Monday, 14 March 2011

Not so Gut

Not all Germans are like that like that but so many of the ones I met continue with their adoration of former Defence Secretary Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg who was forced to resign after he was found out as a cheat who had deceived his way to a PhD.

Last weekend, I constantly ran into Germans who explained to me that:

1. Everybody cheats at exams.

2. It’s the professors’ fault for not having caught Guttenberg’s plagiarism.

3. It was deplorable that opposition speakers used such strong language in parliament, as they demanded Guttenberg’s dismissal.

Why do they adore that arrogant, über-Catholic aristocrat who thinks that he was born to lead? Why does the man who abused their trust not disgust them? Why do they defend the man who despite all the advantages he was born into had to steal his academic title and who instead of hiding in shame tried to brazenly deny his deeds and then told the country that they he was too busy burying German soldiers who had died in Afghanistan to deal with petty complaints about his PhD.

But above all: How can they tell their sons or daughters that they may not cheat if they are willing to accept a cheat as their leader?


  1. although our opinions differ from time to time, I could not agree more with what you are saying and feel embarrassed and ashamed that intelligent people in Germany are blind to moral standards which are fundamental to our society.

  2. An able politician actually, but one who fell victim to his own vanity.

  3. Dear David,
    I couldn't agree more with your blog: how on earth can one have trust in somebody who lies and tries to 'get away' with murder'.... just because he 'has a pretty face' -

  4. According to the Immutable Law of Plagiarism, "My guy's plagiarism is understandable. Your guy's plagiarism is reprehensible."

  5. Ich war am Karnevalswochenende auf eine Prunksitzung in Mainz. Dort fliegen die Beine der Funkenmariechen, die Garden sind schön anzusehen, und es gibt Redner, die das politische Berlin aufs Korn nehmen.

    Die zwei Redner, die sich mit Guttenberg „auseinandergesetzt“ haben, sprachen weiterhin von Fussnoten, waren voller Kritik für Guttenbergs Kritiker und erhielten einen Sonderapplaus und eine Sondertusch, der immer bei besonders gelungen Statements, Pointen oder Anzüglichem gespielt wird.

    Das nur als Fussnote zu Deinem Kommentar.

  6. I totally agree with you and would even go further. The Germans are looking for a new Fuehrer! I have kept a brilliant piece by the FAZ, a full page collection of paragraphs taken from German print media Stern, Spielgel, Focus and the like on Guttenberg – phrases of adoration and respect of admiration and devotion. I am planning to frame it and including as title: Fuehrer where are you?

    I cannot comprehend how anyone can respect this man. He is a cheat, he is clearly not very bright, he has no sense of what you can and cannot do (how can his wife exploit his position for her own pursuits - have we voted for her?), what you can and cannot say, he is slick, condescending and arrogant.

    Total hubris! ..but will there be a nemesis?

  7. I live in Germany and know very few who think Guttenberg - sorry, zu Guttenberg - was a good politician or that his cheating and lying was OK. Many of those I speak of are aristocratic as well as 'regular' Germans. Really irritates me when people see combed hair, a blazer or pair of red trousers (not that these in any way signal good taste, but are often found on real and wannabe poshos in Germany) and immediately think the inhabitant is pro-zu Guttenberg.