« SPIEGEL's Ghost of Vietnam: Even Older Than First Thought | Main | And I Thought I was the Only One... »


I just moved here and this is what I look forward to?


It's a 12 month commitment. I already knocked down one month. 11 to go...

Following up on "Eric in USA on the Role of France and Germany in Iraq."
I agree and have found the same narrow perspective from very nearly all of the Germans that I speak with.
I am continually reminded by my objective German friends of the "fact" of American
"simplicity" and their "black and white" view of the world, contrasted with the more "complex" and "sophisticated" European perspective on the same world events.
And yet my observations just don't bear it out. It is the rare German I meet who doesn't consider President Bush "stupid," that he "stole the election," that he is waging a "war for oil," he is a "cowboy," a "unilateralist," etc, etc, etc... The parroting of the TIME/NEWSWEEK/
DER SPEIGEL/STERN chosen topic of the week is not exactly a "nuanced" or "thoughtful" personal opinion.
In opinion poles these numbers are born out by 70- 80% of the German (all european?)people.
Focusing on just on those topics the numbers in the U.S.A. are much closer to a 55%~45%. So I think we can agree that someone is riding on the "groupthink" bandwagon, I am just not sure it is the Americans.
On so many topics I am astonished at how uninformed most Germans are, or how willing they are to take their information from the most extreme points of view (always negative) to be found in America.
Michael Moore is a prophet. fromthewilderness and moveon.org are gospel. Every criticism or American mistake is accepted at face value, every bit of postitive news is suspect!
I have been told (with a serious straight face) that it is unfortunate that people in America are "doomed to the socio-economic class they are born into." (From the nation that starts testing it's citizens as toddlers to predetermine the direction and level of their schooling.)
I have been told that the "entire news media" in America is controlled by "rightwing zealots" who have brainwashed the American masses into supporting "Bush's War!" (Something that would no doubt be amusing to the vast majority of Americans who consider their mainstream medias somewhat left leaning. But we must have been "brainwashed" because otherwise we too would be anti-war, like all correct-thinking Germans.)
I have been told that the government is controlled by, Jews, Christian fundamentalists, Israel, Neocons, etc, etc . . . that the CIA crashed the planes into the WTC, that the PNAC website is the blueprint for the U.S.A. taking over the world, racism is still a terrible problem, nobody has healthcare, the rich are eating the poor, lions and tigers and bears blah blah blah blahblahblahblah . . . .

The German media is not very objective and doesn't appear to try to be. Though mentioning its bias gets you an eye rolling dismissal. I have a Polizei friend who says, Germans don't like to talk about their problems or talk about bad news! My observation is that goes for the government and newsmedias too. Whether you like or dislike having a FOX or Rush Limbaugh in America, there are no equivalents in the German media.
The ubiquitousness of groupthink here is rather frightening to observe.
After living in Germany for five years my rose colored glasses came off and my observation is that there is a strange sort of emotional transference going on. An emotional need to believe in certain things regardless of the facts and that the medias feed it. (not unlike who in the U.S.A.? ? ?)

I am not making a value judgement here, only an observation based on my own five years of living here and listening, talking and reading.
The point I am making is about this strange transference that is happening, where everything German (European) is good and everything American is bad.
The rewriting of history with Chirac at the Normandy Observance not mentioning the American contribution. A growing conversation I hear more and more often about how the "Soviets really won the war" because they lost more men. The "Bush's War for oil" canard that ignores Europes, not America's, dependence on middle eastern oil, that ignores Russia's $9B and France's $8B oil contracts with the criminal hussein regime.
The ignoring of how many Europeans go to the U.S.A. for their University degree vice how many Americans come to Europe.
The near total, willful ignoring of Europes historic complicity in every single problem the U.S.A. is dealing with or not dealing with in the world today.

So, "simple" you say? Um, Perhaps. "Black and White?" after leafing through the EU constitution, God I hope so!!!!
But stupid? . . . I would say believe that at your peril. (as I fear Chirac and France might start finding out.)

Yes, it is good to be alive in interesting times and there is something strange indeed brewing on the continent that I don't quite have my arms around, and really don't believe I ever will ~ but as a fifth generation American (1859)from Coburg Deutschland, I love Europe and continue working on it.


Excellent comment Tyranno. Thank you for the insight.

"The ignoring of how many Europeans go to the U.S.A. for their University degree vice how many Americans come to Europe."

There's no European flag on the Moon, either.

But then it must have been another forgery by the CIA (just as the "attack" on the WTC). Notice the planar shape of the flag? But how, there's no wind on the Moon!!?! QED.

Seriously though, how do I find people in the Munich area that are not brainwashed by this groupthink? I mean it's going to be a horribly lonely year for me otherwise.

"Seriously though, how do I find people in the Munich area that are not brainwashed by this groupthink?"

Go join the CSU.

when you don't talk about politics, people here are very nice. Believe me. We have wonderful friends. But when we talk about the USA and Israel, they just repeat the media BS. Ignore it, they don't know any facts. Discussions are useless. The hatred towards Bush is too deep. Facts don't matter.

Following up on Eric's "Bush lied ~ Blair Lied ~ Not!!!"
Here is a sampling by SLATE magazine of European reaction to Lance Armstrong's win in this year's Tour de France. It was not politics it was sport, and yet the EuroJournals seem to be unable to distinguish any difference.
No collegial competitive sportsmanship, no joy de vivre over the simple beauty of sport, no congratulation on an amazing personal accomplishment . . .
Just the usual petty sniping, back-biting, and small mindedness that is becoming all to common in Western (old)Europe these days.

Tour De Lance
The international press snipes at America's superhero.
By Susan Daniels

After Lance Armstrong's sixth Tour de France win on Sunday, he got a call from the president of the United States, who told him, "You're awesome." And while the European press largely agreed with that characterization, among the plaudits were plenty of sour grapes.

An editorial in Madrid's El Pais rehashed unsubstantiated rumors of drug use by Armstrong, remarking, "The triumph of Terminatour comes ... as questions are asked in various quarters if he won these six Tours cleanly or with the help of stimulants," and characterizing him as "arrogant, cold, machine-like."

And in Switzerland, La Tribune de Geneve scorned Armstrong as haughty and described the U.S Postal Service team's effort as "a typically American business that scorns humanity." It went on to chide the cancer survivor: "Mankind is not fond of those who gorge themselves on success without suffering and without showing compassion for their fellows." (Translations from Spanish and French courtesy of BBC Monitoring.)

Liverpool's Daily Post reported that a poll conducted by a French newspaper "placed Armstrong behind only Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher and footballer Nicolas Anelka in a list of the most disliked sportsmen in France" and drily commented, "The reasons are unclear, but in the wake of the US-led war in Iraq, his nationality may be a factor."

"Maybe it's not national but personal," speculated Alastair Campbell in the London Times. "[A]nti-Armstrongism, anti the fact that he keeps winning their game. They respect him. They admire the way he came back from cancer. They see in him a strong character who has devoted his life to their Tour. But Chirac's France wants French winners and, if it can't have them, other Europeans. But Americans? Non, merci."

Susan Daniels is a Slate copy editor.

The Berlin Morgenpost featured an editorial criticizing Armstrong the day after he won. It placed the blame for the antipathy of the French toward him squarely on Armstrong himself. Exactly what Armstrong did to deserve such scorn wasn't explained. (Of course, the answer is clear: winning too much and being American.)

This culture of mediocrity and resentment is sad and depressing.

The Berlin Morgenpost featured an editorial criticizing Armstrong the day after he won. It placed the blame for the antipathy of the French toward him squarely on Armstrong himself. Exactly what Armstrong did to deserve such scorn wasn't explained. (Of course, the answer is clear: winning too much and being American.)

This culture of mediocrity and resentment is sad and depressing.
Kid charlemagne,
The analogy that comes to mind is what in the U.S.A. is called "ghetto thinking!" That amazing complex of nihilistic victimization/inferiority that masquerades and manifests itself as a smug, strutting, self-righteous (though still nihilistic) superiority.
The blaming of everything/everybody else for ones situation in life and the unverbalized though tacit admission of a belief in ones own inability to do anything about it. It is a wonderfully (convenient) self serving fantasy that ignores ones own faults, absolves one of blame and transposes responsibility onto others.
The man is bringing drugs into our town ... The man is keeping me down ... The Americans are 'imposing' their culture on us ... the Americans are the 'real' threat to peace in the world ... blahblahblahblah . . .

I am incline to believe that, for the most part, the more proactive, aggressive people, the thinkers, the entrepeneurs, the people who said "I can do better than this!" who chafe under the benevolently oppressive nanny state, have left or are leaving Europe. When I lived in Tampa Florida there were dozens of German transplants there, all of whom were successful and in business for themselves. Life, like water, follows the path of least resistance.

I sometime wonder if what we are watching taking place in Europe is perhaps what remains as a civilization/society atrophies and dies. It is so much easier to criticize capitalism than it is to start a business, hire people, make a payroll. It is so much easier to criticize the U.S.A. than to admit ones inabilty (insignificance) to respond to the multitude of problems, crisis and threats in the world today.
I am also old enough to admit that I remember twenty five years ago when the whole world was gleefully clucking about the end of the U.S.A. as a dominant economic force in the world.
I have no doubt that Europe possesses the ability, the knowledge and skills to successfully recreate itself and can only hope that Europe will experiences the same success over the next 25 years that the U.S.A. has the last 25 years.
Though I must say that I am not hopeful as I listen to their stilted and narrow political conversation, experience the ghetto-ization of their world perspective, and watch their preferred economic solution ~ that being an additional layer of stifling bureaucracy called the EU ~ added to the mind numbing, demotivating, efficiency crushing bureaucracy they already labor under.
Oh well, there a hundred ways to succeed in this world with the U.S.A. being only one model. Nevertheless, I offer an invitation for all of you highly motivated, proactive, open minded, entrepeneurial Europeans who have travelled the socialist road long enough ... Come on down! ! !Turn left at Greenland and hey . . . we'll leave a light on!


The real reason that Europe is so stagnant is that the "conservative" parties are an absolute joke throughout almost the entire continent. About the only thing that differentiates the "conservatives" from the "social democrats" is that the "right-wing" parties tend to be more skeptical of the EU.

That is no way to build a party with just one issue of difference. And it's also the way to ruining your own country. Now that I am here in America, I see that things are so much more politically diverse and that you can have real conversations about the role of government, business, the church, the welfare state, etc. Any European who seriously thinks that Americans are unsophisticated needs to look in the mirror at himself. At least they have the brains to not believe everything they read or see on TV or hear from their politicians.

The comments to this entry are closed.


The Debate

Blog powered by Typepad

April 2023

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29