It makes perfect sense to me and my Irish genes.
A fascinating article by Theodore Dalrymple, right here. At least, if you’ve got Irish ancestors fighting it out inside your own corpus. Every descendent of the Green Isle seems to have “the Troubles” internalized. If a man could really get in a fistfight with himself, a la Fight Club, it would be an Irishman.
So I have no problem believing the Irish went from drunken-sailor spendthrifts to penny-pinching misers faster than any nation, ever.
Of course, that won’t be enough to save it if the Euro Coalition continues.
So naturally Mr. Dalrymple’s analysis moved on to Germany. Now, Germany fascinated me even before the German Science Babe became a friend. Unfortunately, she’s no good as a sounding board anymore. Not since she became a gun and football nut. (We contaminated our sample.)
Anyway, Germans are a people that exemplify both good and bad traits. They are perfect neighbors when sane. But there are none scarier when the nation goes nuts.
And make no mistake: societies go insane far more often than individuals do. As a percentage, that is. But people outnumber societies by a million to one, so this fact isn’t generally recognized. You read about crazy people every day, but Mugabe Madness strikes only once in a blue moon.
100% of all long-lived societies go bonkers. Germany stands out because it goes formidably crazy. Ireland? It’ll never scare anybody; feed those Blarney-kissers a few pints and soon they’ll be shillelaghing (coined word, did you catch that?!) each other far more enthusiastically than strangers. Problem solved.
But Germany? Different story. My theory is that Germany is the Ground Zero where rationality and mysticism intersect. Millions of people all catch the same passion at the same time then simultaneously execute it with exacting precision.
Meaning…Germans are the flash crowd of humanity.
(Er…where was I going with this? Tonight’s pre-bedtime wine is especially potent. And I’m trying to mellow out from my earlier pissiness.)
Oh, right. Europe’s eminent demise. Mr. Dalrymple has a Euro-denominated bank account:
Like everyone else, I would prefer deutschmarks, a preference that will drive up the price of the currency to the point that German exports, no matter how high their quality, will be too expensive to buy.
Whatever she (Angela Merkel–ed.) decides, love of Germany in Europe will not grow.
Yep. Watch it happen. Germany isn’t blameless–you coddled the layabouts, GSB!–but it doesn’t deserve the coming shrieks of disapproval. Still, I say we takes advantage of the outrage by pulling America’s military presence out of Europe entirely. We’ll save billions and Germany can take the blame. “The continent has simply become too unstable!”
Heh heh. We’re all doomed anyway. Why not agree on a scapegoat from the beginning, rather than picking one at the end?
UPDATE–Right after posting this, I remembered all our…Nipponophiles? Japan fans, of which I am one. Ignorant, true. But a fan nonetheless.
Ireland and Germany are major societal arch-types, but not more than the Land of the Rising Sun. The Irish? Them, I totally get. I am exactly that sort of semi-anarchic madman. The Germans? They’re in my wheelhouse. The GSB strives to provide me with explanations and (I think) is satisfied that I get the idea.
But Japan? Japan?? When xpat and edohiguma start slinging the lingo in the comments, I don’t know how to break in. I don’t know what to ask, I don’t know how to ask what I should be asking.
I hope this doesn’t sound frustrated. It’s not. It’s good having them available. As a geek, I hate admitting ignorance. But, also as a geek, I love absorbing new worlds.
So it’s nice to have one within reach.