England prevails.

Tuesday, September 4th, 2001

It was inevitable, really: a bit of the sheen of life in England has rubbed off, revealing something rather dark and nasty underneath. And it was all because of a soccer game.

On Saturday, England played Germany in a World Cup qualifier in Munich. There was a lot of hype running up to the game, 1) because of the fear of hooligans, 2) because England hadn’t beaten Germany on German soil since, I don’t know, the Sixties or something, and 3) because every time England plays Germany, it’s a huge issue - for England, anyway. Soccer against Germany is not just a game for the English, it is another battle in the imaginary World War Two that is still going on the minds of some of the people here. It’s a matter of national pride, a case of democratic, independent Britain against the shadowy, faceless forces of European bureaucracy. It’s a chance to put old Jerry in his place. Again.

I didn’t get to watch the game because I had a pottery exhibition to go to (ooh la la), but in the car on the way to the exhibition we did turn the radio on to listen to how the game was going. Germany scored a goal about 8 minutes in, which lead to great rejoicing on my part. Seeing as I now live in England, I have to be a staunch Germany supporter. I’m perverse like that.

About 4 minutes later, England wound up scoring a goal in return. The commentator on the radio screamed so loud and so long that I thought he would burst a blood vessel. He was flipping out on the air, which we all found a bit over the top but somewhat funny nevertheless. We were laughing and enjoying the moment and remarking on what an exciting game it was going to be if two goals had already been scored just 12 minutes in.

The commentator rattled on at high speed about what had just happened. In the course of all the description he made a comment about someone being so many yards away from someone else, at which point he caught himself and said, “I just said yards, I guess I’m supposed to say meters, but I don’t know what it is in meters right now and anyway, frankly, I say hang meters and hang the euro!”

Our mouths dropped open, and there was a split second of silence before we all burst out with a “What?!" I could not believe what I had just heard. In the middle of a soccer game, a stupid sports match played between two teams of athletes, this guy comes out with a vicious and completely irrelevant political remark. It was so inappropriate that it completely ruined the moment and put us off the game entirely. I didn’t care anymore who was going to win. I was happy to just turn off the radio and forget about it all.

Okay, so England has this thing about having to use metric measurements like the rest of Europe (“We’ve been forced to give up a vital part of our heritage! We won’t be ruled by Brussels!”). England definitely has a thing about the euro, which is going to go into general circulation in just a few months in most of the rest of the EU (“Save our pound! Save our right to self-determination! We won’t be ruled by Brussels!”).

The arguments about these things range from the reasonable and understandable to the ridiculous and xenophobic. There is a time and place for these arguments, and as far as I’m concerned, the game against Germany was neither the time nor the place. Since when is it the job of a sports commentator to use his on-air time during a game as a platform for his political views? Even if his view hadn’t been so reactionary, it still would have been completely inappropriate. The fact that it was totally reactionary just made the whole thing even nastier.

The story continues, of course. England managed to beat Germany 5-1, so the English tabloid press was given free reign to break out all the war references and plaster crap like “Germany blitzed!!” all over their front pages. The German soccer players can be somewhat sore losers, and the German press doesn’t seem to have a lot of sympathy for its defeated teams. But that’s nothing compared to the nationalistic ugliness of a victorious England. The English may be good-humored and stiff-upper-lipped when they are the underdogs, but it seems that as soon as they come out on top (when Germany is involved), they take sick pleasure in rubbing everyone’s faces in it.

I have, in fact, written about this same thing before. This is just the first time I’ve gotten to experience the English side of things first-hand, and I really don’t like what I see. It’s such a strange situation here: a very multi-cultural society that can still be completely xenophobic; a European country that seems to prefer kowtowing to America than unifying with its European counterparts; a country that wants to move forwards and backwards at the same time.

I’m sure I’m a bit oversensitive to this thing about Germany because I lived there for so long. Despite all my griping about the place, I do consider Germany a home of sorts, and I while I may be quick to criticize the country, I am also quick to leap to its defense. The Germans may have some hang-ups about the Second World War (and justifiable ones at that), but “losing to England” certainly isn’t one of them. In light of this, England’s insistence on carrying out this ongoing attack against Germany just seems silly and embarrassing - but also threatening, in a way, because of the blind nationalism that it breeds.

No place is perfect. And I know I have a tendency to focus on the negative aspects and gripe about the things I don’t like, rather than praising the things I do. On the other hand, I’ve been singing England’s praises for a year now, and maybe it’s time I put away the rose-colored glasses and started taking a more critical view of this society I live in. I can’t help but be critical at the moment. This one event, this one stupid exclamation by a sports commentator (of all people) cast a momentary shadow over England for me. This spontaneous comment, together with the flag-waving and Germany-bashing that went on in the wake of the game, seems to have revealed some of England’s true colors. And they’re not very pretty colors at all.

Comments

1

Hi Jessica, I was in the "Geier" watching this game on the TV. (The "Geier" is a left wing pub in Freiburg, full of people over fourty). Ger 1 - Eng 0. OK, I knew that I had taked a small risk being the only "Englander" in a German pub. Ger 1 - Eng 1. "Wow…!!!!!!!!." Some people smilled at my antics. Ger 1 - Eng 2. I went nuts…..People started looking strangly Ger 1 - Eng 3. I went beserk…The cook in the pub roared at me "Das reichts jetzt…" ( That’s enough of that.) Ger 1 - Eng 4. I was enjoying myself…..Lots of the non football types were having fun watching me annoying the Krauts, sorry Germans. Ger 1 - Eng 5. Have you ever seen a room full of DEPRESSED german football fans………..I have…It’s a funny sight.

As I said, I knew that I had taked a small risk being the only "Englander" in a German pub. If England lost then I would have to "mange beaucoup merde" and I would say "Well Done". After the game how many of these football fans said "Well done." ……..none. I have never seen such a shower of unsportlich bad losers in my life.

I couldn’t resist it. "Hey, the 1 September is a bad day for Germany to play England." "Why ?" They asked. "The second world war stated on the 1 September. You lost that as well" Nasty……but you know me Jessica.

Posted by Eddie Punch

2

I found your site by accident and was amused by your opinions regarding our attitude to the inhabitants of the continent.Please think about this,almost every person in Britain has at some time in living memory lost at least one member of our family fighting these people.If not fighting with them then in defence of them and their country.It rather colours ones attitude.My father,for example,cannot stand Germans as the only contact he has had with them was when they were trying to kill him on the north atlantic. Yes it may seem xenophobic to an outsider,but how would a mullah be welcomed in New York? alan ward

Posted by al ward

3

The above football story of the German living in England personifies the German mentality. Yes, the British are a proud nation, and we have right to be. We police the world and are not afraid of ridding the world of other countries evil dictators. I have lived in Germany for over 20 years and have never received one single word of gratitude for what we and our allies did for the German race. At least the German in the above article is now living in a country where the people are kind, tolerant, humerous, good hearted, patient, happy, and rational. The Germans unfortunately do not know the meaning of these words. In general the Germans are not a particularly nice race, they are intolerant, grave, calculating, impatient, miserable, and irrational. I have witnessed their rude, arrogant and aggressive behaviour too many times. When I first came here I was not prejudice, but then I began to see for myself, that, unfortunately some things never change. Wake up Germany, no one likes you as you are, and furthermore you will never go forward with this guilt complex that you are obsessed with. Change, and the world may start to like you, but I know that all the above is in your blood. I don’t think you’ll ever change. You are a sorry race. God help you.

Posted by Timothy Palmer

4

Dude, first of all, I’m an American, not a German, and secondly, the word you’re looking for is "prejudiced" - and yes, you are.

5

Firstly, if you don’t want to be mistaken for a Kraut, then please reveal your identity in the first place. Secondly, I’m British, not a dude! Thirdly, you might learn something if you concentrated more on the subject matter and not on a missing d! This is the problem with the Germanic races, they take things too literally. As Samuel Coleridge Taylor once said whilst travelling through Germany in the 19th century; "The Germans suffer from nimiety," from a latin for too muchness. Anyway, Jessica, why are you getting so wound up over a soccer match, that you probably know nothing about, and furthermore, why don’t you occupy your mind with more important things in life. You really are a sorry case! Lastly, Bullenterror muß nicht sein, Kasteration auf Krankenschein. Yea, well maybe the Krauts do have a sense of humour after all, albeit, confined to the hallowed confines of a shit house!

Posted by Timothy Palmer

6

Oh, Jesica, I left out word after latin! Save your lectures over this one! God bless.

Posted by Timothy Palmer

7

I’m not going to get into some big back and forth about this, but I will say this much:

Firstly, my identity is clearly revealed in the “About” section which is linked to prominently at the top of every single page on my site. It’s really not that difficult to inform yourself.

And secondly, this may come as a surprise to you, so brace yourself: the English—of which you are so clearly very proud—are a “Germanic race”. Gasp! Ever heard of the Anglo-Saxons? Yeah, that “Saxon” bit is a dead giveaway. So instead of making sweeping statements about the supposed features of “other” races and traits that are “in the blood” (which is really dodgy territory and pretty rich coming from someone so self-righteous about bashing the “Krauts”), why don’t you go have a nice cup of tea and a sit down and occupy your mind with something other than leaving uninformed, bigoted, insulting comments on other people’s websites?

8

The British are very proud of being Anglo Saxon, but this has nothing to do with my above comments, You have sadly missed the point, and I can only deduce that you will probably never will. By the way, I really do find what you write about me to be bigoted as well. All I am doing is stating what is correct and factual. If you really want to continue getting annoyed by what you read, then can I suggest another web site.

Posted by Timothy Palmer

9

You have sadly missed the point, and I can only deduce that you will probably always will. Sorry Jesica, I typed in the wrong word!

Posted by Timothy Palmer

10

Hi Jessica! Ive found a great web site for you. go onto Google and type in, those annoying germans. Then, find the heading which says, annoying german words and phrases. Finally, read what don-riina says! Have fun!

Posted by Timothy Palmer

11

I’m going to ask you nicely, once, to please stop commenting here. You’ve said your piece, now move along.

Sorry. Comments are closed.