Frau Merkel expresses delight at the flavor of the Hollandaise sauce served up by the French president’s head chef at the Versailles Palace.  I guess she doesn’t like broccoli.  Or is it Hollandaise?


The history of man is filled with ironies.  Horace poked fun at how the superior Greek civilization turned the tables on the barbaric Roman conqueror: “Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit”.  In 1968, an Irish poet gave a lecture at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he said:  “The British gave us a language and we gave them back a literature.”  I was in attendance at that time and laughed myself silly.  He was right.  Tables turned.

The Germans conquered France – rolled over the vaunted Maginot Line and “voila!” – a picture of the imperious-looking Adolph Hitler with the iconic La Tour Eiffel in the background.  But now, the tables are turned again, for the French government has apparently infected its German counterpart with the French disease du jour: HYPOCRISY!!!  I told my readers yesterday that the French were perversely vindictive.  Now, my readers can see what I meant.

I’m afraid that the genius of Germanic scientific thought will not be able to deal with this scourge any time soon.  Why, just two days ago, the German Regierung through its arch-Weibstuuck, Kanzlerin Merkel, barred all Syrians in Germany from voting in the June 3 Presidential Elections!  One of my wife’s nephews works in Southern Germany and is effectively denied a basic right afforded in all democratic countries.  But how democratic is the German Republic?

In Hollywood, Germans, like the English, have a certain pigeonhole into which they are stuffed whenever their tell-tale accents are heard.  I’ve written about the English being the best villains in Hollywood and the reasons for that. Inevitably, American heroes reflect the “aw shucks” self-effacement that Americans cherish as pioneers, settlers and land-grabbers.  Our Yankee heroes usually speak with that nondescript Mid-Western timbre made famous and recognizable by Walter Cronkite and John Chancellor or with a Southern drawl like Dan Rather or Jim Lehrer.  In order to make our heroes vulnerable, you need a villain who seems menacing just by the way he talks.  And what better villain than the supercilious, erudite, obstinate Oxonian-accented Britisher who seems overwhelmingly superior to our poor farm boy hero. So, imagine our delight when the yokely Yank defeats the English evil-doer and saves humanity from another hundred years of insufferable British hegemony. It’s absolutely gear!

Germans are cast differently. They are almost always mad scientists bent on ruthlessly destroying the world with new blasphemies, to wit, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or Goldfinger or Der Weisse Engel in Marathon Man or Dr. Mengele in The Boys from Brazil.  It’s no accident that the name Mary Shelley selected, during that fateful trip to Switzerland, was a German one!  So what if Americans or Englishmen play the role? – what’s important is that his name is German and all w’s are pronounced as v’s.  “Ve heff vayz off making you talk!” 

During the war years, Hollywood stepped up to bat for the American war effort by portraying the German enemy as “incompetent”, “stupid” or “cruel” (not necessarily in that order).  German soldiers, who counted, were blonde members of that ubermensch class who strutted, or say, swaggered, with a look only bad actors usually sport – a look not dissimilar to Dolph Lundren’s Drago, the Russian superboxer, in one of the Stallone Rocky films.  Even the redoubtable English actor, Robert Shaw, had to put on the schmaltz when he played Colonel Hessler in the Battle of the Bulge.  Watching the English flick off the Germans or the French is one of the few pleasures left to me at my age.

Sharif is lucky he wasn’t sent to Auschwitz for those rather suspicious looks.

Amazingly, when the Hollywood or Shepperton folks want to portray a good German, they’ll go out of their way to cast a Syrian/Egyptian actor like Omar Sharif as the Gestapo investigator in Night of the Generals.  You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Sharif playing an obergruppenfuhrer for Herr Himmler.  And you will die laughing at Peter O’Toole’s take on a sociopathic German general whose fetishes resemble those of Ted Bundy’s.  O’Toole’s performance is so over the top it could be viewed as revenge for the bombing of Coventry.

The Germans are thought of as “regimented”, “humorless”, “disciplined”, “icy”, “dispassionate”, “sexually weird”, “depraved” and “banal”.  While none of these things are true about the Germans I have known in my life, the one thing of which I am certain is that they are not “HYPOCRITICAL”.  Germans are quite direct, often favoring the truth no matter how offensive it may be – as long as it gets an issue to fruition or completion.  But, in my own life, I have yet to hear Germans say one thing and do another.  It’s doubly amazing to me that Germans are so perfervidly opposed to police states, warfare, oppression, and the like – will exult in their love of democracy and freedom of speech – their incomprehensible legal system which pretends to cover all conceivable situations – their courts which are designed to dispense justice……..and yet, when the Syrian people come around to their first direct presidential elections, Germany’s government formally denies them this basic right.  So, to answer my own question about how democratic the German Republic is? I say:  Schade. Schade. Schade.





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