A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Kind Gentle Deutschland

Once again my life is being thrown off kilter because some of my own cherished beliefs are challenged by recent world events. In this case, the land of my ancestry, Germany, is showing signs of softening up. So far it is only an isolated incident and not a trend, but we must be ever vigilant to watch for more stories like this.

Basically, the story is a polar bear abandoned its cub, which has now been adopted by zookeepers at a German zoo. The keepers hand feed the bear, play with it, and entertain the cub by playing guitar music for it. I have seen news footage of the cub and I would describe him as “cute” and “adorable”.

Here is the problem: this nurturing of a wild creature less fortunate then ourselves is not stereotypical German behavior. This is not the Germany I’ve come to know and grown accustomed to in my lifetime. I know Germany as a dark, foreboding place with lots of beer and designs for world conquest. Granted, those damn Nazis probably contributed to my perception of the Fatherland, but it is a feeling with which I’m comfortable.

Don’t get me wrong about the cub; I’m happy that it has found a nice home with the zookeepers. I just hope the keepers know what they are getting into. Will they be able to take him home with them once he’s grown? I doubt it. It may get to the point where they will have to keep him at the zoo when they leave at the end of the day. This could lead to all sorts of mental issues for the cub.

I can just imagine what would happen if I brought this cub home:

Dear Diary,
Cubby came home today and he is so precious. He ran up and down the stairs and played with our cats, Stephen and Meredith! I think they will get along well.

Six months later:

Dear Diary,
Cubby ate Stephen and Meredith today! I can no longer consider him “cute”, “precious”, or even “adorable”.

Ah, but there is hope on the horizon for this story. An animal rights activist, who most likely wants to see the cub released back into the wild, doesn’t believe this coddled lifestyle with guitar serenades is good for the cub. The activist is advocating that the cub be euthanized.

Okay, perhaps “hope” was the wrong word to use in that last paragraph. Putting the cub down would be sad, but it would restore my faith in stereotypical German behavior. Yes, this is more like the Germany I know. A land where if you answered a knock on the door in the middle of the night, you would never be seen again (or so my father told me). This business of a kinder, gentler Deutschland just doesn’t jive with my view of the world. Somebody has to be the bad guy in the world, and in my lifetime that somebody has always been the Germans.

I am hoping for a very happy ending to this story, even though it may mean that it turns out to be anti-German. I hope the cub will be allowed to live to maturity. I also hope the activist is mistaken for a harp seal and clubbed to death by Canadian seal hunters. I don’t normally wish a violent death on anyone, but I can’t help it. It’s the German in me!


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