The Western World reaches something of a cultural milestone this weekend when Madonna Louise Ciccone – better known, of course, simply by her first name – reaches the age of 50. This is naturally an appropriate occasion for pundits to produce philosophical reflections upon aging, pop culture, feminism, and what-have-you. Elke Buhr of the Frankfurtehr Rundschau offers one of the better treatments in a piece whose content reflects the cheekiness of its title: Hedonism for all: Why Madonna cannot age in dignity. (more…)
It’s day two of the great George W. Bush re-election wake (since his victory only became definitive on Wednesday the 3rd – day Zero); time to search for some sort of intelligent word about what it all might mean from the German press, perhaps from the highly-respected Die Zeit. There we find, as lead article, what is basically a Teutonic riff on the “two nations” theme out of the election results, in Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff’s article The United Half-Nations. Maybe you’ve already drunk up all the English-language commentary on the 2004 presidential election that you have been able to find, and so are sick of hearing about this thesis and watching it quickly approach the status of a cliché. But if you can still stand it, the German perspective on it here is somewhat intriguing. (more…)
There’s a great article out now in the German commentary newspaper Die Zeit, really right up the ol’ EuroSavant alley: Dumb Americans, Smart Americans (and the second adjective that title uses, schlau, is such that you could also translate it as “Slick Americans”). No, the purpose here of writer Jan-Martin Wiarda is not to mock citizens of the good old USA – German-American relations are not the best they’ve ever been at present, it’s true, but they’re not that bad and besides, a class publication like Die Zeit would never lower itself to anything like that. Rather . . . well, let me just translate for you the article’s lead-in:
They have no idea about geography, are superficial, and are only interested in basketball. What’s up in reality with the prejudices about Americans’ lousy education?
And this is all up the EuroSavant alley, my friends, because it’s overwhelmingly likely that, under normal circumstances, Germans are much better versed in the English language, so as to be able to read things you write about them, than you are likely to be in the German language in order to read things, like this piece, that they write about you. That very point is perfectly consistent with the entire tone of this article. But I’m pleased to step in to help out here.