This is American_in_Germany's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following American_in_Germany's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
American_in_Germany
Recent Activity
@WhatDoIKnow: "AiG, I have absolutely no clue where you got the idea that I believe it's impssible to love America and not like Bush." You said as much when you stated 'The blogosphere (inlcuding DMK) is saturated with eloquent articles and posts on the issue of "don't worry, they don't hate America, they only hate Bush". This is one of the oldest straw men still kicking around' and asked as a follow-up 'So you never heard of the straw man called "we love America, we just don't like Bush" ? Interesting...'. By saying the phrase 'we love America, we just don't like Bush' is a straw man or fallacy or wishful thinking, without further qualification, you are saying that anyone who says that phrase is doing so fallaciously. You only now have gotten around to clarifying what you meant by it, in spite of my repeated requests for you to do so (and are contradicting yourself in the process). All the while tossing about phrases you clearly don't know anything about (such as "straw men"). Not exactly a good way to show off your 1337 communication skills. Thus I stand by my statement that you're likely not much of a debater. You've also accused me of a number of things that are true of yourself far more than they are for me. Such as misreading what I wrote ("you equate it entirely with being physically threatened or attacked for being an American"), putting words in my mouth ("I don't expect much more from one who says the he hasn't noticed much anti-Americanism in Germany at the height of the Iraq crisis") or being generally dishonest (e.g. by pigeonholing me with statements like "there are many like you commenting online", and referring to me as "Angry Left" -- so sorry I don't fit into your box, speaking of "unfounded assumptions"). Do I get aggressive? Damned right, because I stand up for myself. I stand by what I wrote, too. Every word of it. "If I am not wrong you basically believe that Germans in the latter category are rather the exception. My experience with (many, but not all) Germans, German MSM, German commenters on different blogs is that the number of the ones in the latter category is not that low; it's quite high in fact." If you have an axe to grind and go looking for stuff to piss yourself off, guess what, them thar fancypants internets make it easy to do. Meanwhile, if you fail to convince people of your point of view, it doesn't mean they're stupid or anti-American, either -- it also could *just* mean you stunk at presenting your case, and it certainly doesn't mean that your perception of rampant anti-Americanism among Germans or the German media is true. "I believe the discussion got clouded by you emotional temperament" And, I might add, your repeated transparent attempts (such as this one) to portray me as unstable, emotional, isolated or dishonest only go to show you're not terribly good at convincing people with good arguments -- so you resort to yet another fallacy: the ad hominem. "They don't agree with me, therefore they're misinformed/emotionally unstable/anti-American." My judgement is just fine, thankyouverymuch, and I feel the urge to let loose on you for acting like a damnfool idiot, then I very well feel free to do so. "you are maybe, just maybe more civilized in the "real" world with people who don't agree with you." Actually, while I generally am quite easygoing, I do indeed let loose on people as I see fit. Sometimes it's necessary to be harsh with people in order to get them to listen... I note that you never really addressed my original claim at all, which is that the German media is generally negative (as is the American media), rather than specifically anti-American. *shrug* Oh well. Tibor seemed to appreciate the backup, and I'm happy to have given it to him. 'Nuff said.
Well, at least you *tried* this time. Bonus points for that. However: "Your desire to believe that Germans love America but they only hate Bush is wishful thinking (a form of logical fallacy), because it is being contradicted by facts. Which facts? Well, let's start with the facts from DMK's archives." Uh...huh. So all the people I have talked to who have made that statement are lying or deluded (while munching on their hamburgers and talking about their dream vacation in America and wanting to practice their English) because of the unrelated statements of some *other* Germans in DMK's archives. Okaaaaaay, so tell me. Is it therefore impossible to love America while not liking Bush? May I also refer you to what David and Ray wrote? "There are many superb comments on our site and some not so superb. Asking us to take responsibility for comments that don't belong to us is simply out of the question. Keep in mind that some blogs don't even allow comments. If you want to know what we think, look at what we have written. Period." Just as this site's critics can't fault David and Ray for the stupidity of some writers here, so to can you not prove that all Germans who state "I love America but don't like Bush" are wrong to do so because of the comments of a few here. Non sequitur. Bad reasoning. Wishful thinking, in fact. You wish to believe that people who don't like Bush cannot also love America, so you insist that it is true. (Which, tangentially, is also the "no true Scots" fallacy. Look it up.) By that reasoning (or attempt thereof), all those who opposed Clinton or Carter were also anti-American, including current Bush supporters... ...and by extension and insinuation I'm anti-American because I don't support Bush, either. Sorry, you'll have to pry my American passport out of my cold, dead fingers. "You are not angry, right?" Ever heard the phrase "I don't suffer fools gladly"? "Do you consider DailyKos as being a valuable component of the Left in America?" Is that a joke? I find DailyKos to be asinine and tiresome. (Wonkette at least has the benefit of being more fun to read.) It is, however, one of the most active leftist sites in America and probably played a big role in Lieberman's loss in the Connecticut primary. Whether that makes it "valuable" is debatable (the phrase "own goal" comes to mind), but anyway. "Not that it matters, but I am not American." Quite frankly, that's a relief. Still, the point stands that you're not doing my country any favors...
@garydausz: "You do hear those phrases that I have listed before by germans you know but do not take them as attacks toward yourself and don't think they are anti-american because you heard those phrases from americans as well?" Pretty much. I hear them from other nationalities, too. Prejudice is human nature. *shrug* "Did you hear these kind of phrases as often from fellow americans as you hear/heard them from germans?" Ya. No, I haven't counted, but that's my sincere impression. "Do you hear these kind of phrases also being said by germans about e.g. russians, french or any other country?" Come on. You can't be seriously asking. But yes, I do -- maybe not as much about the French in particular, but certainly about the "Inselaffen" English, the Russians, the Turks, the Serbs, Arabs, pretty much any non-German. And then there's the bitching about moaning about fellow Germans, about Hartz IV, about doctors on strike, about Langzeitsarbeitslose, and so on. Like I said, bitching and moaning is the true German national sport. 'You are saying that when you react to these phrases about the US in the way that you mentioned in your last comment these people are listening and then maybe even change their minds and say something like: "Well, now that you say it, it seems I had a wrong impression.."?' Or "you have a point" or "hadn't thought of it that way" or "well, that makes sense" or whatever. Usually something along those lines. 'Could you give me some examples of these, lets say from the last two month?' *groan* Look, I *really* don't want to get into that old USENET thing of a cite war. But one Stern.de blog that comes to mind is this one: http://www.stern.de/blog/index.php?blogId=17 There was also a series on American history in Spiegel last year that I thought was overall pretty good. Yes, it was critical in parts, had some mistakes in others, but by no means was it any worse than anything I've read in leftish magazines in America. In fact, as an experiment, try thinking of Spiegel as not being German at all and read it as if it was an American publication. You'd probably still disagree with the perspective, but it's really not all that different from what you'd find in the LA Times or Newsweek. Then read "Die Welt" or "Die Zeit" or the FAZ the same way. You quickly see that there are strong parallels and the articles could easily have come from Americans -- the bedrock understanding is largely the same, that there should be democracy, that there should be some kind of market economy, that there should be some kind of social net, that intolerance in general is a Bad Thing(TM) (with a healthy dose of hypocrisy in both American and German versions on left *and* right) and so on. Once you do that experiment, I think your perspective on what's *really* anti-American will change. Anti-Americanism is really opposition to basic democratic values and to economic openness and fairness. Osama bin Laden is anti-American. Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro and Hitler and Stalin were or are anti-American. Ahmednejad is anti-American. So is Kim Jong Il. Qaddafi is arguably still anti-American, even if he acts otherwise these days. Meanwhile, American democratic leftists are still "American" themselves, even if you don't feel you agree with them (though if you think about it, even the most con of neo-con agrees on the basics with Michael Moore, not that either would like to admit it -- they have far more in common with each other, or with any given European, than either has with bin Laden). Thus when a European leftist utters statements that could just as well come from an American leftist, especially when they even make common cause with large numbers of Americans (just not the kind you or I may like), I see no point in labeling them "anti-American". I would call them "critical", possibly "misinformed" depending on what they said, but never "anti-American". When someone says "I love America, I just don't like Bush", I take the statement at face value and give them the benefit of the doubt -- probably because I can easily identify with it, even though I'm hardly a wild-eyed leftist (more like a classical liberal or weak libertarian). By the way, before someone (you know who I mean) seizes on the term "classical liberal" to tar me a leftist, please go look up "classical liberal" first: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism
"I repeat: you are Angry Left because of your tone when discussing contradicting opinions." Dear Mr. Discussion: Please, pretty please, with sugar on top, explain how "I love America, I just don't like Bush" is a logical fallacy. Unless and until you do, with specifics, you may very well go fly a kite. Your coy answer that amounted to "I know but won't tell you" doesn't count. The implication that I must be a leftist just because I take a harsh tone with you is, of course, ludicrous. I'm taking a harsh tone with you personally not because you're right or left politically (and frankly I care not either way). I'm using it because you're talking utter bullshit and won't bother to even try and explain yourself. 'The only reason why I still answer you is for pure "research" reasosns.' *shrug* Waste your time all you like with your 'reasosns'. The truly sad thing? You (and by that I mean "you" singular, as in the appropriately-nicknamed "WhatDoIKnow") are doing a great disservice to the rest of us Americans by being such a poster child of ignorant idiots, just as those leftists you like to holler about have been looking for to make *their* case. Do us all a favor and put up or shut up. Preferably the latter, but I'll let myself be surprised.
@garydausz: "Have you ever been confronted with phrases like: Americans are in general stupid. Americans are in general superficial. Americnas are in general greedy. Americans are in generela arrogant. America is a warmongering country. America is full of poor people. Bush is a fascist." Why yes, as a matter of fact, I have -- from Americans! Which is actually the point. Nothing I hear from Germans who *do* criticize America strikes me as being different in tone or content than anything I see being said in the NYT, LA Times, DailyKos or any number of other places on the American left -- or, for that matter, on occasion even from Fox, the WSJ, the Washington Times or The Economist. Nor for that matter do I notice any particular difference in tone from when Germans criticize Germany for things they don't agree with. (Ever think of the reaction to when German politicians want to send troops abroad?) To be considered truly anti-American in my book, you have to consistently and constantly unfairly *single out* America in general for criticism and invariably oppose what it stands for. It is not enough to just say "if you don't like our current President, you're anti-American" or "you don't like some aspects of our culture, you're anti-American". That's why I take issue with this site: It makes it sound like the German media have nothing better to do than scream bloody murder about America and Americans. The reality is that in general, Germans like to scream bloody murder about *everything*. Bitching and moaning is quintessentially German. Get over it. There *are* articles in Spiegel, Stern, and other leftish German magazines, and also in rightish ones such as Focus, the FAZ, Die Welt and so on, pointing out that America isn't all bad and that Germany could stand to learn from us. Those don't get reported here. Funny how that a site that complains about selective reporting engages in...wait for it...selective reporting. Aaaaand when I'm in America, I get to hear equally pinheaded things like asking whether I'm afraid of neo-Nazis, if people in Germany hate me because I speak English in public, whether I can see a doctor at all in that "horrible socialized medicine they have over there", and so on. And, come to think of it, whether I'm confronted by those anti-Americans they hear about so much. Some of my fellow Americans seem to think you don't dare stick your head out of the door and for God's sake get back to America while you still can! In other words, every country has their share of misinformed idiots. That doesn't make them anti-American. It makes them a misinformed idiot. "If yes, what has been your reaction to it?" That people shouldn't overgeneralize, no matter their nationality, and no matter who the target is. That Americans are no more or less superficial than Germans (and the reverse is also true), and I cite examples (such as Verona Feldbusch or, dare I mention it, David Hasselhoff :-) ). That western Germans should visit rural eastern Germany or parts of the Ruhrgebiet and get back to me about being full of poor people. That this warmongering country of ours saved Germany from itself thanks to its 'warmongering'. That calling Bush a fascist is wrong, even if I often disagree with him, because it cheapens and dilutes the term and anyway is unfair to Bush. I may think he's often incompetent, but he's no fascist. And you know what? They listen. Both Americans and Germans. Which is why I wonder about people complaining about others *not* listening should rather look in the mirror to find the problem. The other thing is that I do know two guys who *are* rabidly anti-American. The funny part is that both are Brits. I still manage to get along with them anyway.
"Keep looking. (Hint: diversify your search for definitions)." In other words you don't have a clue, but are pretending to know what you're talking about. Which sums up your reaction to the rest of my post nicely. "'What I take issue with is the implied notion that it is impossible to love America while not also supporting Bush.' I have never implied, claimed or *thought* something like this. If you think I did, please show me where." You imply it by saying the statement "I love America, I just don't like Bush" is a logical fallacy. I asked you to show me how. You refused by coyly pretending that it is indeed a fallacy, while remaining unwilling or unable (likely the latter) to say how. By the way, that tactic of yours is indeed a logical fallacy: It's called "burden of proof". Look it up. "This here isn't any longer a political debate; I am just curious to see what your next random accusations will be." "Random"? The repeated accusation against you (which you're doing a spanking job of proving by being so obtuse) is that you don't have the foggiest what you're talking about. The alternate explanation I provided above for why you have such difficulty convincing these Germans of your case sounds about right: You're a horseshit debater, and a dishonest one at that. Have a life.
"It is rather a logical fallacy, not a straw man." *sigh* No, it isn't. Or if it is, I want to know which one. Here, I'll even provide you with a pretty definitive list: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ Apology withdrawn until you admit that it isn't a fallacy at all. Yes, I'm moving the goalposts a little. Shouldn't have set them where I did. Sue me. "I don't expect much more from one who says the he hasn't noticed much anti-Americanism in Germany at the height of the Iraq crisis." Which isn't what I said. I said that I *personally* did not experience any such thing, nor have I in 13 years of living here, in spite of being well-integrated into this supposedly rampantly anti-American place we live in. Of course, *you* leapt to a bunch of assumptions, such as that I'm from something called the Angry Left. "Do you have a negative fixation with Bush? This is NOT about Bush, I wasn't even *thinking* about Bush when I said that." Amazing. You make the statement 'So you never heard of the straw man called "we love America, we just don't like Bush" ? Interesting...' without thinking of Bush. What I take issue with is the implied notion that it is impossible to love America while not also supporting Bush. Your repeated attempts to portray that statement as a "straw man", then as a "logical fallacy" are insulting and wrong, whatever my personal opinion of the man. The reason I take issue with it? I happen to have German friends who have said that very sentence, or at least in so many words: "I love America, I just don't like Bush". You've slandered them by calling them anti-American just because they don't like Bush. I'm sticking up for them and anyone else tarred by that broad brush of yours -- including a majority of Americans, if polls are remotely to be believed.
"If you had an ounce of honesty, you would appologize for assuming that I believe that Germans by and large hate American." All right, I'll try you out. I hereby apologize for that particular misstatement, but on one condition: That you admit you were wrong to say that "we love America, we just don't like Bush" is a straw man. You have yet to do so. BTW why is it that people assume that those who don't care much for Bush are "Angry Left"? Ever heard of libertarians, paleoconservatives and so on?
@WhatDoIKnow: As a case in point, let's take this statement you made earlier: 'So you never heard of the straw man called "we love America, we just don't like Bush" ? Interesting...' Now, this is just what I'm getting at. 1) I never said I had never heard of people saying "we love America, we just don't like Bush". I not only hear it all the time, in many ways I share the sentiment, which leads me to the second point. 2) It is quite possible to love America, yet not like Bush, just as it was possible to love America and not like Clinton or Reagan or Carter. Otherwise the implication is that anyone not supporting Bush can't possibly love America. I know I'm not a huge fan of his, but given that I happily own and display three American flags, consciously dress in an American fashion, celebrate the Fourth every year (this year with fireworks I hoarded from New Year's), eat American food, organize English-language church services, have never missed an election, read copious amounts about American history, and sometimes shop at Wal-Mart (not to mention having many ancestors going back to the earliest days of colonial history), I think that I am living disproof of that notion. (I will admit I never had the honor of serving in the military, but then again my health wouldn't allow it anyway.) 3) The statement is *not a straw man*. A "straw man" is when someone sets up an obviously false argument, attributes it to someone else, and knocks it down to try and discredit them. You've said that the statement "we love America, we just don't like Bush" is a straw man. You may disagree with the idea (though as noted above you would be wrong to do so), but it is not in and of itself a straw man. Another statement of yours: "you equate it entirely with being physically threatened or attacked for being an American" I never said any such thing. I did specifically and intentionally include the word "accosted", which is not physical in nature, but simply means "to be confronted". So! If you're *really* interested in a serious, friendly discussion, then I suggest you own up to yourself having been dishonest, misleading, and flat-out wrong, as illustrated above. Otherwise, you may go take a flying leap.
"Why is it so hard to have a rational discussion ?" Let's just say being falsely accused of logical fallacies, as you did right from your first response to me, or pigeonholed, as you and gabi did, doesn't do much to put me in a good mood. :-P "First you implied out of the blue that I believe that Germans by and large hate Americans, which you hopefully realized by now is totally ridiculous." If there really is widespread anti-Americanism in Germany, as you apparently believe and have stated (and as my experience flatly contradicts), then saying they by and large hate America is just rephrasing the same idea. However, you then portrayed those Germans in your experience as being merely misinformed, bullheaded even, which clearly does *not* qualify as anti-Americanism, though it does qualify for being a dick. Were that the case, then anyone with a differing opinion from you and unwilling to change their mind is anti-American. Well, color me and my American flag and nacho Bugles and Jefferson portrait anti-American, then. "But worry not, you are not alone, there are many like you commenting online." As there are of your ilk. "This coming from friends who are educated and intelligent individuals, but who somehow bought into the bias of the German media and can not imagine a different reality, no matter what the evidence might be." And that apparently translates into anti-Americanism in your book, which of course it really isn't. The amusing thing is that there is an alternate explanation for your experiences: That you're not much of a debater. "A person, who when confronted with raw and apolitical facts about America, which completely contradict his of her opinions, doesn't even consider questioning those opinions, is not just stubborn, but anti-American." Kind of like someone who, when confronted by a person with evidence to the contrary of his assumption (that there are lots and lots and lots of anti-American Germans running around) resorts to accusations of straw men, dishonesty and bias. "Now, after reading the entire archive of DMK you still believe there is hardly any anti-Americanism in Germany and we are just wasting our breath, just say so." Actually, I did. Quite profusely. "No one, not even tibor, agrees with you, but who cares." That's funny. I never claimed anti-Americanism in Germany didn't exist, though I did point out it's not as widespread as some of you would like to believe -- which is precisely what tibor pointed out (and he actively concurred with my post!). But thanks for trying to make me feel all isolated and lonely, pathetic and (dare I say it) dishonest attempt though it was. "Oh, one more. If you quote someone, don't quote selectively. It's not nice." Neither are false accusations, especially not when compounded by a refusal to admit the error. Very well, to explain, I don't feel the need to fully quote everything you say, as what you actually wrote is still there for other people to read (I assume people here *can* read) and I don't have to rebut everything you say to make my point. Therefore I quote what I respond to and leave the rest. If you don't think that's being nice, well, tough.
Come to think of it, as a case in point. Just now I went shopping at the grocery store around the corner, like I often do, almost every day. I wore my Minnesota Twins ballcap, a Virginia Tech sweatshirt, a pair of Nike running shoes and blue jeans, like I often do (in particular the Twins hat). I was carrying a canvas shopping bag I got from my mom with English writing all over it from an agricultural convention she once attended, with the date and location written on it (I use this bag all the time). While shopping, I got: American pancake mix (with the Stars and Stripes all over it) A 2-liter bottle of Coke A jar of hot dogs (with the Stars and Stripes all over it) A bag of hot dog buns (with the Stars and Stripes all over it) Two bags of nacho cheese Bugles A can of Pringles Kellogg's Special "K" cereal and various other things. Which, come to think of it, is stuff I buy all the time. (What can I say, I love hot dogs, Coke and Bugles.) In other words, the only thing I could do to make it more obvious that I'm an American, aside from singing the Star-Spangled Banner at full volume (which I actually do sometimes as a joke to embarrass friends in public), was if I shopped at Wal-Mart. Which I do sometimes, only that store is much farther away. :-P I took all this to the register, chatted with the cashier (who not only knows I'm American, she asks me about stuff in English sometimes, and she did again this time, wanting to know what "EC-Karte" would be in English), paid my bill with my debit card like I always do (which, by the way, has my very-obviously-not-German name on it), and left. Well, sometimes I have to provide ID, in which case I whip out my American passport. No international incident. Just a brief, pleasant experience (being asked about something in English), and that's all. And this is pretty much what happens. Every. Time. I. Go. Shopping. Every. Day. For the past *thirteen years*. Meanwhile, I'm married to a German, attend a German church, am a member of a German professional association, studied in a German college, have numerous German clients (I work self-employed), am active in a local gardening club and what-all else. Thus it's not like I'm hiding among Americans and never meet Germans (kind of hard to do since I sleep with one). And not once, in *thirteen years*, have I had a negative experience because I was American. By the way, what I said earlier isn't a straw man in the remotest sense of the word. If you're going to accuse people of logical fallacies, you could at least get it right: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/straw-man.html @gabi: 'could it be, that you just used the magic sentence: "I am aginst Bush too?"' No, it could not. (Now THAT is a straw man. Take notes, WhatDoIKnow.) Firstly, my own opinion of Bush is irrelevant. If people in Germany were truly anti-American, then I myself would have been criticized or argued with just because I'm American. That simply hasn't happened. As for what I think of Bush, sometimes I agree with him, sometimes I don't. And I tell people so in both cases if they ask. Nothing has ever come of it. *shrug* @WhatDoIKnow: "I have experienced on a regular basis adamant and totally misinformed verbal attacks on aspects of social, political, cultural etc. life in America. Not only during Bush's presidency!" Ah, so differences of opinion with you are "anti-Americanism". Now, if there ever was a simplistic definition of the term, that fits the bill. I suppose that every American who thinks all Germans wear Lederhosen or are warmongering Pickelhauben-wearing jackbooted neo-Nazis (yes, I've run into that one in America a lot) is "anti-German"? Or just misinformed idiots? Ah. I'm sorry. That time *I* made a straw man. But only for educational purposes. :-P
@WhatDoIKnow: It's not a straw man if it's a fact, one that I experience every day I live in Germany. I have never, not once, in 13 years of living in Germany, been threatened or attacked or accosted because I was American. Since I don't hide that I'm an American at all (like I said, I tend to run around in American clothing, listen to American music, buy American food, go to American restaurants and so on), then either I've been immensely lucky in never meeting these roving bands of American-bashing Germans you seem to think exist, or people so are intimidated by my six-foot 130-pound frame that they dare not attack me, or there really is no widespread anti-Americanism of note. If you really want to believe that Germans by and large hate Americans, you're welcome to do so. You're also welcome to believe the moon is made of cheese and that Santa Claus is bringing you presents this Christmas. Be my guest.
@WhatDoIKnow: There is a difference between being against Bush (or at least not for him) and being against America. Most of the anger I have noticed was directed at Bush, not against America per se. Meanwhile many of the very same people most angry go around listening to American music, wear blue jeans, drink Coca-Cola. eat hamburgers and so on. Yes, if you go around Germany openly proclaiming your love of Dubya, you will probably get an earful (though not "beaten up"). Germans, after all, by and large abhor war much more so than other people, and are vocal about their opinions (which is just fine with me on both counts). If, on the other hand, you go around wearing an American baseball cap, jeans and Nikes, and carry a McDonald's bag, you won't get any special notice. I know, because that's pretty much how I dress. :-P
As for criticism by this blog of the German media, personally I think a lot of it is very overblown, not because the individual cases noted aren't true (though there are cases where the criticism is flatly wrong, such as the Karen Hughes/"Führer" brouhaha some time ago), but because they are taken out of context of what other things Stern, Der Spiegel and so on write. There is a general trend in the German media, as in American media, to be increasingly hypercritical, no matter who is the target. The old notion of not being biased has largely gone out the window. The same is true of the New York Times, LA Times, Fox News, CBS News, Spiegel, Stern, Times of London and so on. It is all part of the commoditization of news -- find a niche of people wanting to see a kind of news (preferably one that is slanted against that group's opponents while pretending to be unbiased) and sell your papers to them to the hilt. Murdoch, Black, Redstone and others use that as their stock in trade. It is all about attracting eyeballs, be it with blatant sensationalism or innuendo or hatchet jobs. Look at the American press these days. Is JonBenet Ramsey really Earth-shatterlingly important? Of course not. But the newspapers and TV networks know it's an easy way to get attention, just as the O.J. Simpson trials were -- while both are utterly irrelevant to the world as a whole and will quickly be forgotten when the next juicy bit comes. The German press, meanwhile, always was rather critical in general, but that has been shifted into overdrive as traditional media fight for attention with the Internet and other new media. Thus *everything* is criticized mercilessly -- domestically it's things like Hartz IV, Agenda 2010, the SPD/CDU government's health care reform plans, or an old favorite, rich arrogant celebrities such as Boris Becker or Dieter Bohlen. America gets its large share of this kind of attention just because it's in the news anyway and makes an easy target, and it's that kind of blood-curdling sensationalism that the Powers That Be think sells newspapers, just like the original muckrakers in America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They're actually wrong, of course, which is why the traditional media are already losing out to the Internet. But it does explain the phenomena a lot better than mere base anti-Americanism...which by the way after 13 years in Germany (including four years of college in German) I really haven't noticed much of it, not even at the height of the Iraq crisis -- and yes, I know a lot of Germans, am married to a German, speak German fluently (well enough to fool Germans into thinking I'm a native speaker), read German newspapers and magazines, yadda yadda yadda.