Back to Index


     Once the world imitated France, or England, or Germany. Now most countries ape the United States. While this has positive aspects, we must note that there are others, as Elena Danielson notes is the case of Germany, now imitating and no longer widely imitated. Elena says
     "Germany has always had diverse cultural layers as you note. What I see now is an emerging international face, that Germany presents to the world. It imitates American openness and loud American style friendliness. This is the style of the Deutsche Welle opening that you find so offensive. The international presentation is well done, not a bad thing, given all the history of Central Europe. It is resolutely politically correct, big on cooperation and tolerance. It uses English as the lingua franca and often uses the word Europe or European where once they'd say Deutsch -- goods praised for "European style" not German. I saw a German Karstadt store in Moscow with a big sign in English advertising the European quality of the goods for sale. Germans do not expect any foreigner to understand the other layers of their experience. I went to the lovely pastoral art colony of Worpswede (near Bremen) to see the work of artists like Paula Modersohn and the room where Rilke wrote poetry. It is a popular tourist destination for Germans.
     I didn't encounter a single other American while I was there. A few art films like "Lola rennt" work in both the American and German context, but by and large the cultural flow is in one direction. Germans translate and assimilate nearly everything coming out of the US and Britain. Not much interest in the other direction."

     My comment: Beware: I am preparing a posting on the baneful effect of modern American writers on Germany.

Ronald Hilton - 1/7/00