By Stan Silliman
German World Cup Motto Iffy
“A time to make friends.”
That’s the official motto Germany selected for the Soccer World Cup. Nice proposal but wrong country, we’re thinking. “Friendly Germans” is an oxymoron, sort of like “humble Texans” and “punctual Californians.” The rural Germans aren’t on board with this motto.
A giant tent city scheduled in Bavaria was scrapped due to a farmer complaining the noise would bother his cows. In the next village over in Eisendorf, a forester stopped construction on the basis hooligans might damage his pine trees. In Iffezheim, a fenced encampment for 5000 English soccer supporters was shot down.
World Cup soccer is about fans, lots of games and parties. Fans are expected in the 1.5 million range with about 100,000 from England. That’s lots of fans with no place to stay. The village of Mendig is the latest to veto a fan camp.
It seems weird to us. Sixty years ago Germans were trying to capture the British. Now the British arrive, willing to be rounded up and placed in a camp for at least a month and the Germans don’t want them. Has the world gone mad? Germans love to make beer, the English love to drink beer… seems like a match made in Baden-Baden to us.
A time to make friends? All these NIMBY Germans don’t sound very welcoming. No, they don’t. This certainly does not please the German government. The government spent millions on a PR campaign to combat the country’s negative image abroad and to portray Germany as a tolerant and cosmopolitan nation. Here’s the campaign as we heard it: “Come to Deutschland, You vill like our country. Ve haf lots of oompa, oompa. You vill like Oompa, oompa.”
How could a campaign like that not work? Maybe it worked too well. The Germans should have tempered their campaign with more clarity: “Come to Deutschland… unless you are British, or Spanish, or Greek… or from Argentina or Brazil. If you are Svedish, no problem.”
They even added Von Hasselhoff to the welcoming campaign: “Come to Deutschland und David Hasselhoff vill sing to you. You vill like him. Ve vill sell you Bitburger Beer. You vill like it… or Lisa Lustich vill sit on you.”
The farmer in Eisendorf got a certificate from his vet saying fans and noise would adversely affect milk production. The PR committee pleaded with the milk farmer, saying he was not being very cosmopolitan. They tried everything to make him welcome the Brits. They told him the Brits will buy lots of milk. No sale. They told him the Brits would not walk around wearing Speedos. Still no sale. They told him Prince Harry would show up wearing his Nazi outfit. Almost a sale but… no sale. They offered to have a funny person come in and tell him German jokes, saying that well engineered jokes can improve physical health and emotional balance. Still… no sale. They offered to have a British person come in and tell David Beckham jokes to his cows. The farmer considered this for a long time but… still no sale. The PR team finally gave up and left the farmer, but not before passing his location along to a list of British soccer hooligans who have been known to camp out in barns and chew on a cow leg or two.
But they like to make friends.
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