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I've experienced virtually the same thing at least once per week in 8 years of living in Germany. Its a sad statement on their mindset.

I'd like to say that its not widespread but I've found it in all parts of the country (though somewhat less so in the southern areas).

I cant confim that. Well actually some american could have to talk to me and confirm it and as of yet i havent found one that called antiamerican.

I think such people exist. It would be a miracle if they would not exist.
So what ?
You can find such things everywhere.

Ops .. sorry this time in english ;)

I cant confim that.
Well actually some american would have to talk to me and confirm it and as of yet i havent found one that called me antiamerican.

I think such people exist. It would be a miracle if they would not exist.
So what ?
You can find such things everywhere.

i've been living in bonn for almost 3 years and have never experienced anything like this (my friends are mostly german and turkish). but everyone i've met has been extremely friendly and willing to take the time to talk to me. then again, when i've commented on this, i always hear 'oh but this is the rheinland...'

Is this a generational thing? Are we Americans the "Nazis" for a new generation of Germans who are tired of answering for WWII? It's kind of ironic since Germans make up the highest percentage of any ethnicity in the US.

S. A.,

So what does that tell you about those who left versus those who stayed?

Mr Davis,

They like the weather.

I'm a bit surprised that the lady did not come up with the most important part of her wisdom, the Jews. Usually the anti-Americans also sport an ugly anti-Semitism. Well, may be she did so too and it's just not clearly mentioned above.

Sounds like Tim, the American who was disparaged by the 40-year-old German lady, needs to join Americans Anonymous (the organization for expatriates who struggle with this question: How do I respond to a group of smug foreigners submitting me to a barrage of irony-laden questions, asinine comments, and demented accusations concerning my government, my country, and/or the type of society I live in?)

Americans Anonymus is great!!! Thank you for this! A must read!

@Eric Svane
Sounds like Tim, the American who was disparaged by the 40-year-old German lady, needs to join Americans Anonymous (the organization for expatriates who struggle with this question: How do I respond to a group of smug foreigners submitting me to a barrage of irony-laden questions, asinine comments, and demented accusations concerning my government, my country, and/or the type of society I live in?)

Damn, after having read this, I feel so guilty for being European. Is there any place where we can donate for this important support-group to help those poor mistreated Americans in exile, like you? And would appealing to the UN human rights commission additionally help? Rallying amnesty international perhaps?

Alright, that was an entertaining read with some truths indeed in it! :-) One of your points IMO though was the classic fallacy:

because they have never used this standard about any other country to the extent they do about the United States, if at all.

Of course - because no other country has such an impact on the world when making decisions. You can't take on the one side pride in being the most successful country on planet Earth, making decisions on global levels and at the same time whine because you are not treated like any of the other boys. The alpha-male gets the limelight, and in politics it usually also means criticism as the role-model. Be it domestically or internationally.

And while I cringe as a German being hit in US-blogs sometimes with logic like "Oh, you from Germany? So you are a Nazi!", I wouldn't go as far as you in my pain. ;-)

"Is this a generational thing? Are we Americans the "Nazis" for a new generation of Germans who are tired of answering for WWII? It's kind of ironic since Germans make up the highest percentage of any ethnicity in the US."

this is an interesting point actually, but the truth is, as far as i believe, that even among educated germans this is hardly known. when i was living in the states every second american i talked to told me he had german roots. grandfather: german. great-uncle: german. great grandparents: german asf. it was just flabbergasting. i hadn't known this before. it hasn't been taught at school either.

"And while I cringe as a German being hit in US-blogs sometimes with logic like "Oh, you from Germany? So you are a Nazi!", I wouldn't go as far as you in my pain. ;-)"

Nazis or great car engineers. Nothing in between. At least that's my experience from a couple of years ago. I am not saying this to tick people off or because i feel insulted ... i just think it's funny...

"And while I cringe as a German being hit in US-blogs sometimes with logic like "Oh, you from Germany? So you are a Nazi!", I wouldn't go as far as you in my pain. ;-)"

Nazis or great car engineers. Nothing in between. At least that's my experience from a couple of years ago. I am not saying this to tick people off or because i feel insulted ... i just think it's funny...

"And while I cringe as a German being hit in US-blogs sometimes with logic like "Oh, you from Germany? So you are a Nazi!", I wouldn't go as far as you in my pain. ;-)"

Yes this would be the height of ignorance, but if it was preceded by some comparison on your part of GW Bush to Hitler or the US to Nazi Germany, it certainly wouldn't be surprising.

I've been to Germany many times in the past 10 years. I can't really tell if it's gotten worse. I remember the first time I went to Germany, a guy at the bar just started going off on how big of an *****loch Clinton was, etc etc. If it wasn't Clinton, they were STILL complaining about Reagan.

And 10 years ago, they mentioned the same things to me when I went walking around downtown Frankfurt--watch out for the Turks and Moroccans and Gypsies--they're all thieves.

So now they whine about Bush..blah blah. I have great fun poking them about how France is leading them around in the EU and they're paying for the privilege. That usually provokes a little thinking and more rational discussions.

David

Klink,

I am glad you found the AA link to be entertaining. It is also very factually in its entirety.

What is that a “classic fallacy”? I am not sure what you are trying to say.

Again you miss the point, I always find it amazing how you are able to do that with so much consistency. I am beginning to think you are doing this on purpose.

The point you miss is very few Americans think that their nation is like you described or the more common beliefs held by most of the citizens of Europe. Therefore when the morally superior, intensely analytical, and more intelligent European attacks them, they are a bit surprised and shocked.

Of course, the Europeans can’t have it both ways either. In the past you seem to be insulted that no one in American pays attention to Germany. The question I would ask is why should Americans pay any attention to Germany. You complain and whine and piss and moan and yet bring nothing to the discussion that is workable. At the same time while you are not willing to invest your own national treasure in the course of action you lay out that you want others do. In most cases you want the Americans to do it for you.

Your media and government follow much along the lines of a headline I read this morning that appeared in “The Guardian” and the first two paragraphs.

US economy grows less than expected

The US economy grew at a robust rate in the first quarter, but less than anticipated by economists, figures showed today.

For the first three months of 2002, gross domestic product (GDP), which measures total output, grew at a 4.2% annual rate, the US commerce department reported. While 0.1% higher than the figure for the final quarter of last year, it was considerably less than the 5% pace Wall Street was expecting.


Missing of course is any mention that this growth rate exceeds that of the entire EU combined. So to be fed this from your media and for it to be reinforced by your political elites, I am not at all surprised to find that Germans only need 7 sentences to summarize their view of the world.

Those few Americans who bother to pay any attention to Europe see a much different picture than you see of yourselves. It is the flip sides of all the negative things Europeans see in America. The first two things I see are ramped hypocrisy and a group of the most selfish and self centered people that have ever been collected in one place at one time ever.

This type of encounter takes place frequently for me only when the people know that I am an American. Because of this, I tell very few people what my nationality is.

@tn

Von 1832 bis 1938 wanderten alleine in Bremerhaven mehr als 8 Millionen Deutsche nach Amerika aus.

Wer mit offenen Augen durch die Städte geht, findet z. B. in Weinheim an der Bergstraße Gedenkstätten an/von Auswanderern.

Darüber hinaus war das bei uns auch Schulthema.

I actually wanted my posting here to be the last in this blog, but I couldn't prevent myself from making a litttle comment on this (funny) discussion:
Germans who love making ignorant anti-American comments certainly exist. You will often meet them, but I strongly doubt that they are the majority in this country. Of course most of us (including myself) dislike Bush. (By the way: I wouldn't feel offended by an American who dislikes Schröder. I would perhaps even join him.) But my personal estimate on the percentage of the really ignorant, anti-American wackos would be 15-20%. And - that's why this dicussion is so funny - my impression is that they often tell similar stories to the stories that are here told about them:
"I was on vacation in America one year ago and
a) someone said 'Heil Hitler!' to me.
b) someone held me a lecture about how good the Americans and how bad the Germans were.
c) someone asked me wether Hitler was still alive.
d) I wasn't served in a shop because Germany opposed the Iraq war.
e) I got murder threats because of Schröder's position on Iraq."
All those horror stories have two things in common: Firstly they all seem to be undeniable proofs for the claim how bad and dumb Americans/Germans were. Secondly they are completly nonsensical arguments. The discussion might be continued like that:
"OK, so these terrible things happened to you. But I doubt that they are representative."
"They ARE. Ask anyone who has ever been to Germany/America. I'll wager they will relate similar stories."
"Are you sure? I've already talked to very reasonable Americans/Germans."
"These guys are exceptions."
"But how do you know?"
"Didn't I already tell you? My experience with..."
"But your experience isn't a representative poll, is it?"
"ANYONE has made the same experiences."
"But would you really tell me a story about one of the 'normal' conversations you certainly have had in America/Germany? Can you even remember them? No, you always remember the conspicuous things you have seen or heard in another country."
"You are an incorrigible Bush-friend/Schröder-friend, aren't you?"
"No, I am certainly not. By the way: I just invented you to demonstrate how nonsensical it is to support prejudices about Americans/Germans or any other people just by telling stories and anecdotes about them. I think our conversation would be boring if we would continue it now."
"OK, so we can finish our discussion here?"
"Yes, we can."

Niko: I can say, first hand: No.
On the 12th of March I took flowers to the Spanish Embassy. It was 10 am. There were already HUNDREDS of notes and boquets of flowers left.
After their election there were a few wry comments, but i didnt hear ONE national slur. not ONE. Disappointment, speculation, and many other guarded thoughts, but NOT slurs.

The 'gatorsix' story matches my experiences in DE going back even as far as the 80's. It was and still is a constant excercise of having to deal with people who seem thoughtful and intelligent by virtue of social habit, but carry around such extreme prejudice and are so judgemental that one sees very hope for their society in the future.

"Do you believe Americans would express schadenfreude over the deaths of Germans?
...Think about it."

How on Earth can Germans resent Americans and achieve any satisfaction over our deaths?

And why would Americans feel this way toward any European?

Most Americans don't possess a nasty-enough ideology to allow it. In spite of what you may read in Der Spiegel.

@ Niko:
"Americans die in the Iraqi desert. Some Germans express schadenfreude over their deaths. [...]
Do you believe Americans would express schadenfreude over the deaths of Germans?
Have Americans expressed schadenfreude over the deaths of Spaniards? Have Americans expressed schadenfreude over the deaths of Iraqis? Have Americans expressed schadenfreude over the deaths of Italian people?"

How do you define "schadenfreude"? I know a few people who use to make negative or even cynical comments on the Bush-government's Iraq policy, but I know absolutely no one who would express schadenfreude over the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq. No rational person could feel that over the deaths of innocent people.
I certainly know that not all people in this country are rational. Some may even feel a perverse joy about the terror attacks in Iraq, but once again I strongly doubt that these people are the majority. It is now the third or fourth time that I refer to this representative poll of emnid-institute in this blog's comment section. It shows that even in the second week of last year's war in Iraq 66% of the German population had a "rather positive" opinion of the USA. (I guess that the percentage of these people is "normally" higher.) And I wouldn't expect such a result if the majority of the Germans were "Amihasser" who are full of schadenfreude over the American problems in Iraq.

@ Joe:
"On the 12th of March I took flowers to the Spanish Embassy. It was 10 am. There were already HUNDREDS of notes and boquets of flowers left.
After their election there were a few wry comments, but i didnt hear ONE national slur. not ONE. Disappointment, speculation, and many other guarded thoughts, but NOT slurs."

As I see from the second paragraph of your posting you seemingly want to make again the case that Germans are sort of Anti-American. You mention the flowers and notes you and hundreds of other Americans have brought to the Spanish Embassy. And you say that you have not heard any national slur about the Spaniards after their election.
I am quite sure that people like you are the majority of the Americans, but I also found "national slurs" of Americans about the things that have happened in Spain on the internet.
Look at this article. The first comment on it was this:
Just because these idiots [from Spain], like their islamocommiefascist buddies in France and Germany, want to build another Soviet Union and let the islamists call the shots, why do we have to deal with them? For us or against us, they are NOT to be trusted or dealt with. Their people spoke, and now we know the answer and can move on knowing which side they are on... (posted by "ApesForEvolution")
This guy needs just three sentences to disparage France, Germany and Spain - wow! And I if I would believe in "anecdote-argumentations" I could tell all people I know that I saw this posting in an American blog to show how nationalistic Americans were. In this way, I would not only ignore that this blog rather on the extreme conservative site and that this poster is clearly a wacko, I would also make an unjustified accusation against people like you.

"The 'gatorsix' story matches my experiences in DE going back even as far as the 80's. It was and still is a constant excercise of having to deal with people who seem thoughtful and intelligent by virtue of social habit, but carry around such extreme prejudice and are so judgemental that one sees very hope for their society in the future."

Yes, I can't deny that such people exist here, but the only place where you won't find "thoughtful and intelligent people who carry around extreme prejudices" might be the Antarctic.

@Niko
Oh, really? So you never been to Democratic Underground where Germans post, too, you never been to Telepolis' forums
...
Funny to see who often you guys pull out the freerepublic stunt to prove any point. This is getting boring.

No double-standards please: If you quote yourself DU or Telepolis as evidence to prove your observations, it's frankly a bit cheap to easily dismiss *even in the same posting* SRK's FR-sources as "boring" when proving how there are slurs in US-forums as well. This hatred in US-conservative circles must be adressed and noticed as well - not unter den Teppich gekehrt, just because it doesn't fit as "nice". What's good for the goose, must be good for the gander, no?

And - to get back on topic - I think there is a sad level of Schadenfreude actually indeed, which can't be denied. See also my paraphrased anecdote a week or two ago on here from a Michael-Moore-standup in Berlin, where young Germans also applauded at him talking about "four more US-soldiers died today in Iraq". I found this very chilling.

@Klink,

You are the master of double standards. You said that yourself.

So I have to take your protest to mean you only approve of a double standard when it applies only to America.

I can accept that. It is the European way.

Your comments ooze of the normal euro hypocrisy.

@Joe
You are the master of double standards. You said that yourself.

No.

Klink,

I'm curious. What was Michael Moore's reaction to the applause over the deaths of Americans?

Sean

I'm curious. What was Michael Moore's reaction to the applause over the deaths of Americans?

I had described it here as best as I could remember the German press-article (wasn't there myself):

http://medienkritik.typepad.com/blog/2004/04/journalistic_mu.html

Sadly, I can't find the original article anymore - I tried my best searching. But considering that I am normally Bush-critical on here, I hope my recollection of the article will be believable.

My second entry on that page - easiest to search for "chilling"

@ Niko: Although this discussion is already a bit older, I am trying to reply to your points:

Reacting on my request to define your understanding of "schadenfreude" you say: "Come on, this isn't a philosophical seminar. You can happily deconstruct reality and pre-/re-/define your wordings as you want to, but please spare us this degree of sophistication."
It's not my intention to "deconstruct reality". People who do NOT exactly define their political accusation do that. For example: If media report: "Bush is under pressure because of the U.S. military casualties in Iraq.", this, in my understanding, would be no schadenfreude. But of course it could easily be your opinion that there is schadenfreude behind this line, because the writer hopes that Bush will be defeated because of those casualties. But if you were right it still would be a matter of discussion wether this is the same degree of schadenfreude like being joyful about the deaths of U.S. soldiers themselves.

I: No rational person could feel that [schadenfreude] over the deaths of innocent people.You: Oh, really? So you never been to Democratic Underground where Germans post, too, you never been to Telepolis' forums,...

That's my point. I consider these guys neither as representative nor as rational persons.

...you never met colleagues who said things like "I can't help it, but I feel Schadenfreude whenever there's a news account on death American soldiers in Iraq"...

No.

...you never seen the reports of German citizens collecting money in the streets of Heidelberg for the Iraqi resistance fighters? Minorities, for sure, but those are the people who [...] define our image in the world.

Partly wrong, partly right. Firstly even if they define our image to the world, it doesn't change the fact that this image is wrong. Secondly I strongly doubt that they do that. They certainly take action, but you act as if the quantity of the people who take action doesn't matter for a country's "image in the world". Question: Do only the actions of "Ku Klux Klan" define this image for America? No. Does only Joerg Haider define Austria's image? No.

I: It shows that even in the second week of last year's war in Iraq 66% of the German population had a "rather positive" opinion of the USA.
You: Sure they do. Many of them believe that the US government has just happened to be hijacked by oh-so untypical Texas oil barons [...]. They believe that in November George W. Bush will be gone, and that the US once again will become the great, humane nation it once was [...].

1. In the second week of Iraq war a lot of people may have been aware of the fact that the majority of the Americans supported Bush's policy.
2. I quoted this poll to show that most Germans aren't Anti-American. The attitude you describe might be called "Anti-Bushism" (I know that this is not a new word and was sometimes abused to justify Anti-American comments, but that's not really an argument for not using this term anywhere).
3. It's not so sure that Bush will win the election, so this people may be right. The opinion on Bush's performance is divided.
And among college students who are at least somehow
a) the young generation (= the future)
b) the intelligence
of the USA, Bush seemingly hasn't got a good approval at the moment.

Funny to see who often you guys pull out the freerepublic stunt to prove any point. This is getting boring.

Just have a look at my posting once again to see what I wanted to prove.

Niko,
firstly I certainly agree with you that actions done by NGOs often influence public opinion (in a country with free speech it would be odd if they wouldn't). But their ability to do so is not unlimited. I strongly doubt that wackos who support Iraqi terrorists will ever get access to the political mainstream in Germany, simply because most journalists in the mainstream media will still have certain ethical and intellectual standards for their reporting.
You write:

So how does that connect to schadenfreude? Once you start to believe that George W. Bush is not the legit POTUS, that one half of the members of his administration are going for quick Oil Dollars, and the other half are remote-controlled by the Likud party, once you start to believe that GWB misled the nation into this war for oil, or for the special interests of Israel, and that the US actually never care for human rights, once you start to believe that war can never be a solution to anything [...], that GWB actually has the IQ of a third grader and therefore the Iraq adventure turned into a quagmire, once you start to believe that US imperial forces are fighting common Sunni peasants who bravely defend their soil, their house, their family, ... then you are prepared to feel schadenfreude over the death of American soldiers.

Well, I still think you connect things that don't belong together. You enumerate a lot of (among certain people) wide-spread judgements in this paragraph, but these judgements belong into five categories:
a) negative judgements about George W. Bush and his government
b) one pacifist judgement ("war can never be a solution to anything")
c) a few judgements that imply a big zionist conspiracy in Washington
d) one judgement about the USA's "system" ("the US actually never care for human rights")
e) one positive judgement about Iraqi insurgents
Most things you have enumerated belong in category a). I don't join you when you say that they somehow prepare someone to feel schadenfreude over the death of US-soldiers. Someone who seriously feels schadenfreude over that, in my opinion, must really hate America/Americans. But saying that someone who dislikes a country's government "hates" this country would be an example of (normally typical German) Staatshörigkeit.
Now the pacifist judgement ("b)"): You may think it was naive, but I don't see how it should automatically lead to "schadenfreude" over the killed US-soldiers in Iraq.
Judgements belonging in category c) are certainly nonsense, but, once again, they could be more far away from schadenfreude over American military casualties than you may think. The same could be true for d).
So, in my opinion, the only thing in this paragraph that is really a way to schadenfreude over the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq is e): If you admire Iraqi insurgents, you are really prepared for that. But I deeply think that this is a point that is only shared by a few lunatic people on the extreme left who don't know what they are talking about.

Well, Niko, what you use is of course somehow a slippery slope argument/"Argument der schiefen Ebene": In your opinion (seemingly) the popular "Bush-Bashing" leads to a general "Ami-Government-Bashing", then to a general "Ami-Bashing", after that to a labeling of the US as "warmongering", now to seeing American soldiers as "guilty" and finally to an odd schadenfreude over their deaths. This is an error even very smart people often make, but it can't be as easy as that: If you go this sequence back, you could also conclude that not admiring anything what G.W. Bush does is the first step to schadenfreude over the deaths of innocent people. So you may see the "USA=war"-attitude somehow behind the schadenfreude, but I think this explanation is too superficial. The real problem is: Why go some people (I still think they are the minority) seemingly beyond any ethical limits in their dislike of the USA? And at this point, we should emphasize something important that you already noticed in your posting. For example: You may find it easy to feel schadenfreude about this, but it's much more difficult to have the same feeling about this. What's the difference between these sites? The first site just presents the numbers of the death soldiers, on the second page you notice that there are human beings behind these numbers. And that's the problem: Most people who feel that schadenfreude have a problem with noticing about what events they have this feeling. If someone feels schadenfreude over the deaths of Americans in Iraq and is completely aware of the fact that there are human beings behind that, then, in my opinion, it's our full right to call him "emotionally crippled".

I am aware of the fact that "cold" reason is (unfortunately or fortunately?) not the motive behind all kinds of human behaviour, maybe not even behind our behaviour. I partly also agree with your "consistency model": Most people judge situations in a way that fits to their world view. My first problem is that this is not per se irrational. All of us build our world view based on our experiences. If someone uses only, say, Michael Moore's web page (I can't find a better example at the moment) as a news and comments ressource, he will perhaps have a very bad opinion of George W. Bush. If, on the other hand, someone reads only this blog, he will perhaps have a very good opinion of Bush (and a very bad opinion of the German media). But, of course that will not be the only thing his opinion is based on. His reason and his personal emotional state will also play a role. And these are either based on his own experiences or his own knowledge again or they are based on the biological experience nature has made in millions of years (also known as evolution). If someone like this now sees information that seems to be contrary to his worldview, she or he will of course compare it with things she or he has already experienced. That's a completely rational process, so rational that there is even a mathematical theorem for it. So the definition of "irrationality" must be something else: Irrational would be to ignore the new information completely for emotional reasons.
OK, now the connection to schadenfreude and dead soldiers: You deny my thesis that the reason for all that is that those people don't notice US-soldiers as human beings: "I believe that does not matter to those people. The newspapers and TV news are full of burning Humvees and helmets on the street, and many people saw the graphic pictures of mutilated bodys hanging down the bridge of Falluja. Still they say, 'Screw them!', 'I cannot help but feel schadenfreude!'" Well, I still believe I am right in that point, although my example was possibly not the best. Once again: If someone really feels schadenfreude about the deaths of innocent people and is fully aware what kind of event he is having this feeling about, it's our full right to call him "emotionally crippled". The people you described are, according to you, neither primitive nor emotionally crippled. So what's the matter with them? And that's where I think you are indeed right: This is irrational, irrational in the sense that they are ignoring information. They are ignoring that they are not talking about pawns, but about human individuals with human dignity. That would be kind of a supression mechanism.
Now the other point: I still think that it's an example of a slippery slope fallacy when you say: "It's not rational, but it's consistent with their understanding of war, the United States of America, Bush, Halliburton, civil contractors, oil etc.pp." I certainly do not want to charge you of moral equivalence, but the fallacy is based exactly on that. Let me formulate this way of argumentation in general:

1. If you allow people to contravene rule A, they will be ready to contravene rule B, after that rule C, finally rule D.
(In our case we would have a road from "Bush-Bashing" to schadenfreude.)
2. The ethical sense of rules B-D, especially the sense of rule D, isn't even denied by those who want to allow to abolish (or do not want to establish) rule A.
---
Conclusion: Therefore those who approve the abolition of rule A (or do not want to establish it) should give their position up.

The problem is that someone who uses this argument doesn't really make a case against the abolition rule A, but against possible consequences for the society's esteem for other rules. But that implies that the society (and the person using this argument somehow as well) hasn't got (or can't find) a clear concept which things (from the viewpoint of moral or law) should be allowed and which not - where the ethical limits for the abolition of rules are. And that's sort of moral equivalence! And, as I already put it in my last posting, when you take this as a rational argument, you have to support rules/laws for the society that are as strict and restrictive as possible.
Back to the "schadenfreude"-problem: You could maybe answer that I myself have said at the beginning of this posting that the worldview a person has is an essential part of its judgement of the world and, therefore, there must be some truth in your argumentation. The problem is: Even a very strong anti-Bush-worldview couldn't make someone who doesn't ignore the fact that the soldiers are human beings feeling schadenfreude over there deaths. At least if he hasn't got the kind of worldview that I call really emotionally crippled.

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