Tuesday, March 11, 2008

'We' Germans, Jamaicans, and Iranians

The skipper of the P&O ocean liner Oceana had it with those Germans. I'm sure you have heard (and possibly endured) it all before: se (soft 's', try it yourself to get in the right mood) Germans did it again. The Oceana was trundling thru the Caribbean while the islands in that part of the world were in-between their usual devastating hurricane seasons. And what did se Germans do? Well, according to Christopher Wells, the captain of the ship, they blocked the sun loungers with towels to ensure that passengers from other countries (well, let's just say, other passengers - period) could not take occupation of the 'best' spots on the ship while they're still having breakfast. Christopher Wells, himself married to a German woman, had enough of it and scolded se Germans thru the ocean liner's speaker system. He introduced a new pre-emptive rule, saying in effect that a sun lounger that isn't occupied by a suitably overweight, pink to red body (I'm making these qualifications up...) for 20 minutes could be taken over by another suitably overweight, pink to red body. It goes without saying that people started taking positions next to popular sun loungers with stop watches in order to take them over in case someone left their (sorry, NOT any longer their) lounger unoccupied for more than the permissible time. According to newspaper reports people soon started fighting over the reading of their timepieces and came close to exchanging blows. None of this surprises me, after all, they were all imprisoned on a big ship and probably had nothing much else to do. There's only so much buffet you can do ...

Anyway, what fascinates me about this really is that in an instant the captain had se Germans identified as the offending culprits. Anyone who has ever read British newspapers of the right wing variety (like the Telegraph) or the red masthead variety (like the Mirror or Sun) will have read stories about se Germans occupying beach and pool spots with their towels or other paraphernalia to ensure a good spot in the sun. After all, the fight fundamentally is about a place guaranteeing to maximize the occupiers chances of getting skin cancer, and according to these reports se Germans are kinda good at that.

Well, I was born in Germany... and I never jostled for these sorts of spots. In fact, and this might surprise you, too, I met the other day a Jamaican guy who hasn't killed anyone and isn't a drug dealer. Incredibly as it may sound, there's even the odd Iranian out there who thinks it might be sensible not to stone gay folks to death. I even bumped into a Japanese woman who just can't stand sushi. So, why are we so busily stereotyping people who happen to have been born (by accident, let's face it) in whatever part of the world? It just does not make much sense (just about ever) to talk about 'the' Americans, or 'se' Germans, so why don't we all grow up and move on ('all' here stands for folks who stereotype people seriously in that manner).

I sometimes wonder how sophisticated aliens from another galaxy would look at us busybodies that are working day and night to show how hugely different we all are from one another. Quite conceivably they wouldn't even understand what we are on about... we carbon based life forms.

Oh yes, someone who was offended by Christopher Wells remarks complained to the UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission. Makes me wonder whether someone is fishing for a P&O voucher - well, why not?!


  1. Please say you don't believe in guilt by association, Udo, I just couldn't stand it. (Clara)

  2. hehe, no, i certainly don't believe in guilt by association, clara. i don't think this posting could be read (well, should be read) along those lines.


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