It has been noticed by some of you - the red and white posters hanging around town with the new slogan for Berlin.
It was supposed to be a new slogan that all Berliners can identify with. It is sleek, simple and it is new. The Berlin Tourism Board probably asked many advertising agencies with their latte machiatto filled covered cups to think of something - and a decision has been made: be berlin.
Not (the almost embarrassing) “Berlin - zum KNUTschen” or the soccer inspired “Wir fahren nach Berlin” - not just “be berlin”. It is almost as if we are now fine to be “arm aber sexy” - we do not have enough money to write it big - simply small, two words, simple typo, white and red, almost minimalistic like the Calvin Klein perfume with the same name. It sounds as if it even does not need to be written big. It sounds like a mantra “be berlin, be berlin, be berlin, be berlin”. It is all fine if you say it in English - the problems will arise if people start saying it in German: Bi Berlin. A Singer/Songwriter asked “what about all the straight and gay people in Berlin? How are they supposed to be Bi?”.
Years ago, a famous comedian said “Mir ist so blond!” We can all imagine what she meant when she said that, but what are we going to think when someone says “Oh, I am so Berlin today. I am being Berlin”. Do you need to answer the telephone while being Berlin, or is it simply a short state of mind? Can you be berlin in company, or is it more of a personal thing? ‘be berlin’ is going to unite Rudow, Grunewald and Weißensee. ‘be berlin’ is going to make you excuse waiting for the bus or BVG, because being berlin means that you understand why the BVG striked. ‘be berlin’ is going to be the explanation why the “Grüne Woche” is the most visited trade fair in Germany - where people collect give away shopping bags.
‘be berlin’ is going to be the simple explanation for things like the great picture of Harald Juhnke advertising a Chinese Restaurant at the Zoo Station. ‘be berlin’ will be my soothing answer when someone asks “Who is Rolf Eden?” or “Why is that hairdresser so famous?”
‘be berlin’ is going to be my mantra when I stand in a line to get into a club for a Friday night party at 7:00 on Saturday morning.
‘be berlin’ is the reason why the Alexander Platz is still being renovated.
‘be berlin’ will be my substitute for counting to ten when a Prenzlauer Berg pram is rammed into my shinbone next time.
‘be berlin’ will be the future explanation for similar incidents like the opening of Alexa in December, where people were actually injured trying to get into a shopping mall.
‘be berlin’ explains our mayor, our senators and all the politics they make - be it good or bad.
I think South Africa should have a slogan like that “The world in one Country” is something you never believe, unless you have seen it yourself.
We could simply steal be berlin and Mzansi-fy it:
'be mzansi' is like “Do not ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” in two words.
'be mzansi' would mean it is fine to be 20 minutes late, like in "Yeah let's 'be mzansi' punctual"
'be mzansi' would mean that you are actually into being social, but not on your own costs, like in "We drive a really expensive car with a great security system - it is so mzansi!"
'be mzansi' would mean that you live in Berlin, miss South Africa, but know that when you are in South Africa you would miss Berlin - where you would rather be berlin again!
PS. Mzansi is slang for “The South” as in “Southern Africa”, so it is comparable to the German "Ossis", "Wessis", "Preußen" or "Bayern".