Private Eye sees fit to publish a little snippet from the Australian about an IT company in Leipzig that solved its morale problems by simply ordering the entire staff to be cheerful on pain of dismissal.
Anticipating some cynicism out there in blogland, I searched for independent verification from a reputable news organization, but was instead forced to settle for Fox News. Oh well.
"We made the ban on moaning and grumpiness at work official after one female employee refused to subscribe to the company's philosophy of always smiling," Nuzwerk’s office manager Thomas Kuwatsch told The Australian’s desperately poker-faced correspondent. "She used to moan so much that other employees complained about her complaining. Once it was part of the contract, however, our employees really started to think positively," he added. “What are you laughing at? Is it my accent?”
Unsurprisingly, other employees, interviewed under the unblinking gaze of Herr Kuwatsch, unanimously confirmed their universal happiness with the new arrangements.
Some things are almost beyond satire. The Germans have been grumpy and miserable for many years as their economy tanks and they clock up a full sixty years without occupying Paris. A certain degree of frustration is therefore both natural and even healthy. But then some jumped-up pocket Himmler orders them to be happy, and they all snap to attention with a bellowed “zum befehl!”, and are cheerful forthwith.
This is effectively what happened with post-war denazification. A guy in a uniform (tho’ in this case a British or American uniform) stood on top of the smoking rubble that marked the site of every major German city and said “No more of this Nazi bollocks from now on, all right?” “Righto”, said the assembled Krauts, clicking their collective heels, and that was that.
I can’t help but feel a little conflicted about that sort of slavish deference to authority…
German discipline at work again, yesterday. Unnatural, I call it.