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Comments

Well, somebody has to provide "news" on Amihasser's intellectual level... ;-)

Goodness, I'd seen this before and was going to bring this to the attention of David's Medienkritik, but I could never remember where I saw this. When I saw the picture of the Arkansas guy with the gun, I cringed.

That's what they think of Americans already, or at least the Bush voters; Bush won the election, so it's presumed that this man is representative of the majority of America. It excuses their bigotry, I suppose. Then, when they meet a super-savvy liberal (keep in mind that all liberals are savvy in their own minds), the Germans feel sorry that they have to live with such ignorant hicks.

I consider myself a bit of a savvy conservative, myself. I don't own a gun, though I'm not entirely opposed to them. I don't watch NASCAR, I don't live in a trailer. I don't have any tattoos and I've never slept with my sister. I'm fairly well trained in German and French, and I plan to study in Freiburg next year. I enjoy history and foreign cultures.

And yes, I voted for George W. Bush, because I support the war in Iraq.

Maybe they should pull their heads out of their asses and stop looking at truck stops for quotes. But then they might find some intelligent conservatives, and that might screw up the entire article.

I can't tell you how many times I've fished the marshes on that same stretch of highway LA 1 as Mr. Ingrassia. One of the finer spots on God's Green Earth for a fisherman.

Ultimately, you can find and American to fit whatever caricature you want, we're anything but homogeneous. I wonder if Stern bothered to ask Snail Trail and Usnea if they even knew how to spell bourgeoisie, or when the last time was that they bothered to vote.

Ben, I had also read the article, a few months ago I believe. I was shaking my head and biting my tongue while reading. Stern used just about every stereotype that I've heard from Germans about Americans . The article was so blatantly biased, is there any wonder why most Germans think the way they do about Americans?

Well, there was one positive result of this article. I used it as somewhat of a training aid, to demonstrate the bias in the German media to my German work partner. It has helped to open his eyes.

Don't need no article like that for the U. S. We know the krauts are all really Nazis, the Frogs are cowards, the Belgies screw children and the Brits thier roommates. The Eyetalians are Mafiosi and and the Spics one hundred years behind. Anybody I left out?

"Der Ewige Amerikaner" They sure do breed true, don't they? Oma must be so proud.

to Joe 6 Pack,

"Anybody I left out?"

yourself

I'd love to see a stereotypical photo expose of Germans like the one Stern did here.

The '68er aging leftist
The skinhead NAZI
The nudist
The dominatrix
The scheisse video director

I can see it making money.

Oh I forgot, the nihlist!

Argh!

The guy who wears socks with sandals.

I honestly cannot believe this was printed in a respected magazine

Why don't they save some money and dust off some old Der Sturmer issues and re-print - after all - a demeaning stereotype is a demeaning stereotype

For someone who actually likes europeans and germans - I am just disgusted

I still can't figure out where the bocce/patenque/lawning bowling caricature came from.

This is a good "what's wrong with this picture" series. I'll start the with the first one to get things rolling. Okay, no confederate flag, no Elvis poster, no various assorted beer cans and no Skynyrd T-shirt. Freebird!

I love the diversity of the US.

After living in Germany for two years, I have finally learned that Europeans are very, very ignorant about America. Germans make fun of Americans for not being worldly, but with articles like these, it is the pot calling the kettle black.

Even better... a photo caption contest! Rules: only 30 seconds per photo. Ready? Go.

1. Only one of these guns is loaded. Would you care to hazard a guess, sah. Freebird!

2. Bubba done got paroled.

3. What are these things? Does anybody know what these dang things are? It's Alzheimer's right?

4. Yeah, I got a "Fee Mumia" for you right here pal.

5. I know, but it's a dam sight easy riding these things than it is to tip 'em. Freebird!

6. If we knew you wanted a formal portait we could have put on the flannel shirts.

7. Welcome to Canada. Please don't litter here.

8. Freebird! Yeah... Freebird.

9. Honestly officer, we ain't never done no dog juggling. Not with with Myrtle's prized Boston terriers we wouldn't. Freebird!

10. Okay now I get it. What do you call a guy with no arms or legs floating in the water. Ok, funny.

11. Now what? I've come to Malboro country and... what?

12. Just try and burn this bra hippy.

13. Before you ask, I will treat you mean when you ask me to treat you mean.

14. Alzheimer's? No, it's mine. Why do you ask?

15. You mean the inflatable hip waiters go outside the pants? Well I'll be.

16. When I didn't get hired at Hooters, they told me that I could wait here at this out door cafe. But I don't see any tables anywhere? Oh God, I hope that wasn't the last bus. Uhm.

I have to disagree with most of the opinions expressed here. It is true: these pictures do show American stereotypes, but that in itself doesn't make this photo essay anti-american. In the same way it would not be anti-german to run a photo essay on Germany using pictures of a bavarian guy in Lederhosen and a skinhead.
I wonder what in in your opinion makes this photo essay anti-american? Highlighting the contrast between people on the left and right end of the political spectrum. Do people feel that the right leaning people are depicted less favorable than their left leaning?
I did not read the original text of the story as it ran in Stern - it might or might not be anti-american. However, the photos shown here could as well be used in Time Magazine or Newsweek.

Of course, you're never going to see the photo of the right-wing gun-toting American standing in the yard of his gay/black/whatever neighbor, chasing away the dolts who think Nazis had a Cool Idea.

Or the young gal who got disowned by her leftist parents after she joined up in the Evil Military.

Or, of course, the "bigoted" right-winger who thinks that freeing _all_ of the people in the world is a Good Thing, when all of the "enlightened" Left know that people can only free themselves, and helping them out is cheating in some fashion.

@ Gerd:

These photos and the individuals in them are intended by Stern to be representative of America as a nation. I certainly would NOT call Bavarian guys in lederhosen and skinheads representative of Germany as a nation. Would you? Clearly, those are stereotypical figures that don't represent most Germans, just as the people in Stern's photo gallery are IMO stereotypical figures who do NOT represent most Americans. That is why I call this anti-American. Because it further deepens dim-witted, shallow stereotypes that Germans hold about Americans instead of dispelling them.

---Ray D.

Yep, its all that simple. No need for critical thinking on anyones part.

Of the 300 million of us, 150 million are gun totin, trailer livin, turtle soup eatin, snake-handlin, moonshine brewin, NASCAR watchin, toothless sister-screwin rednecks.

The other 150 million are Euro-wannabees, who by their sheer depth and nuance, defy any attempts at pigeon-holing.

Now, back to my turtle soup.

I, too, lived in Deutschland for two years in my younger and more vulnerable years--and was astonished by the ignorance of things and ways North American. Stern in those days only interested me because of its topless (oben ohne) beauties. Where did things all go wrong?

Thomas--save me some of that turtle soup and a wee dram of the moonshine!

Well there is a different way to look at this. ….

If these people are America to the Germans, how do you think this must make them feel?

I would think pretty low and pretty stupid. By any meaningful measure one would want to consider from personal wealth, standard of living to national economic performance, job creation, research and development, educational institutions, or pick a field of importance in the 21st century and you will find an American company leading.

So I have to ask myself just what is wrong with the Germans? They can do no better?

Surely in your own little wonderland, you have to feel superior and yet your nation is in decline. Want to explain that? In fact,I would like the German M$M to explain that?

Then again maybe it is best for all that this is what Germans are lead to believe and believe.

I just love it personally.

You do have social justice and that is what really matters. Equal outcomes for all and the redistribution of wealth makes life good in euro land..

Just remember a vote for the spd is a vote for a better tomorrow.


Wow, this is truly amazing. Just awful. To anyone familiar with the way many Germans and other Europeans view Americans, this Stern piece reads almost like a parody. It sums it up so brilliantly with just the right amount of outrageous exaggeration.

Kudos Ray and David, for your hilarious and incisive comments.

Some German sterotypes I wouldn't mind seeing:

1. The Rotenburger canibal and his lover stored in the freezer.

2. A Baader-Meinhof/Carlos reunion with Joseph Fischer making the key note speech.

3. An interview with Hedi Klum about her marriage to Seal.....once you have experienced a brother...you don't go back.

4. The under-employed workers at the VW Phaeton assembly line at Eisennach.

5. The Bundeswehr conducting Geneva Convention training.

6. Ed O'Neil, (Al Bundy), playing Gerry Schroeder in the movie version of the 2002 SPD victory.

7. Turkish/German friendship days replacing American/German friendship days at old military baracks, where the Americans have already left. (Abduhl, can you get me turkish cigarettes at the PX?)

8. A reading of all Nobel prize laureats names and the country they are from, the next time Stern criticizes America's education system.

9. A protest of environmentally minded Germans to cut the speed of the autobahn to 65 MPH in order to save fuel and minimize carbon emissions.

10. 45 year-old German Haus Fraus, exposing their breasts at the next Sturgis ralley.

David - great blog

I don't know...... I'm American and all this obsessive attention we get about every little thing is kinda....well....flattering.
Germans can rest assured most of us never obsess about them near as much.

Another irony - statistically, I bet more than half the folks in those shots have some German ancestry.

I tried to compile a portfolio of stereotypical Germans, but they were to fat to fit into the photo. Aber schade.

Gerd,

Please show me the mainstream American publication that has run this imaginary expose' on Germany? Perhaps it WOULD be the same thing, but it's NOT the same thing. Why isn't it? Because one happened and is a fact, Stern did infact publish this caricature.

To my knowledge, no serious major American publication, or even any publication with a main stream readership, has put your imaginary anti-german photo essay on Germany "using pictures of a bavarian guy in Lederhosen and a skinhead" into print for the mass consumption of the American people.

Fact vs. Imagination. Do you see the problem here?

Gerd,

PRJ raised another point I meant to make to you. Even IF a major American publication DID come out with such a caricature, the American people would call bullshit as quick as it hit the street. Why? Cause everybody in this country went to school with a very cool guy named Schultz, Meyer, or Harpst. German ancestry is as rooted deeply in us as any. "Schroeder" to most Americans is the piano player in Charlie Brown by...who? Charles Shultz. Do you see the difference here?

What we can't understand is this deep commitment within the German people to hate us and think we're awful. We do not understand why you think we threaten you when we have given our blood on your soil to preserve your freedom. We stood with the German people even when their government was our clear enemy and the enemy of all free people. We helped you to rebuild your torn nation in the aftermath of the most awful and dehumanizing war ever fought. We stood by you and helped you to build a nation of your own making. We stood for you even when you wouldn't stand for yourselves against Soviet Union communist expansionism. We have shown our clear willingness to stand by your side, even in the face of grave dangers for decades. Does the Cuban Missile Crisis ring a bell?

All I want to know is why the German people prefer to believe I am a piece of cardboard. I think it's a fair question. Can you tell me?

In my neighborhood the people are quite diverse, and one could do an entire photo book with hundreds of amusing types culled from people who walk down our local commercial street. Actually, I think the "evil" types look rather happy, considering the fact that most of them are well past the bloom of youth.

I'm tired of middle-class types idealizing people in prison, however. So much of that attitude is just patronizing.

During St.Patrick's Day,I've heard a comment that Irish Americans were the second largest immigrants to US.

Drum rolls please...
Number one: Germans.
I'm surprised Stern does not realize that little tidbit of useless info.

Gerd -

The pictures aren't anti-American, per se, but they are extremely anti-Conservative. In the case of images and/or comments depicting the Southerners and "religious Conservatives," the majority show the extreme edges of the stereotype - or, more accurately, stereotypes carried to the point of caricature. On the other hand, almost all of the images and/or comments from the Liberal side of the spectrum show moderate examples of the stereotype - or rather the stereotypical image of how the Liberals see themselves. The point of the contrast between the two sets of pictures is to show the ignorant, intolerant, war-mongering cluelessness of the slobbering in-breds that voted for Bush (or that think America is a pretty great place.) The reason we find this so irritating is that, while few Americans are witless enough to believe everyone in Germany is either a Nazi or wearing Lederhosen, most Germans unquestioningly believe these images accurately portray Conservative Americans. Beyond that, the point of showing such extremes is to effectively discount and discredit Conservative values, arguments and ideology - because, clearly, such self-absorbed imbeciles are not to be taken seriously. Finally, we tend to view this as anti-American because we recognize that Germans (and the rest of the Europeans) don't technically think of the left as American (which is not entirely unfair as the left doesn't much, either,) but rather as enlightened global citizens such as themselves who are being held hostage by the nutters on the right - so when they sneer about America, they are sneering about the Conservatives - and vice versa.

I personally find the pictures offensive. I'm a staunch Republican and a reasonably far-right Conservative. I am well-educated (I'm currently working toward my PhD in history.) I have lived in Europe (England,) I am married to a German and have traveled extensively - so I am fairly Euro-aware. I don't attend church regularly, but I far prefer the company of those who do to those who adhere to fundamentalist secularism. Other than living in a suburb, I don't really conform, however mildly, to any of the above stereotypes - nor do any of the Conservatives I know (and I live in Texas, capitol of Jesusland, so I know a LOT of Conservatives.) A few years ago I found this sort of bias tiresome. Nowadays I find it small minded, intellectually lazy and infuriatingly offensive – particularly as it’s so common and so widely believed.

My husband is constantly astonished at what sort of nonsense his parents and brothers stubbornly (dare I say, religiously) believe about America. He says they get bombarded with this crap in the media and rarely if ever see realistic portrayals of America or Americans. It drives him batty hearing how America’s media “controls’ information so we don’t know the “truth.” He keeps trying to explain about pots calling kettles black, but it doesn’t seem to be getting through. It has gotten to the point that I almost dread going to Germany every summer because I know I’m going to have to listen to people endlessly pontificate about the abject stupidity and insidious evil of America – and for the sake of family harmony, I can’t smack the shit out of anybody, however fervently I desire to.

In the end, we get angry about such stereotypes because they aren’t stereotypes, they’re caricatures and, in any case, aren’t presented as stereotypes, but as simple, straightforward pictures of who we are. If I called you a Nazi every time I disagreed with you (and really, truly believed that was what you were,) and constantly referred to the Germans as Nazis, dismissively and as though it were a simple, well-known and generally accepted fact (I mean, well, gosh, look at WWII, etc...,) you would be furious with me – and justifiably so. Well, that’s generally how we feel when we see this stuff again and again and again and again …

The Stern photo spread is hilarious. I swear I thought it was a Mad Magazine parody of Stern. I just love the pains that these nuanced Euro-journos went to in portraying the wide range of 'true' Americans.

I'd really like to know what the photogs (if they were German photogs) told these people as they took their picture:

"Stand there, you are to be our example of American Bourgeoisie."

"Oh, yeah, bourgeoisie, that's us to a tee, right honey?"

Let me educate your German readers a bit. The guys meant to be a contrast to the left of the suburban couple -- the hispanic guys on an oil rig -- probably make $35,000 an year and live in a similar suburban home in Andrews, Seminole or Odessa, Texas. I've worked in the oil field. I've also worked in construction, on a ranch, for a manufacturing plant, and currently as an editor in a publishing office.

OF COURSE we have all types in America. BUT we're not stuck in one class or another. We're socially mobile and independent of government handouts (at least most of us Red-staters are; there are many Blue-staters who live on government handouts, and I don't mean the disabled or impaired).

It's good to know we're confounding the Euro-elites. Thanks, David, for an excellent blog. I realize from reading your and Karen's blog that there are at least a few reasonable people in your country.

I would invite Germans of all political stripes to visit our country. I would be glad to put you up for a few days so you can see how a cowboy, Texan, republican bourgeouisie REALLY lives.


http://www.sorryeverybody.com/

And to think, we American boobs kicked Germany's ass, not once, but twice. Must be because all the good Germans came here.

The only black person they show is in prison. The only Mexican origin person they show is a migrant laborer.
sheesh

@mishu
my sentiments exactly..
.. the USA has had TWO black Secretaries of State
how many Turks or minorities have served in the German cabinet?

...hmmm...This reminds me of when someone some time back mentioned to me that Germans are somehwat mortified/repulsed/iritated by stereotypical references to Germans as all being of the "Bavarian flavor" (dressed in whatever those outfits are, drunk off their ass, I can't recall the rest of the stereotype)...It seems to this guy from the region that Stern Magazine suffers a serious lack of perspective...How hard is it to see that these quotes are exactly what Stern was looking for? Is Stern used in Germany as some sort of social layering/partitioning/sifting/stratifying....typing...stereotyping mechanism...only the images aren't seen with two eyes in three dimensions...but two eyes in two...where a picture is worth a thousand words...what are those words saying? Can you differentiate the silly from the smart by who sees through this tripe?

When I was told about the Bavarian thing, I was amused, but thought we American's aren't so simple and stupid that we see all Germans like that...and that it would be ignorance to project those perceptions on to us.

If the German public wants to buy into these stereotypes, then Stern is doing a fine job keeping them well supplied with ignorance.

Hi,
although I would't be a republican if I lived in the US, I am rather annoyed by the uninformed critizism about the country and it's people myself. The people don't think, which you can tell when you ask for specific reasons. They believe it is hip to dislike the US.
One reason *some* don't like the bush administration is that he and his family/friends have bonds to all kind of big companies which influence their politics in funny ways. We actually have the same problem here, as can be seen on various examples like "software patents" .... Explaining myself completely now takes more time than a lunchbreak.

Stern magazine's readers mustn't feel good about themselves, or be rather sophisticated. Since they must exploit stereotyping in such a parochial fashion: hasn't that old horse been beaten enough? I guess I should keep in mind this is German sense(less) of humor?

I find it rather funny, but the laugh is on Stern and those who actually find agreement with the article. But Stern readers should keep in mind :

Which country has a higher per capita?
Which country has better class mobility?
Which country has more university degrees?
Which country has more Nobel Prize winners?
Which country has had economic growth?
Which country has economic growth?
Which country will continue to have economic growth?
Which country has a constitution which has served as the standard for liberal democracy for over 200 years?

I guess when your country is going down in the tubes, and your Chancellor is impotent to effect change, children will bath themselves in the balm of stereotypes.

Keep on laughing. Look me up in 30 years. I will be laughing then.

The german tv and newspaper shows the extraordinary stupidity of the usual german people. They think that TV/Newspaper are presenting true facts. But they do not scrutinize whether the german media landscape offers to much opinions than facts.

When you talk with german people in everyday life, you recognize that they are feeling themselves in a moral/social higher stage than other people like from:

USA, Poland, Turkey, Yugoslavian Countries, Greece, Netherlands.......
In everyday life you can feel that german people like to criticise hundreds of other things. Sometimes they speak about polish, turkish and normal american people like they are human with lesser worth.

The consciousness that german people have in the past (before 1945) did not really disappears. In their soul it is always

Deutschland, Deutschland über alles in der Welt...

They do not speak out it loud but you could feel this when german people are judging about other countries and their citizens. But Germans never accept any critics from others.

Germans are master in double standard!

As far as I `m concerned, I`d like to meet Ronald, Asa and, of course, Theresa, they look very sympathetic, and seriously, which side would you choose? I`m on the "evil" side for sure!

That Stern piece is certainly a disgrace, and unfortunately there are still a lot of people who read this "respected" paper. Which I find surprising after all. That magazine should have lost all of its credibility forever and all times after that horrendous incident with the false "Hitler Tagebücher" back in the 80s. Back then each and every member of that self-declared "media elite" was believing they had the scoop of the century: the "original" diaries of Adolf Hitler. They went ahead and published them, those morons! Turned out the docs were fabricated by one guy. *One* guy tricking the whole leadership into a fit of greed, self-overestimation and sweaty dreams of journalistic world dominance. Now, whenever I do throw a glance in it (at the dentist's or at the haircutter's) and open the editorial on the first page (with portrait of the big wig and all) I have to laugh: You and your POS-paper trying to tell me something? Remember Konrad Kujau? Get lost, dimwits..

@Suat

While I think it is necessary, that we (Germans) and especially our media landscape get a good reality check every once in a while, and while I applaud blogs such as this one (even though I might not always agree to everything) your observations of "us" are not one iota less stereotyping than that STERN article which kicked off this thread. I can only speak for myself, of course, and I might not be representative, but I am not running around all the time thinking I am a worthier human being, and neither do I constantly hum that part of the "Deutschlandlied" you cited here, nor do I marvel much in a time (before 1945) in which I wasn't even born yet.

Does anyone know the date that these ridiculous phots appeared?

Weren't we concerned about where Dr. Mengeles retorts have gone? Now we know. The seed has finally grown.

Stern'd editors seem to think that there's something wrong with Mexican migrants working on an oil rig. Socialist assholes who prefer Eurostasis think this way. Roustabouts work hard, but they get paid very well. There are more honky roustabouts than Mexicans, and it's a great job for people without a college education.

Would Stern prefer these minority roustabouts live in a tiny government-subsidized flat in a grey concrete housing block, receiving welfare handouts instead of working? That's what they do in France, and it doesn't seem to be producing a happy and productive minority group.

BTW, great job as always, David.

Note from David: It was Ray's job, Lou.

@tn

I have said it before. I fear I shall have to say it again: hatred is reinforcing. Of course it is silly and ridiculous to assume that all Germans today hold views that most Germans held 65 years ago. But silly and ridiculous is good compared to what people who are vilified long enough may start to do.

The view that Americans are ignorant and incompetent has a long European history and, to put it mildly, has twice led Germany to make serious mistakes in the not so distant past. Perhaps it is time for the serious-minded to reflect on the probable consequences of inducing deep-seated and intense emotions of anti-Germanism in the US.

I quote K. Luger often: dass ist fur die Gasse. Guess what: the same game is being played again, just a different gutter. It is a dangerous and stupid game. And that is not, in my opinion, anti-Germanism, but merely common sense.

@ Jenny - wonderful comments. I hope some German visitors will really take a few moments to really understand what you are saying

Like you I lived in the UK and travelled extensively in Europe ( not in the military ) - and my experiences were an eye opener

I can only laugh at the ignorance of so many europeans who know virtually nothing about the United States, its people, our system of government and what has allowed us to grow to such prosperity

I have to think that some folks in the German media do read this blog

Oh - and I still don't have a very good idea of the comparison for Stern and Der Speigal to the US magazines Time and Newsweek - would they have a similar reach and influence?

Ray, sorry about that. Great job. :-)

I made the mistake because I was preoccupied with my gun and my Bible, plus my cowboy hat was in the way.

@Lou Minatti
> Stern'd editors seem to think that there's something wrong with Mexican migrants working on an oil rig.

Could you please explain based on which facts you come to this conclusion?

@ Lou:

No problem.

@ Ben:

Not sure of the exact date, it accompanied an article from 20 March 2005, but I'm assuming the gallery has been around much longer since you've seen it before and Stern seems to have a tendency of mixing and matching articles and galleries like this. You can always just say it accompanied an article from 20 March 2005 if you need to cite something for an article, etc and just give the link to the article.

---Ray D.

Just for a bit of international flavor - check out this site LeMonde watch - a fascinating view into the psyche of the french and their perception of the United States

http://lemondewatch.blogspot.com/2005_03_20_lemondewatch_archive.html#111142372818952545

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