Friday, 16 September 2011

Anti-American Press

A neurotic obsession is like a bone stuck in your throat. You can't swallow it and you can't spit it out. That is how the German media are hooked on America. It doesn't look quite sane.
Something very weird is going on between the Lowlands and Poland. Something neurotic, in tens of millions of minds. And while we know that you can't always generalize from media madness to ordinary people, we also know that the media swing a huge weight of influence. So when the German Organs of Propaganda go weird and hateful, get ready to worry. Really.

Examples of obsessive anti-Americanism are all over big German news magazines like Spiegel and Stern. For instance;

1. The Statue of Liberty with a death's head instead of the Romantic goddess of liberty.
2. A close-up of the American flag covered with "BLUT FÜR ÖL".
3. George Bush in front of a giant black cross, "A MISSION FROM GOD."
4. A horrible Abu Ghraib figure in black garb, headlined "THE TORTURERS OF BAGHDAD."
5. A sadistic-looking Rambo muscle man on the cover, emblazoned "OPERATION RAMBO --- The  Secret Troops of the USA."
6. Germany's largest trade union, I.G Metall, used a picture of a cartoon Mosquito with Abe Lincoln's hat, for their large circulation magazine. The Magazine's Cover Read: "US-Firms in Germany: The (Blood-) Suckers". The article was headlined "The Plunderers are here!"

This is the mainstream press in Germany. In other words, what Leftist nutroots make up as paranoid fantasies becomes the dominant narrative in Germany. And their endless refrain is that American soldiers are no better than Nazis.

Judging by David's MedienKritik, the Germans just can't let go of Americans in their collective minds. They are hooked on anti-Americanism, and they can't turn it off. They can't just stop buying Der Spiegel, with its repetetive anti-American slander campaigns.
One German headline in 2007 was that apparently, US teens are going out at night to kill homeless people. It used to be Elvis and hip-hop, and now it's murdering street people for fun.
There are things to criticize about every country in the world. Nobody in the United States is completely satisfied, and Americans always look for ways to improve themselves, to solve problems and make progress. That's rational.

The German neurosis isn't like that. They're not saying, "we like this about America, but we don't like that." They just keep pushing outrageous slanders that have no basis in reality, and then get übermad about the US as moral defectives; the next week they come back and repeat the process. Then they do it again.  And again. They can't swallow their anti-American fishbone, and they can't spit it out.

Obviously all this has something to do with Germany's neurotic relationship to its own past. Now in a sane world, you would think that the thirteen years of Nazi tyranny, murder and ruthless aggression would be vigorously repudiated still, as it was during the half-century after World War Two. Every single German Chancellor after you-know-who denounced the Nazis with apparent sincerity.
That's the way West Germany seemed to be going for half a century. About as sensible as you might hope, after what happened. But then two things happened. One was the unification of Germany. The unification was generally considered to be a good thing (though not by Margaret Thatcher), and it certainly rewarded supposed civilized West German behavior after WWII.

But it led to strains in the economy and competition between the East and West. And the East Germans had never bothered with de-Nazification. They had been taught that Hitler was bad because he was a Capitalist (when of course he was anti-capitalist, anti-Christian, anti-Gay, anti-Black, anti-women's freedom, anti-civilization, and most of all, anti-Semitic). East Germans knew all about hating America, because they had been taught to do it from 1933 onward.

The second off-the-rails event after fifty years was the rise of Gerhard Schroeder. Schroeder was the first chancellor to play the hate-America card outright for political popularity. It worked like a charm; Schroeder blatantly lied about the German economy and still got reelected, by comparing George W. Bush to ...  (Yes. Right.) Chancellor Schroeder was the first big  demagogue in half a century, and the German media have been stuck on that single obsessive anti-American chord ever since.

The German neurosis is part and parcel of the most worrisome development in Europe since the Soviets crumbled: the revival of open anti-Semitism. Like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, many Europeans seem to think that Israel is just the Little Satan and America the Big Satan. There is a mad edge to that theme --- far beyond rational criticism --- that is also worrying. It sounds like  the same Teutonic Neurosis.

Germans tend to be perfectionists. When I visited Hamburg some years ago, passers-by dutifully pointed out that I had failed to park my rental car with the necessary precision. The police had to be notified. Then, when I happened to wander into the wrong elevator, my fellow passengers simply stared at me in frozen horror. I had violated some sacred taboo.

When perfectionists are confronted with an error --- and worse, a great moral failure, like the Nazi period --- they often have a very hard time coping. They have to blame others. To make things worse, the media constantly remind people about Hitler --- was he really what he was?
(The answer is: Yes).

David's MedienKritik  Is a blog worth bookmarking.

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