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Switch to Forum Live View WHITHER GOEST GERMANY
4 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2011 - 9:11AM #11
Paravani
Posts: 798

Hello, All!


My mother is German.  She was born here in the US, but her parents went back to Germany because they'd heard such great things about that leader who was whipping the country back into shape...  that Hitler was really something, wasn't he?  So my mother was raised during WWII in Germany, but moved back to the US in 1950 to reclaim her American citizenship.


So, I don't know anything about modern German politics, but I know a lot about German culture...  and frankly, it sucks.  Have you ever read that icon of German children's literature, Struwelpeter?  You've never read such a collection of racist, moralistic nightmares, yet this collection of stories is an indispensable classic that is found on every German child's bookshelf.


"The door flew open, in he ran,
The great, long, red-legged scissor-man.
Oh! children, see! the tailor's come
And caught out little Suck-a-Thumb.
Snip! Snap! Snip! the scissors go;
And Conrad cries out 'Oh! Oh! Oh!'
Snip! Snap! Snip! They go so fast,
That both his thumbs are off at last."


Ah, Germany...  home of "Grimm's Fairy Tales" -- the original ugly, bloody stories, not the cleaned-up Disney versions -- full of chopped-up feet and blood-filled slippers, racism and sexism and prejudice, violence and guts and gore.


Germany, home of control freaks, abused children, rigidity and conformity, a country just waiting for another vulnerable minority to slaughter.  Prejudice and violence are innate in her culture; they may be sleeping for 60 years, but they aren't dead.


I will never trust Germany to truly join a "kinder, gentler world".  They may wear a convincing mask, but the ideological face beneath it hasn't changed.


Love,


-- Claudia

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2011 - 9:19AM #12
CharikIeia
Posts: 8,301

Mar 24, 2011 -- 9:11AM, Paravani wrote:


Love,


-- Claudia



I feel it, thanks!


It's shocking to see 60 years of good work so swiftly discarded as pointless.


It's equally shocking to see German culture equated with the Struwwelpeter - which, as I just learnt, Mark Twain translated into English - why would he have done that if US culture had been so much different from German, at the time?


Is it okay by you to identify also other nations with such mean-spirited caricatures - or is Germany special in that respect, maybe due to family inheritance?

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2011 - 9:37AM #13
Paravani
Posts: 798

Mar 24, 2011 -- 9:19AM, CharikIeia wrote:

Mar 24, 2011 -- 9:11AM, Paravani wrote:


Love,


-- Claudia



I feel it, thanks!


It's shocking to see 60 years of good work so swiftly discarded as pointless.


It's equally shocking to see German culture equated with the Struwwelpeter.


Is it okay by you to identify also other nations with such mean-spirited caricatures - or is Germany special in that respect, maybe due to family inheritance?


Hello, Charikleia!


It's nothing personal, you understand...  but I was both physically and verbally abused by my mother throughout my childhood, and the abuse was culturally sanctioned. She has never apologized for it and never will, because she doesn't think that she did anything wrong.


To this day, my mother doesn't understand the nature of verbal and physical abuse.  She's 75, very intelligent and well-educated, and she STILL doesn't get it...  because her culture sanctions abusive treatment of children and vulnerable minorities.  She will never be able to see it as wrong.


So, that's my experience of German culture.  It isn't a personal statement about you, and you're welcome to post examples of how compassionate German culture is...  provided you can find any.


Love,


-- Claudia

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2011 - 10:05AM #14
Paravani
Posts: 798

Hi, Charikleia!


Sorry, I just caught this -- you must have been editing your post as the same time as I was writing my response to it.


Mar 24, 2011 -- 9:19AM, CharikIeia wrote:

It's shocking to see 60 years of good work so swiftly discarded as pointless.



Exactly what "work" is that?  And exactly what was the point of it?


Love,


-- Claudia

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2011 - 10:15AM #15
Ebon
Posts: 10,148

Mar 23, 2011 -- 10:57PM, mytmouse57 wrote:

Well, the last time Germany took a swing to the political right...



Merkel and her collegues are nowhere near that far to the right. They're fairly respectable centre-right conservatives (by Euro standards; in the US, they'd be wooly liberals). The German people are very aware of their nation's history and possibly more likely to revolt than we are if things start going in that direction again.

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. ~ Proverbs 14:31

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2011 - 10:42AM #16
CharikIeia
Posts: 8,301

Mar 24, 2011 -- 9:37AM, Paravani wrote:


It's nothing personal, you understand...  but I was both physically and  verbally abused by my mother throughout my childhood, and the abuse was  culturally sanctioned. She has never apologized for it and never will,  because she doesn't think that she did anything wrong.


To this day, my mother doesn't understand the nature of verbal and physical abuse.  She's 75, very intelligent and well-educated, and she STILL doesn't get it...  because her culture sanctions abusive treatment of children and vulnerable minorities.  She will never be able to see it as wrong.



Hi Claudia!


I don't think it is my task here to bring your in my view very distorted vision of Germany in line with reality. I do, however, understand how a woman brought up by avowed Nazi admirers would convey to her daughter a weirdly distorted picture of what German culture is. Your mother basically missed the hard learning part when she left Germany right after the war. That is not to say you were educated as a Nazi, but - as I said - you were decidedly NOT educated as a German of your age group.


I find it a bit irritating that you say "it's nothing personal" when actually you strongly rely on a very personal experience, in your judgment. If you had said, "it's nothing to be generalised, but something personal, how I feel", that would have sounded a bit more accurate in my ears...


You ask about the "good work" I alluded to. Germans have undergone thorough self-re-invention, after WW2. When there is little to be proud of in the immediate past, that's what you do. We've set up the EU, partnering with France & the Benelux countries, committed to the continent's common welfare. The EU institutionalises trust among the European nations. We've dismantled all sorts of authoritarian structures in our own society, and reconstructed them in a participatory, bottom-up way: universities, schools, government, the military. We've become a very pacifist society, in general. And critical of any authority. My mother's generation vehemently turned towards anti-authoritarian education because Germans thoroughly were convinced that they better listen to whatever the children have to say, than to what their own parents were suggesting they do. I just claim this here without further proof, as I am not sufficiently motivated to fish up detailed evidence - so you obviously can feel free to discard whatever I say here.


As you mentioned the Struwwelpeter from the early 19th century, maybe you also are aware of the books children in Germany were being read in the late 20th? Try this one - very polular!

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2011 - 11:03AM #17
Paravani
Posts: 798

Hi, Charikleia!


Certainly my mother's experience of German culture (and my own) may represent the distant past, and Germans may have re-invented themselves and their culture...


... But as an American who understands German (though I don't speak it well myself), I haven't been impressed by the German tourists I've overheard in my country and in other countries that I was visiting at the same time they were.  The comments Germans make when they think no one can understand them are extremely rude and arrogant.


German tourists behave very badly, too.  They will push their way to the front of lines of people who are patiently waiting for their turn, and will ignore protests unless the protest is spoken in "hoch Deutsch".  In that case they will bow and scrape and take their place behind the speaker -- but still not move to the back of the line!


(For those of you who don't know about German, "hoch Deutsch" or "high German" is the particular type of accent used by the German aristocracy.  The point of the above paragraph is that German tourists are often class-conscious snobs who operate in other countries under the assumption that all Americans, French, English, etc. are "lower class".)


So yes, a great part of my opinion of German culture was formed by my childhood experiences of it...  but the rest of it is due to my direct experience of the German people with whom I've come in contact.


Again, that isn't meant as any sort of reflection on you, personally.  I'm as sorry as you are that my experience has been so negative, and I'd be more than happy to change my opinion if I were to see compelling evidence that it ought to be changed.


Love,


-- Claudia

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2011 - 11:12AM #18
CharikIeia
Posts: 8,301

Mar 24, 2011 -- 11:03AM, Paravani wrote:


I haven't been impressed by the German tourists I've overheard in my country and in other countries that I was visiting at the same time they were.  The comments Germans make when they think no one can understand them are extremely rude and arrogant.


German tourists behave very badly, too.  They will push their way to the front of lines of people who are patiently waiting for their turn, and will ignore protests unless the protest is spoken in "hoch Deutsch".  In that case they will bow and scrape and take their place behind the speaker -- but still not move to the back of the line!



Interesting, and not corresponding to anything I would have experienced. But then, I am not the person going to very touristy places.


Where did you witness this, if I may ask?



(For those of you who don't know about German, "hoch Deutsch" or "high German" is the particular type of accent used by the German aristocracy. 



Actually, this is not true. "High German" is just standard German as opposed to regional dialects. Linguistically, it stands in contrast to "Nether German" or "Low German", a family of languages that Dutch and Frisian belong to. "High" because of its original use in the Alps and Southern mountain regions of Germany, while "Nether German" language used to be spoken in the North German lowlands and the Netherlands. It is most assuredly NOT a "class indicator". In fact, the aristocrats often make a point of talking in the dialect of the region where their castles are located - and NOT "High German"... CLICK



The point of the above paragraph is that German tourists are often class-conscious snobs who operate in other countries under the assumption that all Americans, French, English, etc. are "lower class".)



This is really hilarious! I can only say, I don't understand where such - in my view: completely, insidiously wrong - impressions come from. Maybe some fellow Americans can substantiate any of this?

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2011 - 11:30AM #19
Paravani
Posts: 798

Hi again, Charikleia!


I've seen and heard German tourists in Seattle, WA, USA (where I was born and raised) over the last 4+ decades; in Portland, OR, USA over the last decade or so; and in London, Paris, and Helsinki on the occasions I've visited there. 


Seattle is visited by many tourists from all over the world, and it has a fairly thriving European community.  In general, I've found the majority of tourists and expatriates from anywhere else in the world to be warm, friendly, and charming, whether they spoke a great deal of English or not.  I've never met any others as pushy and rude as the Germans were.


I understand that as a German yourself, your experience will be different.


*shrugs*


As for other Americans who can "substantiate" this, that would require them to understand German, wouldn't it?  And few American schools teach the language anymore, because there just isn't much demand for it in this country.


Love,


-- Claudia

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2011 - 11:43AM #20
CharikIeia
Posts: 8,301

Mar 24, 2011 -- 11:30AM, Paravani wrote:


I've never met any others as pushy and rude as the Germans were.



Well, okay, who could argue with a personal story?


Let me just note that I find it suspicious when you accuse the same people of being snobbish and class-conscious on the one hand, yet pushy and rude on the other. In my view, the two just don't go together. What you describe sounds like lack of manners, plain and simple.


I'd still like to hear a second opinion, although you seem to put high hurdles by requiring knowledge of the language. Maybe Ken could jump in, or Mark? Anyone ever stationed in Germany during his/her military years?

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