It’s hardly a surprise that English journalist Roger Boyes’ book on the Germans, which I previously posted about here, is at the top of the sales charts. Here’s Boyes’ analysis of the German character:
No other society so regularly seeks the views of foreigners. How are we doing, Dutch or Italian or indeed British correspondents are asked on television. Are we messing up again; are we failing Europe; are we incapable of change? It is difficult to imagine British television producers showing a similar interest in the opinions of the outside world. This vulnerability makes Germany attractive. Interesting, even, for those of us who are paid to live here. You never know from one morning to the next whether politicians (or your doctor or your pub landlord) are going to be crippled with self-doubt or whether they will declare their undying pride in being German.
And Boyes’ ruminations on those supposedly dour, unfunn y Germans:
I think that the British prejudice about Germany’s supposed humour famine stems from the fact that there is no German tradition of daily banter. In London you can hear a dozen wisecracks in a day — at work or on the bus or in the coffee shop. They may be lame, but at least they’re quick. In Germany, humour is stockaded, kept apart from everyday life. In the evenings Harald Schmidt, a genuinely funny talk-show host, will crack their sides. But only after dinner has been eaten, the plates rinsed and the yoghurt pots washed, ready for recycling. In the office next day people will repeat Schmidt’s gags and they will laugh again. However, they will fail to spot the inherent absurdities of their own office life.