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An International Game June 23, 2010

Posted by astridjohnson in Books, Current Affairs.
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Germany v. Australia: 4-1

World Cup, this is always an awkward time for me. It is the time when national feelings and stereotypes come to the fore. I am not wholly immune, but I am a German in a foreign European  – yes, the UK is part of Europe – country. For the English ’66 comes up and for me, well a whole mix, everything from the shame of ’33 to the Football Lovefest of 2006.

Recently I discovered this little lovely book by Hamilton Fyfe, a journalist and playwright, The Illusion of National Character. It was published in 1940 and he rejects the notion that national characters are distinct, homogeneous and well-defined and that we just somewhat blindly assume they are. An interesting sociological argument. In terms of Germany he gives political and social reasons, amongst them the failure of Rathenau to put his thoughts across successfully, for the rise of Hitler rather than pinning it down to an intrinsically German character trait. Generally I think he goes too far in his argument, but still, at the time it gave a considered and complex view.

Nevertheless, if Germany beats Ghana tonight I’ll probably go for a long and nice walk in the Peak District on Sunday.

P.S. Germany will win!

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