Stereotypes: Germany & the USA etc

Recently I Facebooked a little bit about stereotypes.  I did have some stereotypes about Germans.  I assume that the Germans probably had some about Americans.  Most stereotypes have a grain of truth but do not apply thoroughly to the whole of a culture or people. 

Of course, the scary evil dark side of the Germans is the old 20th century WW stuff: dangerous people shouting a harsh sounding language…and something about NaZis and Jew genocide.  That’s the worst of it.

The less bad but still pretty bad?  No sense of humor, and they try to take all of Europe whenever they find the strength for it.  Still, that same rough language: one that doesn’t sound nice.  They believe in working all the time and are fanatical about punctuality to the point of being ‘politically dangerous’. 

The medium level stereotypes which are a little weird but not depressing or aggravating:  They work all the time.  They over engineer everything.  They are fanatics about detail.  Thorough to the point of a fault.  Weird language with grammar so complex, most of them can’t speak it properly – even with a good education.  For example: one of the few people who could actually use German correctly in the whole of the 19th century was GWF Hegel and almost no one can understand him, partly because he’s brilliant but partly because he made use of the ins and outs of high German grammar. 

They did not take naturally to democracy, and even 1300 years after the arrival of the Christian (and Jewish) message, they still doubt it and either ignore it as if they have lost interest or act like they’re still kicking the tyres – so to speak, to see if they want it. 

Here’s another stereotype of Germans:  this one is Southern: leather trousers in the Alps and yodelling…some lady with the tops of her breasts overflowing her blouse – even though she is at work, and BEER BEER BEER. 

How the ‘they work all the time’ and ‘BEER BEER BEER’ both happen…well…they’re a bit crazy.

Every culture is a bit insane, …I think most countries and cultures have a lot of sanity, but certain forms of dysfunction which are unique to the culture. 

I don’t know that much about stereotypes of Americans.  I heard that Americans are rumored to live on fast food and that back around 1970 some people thought all the Americans were rich, which wasn’t ever the truth, but we do try.  I heard that the English told their young “Don’t go to America; you will get shot.”  That’s really what it’s like there…so, apparently everyone has a gun and is trigger happy.

I had the feeling that in some nations, the Americans might all be believed to be whores.

Stereotypes of Americans abroad:  I think the one I most expect is the loud working class couple who forces American cash on the foreign waiters and only speak English.  If you don’t; it’s on you, not on the Americans. 

What is Versicherung? and Is there a God?

First of all, let’s admit that the real reason Versicherung has come up is that I am an American woman in Germany.  I saw that word for well over a year before finding out what it means in the language with which I am much more familiar. 

Just to give you the idea:  this long word with 4 syllables that breaks nearly all English word regulations for normalcy is painted onto buildings that look like they do business.  I kept noticing it.  Naturally, the local people gave the impression they felt it was normal.  Given how many of them are Germans and this is their country and their language, that isn’t all that astonishing.  That didn’t make me that comfortable with it, at least not at first. 

Believe it or not, Versicherung just means insurance.  That’s all it is.  I know it looks more like some Bugaboo or bedroom closet darkness monster, but it isn’t.  It is just a weird way of saying insurance.  Imagine what it must be like to be them and to find out that the freaky alien noise insurance just means versicherung.  Well, that’s cross cultural drama.

About: Is there a God?  In truth, this question is directly addressed in the first chapter of a short introductory philosophy book called Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them.  I did write it.  What qualified me?  5 years of formal philosophical study along with years of contemplation and like so many Americans, decades of spiritual practice as part of ‘having a religion’.  All of that put together with writing ability led to this practical yet surprisingly complete short guidebook through some of life’s deepest and most challenging questions.  You can buy it here:  http://www.amazon.com/Five-Big-Questions-Life-answer/dp/1617208647/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358978603&sr=1-12&keywords=Five+Big+Questions+in+Life