So I was reading a fairytale to the younguns, “…’Spin me all this,’ said the Queen, ‘and when it is finished, you shall have my eldest son for your husband. Your poverty is a matter of no consequence to me, for I consider that your unremitting industry is an all sufficient dowry.”

I paused and said to my husband, “This is a German fairytale.”

We both started laughing.


There is something about German seriousness and industriousness that I find amusing; I suppose that makes Germans one of the few ethnic groups I find funny. It’s always with such little self-awareness that my German friends seem to comment about how they just don’t know why they work so hard and are such perfectionists.

Asian friends, similarly, complain about how they just can’t stop themselves from working hard and paying attention to tiny details, even when they’re quite sick or actually want to stop hyper-focusing on a particular project.

At any rate, I stand by my initial assessment of Rumpelstiltskin.


Meanwhile, have you seen the lovely new pictures of Pluto?

You don't know how happy this makes me.
Isn’t this fucking amazing?


Just look at that equator!
Charon, Pluto’s biggest moon.


Pluto: the dwarf planet with a best friend.
Two to Tango


What is that blue thing?
Oh, wait, those are Jupiter and Io. Well, I like them, too.

6 thoughts on “Germans

  1. No it isn’t funny. They are one of the most advanced nations in the world and can succeed in many thinks. But I have been thinking something similar to your own problem. German mentality, with fixation on detail, perfectionism, frugality etc is more asian than european. Even the Dutch and Scandinavians do not approach the Germans in these respects. Could it be from Ashkenazi influence, regardless if they admit it or not?


    • What you mean when you say Italians? Northern Italians or Suthern Italians? Aren’t Northern Italians quite germanized? To me, Ashkenazi seem more like Central and Eastern Europeans than Mediterraneans. Both groups are preoccupied with frugality, savings, preparedness for difficult time, not broadcasting one’s success, and other so called protestant or industrial values. When they turn religiously fanatical, both tend to form closely-knit communities which view the external world as sinful and impure, eg ultra-orthodox Jews and various christian sects in the US. That never happened to Southern Europe, at least in a large extent. There were and are still monasteries, but in these usually go dedicated people who want to give their life to religion. There were never organized cities or communities based on monastic values though. Still Ashkenazi ar hardcore Asian collectivists with the family and kin at heart, so this was the reason you connected them with Italians? Also, is it true that these customs started breaking down today in America?
      Influence must not necessarily mean genetic influence. Germans were always a militarized and disciplined people, they just would adopt stricter Ashkenazi work ethic to successfully compete with them.


      • As an American, I can only really refer to American Italians and American Jews, which I have the most experience. Our Jews joke about how similar they are to Italians; they inter-marry often and have similar attitudes about food and talkativity. Genetically, Ashkenazim are about half Italian, probably picked up during the days of the Roman Empire. I’m not sure which part of Italy their Italian component hails from, though. Possibly all over; possibly Rome. –Ashkenazim cluster down by South Italians, Cypriots, and some Greeks. Given their Middle Eastern component, I suspect this means that the original Italian component hailed from further north in order to give this “average” result. Compare Romania, a country with what looks like a combination of Slavic and Italian components, resulting in its position between the Slavic cluster and the Italian cluster.

        Of course we can’t ignore the recent (past 1,000 years) cultural existence of Ashkenazim in central and eastern Europe. I just don’t know enough to comment on that.


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