Co-blogger Beakerkin has asked me a couple of questions about my country. I intended to reply in a comment to his post, but my reply exceeded the limit set by Blogger for comments. So here you are, Beak!
1) Is there a regional accents that are noticeable to a native German speaker. Would a person from Berlin sound different from someone in Munich?
Oh my God, yes. And not JUST the accent. It's an entirely different culture. People don't even LOOK the same and don't have the same temperament. They have a different history and different traditions in every respect, too.
2) Americans are familiar with the larger parties in Germany? Are there smaller local parties as well?
Yes there are, although they are pretty small. Some are traditionally established, like the party of the Danish minority in Schleswig-Holstein, some are new, like the "Pro"-movement, established as an answer to Muslim immigration and the Islamisation of Europe. If you look at Roncesvalles' right sidebar, you'll see the header "The Pro-Köln-Dustup". Maybe it's interesting.
3) What American TV shows are available in Germany?
Beak, I stopped watching television about 15 years ago and I don't have a marked interest in popular culture. I guess a lot are. I grew up with Bonanza, Bezaubernde Jeannie (the lovely genie in a bottle), Hiram Holliday, Tammy or Mr. Ed. (I don't even know the original titles.) I liked the Walton's and simply adored ALF, that hairy alien. That was shortly before I gave up watching television for good. Quite a few American TV series got improved by the excellent German dubbing. ALF is one of them.
4) Are uncommon books like the Great Divide by Schmidt and the works of Thomas Sowell available in German?
Wie das Christentum die Welt veränderte: von Alvin J. Schmidt is available (sez Amazon). I guess that is Under The Influence. And Wissen und Vernunft. Die Logik gesellschaftlicher Prozesse von Thomas Sowell used to be available, but is out of print.
5) Who are the Greens?
Nazis painted red, then painted green as a top layer.
6) Is there any talk of Immigration reform in Germany?
A basic reform would be unthinkable. Even the naturalization test they have partly introduced is meeting a lot of resistance. Muslims "import" more than one wife and the state pays for all of them, Muslims are importing brides from home who don't know a word of German and can't read and write in their own language either. A young man on the dole or on social welfare in Germany is considered a mighty catch for a Turkish girl, so they marry, come over, never learn a word of German, have children and they all become part of a parallel society hostile to Germans and Germany. We are shovelling our own grave.
7) Is there a home schooling movement in Germany?
No, and thank God for that. I can see its merits and advantages for Americans, but it wouldn't work in Germany. I've ranted about it here.
8) Are there Real Estate Taxes in Germany?
Yes. Everything is taxed in Germany. Next they'll tax our eyesight.
9) If you went to the local gourmet shop could one find oddities such as Vermont Maple Syrup and Louisiana Crayfish at the market?
There is Canadian maple syrup at any decent supermarket, but not something like Louisiana Crayfish.
10) What is Ramstein about? Is this a crass fad equivalent to Punk Rock in the states?
As I said, I am not "into" pop culture, so I'll skip this question.
11) How is India portrayed in the German press?
As I know next to nothing about India myself I can only say that I guess it's portrayed largely in a matter of fact way. At least I have never sensed anything else. (I may be wrong.) Or do you mean (American) "Indians"? That would be an entirely different matter.
12) Has Obama won over some of America's critics in Germany?
Oh my God, they ADORE him. Everybody who is anti-American is adored in Germany. He is even more popular than Michael Moore.
13) What are your thoughts about women who wear Burkha's is it a public safety issue. Should the government have the right or duty to identify citizens?
But of course. If they want to wear a Burqa they can always do it in their own countries. To allow Burqas in a Western country (or the headscarf, for that) is the height of dhimmitude.
14) Are there speed limits on German roadways other than autobahns?
There is no (general) speed limit on the Autobahn, there is a general speed limit of 100 km/h on all other roads outside built-up areas and a general speed limit of 50 km/h within those areas.
15) Do immigrants have any obligations to their host country?
What about: The obligation not to give it a bad name? If they want any other obligations, they ought to stay there.
16) How is World War One treated in the history books in Germany?
Pretty matter-of-fact, I'd say. With WWII and the Holocaust under their belt and all particitrongts dead by now, that war is as remote from German public consciousness as the 30-year-war. At least that is how I perceive it.
17) Does the failure of responsible mainstream parties to address topics like immigration reform give fringe malicious parties opportunities to stoke populist support.
No. The "danger from the right" is one big sham and a smokescreen to distract from the danger from the left. Most Germans just love to be dominated by Islam because they love to be dominated. Full stop. In fact, it seems as if they can't even wait until Islam has taken over entirely.
18) Is crime rising in Germany?
Not really, although I only believe in those statistics I've faked myself. ;-)
19) If an American were to come to Germany for one week what sites would you recommend?
Oh my God, Beak, that is SO difficult! This little country is so diverse and so interesting, but the diversity makes it difficult to pinpoint THE most interesting sites. Münster in Westphalia with its great Christian heritage and lovely rural backwaters for history and culture, Hamburg with its harbour for industry, technology and the working people, Munich with its beergardens for gastronomy and fun. Oh yes, and for some culture as well. The surroundings are not bad there either. That should be more than enough for one week. Believe it or not, I've never been to Berlin myself. I am such a country bumpkin.
20) Is there media diversity in Germany? Americans have Fox News as an alternative to the mainstream press? Is there a German equivalent to Fox News?
No. The entire media is the same liberal-leftist quagmire.
21) What American films stand out as classics in your tastes. Name your five all time favorites?
* The Cavalry Trilogy with John Wayne
* El Dorado
* The Fabulous Baker Boys (for some diversity).
22) Other than McDonald's or Fast food are there restaurants in Germany that mimic American cooking styles such as Cajun, New York Deli or California Fusion?
If there are any, it has escaped my attention. Is "Pizza Hut" American? There are a couple of those. By the way, I love MacDonald's.
23) Are American Cartoons such as Sponge Bob and Bugs Bunny shown on German TV?
Bugs Bunny used to be very popular, as were (and I guess still are) the Disney cartoons. As for the more recent development: See my answers regarding pop culture. I sadly don't know Sponge Bob.
24) What are your thoughts on Children's films over the years does Shrek or Monsters Inc compare with Bambi or Pinnochio from an earlier era?
Again, I haven't watched Shrek or Monsters Inc. I loved Bambi and Pinocchio as a child. What I see is a marked decline in taste, what I sense, too, is some ideological egalitarianism between man and beast with all those "cute" little animals in the latest children's books, an egalitarianism that has nothing to do with the care and attention we owe our animals. Bambi didn't have those brainwashing overtones, at least I didn't sense them.
25) Should love be left for theologians, poets or musicians to describe?
Interesting question! There is so much banalizing talk about "love" by everybody and his (mostly her) pet ferret that we seem to have forgotten what it is altogether. Maybe we ought to stop for a while talking about it at all.
26) Is Vanilla Ice just as dreadful in Germany as it is in the States. I am amazed when I meet Polish immigrants who can't speak a word of English but proclaim "Vanilla Ice stinks". These are people who were maybe five when he performed. Is his legacy as the worst American cultural export safe?
I think vanilla icecream is awful anywhere. I never eat it. I guess the real ingredient is too expensive to make large quantities with it. I like American STYLE icecream. The worst industrial icecream I have ever tasted was Häagen-Dazs, I have forgotten what flavour it was, though, but I even remember that it was in London.
Thanks for the interesting and thought-provoking questions. I am sorry that I am such a failure when it comes to popular culture.