In her new book, the cabaret artist Monika Gruber presented a previously unknown blogger as an allegedly confused guardian of virtue. According to press reports, the woman has now received death threats. After a shitstorm against Gruber, Piper Verlag announced that it would change the passage in the book. Is that the end of the matter? Unfortunately not. The Gruber case shows that unknown people who write a little on the Internet can expect to be dragged into the public eye. And possibly threatened. Only because cabaret artists like Gruber and publishers like Piper disregard journalistic principles for quick gags and circulation.
For everyone who didn't hear about the affair at the turn of the year: The woman, who should not be named here, writes online about books, among other things. She doesn't have 1,500 followers on Instagram. 1,233 read her book tips on Facebook. On Platform X (formerly Twitter) there are just over 4,500. In her posts, the blogger, if you can and want to call her that, is committed to, among other things, racism and the right. In March she warned on So far, so harmless. In her book, Monika Gruber makes fun of this post and the blogger. "Why Nazis like to knit. The confusing scheme of some virtue guardians," is the headline and calls the blogger a "self-proclaimed influencer and virtue guardian" who would spread "sweary goods."
Gruber and her co-author, the journalist Andreas Hock, who was once editor-in-chief of the Nürnberger Abendzeitung, mention the book blogger's full name. He doesn't sound typically German. Gruber and Hock dare to assume that the blogger is writing under a false name because it sounds better: "Perhaps in real life it's just called 'Maria Müller' and she quickly renamed herself because both first and last names are difficult sounds like 'Association of German Girls'? But that would of course be illegitimate cultural appropriation." And further: You wouldn't expect a woman with a name like that to be in a knitting class, but rather "at a tantric Shakren gymnastics or a vegan primal scream seminar." It wasn't just the blogger who found this racist. According to the motto: Maria Müller can knit, women with migrant names can only do tantra.
A shitstorm broke out against Monika Gruber online. Rightly so. It's good that the internet community doesn't just accept it when people are unfairly paraded in public and racially insulted. The woman, she told the press, received threats that spoke of "rape and even murder."
One wonders why Gruber and Hock didn't do any counter research. The woman's photos already show that she is not a blonde, German girl - as was the ideal of the "Association of German Girls". And perhaps if they asked, she would have told them what she has now published on the Internet: her father was Indian.
One wonders why Piper's legal department didn't remove the blogger's name from the manuscript. The few book reviews do not make her a relative figure in contemporary history. To put it simply, this refers to people whose personal rights are restricted because the public is entitled to have a limited interest in them. Whether the passage is covered by artistic freedom and satire will likely be the subject of legal seminars. However, with Piper one could and should have realized that people who are presented in such a hateful manner could be threatened.
Apart from all this, the blogger's warning is by no means "bullshit". Handwork does not receive the appreciation it deserves. Not only because manual workers (most of whom are women) are often forced to sell their self-knitted, crocheted or felted products below value. Knitted, crocheted, knotted and lace-made things are considered handicrafts, but not art. To put it badly: three blots and six lines on a canvas can pass for modern art. An artfully knitted cloth with a complicated pattern, on the other hand, remains craftwork, although it can be art. But working by hand was not particularly respected even in ancient times (wrongly so, of course). Art associations often refuse to accept artists.
Right-wing extremists come into this gap by infiltrating clubs, initiatives, courses and the like. Women play a key role in this strategy of infiltrating all levels of society. They spread right-wing extremist ideas in passing: as supervisors in swimming lessons, at yoga for expectant millers, as mothers in the parents' council, at children's parties where they hand out coffee and cake. “Women are popular figures; they seem to be shown a kind of generalized trust,” warns the Federal Agency for Civic Education. Handicraft courses are ideal for right-wing ideologues. During the Nazi era, manual labor was an integral part of girls' education. Here women finally experience appreciation for their handiwork. While art associations - and not only them - often laugh at "Stricklieseln".
So appreciation is the order of the day. Opposite people who knit and make lace. And towards women who spread well-intentioned advice online. Gruber, Hock and Piper Verlag could start with this: And apologize to the blogger. In public. Exactly where they paraded and attacked the woman.
Transparency note: Kerstin Herrnkind - like the woman attacked by Gruber - studies modern German literature at the Fernuni Hagen. However, she doesn't know her fellow student personally. The blogger left her request unanswered.