Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Germany and the Common Man

I've threatened for several years to write this particular blog....knowing that some Germans would get all uppity about my comments, or they'd get riled up about the class that I put them into, or they'd talk up a bunch of frustrations about Americans as their way of getting 'even'.  So be it.

The common man of not a very gifted political figure, or intellectual genius, or a university professor with four titles, or some soccer great from the 1960s, or want-to-be promi from the state-TV world.

The common man of a guy who works intensely at some company that is on the margin of profit, and absolute failure.  What he does in his thirty-six to forty hours a week....make something or build something....or produce something that is not screwed up when it leaves the building.  He takes that successful product to be a piece of his own signature and is actually shamed by any accusation of a badly built item.

The common man of intent on obeying the laws.  He doesn't need various exemptions, or special attorneys, or corrupt cops that can be paid off.

The common man of Germany....would barely acknowledge by name a dozen-odd political figures on the German scene....unlike his American counter-part who likely knows sixty-six different political dimwits.

The common man of Germany can barely name all sixteen German states, and doesn't really get disturbed if he can't name them all.

The common man of Germany doesn't really want some idiot telling what he can or can't eat, or what beverage is legally OK or not.  If he wants to go vegan....he goes vegan.  If he prefers meat.....he doesn't want someone jerking him around to insist on the bad nutritional values of meat.

The common man of Germany reads Bild, and can cite the twelve brief bullet articles on the front page.  He'll tell you the four soccer games played last night and the winning scores.  He'll tell you about the weather for today.  He really knows little to nothing about some 700-word article that some Frankfurt fancied-up newspaper has published on fracking.  He won't touch a 1,000-word article on climate change.  And he will admit that a reading of Bild takes barely nine minutes, which is mostly what he gets for his break around mid-morning.

The common man of Germany gets political maybe once every four years.  To be honest, most of what any of the political parties intellectual garbage and not worth being remembered.

The common man of Germany enjoys Sunday night Tatort (the crime series)....mostly because the cops always figure out who the bad guy is, and justice gets served.  All of these special agenda topics taken on by the Tatort production team?  They really aren't appreciated by the common man of Germany.  It's a waste, in their opinion.

The common man of Germany isn't anti-American, and rarely ever invents some special way of insulting the US or Americans.  He might have a grudge against the Dutch because they drive badly, or the French because they are such fake snobs, or the Brits because they drank heavily, or the Turks because they just act awful foreign at times.  Generally, Americans don't get noted unless it's Paris Hilton, Bill Clinton, or some guy who got a Nobel Prize for something factual or imaginary.

The common man of Germany won't spend an ungodly amount of money on a vacation, a car, or renovation on the house.  What they do spend and value-added.  They don't buy trash or do a one-star renovation on their backyard.  They don't go cheaply on some vacation because they actually do have high expectations of food and shelter where they go and stay.

The common man of Germany isn't likely to give much status to anyone who goes off to college unless it was a real degree (engineering, chemistry, science, or medicine).  He'd look upon some idiot who got a degree in French literature as having wasted four years of his life.  The same would be said of some social science degree, or a degree in dance or music.  If you start to introduce yourself as doctor so-v-so, with a massive degree in Peruvian probably won't get much respect from the comman man of Germany.

The common man of Germany has a preference for a cool (not cold) beer on a hot afternoon. He seeks a shade in a local beergarten, and wants only one or two of his associates or friends in attendance.  Each of those.....will have earned the "du" that he uses in conversation.

The common man of Germany isn't really impressed by polls, winking journalists on some political chat show, or dimwited experts from some foundation or newspaper.  They will vote....the way they want to vote.

The common man of Germany has a simplified vision of culture.  He doesn't readily buy into opera, musicals, forty-ton fancy statues of Zeus, or some producer's version of a 1842 play by some German great.   Good music is simply good music.  A dancing nude mermaid statue isn't going to get them peppy, unless the sculpture guy put a 44dd boob set on the mermaid.  Given a choice of free tickets to some soccer game or some newly updated German opera.....the common man of Germany would take the soccer tickets.

The common man of Germany doesn't want some idiot reinventing the autobahn or rigging the speeds to be less.  They were built to get you from A to B, and safety was a secondary part of the least by the standards of the common man.

The common man of Germany isn't wealthy and he can accept taxation as it is.  But unfair taxation or spending the tax money on bogus priorities?  Oh, that gets the common man of Germany all upset and frustrated.  Then they start talking reform, and the political figures quickly lean on some imaginary change to get folks back to a friendly-status.

The common man of Germany watches the 8PM nightly news on ARD....mostly because it's tightly packaged and the whole news program is fifteen minutes long.  They can't emphasize anything of substance, and it's just enough to keep the guy barely informed, and absolutely precise on tomorrow's weather (hopefully).

The common man of Germany doesn't have much crime in his neighborhood and appreciates that.  To make that guy happy, the prosecutors use the full extent of the law, and prosecute to the letter of it.  Cops?  They can be as aggressive as they desire because only a fool would violate the law and expect to get off without any punishment.  The common man of Germany knows the system works, and doesn't really complain when the cops stop him on a Friday night and administer an alcohol test.  He won't fail because he knows the vast array of punishments involved.

The common man of Germany doesn't go and measure his various constitutional rights, or get into long-winded discussions over politics.  Given a choice, he'd chat on soccer, the weather, cars, recent vacations, or some funny joke he heard at work (which isn't that funny but you'd have to be a German to understand anyway).

The common man of Germany can't understand the gaming world of teenagers, NSA's passion to listen to his phonecalls with wife, or how the Nobel Prize committee goes to pick folks for awards.  Frankly, even if you simplified all these topics.....he still wouldn't want to sit there and listen to the discussion.

The common man of Germany doesn't care how electricity is created....either by coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar or wind.  He just wants it to work.....correctly....twenty-four hours a day.  If the explanation for carbon credits, climate change, or global warming take more than sixty-six's best if you just skipped that talk.

Finally, the common man of Germany doesn't like complex lifestyles, complex operator's manuals, complex laws, complex tax rules, complex game-shows, or complex spouses.

Insulting?  No.  I think I just labeled most of German society in the correct fashion.  If you don't fit into this aren't the common man or woman of Germany.  And maybe you ought to think about that stance outside of the normalcy of life.

We might be appreciative of the common man of Germany.  He's developed a thousand things to make life easier.  He's got a passion for the perfect beer.  He won't back down from grilling the best pork products on this planet.  And he's really anti-intellectual....if you think about it.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

absolutely great post! Thank you for the excellent writing.