Filed under: football, sports, world cup 2010 | Tags: germany, holland, kaka, ozel, ronaldo, rooney, schneider, schweinsteiger, south africa, world cup 2010
Stand up the new world superstars of football. Who’d have thought, at the start of this tournament, that it would be Ozel, Schweinsteiger and Schneider that we’d be hailing as the greats. And good on Klose too; edging in on that record. I really hope he gets it. (And let’s not forget Diego Forlan of course!)
Germany have been awesome and deserve to win the tournament although I backed Holland at the start, so obviously I want them to do it, but on merit so far it’s Germany by a distance.
Filed under: books, life, politics, Rants, Uncategorized | Tags: asch, auschwitz, Cass R sunstein, fascism, germany, holocaust, holocaust denial, humanity, jews, nazi germany, nazis, nudge, psychology, Richard H thaler, Second World war, ss, the ss, totenkopf, WWII
According to Wikipedia, skulls and bones were long used to mark the entrances to Spanish cemeteries (campo santo). The practice, dating back many centuries, led to the symbol eventually becoming associated with the concept of death – not a big leap there, it has to be said. And Skull and crossbones are used and have been used by many military organisations over the years (most popularly to denote Pirate ships, in the style of Long John Silver – the Jolly Roger).
However, I watched a programme on TV the other night about Nazism and the SS in which I was knocked sideways upon spotting this image of SS chiefs having fun in down time at Auchwitz.
I have commented before on the hideous atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Second World War and received a barrage of abuse from the Holocaust deniers, most notably on this post which has taken on a bit of a life of its own.
I honestly hadn’t noticed before that this was a part of the SS uniform with its own name – The Totenkopf, and it has been widely used elsewhere in military insignia
However, the context of its use among the killing factories of Auschwitz and the symbolism of the skull and cross bones in this context was, for me, a very powerful symbol of the Natzi’s complete and utter disregard for life. I wonder if any of them felt any sense of the appropriateness of the symbolism (it’s so tempting to say irony, only it’s not ironic) that stared out at their victims, just above their murderers’ eyes, as they faced the short walk to their death?
Incidentally, I am reading quite an interesting book on the psychology and mechanisms of decision making by two esteemed academics from the University of Chicago, called Nudge. It is allegedly taking political decision-making by storm.
In one section the authors use the rise of Nazism to dramatise their thinking – they refer to the findings of another academic, Asch, who studied how Nazism had been possible. His theory demonstrates how easy it is for a bandwagon effect to occur and so-called “pluralistic Ignorance” to set in. He argues that people do things not because they like or subscribe to a practice but because they think that most other people like it and the natural response is to conform.
It’s not “following orders” which was the staple SS defence in the post war trials, but a subconscious need to conform. “If Herr Schnitzel is murdering innocent Jews then it must be OK and I’ll do it too.”
Filed under: football, humour, jokes, life, Rants, stories, tv | Tags: EURO 2008, euro 2008 final, germany, prennial underacievers, spain, spain v germany, spanish football
So, the perennial underachievers who perennially underachieve didn’t perennially underachieve in a competition that perennial underachievers rarely achieve in. But as perennial underachievers against the strongest of final perennal achievers they achieved a great deal for perennial underachievers. In fact they achieved the ultimate achievement for underachievers; they achieved.
What are our perennially underachieving commentators gonna say about the perennial underachievers at the next tournament when as ex-perennial underachievers they can no longer be described as perennial underachievers?
If they win it, they might become perennial achievers but, of course, if they fail they will, once again, regain the perennial underachievers tag; principally because they’ll have entered the tournament as the most likely to achieve and have then underachieved.
It was a great game, a great tournament and, throughout, the perennial underachievers deserved to achieve.
Thank the lord that they did.
If, for no other reason than my sanity.
Filed under: Arts, life, photography | Tags: august sander, BBC, BBC4, Germanic, germany, history of photography, portraits, Portraiture, war, war photography, World War 2, WWII
BBC4 is running an unbelievably good series on the history of photography called “the Genius of Photography”.
It is unmissable.
And this week one of the featured photographers was new to me (I’m ashamed to say)
Nevertheless he is wonderful and I’d like to share his work with you.
A German called August Sander who shot some of the most stunning portraits of the inter-war years.
Here are just a few.
This man is focussed.
I love the humour in this shot.
I believe this is the seminal Sander shot and I can see why…
And so is this…
I found this and love it…
Filed under: Arts, life, work | Tags: architecture, belief, church, engineering, germany, god, religion
I love this story.
A medieval church in Heursford, Germany was to be demolished because a new coalmine was to be opened on its site. It’s obviously a lovely church and the locals must have felt very close to it.
So, they though; we’re not letting a coal mine get in the way of our religion.
We’ll move it.
So they did. They hoiked it up on the back of a lorry…
And moved it down the road to the next town.
God 1 – 0 Coal industry.