Do Americans enjoy British television

We Amis / US column: We Americans are stupid, but we have fun doing it


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I was a little concerned when I read the article in the New York Times saw on German television: Is that Times even able to properly appreciate something so complicated and differentiated?

But yes! The Times has reported about it in the same way as the German media write about it: namely, with malice and mockery. She lunged Bet that ..? and on other programs like a lion on a wet rag.

Of course, none of this is new to the Germans. As a journalist, I was allowed to report on the German film and TV industry for media magazines for around 15 years, and I had a lot to do with TV makers who all uttered the same desperate complaint: "Why can the Americans that and we not? "

The TV industry turns potential pop artists into scared little officials

What is meant is upscale - oh well, simply successful - entertainment: Sometimes brain-cracking, but always thrilling, professional, interesting, new, intelligent, sophisticated, weird. TV series like Breaking Bad or Homeland overshadow everything that Germany has to offer. Forgive me if I sound passionate or even indignant: For 15 years I had to watch how highly motivated and creative young people enter the German TV industry with enthusiasm and big plans and just a few years later end up like bed rugs: The TV Industry turns potentially great pop artists into frightened little officials.



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But sponge over it. The question that persisted was: Why can the Americans do this and the Germans not? Our secret: We Americans are just stupid.

A passionate hatred of anything that was perceived to be elitist

Probably the most creative aspect of American entertainment culture is what we call anti-intellectualism. This is related to the big bang of ours We-the-people-Culture together, the rebellion against noble Europe. From the successful revolution in 1776, a passionate hatred of everything that was perceived as elitist arose: exaggerated table manners (hello hamburgers), British accents (every class clown who can ape the snobbish British still scores today), any piety towards the higher classes and the Elite culture.

If someone likes to use big words or long sentences, they just want to distract from the fact that they really have nothing to say. That's why the poor Kansas farmer trusts Republicans more than educated Democrats. While Europeans always complain that their politicians are stupid, that's not a problem for us. On the contrary: there are politicians who hide the fact that they were at Harvard. That's the paradox: to be successful in a big country like America, you have to be incredibly educated. But to make friends, you just can't let it hang out.

"Isolde's love death could be a little shorter"

That runs through our entire culture. True, some of the best opera houses, museums and universities in the world can be found in America, but if an intellectual is unable to say, "I can take a lot, but Isolde's love death could be a little shorter - by about an hour" , he's a show-off for us. We also have beautifully exalted intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and Thomas Pynchon, but in general literature is seen more as communication: if you are unable to reach a large audience with clear statements, you are simply a bad author.

Even our great intellectuals owe their success to this recipe: Hemingway was so successful because he invented his very own way of writing: with a few, simple words and without any frills. With this basic principle of anti-intellectualism, he became an intellectual.

Mark Twain, too, was a firm believer in entertainment rather than communication, in the foreword too Huckleberry Finn he writes: "Anyone who tries to discover an intention in this story will be prosecuted; whoever seeks morality will be expelled from the country; whoever tries to find a plot in it will be shot."