Thursday, March 23, 2006

The day I woke as pro-American, part III

It's really, really time to come up with the third part of this story. I hope, getting this of my chest will allow me to be able to blog on a regular basis here.

When I headed back to Germany from China, I was looking for news sources to keep me up to date on China related issues. Since the German media outlets and blogs have little to nothing to add to that issue, the only way to keep myself informed was to turn to the Anglo-american China blogosphere, which is actually large and has lots of participants (check out the China Bloglist, if you don't believe me).

I began to read American blogs on a daily basis - and I found out, that no matter on which side of the aisle in terms of politics they were, they shared a lot of viewpoints as it came to China - from Richard of Peking Duck to Gordon of The Horse's Mouth (to name only two), all of them seemed to be cheerleader for democracy and freedom in China. And they actually did (and still do, of course) something to promote those issues, from taking on certain topics to speaking out against certain meassures of the Chinese government (like blocking blogs or incarcerating bloggers) to providing useful information for China based bloggers on how to circumvent the "Great Chinese Firewall". And even at blogs which weren't dealing with political issues in the first place, like Danwei or Sinosplice , I experienced an attitude I regard as being typical American: service driven, seeing readers and commenters as customers, caring about their opinions and being thankful for the feedback they get from their audience. All of them provided (and still do so, of course) so much useful information, hints, background etc. and they tried to really connect people and wanted to share views and experiences - I was taken aback ones more.

Well, from the very special world of China blogging, it was only a small step to the real American blogosphere, since it virtually lies around the corner (as on the internet, the whole world is only one click away; that's why I love it so much).

As a result, I got deep into the American blogosphere, from Daily Kos to Town Hall, so to say. And every day I happened to find new kinds of blogs: econblogs like Economist's view, Brad Setser, Brad DeLong ; Academia blogger like Gary Becker and Richard Posner or Daniel Drezner, PR blogger like Seth Godin, blogs dealing only with ecology or human rights name it. Great, simply great! And I realized the huge differences between the German and the American blogosphere: the American bloggers were more talkative, more interactive, friendlier (on average, that is), they shared their knowlegde, the entries were much, much longer and there were more comments providing more insight.

And again, as the two times I mentioned before, I asked myself: Why, oh why do most people in Germany regard Americans as no-brain superficial junk food consumers in the first place? Then again, I told myself: Okay, you haven't been to the U.S. so far. It still is possible, that the Americans a.) produce a lot of articles - and no one actually reads them b.) print a lot of papers, magazines etc. - and ordinary Americans buy them only to have something to wrap their sandwiches in and c.) the American blogosphere consists of only three or five people pretending that there were millions just to fool the rest of the world about the intellectual capacity of American citizenry. Then again, those explanations didn't satify me, to be honest with you.

Well, came end of August 2005 and the Katrina Hurricane - and THAT really pushed me over the edge, talking about being Pro-american. I'll leave that to the next part...(yes, it's a cliff hanger ;-).

part I, part II

Submitted to Carnival of German-American Relations

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Thank you for the feedback

I want to thank all of you who responded - via email or comment - to my blog carnival submission piece in particular and to my blog in general.

There are a lot of points I am willing to take on, but since it caught me by surprise to be featured by Davids Medienkritik, I'll need some days to take on all of those reactions.

To make you stay (or return), I want to draw your attention to my first ever appearance as a guest blogger over at Mad Minerva's blog. Back in September last year, I wrote a little satire about the difference in terms of mentality between the U.S. and Germany. Enjoy!

I also want to postpone the debate on my "unhappyness" with Davids Medienkritik. In the meanwhile, I point you to one of their pieces which is really great stuff: "SPIEGEL's Karen Hughes Translation Nightmare".

SPIEGEL ONLINE-bashing is one of my favorite free time activities, so no dissent with David & Ray here. Then again, it's not that the U.S. or the Bush administration are the only topics SPIEGEL ONLINE is handling in a crappy manner. No, this MSM outlet is an almost complete failure on almost every account.

For a fresh example on how SpOn tries to manipulate their readers, see today's story about Condoleezza Rice. You don't need any knowledge of German in this case, because it's only the picture I want you to have a look at. Doesn't Condi look like a pit bull terrier here? Is that the right way to report on other nation's representatives? No, of course it's not.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Okay, since

a.) a couple of weeks ago Andrew Hammel of terrific German Joys linked to this blog

b.) the other day fabulous Academia blogger and blog friend! Mad Minerva also linked to this blog and Trans Atlantic Review blogger Joerg asked me to contribute to the upcoming German-American Blog Carnival, plus

c.) this blog ist on #7 in search results of a certain CCP-friendly search engine, if you enter my name and

d.) today Ray D. of Davids Medienkritik featured one of my entries which was meant as a contribution to the first German-American blog Carnival and is now one to the second blog German-American blog Carnival...

...well, I think it's time for a restart of this blog, exactly three months after it was set on stand-by due to Christmas holidays.

Problem with running my own English blog is my enduring lack of self-disclipline, plus I'm shying away from blogging in English.

FYI, since February 24, 2006, I'm a regular contributor to Bissige Liberale, a German blog, whose name roughly translates to "sarcastic liberals" ("liberal" in the European meaning of this term, that is, meaning "business-friendly" and "free markets cheerleading"). That's kinda odd, since I'm a member of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), which makes me far loony left to U.S. standards. Um, I think, I'm a maverick. Just call me John McLieberman ;-).

As for Davids Medienkritik, I want to make clear that I'm not too happy with their media coverage in general and with the SPD coverage in particular. In his entry concerning my post, Ray D. mentioned the anti-American spin in Germany's media. Well, Davids Medienkritik responds to this biased spin by "counter spinning" and that is certainly not my cup of tea.