Kapitel 2 Kultur – Andy

I found it interesting that while reading these articles, I often thought to myself “Oh, I do that too.” For example, I too love to complain. My roommates actually brought this up earlier today while I was complaining about missing my show, and it made me realize that wow, I really do complain a lot. I notice this as a go about my day-to-day life. I complain when I don’t get a lot of sleep, I complain when I’m hungry, I complain when I get a notification on my phone while I’m doing homework. Additionally, I am also interested in statistics. Due to my background with research in Psychologie, I naturally enjoy learning new things, and statistics is an inherent component of this learning process.

However, I recognize that while I share these characteristics that the articles mention, there is an important distinction in how these characteristics appear in German culture that makes them unequivocally German, and that is how these characteristics developed in the first place. I found this aspect of the articles interesting in which the history behind the tendency of people in Germany to be prone to things like complaining or staring to be rooted in Germany’s history.

Other things I found interesting include the comparisons between German culture and American culture. I believe that it is true—when we say “We should hang out some time!” very often it means “I never want to see you again.” (Definitely an exaggeration, but the point still stands). Learning about these comparisons, I was reminded of a story that I was told by an old professor, in which a difference between a lot of European countries and America is that people in America are very uncomfortable with long periods of silence between two people. It is fascinating how certain things can have completely different meanings in different cultures.

Kapitel 2 Kultur

The first article, The German National Pastime: Whining, Bitching and Moaning struck me as rather interesting, because I always thought of America as a sort of haven for complaining as well. A lot of the conversations that I have with my peers include complaining about the weather, upcoming exams, or homework so hard that it should be illegal. I think that’s what the author is trying to point out about Germans as well – they use complaints as a way of carrying on conversation. A part that I found most interesting was towards the end, where the author mentioned that if you tell a German that they complain a lot, and that they actually have it pretty good, that they will agree with you and explain why they complain all the time. I see a lot of similarities to my American experience in that – my peers and I have the privilege of attending one of the best universities in the world, but we can still find things to complain about.

I also found the article entitled Brutally Honest: “Have You Gained Weight?” to be very intriguing. It is true that in America we are super polite about a lot of things. If someone asks if they look good, we always say yes. It took me 19 years to tell my grandma that I don’t like some of the meals that she cooks for me. It seems to me that the German way of saying exactly what you mean would be really refreshing, not having to tiptoe around what you actually mean. I wouldn’t have had to suffer through eating meatloaf if I could just tell people what I’m thinking.

Finally, I really related on a more personal level to the article By the Numbers: An Obsession with Statistics. As an engineering student, I am always saying “show me the numbers”. My brain just processes numbers better than other kinds of descriptions. I feel like the German described in this article would appreciate this way of thinking, because statistics just use numbers to describe things instead of words. My family also watches a lot of documentary/history type shows when I’m at home, so I can relate to the German people’s love for facts and interesting information. I think it’s awesome to be knowledgeable about a lot of different things, so that’s something new that I can really appreciate about the German people.

Owen’s Reaction to Kapitel 2 Kultur

I found all the articles from the Kulturtext sehr interessant. The first article, while focusing on the Kultur of complaining in Deutschland, very much struck home for me. I went to a private school in San Francisco, which is one of the most liberal places in the world. While I am fairly liberal myself, many times I felt like my classmates took their criticisms of den USA too far. Even though I understood that most of the complaining came from a place of wanting to make the Land better, I often felt that the complaining came at the cost on not appreciating what we all did have. This seems like it could parallel the situation in Deutschland closely. Both many Deutschen and many of my classmates have very gut lives compared to most of the world. But while I think criticism of various institutions is important, I also believe that kids from my school and Deutschen alike need to be careful not to lose touch with what we do have.

I also enjoyed reading the article on Auge contact. Eye contact is interesting in that cultural norms regarding it vary widely from country to country. In Amerika, eye contact is important. In a conversation, not giving eye contact is a sign of disrespect, dishonesty or Angst. However, if you don’t break eye contact enough, you’re likely to come off as standoffish or just plain creepy. However, in places like China, minimal eye contact is a sign of respect. When holding a conversation, one is expected to let their Augen wander around the Zimmer while listening to the other person. This would be seen as very strange in den US, and I assume in Deutschland as well. Lastly, from what I read in the article, in Germany strong eye contact is not seen as creepy or aggressive in the way it is in the US. This extends to eye contact between two strangers. In Amerika, if someone on der Bus is staring you down, the appropriate response is to worry they are going to confront you. In Deutschland, this is obviously falsch.

The article on Germans’ brutal honesty left me with thoughts similar to the previous one, in that it totally varies Kultur to Kultur. Personally, I would never insult someone’s cooking or Aussehen, even if I was just being honest. It simply goes against how I’ve learned to act my entire life. However, I understand this is different in Deutschland, and that such lack of tact would not be taken negatively at all. It’s still something I’ll never do though, even when I spend time in Deutschland like I’m planning on.

Finally, I actually really understood the last article on Germans’ obsession with statistics and documentaries. I’ve always been fascinated by demographics and charts (especially on Landkarten!), so this aspect of Deutsche Kultur doesn’t confuse me at all. In addition, I watched a lot of documentaries with my dad when I was younger, and I still liebe them today. So in other words, this part of me would fit in very well in Deutschland!

Kapitel 2 Kultur-Texte

I was surprised when I read the article Whining, Bitching and Moaning, as it talks about the negative aspect of complaint in Deutsch.  I have to say I have bias to Deutsch, and I know that.  I really love Deutschand to my mind everything related to Deutsch is great, is the best (I know it doesn’t make any sense.  But that is Liebe.)  But one thing I totally agree with the author: when you visit a country, you always see the good stuff; but when you live in a country, you start to experience the negative aspects and gain an comprehensive understand of the country.

Personally, I feel being staring by a stranger as the second scenario in Watcha Lookin’ at, Granny, is really uncomfortable, and might be terrified.  However, I think the civic duty in the first scenario makes sense to some extent.  It creates peer pressure that force Leute being disciplined and well-performed in the public, which I think is good for a country.  However, I’m afraid the staring in the Deutsch is way too much, basing on this article, which interfere other’s personal lives.  Additionally, I think the response “Would you like to take a photograph” is really smart and I would like to try it one day.

Honestly, I didn’t believe anyone would choose the third response given in the article Have You Gained Weight?.  But Germans choose it.  As a foreigner to the US, I do feel very truly that Americans is being very nice to people.  I’ve always heard “You are doing great”, and sometimes I am not sure if that is true.  However, I do feel this kind of encouragement is important, especially when you do something for the first time.  Also, when starting asking and probing more, Americans will also give me constructive advice.  For Germans, I think I would also appreciate their honest and direct way.  But sometimes this may hurt.

Given the fact that I am really bad at number and statistics, I really need to study ahead of time if I am going to Deutsch.  However, I think for any country or city, there is much more than those number.  Zum Beispiel, the famous food, the unique culture, the schön attractions, all beyond those number.  Statistics can only provide a tiny little glance of a city or country.