“Zip Your Lip”. Controlling Rumors in Wartimes
War brings about secrets and rumours. In war, modern nations fight against Fama, the antique goddess of rumour. E.g. between 1914 and 1918: While modern technical means seem to provide an objective view on the battle, the soldiers in the trenches depend on oral news, news about ape armies, ghost-riders and atrocities, committed by Belgian women. In WW II American Military psychologists take up a professional ght against wild talking. Leaets, „rumor clinics“ and movies are designed to dry out the swamps of hearsay. And war turns out to be the laboratory for the time after: Centralization and media-change shall ensure the managing of knowledge even in times of peace. Is Fama, then, the messenger of free speech?
Hans-Joachim Neubauer is editor at the Rheinischer Merkur and Lecturer of German Literature and Literary Theory at the Free University of Berlin. He also teaches at the College for Film and Television „Konrad Wolf“ in Potsdam-Babelsberg. Hans-Joachim Neubauer has held fellowships at the Centre for the Study of Anti-Semitism of the Technical University Berlin and at the Maison des sciences de l’homme in Paris. He has worked as author and director with inmates of Tegel prison in the theatre group “AufBruch”. His many publications include: Judenfiguren. Drama und Theater im frühen 19. Jahrhundert (1994); Fama. Eine Geschichte des Gerüchts (engl. edition: The Rumour. A Cultural History, 1998); Zeitenwechsel. Das Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD (2001); Einschluss. Bericht aus einem Gefängnis (2001); and Der Fluch der Urne. Politthriller (2005).