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« Moral Equivalence Award | Main | Tell Them Sweden, And We Might Take Out North Korea »

How Eurocrats Think

One suspects that Der Spiegel was trying to insult us with this cover. They must be particularly concerned about "der Schwartzes" Rice and Powell. (For the German-language challenged, here's a rough translation: It's from the magazine Der Spiegel (The Mirror). The headline is "The Warriors of Bush" or "Bush's Warriors." The subhead is "America's Campaign Against Evil" or, to keep the articles straight, "America's Campaign Against the Evil Ones.")

But it misfired. One would infer from all their whining that they think that it's a bad thing, but I think it's kind of cool, and I'll bet a lot of Americans, if they saw it, would say "Damn straight!" I particularly like amazon Condi Rice.

It is a literally graphic example of the difference between American and German (elite) thought processes.

Posted by Rand Simberg at February 19, 2002 05:59 PM
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OK, let's see: we've got...

Powell: Batman
Rumsfeld: Conan
Bush: Rambo (with Pretzel of Death necklace)
Cheney: The Terminator
Rice: Xena, Warrior princess

Works for me. Kickass!

Posted by Geoff Shotts at February 19, 2002 08:40 PM

And where are the German badasses in all this? On vacation I think. Have your fun guys because while you sit around and figure out your cheeses we Americans are making the world safe for us all and making you very irrelvant.

Posted by David Dustin at February 19, 2002 09:01 PM

Hey, to quote my kids, it's so cool. Of course the clueless Germans have no idea that they just paid the Bush's team the highest compliment.


Posted by Tom Donelson at February 19, 2002 09:32 PM

Clearly, they tried to insult you americans. A similar pic in Brazil would mean the same to our french inspired cultural elites - did you know?our President, Fernando Henrique, actually yelled "Vive le France!" in a speech to the French Congress.

Unfortunately, Americans are beeing seen here in Brazil as fighting their own "vendetta", and the war on terror is nothing more than testing american's new toys on poor people.

It wouldn't surprise me to find a similar page one of these days here in Brazil. Wie Schade!

Well, I think Americans has more to worry than making press releases explaining what is sometimes hard to, to someone who doesn't give a damn. I my self can only thank Americans for making my life style possible

Posted by Sandro Reis at February 19, 2002 09:36 PM

I think we can handle having our prejudice confirmed. That many 'americans' would find this cool is no surprise to us, but sadly reflects the cultural level in the USA.

Posted by Magnus Bernhardsen at February 20, 2002 01:32 AM

So the Germans want to insult the Americans? These Germans must be very stupid people, since about only 0,1% of "Der Spiegel"'s readership is american. A lot of Americans will be deeply hurt indeed.

How come that Americans think that whaterver is beeing printed, done and said in this world is directed at them? Egocentrism? A sense of selfimportance that has run amok?

Posted by Christophe Kotowski at February 20, 2002 02:12 AM

Gee, lets see, Our entire core of our administration on the cover of a magazine dressed up in goofy psuedo-superhero costumes, and to think that it is about/direceted at the US is egocentrism?

I seriously hope that your statement isn't a product of foreign public education. Maybe the US public schools aren't so bad after all....

As for "cultural" level, yes, us taking a supposed insult and turning it into a compliment says alot more for our culture and sophistication then it does for Germans.

Posted by Nick M. at February 20, 2002 04:34 AM

I believe that to show the true cultural inferiority of Americans, Der Spiegel's next issue ought to have a constrasting picture of how things are done on their side of the pond.

I would suggest a picture of Straw, Vedrine, etc. sitting in leather-upholstered armchairs, sipping sherry and smiling politely at each other, whilst blood pools around the emaciated corpses of Third Worlders and Gastarbeiter on the floor around them.

Perhaps they could drive home the cultural divide by having Noam Chomsky standing in the background with a look of solemn benevolence on his face and a severed Cambodian head in his fist.

Posted by John "Akatsukami" Braue at February 20, 2002 05:30 AM

Remember: Yankee Doodle was intended as an insult. We Americans turned it into an anthem.

Posted by Robert Crawford at February 20, 2002 06:25 AM

I'm going to do just like the guys singing Yankee Doodle, and go buy a copy of Der Spiegel today just for a better copy of that great graphic.

Posted by Erik Wingren at February 20, 2002 06:45 AM

The statement, "That many 'americans' would find this cool ... sadly reflects the cultural level in the USA" is truly bigoted.

What of cultural diversity? What of tolerance? And if you can't muster either of those, you could at least exercise your "european" sophistication and craft a better insult than that.

Posted by Merrijane Rice at February 20, 2002 06:55 AM

Guten Tag meine Herren,

I'm a cuturally superior sophisticated professional whiner from Europe typing from my leather-upholstered armchair. I'd like to point to Der Spiegel's english summary of the article: "The Texan and His Rogues",1518,182744,00.html

And to Bill: belated thanks to America for the Marshall Plan and die Luftbrücke. I still can't believe I forgot to mention that in my post.


Posted by Christophe Kotowski at February 20, 2002 07:08 AM

I think that Bernhardsen's comment is misplaced due to an unfortunate phrasing by Simberg.

No, Der Spiegel did not intend its cover as a "to your face" insult to Americans. Nevertheless, that cover is intended as a negative statement, an insult if you will, about Americans. (After all, Americans are happy that the Bush team is in power.)

FWIW, portraying Bush as Rambo was an deliciously unintended nice touch that reflects badly on Der Spiegel. Why do I say that? Because, unlike the vast majority of folks who use "Rambo" as an insult, I've actually seen the movie.

Rambo (the movie's actual name is "First Blood", the lead character's last name is Rambo and "Rambo" word is used in many of the sequel titles) is a movie about a guy who just wants to visit some friends and then move on. The evil local sheriff decides to abuse him and Rambo fights back.

Tagging Bush with a "I was minding my own business but you screwed with the wrong guy" label is actually something of a compliment as far as Americans are concerned. (But, what do we know? We think that evil should be called by name and that living with it is no virtue.) In later movies, the "unwilling to fight until attacked" theme becomes "fighting for innocents who have no other protectors".

Simple? Yes, but feel free to argue that it's wrong. For bonus points, show how that argument doesn't apply when Europe wants the US' help.

BTW - When arguing "it doesn't work", it's poor form to suggest an alternative that doesn't work ....

Posted by Andy Freeman at February 20, 2002 09:30 AM

Let's see... Batman, Xena, Rambo, Conan, the Terminator... all of these people are on the side of GOOD (in the 2nd movie for the last person). Is there a problem here? If they wanted to insult anyone, they would have painted them as villains. That's why it's "cool."

Posted by Croooow at February 20, 2002 12:29 PM

And this post is from the Germans? The people who gave the world the Nazis? Der Spiegel means The Mirror, doesn't it?

Posted by Eric at February 20, 2002 01:18 PM

I for one would love a poster sized copy of that cover for my wall, but without the Der Speigel. It just gets in the way of a really classic poster. I'd put it right up there with some of the best of the WWII enlistment posters.

Posted by Dale Amon at February 20, 2002 04:13 PM

I'm an American who works in Hamburg, where Spiegel is published, and I drive by their office every day. They indeed have a billboard featuring this weeks cover. It cover isn't all that big, though... I wasn't able to notice the 'pretzel of death' from my moving car.

I don't think they were trying to insult anyone. The 'Rambo' image is used here a lot to characterize the US (they are thinking of the 2nd movie, not the 1st). I guess they think that if Bush is going to fight evil, he should at least dress the part.

Posted by Scott Hanson at February 20, 2002 09:17 PM

I definately want that as a poster! BTW, I'm so glad no one has mentioned the fact that the Bush admin is so diverse! (2) people of color in the poster and if you didn't notice Condi is a woman

Posted by Bill Hedrick at February 21, 2002 08:05 AM

It's quite a stretch to argue that the Der Spiegel Rambo reference is to a specific movie in the series.

Nevertheless, the reason why I also mentioned the later Rambo movies is that their plots don't make the point that Der Spiegel intended either. (Unless, of course, they want to argue that Bush is all for saving innocents in spectacular fashion, while dealing with corruption among the elite.)

Like I said, it's pretty clear that most people who use the Rambo reference as a put-down don't know what the movies were about. I suspect that the most informed got their plot summary by looking at the picture on the video box and the rest learned from them.

This reminds me of the folks bleating about "Frankenfoods", seemingly unaware that they're playing the part of the real villian in Frankenstein the book, the ignorant, violent, villagers.... (Of course, they do have the excuse that the creation was a monster in some of the movies, but in others he was a buffoon, and in one he even did song and dance.)

It's ironic that symbol-pushers are the most likely to completely miss the meaning of the symbols they push.

Posted by Andy Freeman at February 21, 2002 02:18 PM

Thanks to Christophe Kotowski for a pointer
to Der Spiegel's solemnly serious exegesis
of the caricature. German sense of humor is...
funny. A quote:

"In their defenceless impotence, so the strategists believe, the "underdogs" are only left with an "asymmetric response", resorting to unconventional means and weapons. And as Osama bin Laden chillingly demonstrated on September 11, even the greatest military dominance can offer little effective protection from these. That is why Bush is now making every effort to deprive so-called rogue states of such means, before they can be used against America. Yet even Bush's allies doubt that the accused regimes are as dangerous as he claims."

Posted by J. Wasilewsky at February 21, 2002 10:28 PM

On the other hand, in Die Welt (Feb 23)
I found the following flattering headline:

_Die Amerikaner sind nicht so dumm, wie Ihr glaubt_

This means:
_Americans are not as stupid as you think_

I wonder what they think I think...

Posted by J. Wasilewsky at February 22, 2002 11:42 PM

If you are offended by thought and america and anger towards injustice then don't read.

Honestly, Derrrrr...... Speigel lost it's credibility long ago.

This is the same group of RETARDS *not to offend normal retarded people by putting der speigel in the same group, you guys are smarter* that paid $25 grand for the original MIT coffee pot from 1996 that would have webcam images of it posted to the dormlife homepage so students could be lazy, rather than getting off their a***s and walking down the hall 40 or 50 feet to see if it was full. *whew* The damned thing was bought broken by the staff of Derrrrrrr *makes hand-waving from chest gesture* speigel.

The dot.bomb pretty much ruined it's collectors value for what it was worth($20 is my guess), and any working coffee pot costs $15 at a wally world new.

Then who could forget the amazing comparison of Adolph Hitler to George Washington and other great historical figures (forgot the date, it's sitting in the racks though) and they tried to paint him in a good light. I kid you not.

I am really sick and tired of seeing the USA save the rest of the world from german bass ackwardness. We stopped the hessians during the revolution, angain with kaiser wilhelms' pointy-head brigades and again with adolphs' march of dimes across Europe. Obviously it left the french messed up as well, but that's another subject for another time...

John Wayne's not dead, he's frozen! And you know what's gonna happen next? THAT'S RIGHT! We're gonna find a cure for cancer and when we do we're gonna thaw him out, and you know what?!?! The duke's gonna be pissed. He's gonna look around and see all these germans and he's gonna get his buddies together, then get a six-pack pick up young Marlin Brando, drive by Bruce Willis' place, snag Chuck Heston and Sam Peckinpah then we're Allllll gonna drive down to texas and formulate a plot and mabey we'll pick up Hannibal Smith and B.A. and get a plane filled with copies of der speigel with naked photos of tony blair and heinrich schroder being butt-buddies then we'll do a raid over Berlin and buzz Der Fuhrers' palace, and take S***s over the side at 200 miles per hour, WAVIN' AN AMERICAN FLAG RIGHT ON HIS FRONT LAWN! THEN WE'LL MARCH OVER TO DER SPEIGEL HEADQUARTERS KICKIN NEO NAZIS IN THE BALLS IF THEY GET IN OUR WAY, YEAH GERMAN WOMEN HAVE BALLS TOO, THEY'RE HERMAPHORDITES, SO WE'LL KICK THEM IN THE BALLS!!! THEN WE'LL BLAST LEE GREENWOOD'S PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN OVER THIS MILLION WATT SPEAKER SYSTEM, SUCKING THEIR POWER GRID DRY BLACKING OUT THE WHOLE GERMAN COUNTRYSIDE!!! YOU KNOW WHY?!?! CAUSE WE'VE GOT THE BOMBS! OK! WHEN WORLD WAR THREE COMES TO FULL BLOOM AND GERMANY IS SITTING THERE SAYING WE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT THIS TIME WE'LL SAY SUUUUUUUURE WE BELEIVE YOU THEN WE NAIL THEM!!!!!!!

For those that understand my point of view, congradulations. You have no fear or shame and are great americans, for the rest SHUT UP!



Posted by VeryMadMan at February 28, 2002 07:07 PM

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