Don't Mention The War

Basil "I'll have the Prawn Cocktail."
"One Eva Braun cocktail coming right up . . ."

The mind turns to Basil Fawlty with the announcement that there's been an essay contest for British university students to write about Germany without mentioning, um, the recent unpleasantness.

(The classic scene from Fawlty Towers had John Cleese, as Basil, a bit off his game, and proceeding to insult the hell out the German tourists who had the bad fortune to be staying at his hotel)

According to an article in Der Spiegel, the Germans were a little angsty over all the World War II-era stereotypes splashed in the British press, particularly the tabs who love to needle the 'krauts' for the aggressive way they march down the sidewalk, dominate EU matters, get all the best beach chairs on holiday, etc...

The piece quotes Joschka Fischer, the former street-fighting '68er who is Germany's foreign minister, telling the BBC that when his children, ages 20 and 25, view Germany as portrayed in British media, "they feel they are receiving an image they have never seen in their whole lifetimes." He added, "if you want to learn how the traditional Prussian goose-step works, you have to watch British TV, because in Germany, in the younger generation -- even in my generation -- nobody knows how to perform it."

Hence the German Academic Exchange Service's essay contest. The winners found a different Germany. Oliver Hopwood, 20, writes of the hip haircuttery in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood, where he waited his turn among generously rouged Berliners, manicured poodles. and a Goth-clad stylist whose T-shirt read, "I am not gay." Lucy Smith, 22, expecting order and propriety, gets her introduction to Germans' love of getting naked - anywhere, (link is in the awful Geman language)

William Young
Posted 06/13/2005 03:24:12 PM

Waah. Haven't these clowns seen any WW2 movies?

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