Tuesday, March 14, 2006

“Come to Germany. Now.” says German Tourist Board

Emboldened by their recent success in ordering their population to be happy, the German authorites have moved on to Phase II of their Joy Through Strength programme by ordering them to be friendly too. In preparation for the expected influx of party-hearty foreigners arriving for the 2006 World Cup, billboards and public service announcements everywhere urge the natives to put aside their traditional xenophobia and play nice, under the slogan "Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden" (roughly translated as "Time to Make Friends").

“When you meet a foreigner on the street, instead of bayonetting him in the stomach, why not try smiling and waving?” suggests one typical poster.

The former German national soccer coach, Franz Beckenbauer, who is fronting the £2 million campaign, yesterday spearheaded an appeal to "roll out the red carpet" for foreign guests. "Unfortunately, we're not viewed as particularly friendly people and we have to improve on that," he said at yesterday’s launch. “With fewer than 100 days until the June kick-off, there’s no time to lose in instilling a sense of hospitality in our proud German volk”, he added, straightening the silver-braided cap of his immaculate black World Cup uniform.

Frankly this is a lost cause. Not for nothing is Germany known as “The land where the Israelis learnt their manners”.

In any case, the poster campaign will go only a certain way to proving how tolerant Germany says it is. Out of more than 70 service workers depicted, only two are of visibly non-German origin - a sushi waiter and a young boy playing with a football. None of Germany’s huge and football-mad Turkish population appear.

In fact, as part of the “Time to Clean Haus” campaign running in parallel, there seem to be fewer Turks on the streets too. Herr Beckenbauer explains: “The Turks? What Turks? Oh, those Turks. Well, they’re… uh… on holiday. In special… uh… holiday camps. With extra friendliness training.” When tasked to comment on the lack of phone calls or letters from those attending the camps, he informed reporters that the residents were “probably just really busy with World Cup stuff.”

And will they be back after the Cup? “Ah… let me get back to you on that…”


“Germany - a warmer welcome through intimidation.” © Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus, 2006

36 comments:

Desargues said...

I suspect this summer's encounter with British hooligans will sorely test the Teuton's capacity for self-mobilization with a view to state-decreed cheerfulness. Loath as they may be to defy leadership, a drunk Cardiff ned will prove too much for some Germans.

Ivan, maybe it's time to cross the Rhine again, and skewer some of those frog leg aficionados. Their reluctance to do any actual work at all simply invites ridicule:

http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=reutersEdge&storyID=2006-03-14T104926Z_01_NOA438900_RTRUKOC_0_INTERVIEW-FRENCH-PROTESTS.xml

Ivan the Terrible said...

Hi Des - Germans vs Neds is another of those Kissinger moments, isn't it? "Shame they can't both lose..."

As for the French, don't be greedy. I just did them yesterday - don't want them to feel picked on. (Maybe next week. Don't want them to feel ignored either.)

SheBah said...

I'm not surprised they want people to come to Germany - there must be hardly any Germans left there - everywhere I go for work and vac is full of Germans, South Africa, Thailand, the West Indies, all buying up houses and settling down.

Desargues said...

Those are the sane Germans, SB. Everyone else stays back in Deutschland.

OK, Ivan, fair enough. Let's give Gaul a break. But there's always Switzerland, innit?

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

It really doesn't matter what a German person is actually saying. For example, he could be declaring "There's nothing I enjoy more than a nut cutlet and a spot of quiet wild-flower pressing after my Saturday morning peace rally." However, anyone listening to him will feel sure he has just issued a call to invade Poland and eat their babies.

Not the most gentle and musically lilting of languages, German.

Gorilla Bananas said...

I have a theory that if you act mad enough the Germans will worship you. Caligula's German bodyguards stayed loyal to him long after every Roman wanted to eat his flesh.

R. Kipling said...

First it was the Welsh, then the French and now it's the German's turn to come under the withering spotlight of your collective mirth. Comforting to see that British humour hasn't adjusted its sights in the past century or so and that we're still chuckling at the same, soft targets.

R. Kipling said...

First it was the Welsh, then the French and now it's the German's turn to come under the withering spotlight of your collective mirth. Comforting to see that British humour hasn't adjusted its sights in the past century or so and that we're still chuckling at the same, soft targets.

Foot Eater said...

Exceedingly good point, Mr Kipling. I hate xenophobic bigots even more than Taffys, Frogs and square-headed sausage-eaters.

I feel so smug in the company of the Welsh and the Germans, knowing I can crack jokes about both types with impunity because I have something of each of them in me.

Anyway, those of you who think the Krauts are unfriendly have obviously never visited Moscow. The babushkas there give you looks that could make a walnut bleed.

urchin said...

Well I can't help thinking that Germans are actually making some progress. I mean, "come to Germany. now." is better than "germany is coming to you" that used to be their motto a few years back

Desargues said...

I believe Mr. Kipling is trying to remind us all that good sarcasm is an equal opportunity business. Well, then--I offer my part of Europe for ridicule: the East. We could start at Moscow (another easy target) and move progressively westward, going through Ukraine, Slovakia, Romania, and the Balkans, only to disembark at Trieste. Note that I left out Hungary; if Mrs Terrible ever chances upon this blog's future postings, Ivan may have some 'splaining to do. :-)

How's that for fairness, Mr Kipling? Surely you're not a disgruntled inhabitant of Leipzig, are you?

Desargues said...

In all fairness, though, we're still showing some restraint here, Mr Kipling. For instance, we're not targeting those parts of the world at which history is poking cruel fun these days: large swathes of Africa, a good deal of the Middle East, certain countries in South America... Gentlemanly behaviour is still of some concern to us, so we're not kicking those who are down at the present.

Rob said...

I can't imagine anything more awful than the British media's coverage of England v Germany at the World Cup in fucking Germany itself. I intend to be unconscious myself.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Hi Sexy. That's just lebensraum with a chequebook, really, isn't it? But as Urchin points out that's still progress of a sort.

Welcome, Ruddy. Naturally, foreigners are funny. And tomorrow I will slap a little bald guy on the head and then chase a girl in a garter belt. (Note to self: this time, make sure that the girl is the one in the garter belt, not you).

Footie, I have lived in Moscow, and have met those babushkas of whom you speak, all of whom spent their teenage years riding into Berlin on the back of a T54. And yes, the Germans are unfriendly. Just more efficiently. They get right up your nose in less than half the time.

Des - thanks for the forbearance. I hate sleeping on the couch.

And Rob, just go to Germany for the game. That way, if the beer doesn't render you unconscious, the local riot police are sure to oblige...

PI said...

I had a very sweet German boy friend in the fifties. He used to sing 'Merrily we yoll along.' instead of 'Roll along' which I found very endearing.
And I have to say that if our four sons have a choice of working for an American firm or a German firm, I would choose the latter.
So shoot me.

PI said...

I had a very sweet German boy friend in the fifties. He used to sing 'Merrily we yoll along.' instead of 'Roll along' which I found very endearing.
And I have to say that if our four sons have a choice of working for an American firm or a German firm, I would choose the latter.
So shoot me.

PI said...

I think your comment box has a slight stutter.

R. Sherman said...

Been away and only now catching up. I printed this off for the EMBLOS, causing the question, "Do you really think this way about us?" "Us" of course being the Germans.

"Absolutely not," I replied as a grabbed a smoke and headed for the garage. I could hear the ten minute rant quite nicely from there, thanks.

Cheers.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Hi Pi - I wouldn't dream of shooting you for your unnatural affection for Germans. Such folly is more to be pitied than condemned...

I've noticed the stutter - sometimes just happens, but only to especially good comments. So good they deserve to be repeated :)

Ivan the Terrible said...

Hi Randall. Glad I could help out with that whole domestic harmony thing.

I know what you're talking about. Hungarians react similarly when you remind them that they've never won a single war in their entire history, ever. Tho' obviously one doesn't get quite the same feeling of physical menace. After all, they've lost to every other nationality within walking distance, including the Rumanians. How sad is that?

Desargues said...

That may be because of their uncanny knack for betting on the wrong horse, Ivan. The Habsburgs, the kaiser, then that Schickelgruber fellow... Didn't turn out too good for them.

At any rate, if the lady of the house really threatens to have you sleep on the couch, you can always try to soothe her wounded national pride by reminding her that it was three Hungarians who gave America the atomic bomb: Wigner, Szilard, and Teller (you may throw von Neumann in for good measure). Such consolation usually works wonders with citizens of small countries. Those sorry Romanians only wish they had gotten so far.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Well, the Rumanians are still trying to domesticate the dog. But they beat Hungary anyway.

And another thing - why can't they make their mind up how to spell their country's name? Is it Rumania, Romania or even Roumania? I've seen them all...

Cantemir said...

Draga Ivan cel Groaznic,

It's 'Romania.' The others you cited are, respectively, the Romanization of the Ottoman pronunciation, and the French spelling of the Romanization of the Ottoman spelling. I know the Limeys pride themselves on staying a little behind the times, but 84 years is taking it a bit far, what?

The poor old Hungarios can't seem to forgive the Romaniacs for giving them their two best kings (John Hunyadi and Matthias Corvinus,) or for putting down Bela Kun (before stealing everything that wasn't nailed down, and much of what was,) or for making them a minority in what used to be their country. Well, too bad, Geza. Roll over, Gyorgy. We're here, we're Dragomir, get used to it!

I know you think you're kidding about the domestication of the dog, but if you ever utterly lose your mind and go to Oltenia, you'll see you're quite right. On the other hand, the Moroseni (people from the far north) are all busily building paltial houses with the money they make washing dishes in Berlin. The trick is that you then sell the house to a German for fifty times what it cost you to build. Who's conquering whom?

Cantemir said...

Oh, for those of you who don't speak Szekely:

Here's the translation

Desargues said...

Wow. Cantemir provides the voice of local pride. Well then. I guess I'll have to be the local clown, and prick a few needles into the balloons of Wallachian patriotism. The court jester who speaks the truth to power and all that.

Cantemir said...

desargues,

I have long argued that Wallachian patriotism is one of the most destructive forces in Europe. Its baloon is sorely in need of deflating.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Careful. Dracula was a Vlach (Wallachian) you know. They're a bit mental...

Cantemir said...

Ivan c. G.,

Yet another outrage from the Western press! And after all that Dracula did for your film and book industries, what with the Stoker and the Anne Rice and the spooky teenagers with black lipstick on and so forth.

Little-known fact: the name 'Dracula' is actually a noun 'devil' or 'dragon' in the vocative case (well, it should have an 'e' on the end rather than the 'a,' but then Americans would say 'DRAY-kool,' and no-one wants that.) So the hero of Stoker's novel would best have his name rendered as 'YOU are the devil!'

Personally I think this wonderful innovation, a characteristic bit of Romanian inventiveness, should be immediately adopted in other languages. For instance I would personally love to be called 'YOU are an assh*le!' Imagine the comedy that would ensue as even the most pedestrian exchange became a barrage of insults.

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