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Showing posts from May, 2007

Is War Good For You?

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Here's a strange-but-true comment on the human condition.

In an article about researching moral behavior in chimps (did you know a chimp will drown trying to save another chimp from drowning?), the primatologist Frans de Waal is quoted as noting that morality may have its evolutionary roots in the tribe closing together to fend off another tribe. I.e., we only realized we needed each other – and needed to watch over one another – when we began noticing that members of other groups were picking us off.

De Waalis is quoted as writing, "The profound irony is that our noblest achievement — morality — has evolutionary ties to our basest behavior — warfare. The sense of community required by the former was provided by the latter."
So the question is: Is warfare necessary to our character? Are warmongers, by throwing us into hellish destruction at regular interval, doing us all a favor in evolutionary terms?
What happens if mankind really does, some day, succeed in ending warfar…

Is Reality Stranger Than Fiction?

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Now that the German version of American Idol (Deutschland sucht den Superstar) is over, I have to say, I'm more impressed than I ever thought I would be. It proves that reality TV can be great art. Even better: i proves that reality can be great art, and here are my two reasons: Dieter Bohlen and Dog.

In Germany we don't get many American reality shows, so I can’t judge whether Brigitte Nielsen or others are as good as "Dog", the cool white trash bounty hunter who runs around Hawaii with a holster by his side full of pepper spray. But he's good.

Germany has a similarly brilliant reality-TV star. His name is Dieter Bohlen. He is a former pop star, a multi-millionaire record producer and such a superficial, egomanical, stupid and conceited and nasty-minded creep that all of Germany hates him. And as a character, he could not have been written better by Shakespeare himself. Bohlen rules the jury of "Deutschland sucht das Superstar" (the German edition of &…

Ah, the Silence, the Silence!

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If there is one constant in the German character, it is the complete lack of constancy. Or, to be more exact: Once the Germans have taken up a position, opinion or project, you can count on them, after only a short time, to rush frantically from it to the exact opposite and, after another short period, back again, and to always swear total conviction and confidence in the absolute truth, reality and necessity of each opposite side of anything for the time they spend there.

Goethe said "Two souls live in my breast". One could also say: In like a lion, out like a lamb." (Didn't Thomas Mann say something to that effect after Germany started portraying itself as a victim following WWII?) It's always either top of the world or bottom of it with these guys.

Only about a year ago, leading German politicians were out trying to get votes based on complaining about international investors (often the notorious hedge funds) coming into little helpless Germany, buying up the…