We’re Not Worthy!

Actually, we’re too worthy – and that’s the problem.

Rich

If they think their ranking on rich lists is too low, American tycoons fume. German ones kick up a fuss when theirs looks suspiciously high, explains Heinz Dürr. When a magazine called him a billionaire a few years ago, Mr Dürr rang the editor to remonstrate. The reporters had double-counted his ownership of Homag, a maker of wood-processing machines that Dürr, his family’s mechanical-engineering firm, bought in 2014. Plutocrats have reached the top of politics in America and Italy, while in Asia the super-rich often display their wealth in ostentatious style. Germany’s magnates love to shun the limelight.

Which reminds me of German oddities 302 and 25.

German 302. Germans have a big Neid (envy) problem. They are perfectly aware of this and often complain that they live in a Neidgesellschaft (envy society) but keep turning green with envy all the same. One comedian claims that Germany is the only country in the world where the need for envy is stronger than the sex drive.

German Oddity 25. When Americans refer to something as being “typically American” they generally mean this in a positive way. When Germans refer to something as being “typically German” they generally mean this in a negative way.

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German Of The Day: Fremdschämen

That means feeling shame on someone else’s behalf. You know, like for the SPD? The party you just left because you can’t take it anymore?

Fremdschämen

The SPD mayor of Freiberg just tossed in the towel and left the SPD. He had tried to get the party leadership to consider a four-year immigration stop for any new refugees in the hopes of stopping what he saw to be a shift in the public’s mood. He was ignored, of course.

Tired of them refusing to listen to what his constituents on the street in the real world have to say, he announced his departure from the party with a post on Facebook, noting that “if you look at what’s going on in Berlin these days the word “Fremdschämen” doesn’t even come close to how I feel about it.”

“Schaut man diese Tage nach Berlin, drückt das Wort ‚Fremdschämen‘ nicht einmal ansatzweise aus, was ich derzeit empfinde.“