Germany’s obsession with the Wild West – 
Harmless hobbyism or the romanticization of a brutal history












Germany’s obsession with the Wild West

A while back I stumbled upon the enduring German obsession with the Wild West through a friend. I learned that on a weekly basis, adults and children would dress, gather and cheerily celebrate a hobby that seems both antichronistic and inappropriate. Yet, this hobby has not only prevailed for over a century, but is more celebrated and widespread than ever. The German fascination and romanticization of the Wild West as a distant dreamscape of freedom, wilderness and a playground for “the strong and brave”, as one hobbyist puts it, has long been fuelled by the imaginary stories of Karl May. But why does it remain relevant today and how do the hobbyists answer to questions of ethnocide, cultural appropriation and the centuries of pain and unimaginable injustic that Native Americans still face today? How much of it is harmless role-play and how much of it is, as Tyrone White (A Lakota Native living in Germany) described as „the endless cycle of well-meant racism“.

We went to find out for Y-Kollektiv
You can see the full video here: Blutige Geschichte als unschuldiges Hobby?





Mark
All images copyright
of Guannan Li