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  #1  
Old 10-06-2005, 05:40 AM
Rodgers01 Rodgers01 is offline
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Battling German Pessimism

A few months ago I worked with a couple of Germans in the UK, and I was amazed at how uniformly pessimistic they are about their country -- the economy sucked, the country was going down the tubes, there was no future, etc. One girl claimed she wouldn't bring a child into the world if she were living in Germany! You read a lot about how pessimistic the German national mood is, and apparently the government has decided to do something about it: check out this article, and be sure to visit the accompanying website. Recognize the music playing in the background? Anyone else think it's strange that the Germans would choose music from a movie about a man who lead a quintessentially American life for a website dedicated to boosting German pride??
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  #2  
Old 10-06-2005, 08:05 AM
Pushkin Pushkin is offline
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I read about the advertising campaign the German government is carrying out to boost the mood of the German nation, it seemed a little to me to be honest...
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  #3  
Old 10-06-2005, 08:55 AM
astro astro is offline
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There you are, sleepily sprawled in front of the telly, all ready to hit the hay and then it comes: "You are the miracle of Germany", the screen blares and yes, it does mean you and me, and personally too. "Not the others, you. You are Germany!" "Take your foot off the brakes!" a child of all things exclaims, and a woman cyclist in a helmet proclaims, "There are no speed limits on the German motorway!"

Then on comes Katarina Witt and looks you, the old couch potato, right in the eye and prompts, "What about putting some wind in your own sails again?"
Well.. I'm not German, but I will admit that watching Katarina Witt has put some "wind in my sails" on occasion.
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Old 10-06-2005, 11:37 AM
Marlitharn Marlitharn is offline
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Your will is like a kick up the arse.
I'm not 100% sure what that's supposed to mean, but I like the sound of it.

I didn't recognize the music. What's it from?
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  #5  
Old 10-06-2005, 12:37 PM
Loach Loach is online now
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Nothing is better at lifting a nation's spirit than annexing the Sudetenland. It worked before.

This is starting to sound familiar.
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  #6  
Old 10-06-2005, 01:38 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is online now
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Originally Posted by Pushkin
I read about the advertising campaign the German government is carrying out to boost the mood of the German nation, it seemed a little to me to be honest...

Yes..we all remember what happened last time the German government tried to boost the mood of the nation.
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  #7  
Old 10-06-2005, 02:33 PM
DMark DMark is offline
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I have lots of German friends and it is true, they are all fatalistic about Germany right now. Their economy is nothing like when they were growing up, the social benefits structure has been abused and has changed for the worse, their political climate has turned ugly between the left and right (hmm, sounds familiar), and they see no hope of change for the better - at least not in the foreseeable future.

Another factor is that Germans love to travel, so not only do they think the grass is greener on the other side, they have been to the other side to see it sure as hell is greener than back home.

I think disappointment is the main cause of this pessimism. After the war, there was the Wirtschaftswunder (Economic Miracle) and the Germans prided themselves with their lucrative export of technological know-how, and solid base of human rights and social reforms. The future looked bright. Now, I think most think they have hell in a hand basket. It might be an exaggeration, but that is how they feel, and there is a generic tendency of doom and gloom in the German psyche that was fearing this.

Adding to this is a policy over the years that opened the doors to foreign workers, asylum seekers and now ex-East Bloc citizens. Fairly or not, many of today's problems are being blamed on this policy, but it is too late to undo what has been done. So you have the unemployed, and the retirees, and single parents with children - all of them watching their benefits being slashed to ribbons, and they are tightening their belts more than they have ever had to do since the end of WWII, when most were not even born, and they don't know what to do.

There is also still resentment with changing the money to Euros from the beloved Deutchmark. Things that used to cost 1 DM now cost 1 Euro - which means it is twice as expensive. But their benefits have not increased as quickly.

Add to this the German habit of feeding on their misery, and everyone has their tales of woe to share with others. Pretty soon, everyone is complaining and thus, you have the funk that is hanging over Germany today.

The good news is that as much as Germans love to bitch and moan, they take politics very seriously and my guess is that some reforms and changes will indeed be coming faster than most of them predict - and even the poorest of the poor will put up with a lot if they can be convinced it is for the public good.

However, every German I have talked to has the same pessimistic attitude right now and all have said, "thankgod you aren't living here in Germany now."
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Old 10-06-2005, 03:35 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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What is that tinkly tune? I don't recognize it, no.

I didn't realize prices had gone up so much.
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Old 10-06-2005, 03:48 PM
Sal Ammoniac Sal Ammoniac is offline
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In France, meanwhile, they've been worrying about their morosité. What is it with those Western Europeans? Maybe they should try a one-for-one swap with Liberia. Then they'd have something to truly be miserable about.
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Old 10-06-2005, 03:56 PM
KeithT KeithT is offline
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Originally Posted by dangermom
What is that tinkly tune? I don't recognize it, no.

I didn't realize prices had gone up so much.
Du isst barbecue shrimp, shrimp kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, panfried, deep fried, stir fried. Pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich... das, das ist alles.
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  #11  
Old 10-06-2005, 04:02 PM
Rodgers01 Rodgers01 is offline
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Originally Posted by Marlitharn
I'm not 100% sure what that's supposed to mean, but I like the sound of it.

I didn't recognize the music. What's it from?
Actually, I think the "kick up the arse" thing is a bit disturbing, at least when peddled to the German people. Just whose arse are they supposed to start kicking their will up?

The music is the theme from "Forrest Gump." Seems absurd that they'd use it, considering how closely linked it is with Americana (at least in my mind).

Quote:
Another factor is that Germans love to travel, so not only do they think the grass is greener on the other side, they have been to the other side to see it sure as hell is greener than back home.
But that's the thing I don't understand. On the surface I think Germany still comes across as a very rich, powerful, health country. For the most part it is immaculately clean, modern (admittedly less so in the East), and safe. The people walking around look mostly healthy and fashionable. Where could they travel that would look markedly better than what they already have? Scandinavia? Certainly not the US, which by all accounts in doing better economically than Germany. Every time I've ever flown to the US from Germany (which I used to do fairly regularly, though it's been a while) it always took a little while to how dirty everything looked compared to Germany.
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Old 10-06-2005, 04:27 PM
DMark DMark is offline
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Originally Posted by Rodgers01
But that's the thing I don't understand. On the surface I think Germany still comes across as a very rich, powerful, health country. For the most part it is immaculately clean, modern (admittedly less so in the East), and safe. The people walking around look mostly healthy and fashionable. Where could they travel that would look markedly better than what they already have? Scandinavia? Certainly not the US, which by all accounts in doing better economically than Germany. Every time I've ever flown to the US from Germany (which I used to do fairly regularly, though it's been a while) it always took a little while to how dirty everything looked compared to Germany.
You are right, of course. But try to explain that to a German. They find what they are looking for..."See - eggs are cheaper here than back home, and look at the price of those shoes - cheaper. And you earn more here than I do..."

You have to hit them on the head to explain our sorry health insurance and other factors. But they are used to the heydays when there always seemed to be plenty of money to pay for new streets, increased benefits, free health care, more child care, 6-8 weeks paid vacation, 36 hour work weeks, a month's salary for a Christmas bonus, lots of paid holidays and paid sick leave....of course the free ride had to end sometime, but for Germans the ride didn't end, it came to a screetching Halt!
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  #13  
Old 10-06-2005, 04:31 PM
devilsknew devilsknew is offline
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My experience with most Germans was the opposite. They seemed like very happy, optimistic people and that was even during the height of the cold war and seconds away from Nuclear Holocaust. They were serious people about things in general but didn't seem dour.
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  #14  
Old 10-06-2005, 04:42 PM
matt_mcl matt_mcl is offline
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Originally Posted by Sal Ammoniac
In France, meanwhile, they've been worrying about their morosité. What is it with those Western Europeans?
Couldn't tell you, but things are looking up in Catalonia, to hear them tell it. The PP is gone, they're out of Iraq, they've got same-sex marriage, and they're working on the Estatut.
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Old 10-06-2005, 05:27 PM
Rodgers01 Rodgers01 is offline
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Originally Posted by devilsknew
My experience with most Germans was the opposite. They seemed like very happy, optimistic people and that was even during the height of the cold war and seconds away from Nuclear Holocaust. They were serious people about things in general but didn't seem dour.
Oh, I agree with you that the Germans don't fit the general stereotype of having particularly dour personalities -- I've always thought they were on the whole very warm and friendly people; nothing like the Nazi characterization that too many Americans and Brits still pin on them. But the ones I've known in recent years have been very down about their country. Their economy didn't start going bad till the last few years; the Cold War, while certainly presenting other things to worry about, was mostly a great time for the (West) German economy.

Knowing the Germans to be friendly as I do, it was particularly disconcerting to hear them speak in such negative terms about their country's future.
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  #16  
Old 10-07-2005, 11:24 AM
Mops Mops is offline
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Originally Posted by Rodgers01
Actually, I think the "kick up the arse" thing is a bit disturbing, at least when peddled to the German people. Just whose arse are they supposed to start kicking their will up? ...
The metaphorical use of posterior impacts is different in German from English.

In colloquial German someone who is in need of a Tritt in den Arsch (a kick in the arse) is someone who is, in principle, is on your side (or, even, who is yourself), and who needs to be persuaded out of his comfort zone.
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