The question that has been keeping the local media busy for the last month in the town of Senftenberg in Germany is what is connection between Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster and the extreme right in the country.
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At the end of March the police in Senftenberg, which is in the state of Brandenburg in what was formerly East Germany, reported they had arrested two men, aged 31 and 32, who were passing out extreme right-wing propaganda to local schoolchildren. One of them, Stefan Lange, was dressed up as Cookie Monster (Krümelmonster in German), and distributed material on school grounds. The police arrested the two after one of the teachers complained, and then searched their homes. The police found materials connecting them to neo-Nazi groups, including pamphlets that used the image of the furry blue creature from the popular children’s television program.
A quick investigation revealed that this was not the first time right-wing activists have used the Cookie Monster character in an attempt to attract children.
German experts on the far-right scene said the use of Cookie Monster for propaganda purposes is a desperate attempt by the neo-Nazis to adopt a friendly and nonthreatening image. A local police spokesman called it an attempt to adopt a look that is normal and benign, and possibly even to look fun and rebellious.
The latest Cookie Monster affair joins other embarrassing reports for the far right in Germany recently, which may testify to the desperate state of those groups. In what the German press is calling the “Penis Cake Affair,” this week Peter Marx, the second-ranking official in Germany’s biggest far-right party, quit his post after being criticized for attending a birthday celebration featuring a penis-shaped cake that was served to guests.
German media previously reported that Marx also faced criticism in far-right circles for his contacts with a party supporter, Ina Groll - also known professionally as Kitty Blair - who fell out of favor within the party after she reportedly appeared in one of her pornographic films with a black man. Groll, a former porn star, quit the controversial business to become the public face of the party. Marx appeared at a party in February along with Groll, and embarrassing pictures of him have appeared on neo-Nazi sites all over the Internet.
The National Democratic Party confirmed Monday that Marx, 58, resigned as secretary-general Sunday because of the “ongoing public debate about him.” The party openly calls for hatred against foreigners and immigrants, especially Muslims. The party is aiming to gain its first seat in the European Parliament next month after Germany’s constitutional court nixed a requirement that parties must get at least three percent of the vote. Germany’s 16 states are seeking to ban the party for its racist ideology.