Friday, July 23, 2004

Rather good things about Germany

1. If you sleep with a German, even if its just a one-night stand, they will always make you breakfast the next morning.  It won't be cold cereal, either.  It will involve, at the very least, toast, a choice of jams, and probably an egg.  I don't know why they do this.

2. People drink beer in movie theaters here.  You could probably even bring in your own if you wanted.  Also, one may select between sweet or salty popcorn at the concession stand.

3. You always get a little cookie with your coffee. 

4. Germany, especially Berlin, is like porno for people who are really into history.  Especially people who are into nasty, violent, voyeuristic history.  There are beautiful memorials all over the city, mostly to victims of the Holocaust, but here I'm referring specifically to the kind of history that hasn't been underwritten by grants.  Most of the history on display here has just been lying around for the past 60 years or so because nobody ever bothered to get rid of it.  This kind of thing ranges from the evidence of two world wars (the bullet scars that still pit the city's old building facades, and the occasional bombed out building--now reduced to a few crumbling brick walls surrounded by trees and occasionally hosting an informal Biergarten) to the rotting detritus of the DDR (murals of a beaming V.I. Lenin surrounded by happy factory workers, swathes of still standing Berlin Wall, the building where the Stasi used to torture suspected state enemies.... ) 

There are, of course, also the omnipresent 'concentration,' 'work' and 'death' camps (the Nazis were quite forthcoming about the function of each particular camp, its official name generally signifying whether a camp had been erected for the primary purpose of extracting slave labor from its detainees, Arbeitslager, or systematically killing them as quickly as possible, Vernichtungslager, i.e. extermination camp.)  These have generally been at least partially to fully preserved and one can find one to visit within driving or public transport range of virtually any German city (as well as many areas throughout the former Nazi-occupied lands.)  Why, I ask myself, is all this information on my 'Rather good things about Germany list?'  I suppose its because I appreciate a nation that, unlike the United States, has decided to remember and memorialize the dark corners of its own history.  The U. S. might have chosen to do the same with the uncountable deaths of Native-Americans, Africans under slavery, or the millions of civilians who died during the last century of our innumerable foreign wars and occupations.  We might have, but we don't.   

5. Pretty much any pickle you eat here will be amazing.  The same can be said for the cheese, although it'll also smell like a bad yeast infection.  That's okay, though.  That's the hallmark of good cheese.  Just try not to think about it. 

6. Men can cry in public without shame.  After a really important soccer match, the losing team will often all stand there and sob like a bunch of 13 year-old girls at a matinee showing of Titanic.  I totally respect this. 

7. Dachshunds! Dachshunds! Dachshunds!  The quintessential German dog and the official pet, it would seem, of Berlin's retiree population.  They're really goddamn cute, also super mean.  If you get on a dachshund's bad side, it will try to fuck you up. 

8. Its historical reputation aside, Germany is actually extremely politically progressive.  For instance, there is no death penalty here.  That's a good thing because, behind me in the Internet cafe in which I am now working, is a man who has been sitting at his own computer groaning and farting for about the last 20 minutes.  He's looking at a site on mail order brides, unless I'm very much mistaken.  After I finish writing this sentence, I might have to go over there and stab him in the back of the neck.


Blogger Tim said...

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9:05 PM  
Anonymous Moomin Mama said...

Unfortunately for both of us I can't offer any cut price spas Like tim but I agree with him that it is an extremely classy blog! Have you visited the UK at all? We do a pretty good line in self flagellating history too that might appeal to you.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, thios blogg is pritty classy Im in my class room lookin at german things. Haha =)

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this blog thing is shit!

11:04 AM  

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