What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say Germany? Hopefully you skip over that terrible period around World War II and jumped right to beer and bratwurst.
Last weekend I had the distinct pleasure of working an Oktoberfest celebration (hint: I work in PR, so event management is part of the gig). We had all the German cliches: saurbraten, pretzels, dark beer, spaetzle & cabbage and even some lederhosen. The band played brass and polka, the tables were covered in Bavarian blue and white and overall a fabulous time was had by all.
But it did get me thinking about what stereotypical events like this do to the culture in question. I'm part German and my wife is damn near 100% -- should we be offended at the characterization of our heritage? After all, it would be AWFUL to take the stereotypical traits and behaviors of a minority and fashion a hyped-up event around it, right?
Same question as the beginning, only change it to Irish - what do you got? Again, skip over that whole nasty IRA thing (I'm now on a terror alert list just for typing that) and hopefully you land on beer and corned beef. Is it right? Probably not, but it makes for one heck of a bender each year on St. Paddy's Day
By the way, I know another half of this blog who just may fall into this category. He's pale, too. Really pale.
Am I saying I'm personally offended by the celebration of these broad generalizations, based purely on a life of excess and indulgence? Absolutely not - I'm the first one in line at the beer tent. But I CAN say I can see where you could be.
Now for my final question: Which cultural bastardization is more fun in your book - the German Oktoberfest or the Irish St. Paddy's Day? My man and I will be fighting this out next weekend after a few pints I'm sure, but we'd love your input.
Maybe this will help.
See you right back here at 4 p.m. to get you link on. Hope to hear from you, hehe.