meist rotes) Sofa aus, um Prominenten Geheimnisse zu entlocken. Überall ist das Sofa ein Symbol für entspannte Atmosphäre; es schafft eine gute Voraussetzung für interessante Gespräche. ...

Germany's famous sofas

The sofa is known not only as a piece of furniture in private rooms, but also as an important requirement of our cultural life. Just think of Goethe's Diwan, which links western and eastern culture. Or of Freud's legendary couch for psychoanalysis. Or the Jugendstil sofa on which Loriot presented his bon mots. Even talk shows hardly ever get by without a (usually red) sofa, to seduce secrets out of prominent people. The sofa is generally a symbol of a relaxed atmosphere; it creates a good setting for interesting discussions. ...

Ein Philosofa namens zara.


With rare self-restraint I do not have hysterics on the floor of the cafe of Möbel Hübner.


Anonymous said...

Just saw that you're judging this year's tournament of books. Cool! Why aren't you publicizing this?

nsiqueiros said...

I had no idea the sofa was responsible for Western Philosophy. Perhaps this is the answer to fighting terrorism: fabulously inviting sofas. If the terrorists just took the time to sit, relax & talk, they could become more enlightened; thereby realizing the error of their ways. I see a future where the currency is embossed with phrases such as, "In Ikea We Trust". Hysterical indeed.