Anorak News | Model Behaviour

Model Behaviour

by | 8th, June 2006

“IT’S time to end the clichés about Germany,” says Claudia Schiffer.

Schiffer, a German and, surprisingly to some not dressed in a pair of patent leather boots, slapping a small whip against her thigh and jutting out her chin, has been helping her country prepare for the World Cup.

“We want to do this with lightness,” says Claudia in an interview with the Times. “We want to show that Germans really do have a sense of humour and a creative flair.”

Sure, Albert Speer was creative. And what cinema goer hasn’t heard a German laugh, even in a sombre moment, like when telling a Britisher the war for them is over or pulling Dustin Hoffman’s teeth out.

But modern Germany is nothing like it was back in the middle of the last century. As the Times says, there is more to the place than “Hitler and Nazis”.

The paper tells us that Germany is “a land of inventors”, who created the aspirin, the laptop and a spiked running shoe (a particularly unpleasant weapon in the wrong hands).

The entire campaign is called ‘The Land of Ideas’.

The paper says Germans are being prepared for the arrival of a million tourists for the tournament with English language classes for bus and taxi drivers. Waitresses are being encouraged to ask customers if they have enjoyed their meals.

There are institutions called “Laugh Academies” and “Smile School”. Little more is said about them in the piece, but they sound uniquely terrifying and intrinsically German.

But the Germans are trying, and they are aware of their history. The Times uses the example of the official slogan for the World Cup, “A Time To Make Friends”.

Klaus von Dohnanyi, a retired German politicians and former government minister, explains: “A proper translation from the German slogan would be something like ‘We are playing host to our friends’, but that seems to be too bold a statement.”

Modern Germany is not just welcoming Japan, Croatia, Italy and maybe bits of Spain and France, it is welcoming everyone.

“Vorsprung durch football,” says the Times leader. This is Germany’s chance to show that the county is nothing like it was back in those “12 years of madness”.

Sport can present a new German face to the World. This is the biggest sporting event a unified Germany has staged since the 1936 Olympics. It’s sure to be a lot better than that…

Posted: 8th, June 2006 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink