Stereotypes of Germany and the ZDF Report on Them

It is 10/7/2012. I have just watched the ZDF Heute Journal podcast of 20121002 – 21:13.

It is a German podcast and my German is terrible. Usually the ZDF reports are fascinating because they give me a chance to listen to modern German language in an interesting format. They average about three major stories and then a financial report followed by a weather report. It gives me the opportunity to see what the Germans are thinking. Every now and then, I watch a segment that is unbelievable. Today was one of those days!

Remember that my German is really bad, so I may be completely reading this one wrong, but I don’t think I am.

They occasionally go with a total puff piece, and this one is a beauty!

Marietta Slomka pointed out that on 10/3/2012 they will of had 22 years of a united Germany. They decided to discuss what the rest of the world, in reality just Europe really, thinks about them. They mentioned the old stereotypes of lederhosen, beer, and Hitler. Okay, so far so good. I agree that that was the typical stereotype of Germany.

They then started talking about the current stereotypes. They had cuts of Kate Conolly, a Berlin correspondent for the U.K. paper the Guardian. Am I the only one who understands that the U.K. is European in name only? The truth is that every European country is so different that any analysis using only one country as the bellwether is silly. Let us ignore that and continue on. Kate indicated that this nowadays things have changed.

They mentioned the typical stereotypes of:
Party, party, party
Live and let live
Punctuality
Hard Work
German Artful Engineering

Then the wheels started coming off!

They showed their soccer team singing the anthem at a game. They made sure to show the black guy, Gerald Asamoah, Ghanaian-born but naturalized, twice with a closeup on the second pass. They didn’t want you to miss the fact that he was black. While showing that, they talked about how they had lots of immigrants so things are great. I assume they were addressing racism and nationalism. I checked. They have a black population of nearly 8%, with 19% of the entire German population having a migrant background. There was ONE black guy on their soccer team . . . I checked and there were two different black players in the 1970s . . . They didn’t mention his name or background, I did a little searching on the net. Just saying . . .

They then showed a clip of Merkel with Philipp Rösler of the FDP. I know that Rösler is adopted and was born in South Vietnam in 1973. They then said something about gay rights and a Vietnamise guy in the government. Rösler is not gay, his wife and two daughters are pretty sure of that, so I’m not quite sure how they slipped homosexuality into that clip, but whatever.

They then finished by saying that obviously Germany is really different now so everyone knows it.

I hate to break it to them, but there is agreement that Hitler had lots of homosexuals in his party. He had a stated hatred of homosexuality, but used it an another excuse for the purposes of eliminating enemies. That in no way says anything about homosexuality, it merely tends to show that homosexuality is really a non-issue as far as stereotypes about Germany are concerned.

I noticed that they didn’t talk about the elephant in the room. Many people see Germany as trying to take over Europe through the E.U. The U.K. would be the posterchild for that particualr belief. Isn’t it amazing the Kate never mentioned that? That is one of the bigger stereotypes about Germany right now. My attitude is that those who pay the bills should have some control, but I’m not European.

None of this should be taken as a slam against the ZDF reporting nor Germany. I just found it humorous the way the ZDF people did this particular report. Their coverage of Syria is top notch. Their coverage of a lot of third world issues is extensive and interesting. They have been one of the best sources of coverage about the neo-nazis running around in Germany and in Greece.”