Day 70 of 98 – Edit this Post

27 Nov

While out walking today I noticed this advertisement for PETA that had a picture of a naked lady on it. It was all about not eating the fur of endangered animals or something like that. Anyway, what struck me was: had this image been posted in Ottawa there would have been cries of “oh won’t someone please think of the children” and a great deal of time and energy would be expended on determining if the poster should be taken down.

One night in Dusseldorf a few years ago I was visiting a friend and we decided to rent a movie. While in the local video store I noticed they put the adult films on the top shelf of the same racks that were holding the non-adult ones. There was no special room separated by beads or anything. There were kids and parents and people all over the store. No one seemed to care.

Another night, just after I first arrived here, I was out and there were some people smoking marijuana. Inside the bar. One of the guys in my German school was telling me that here in Berlin pot is de facto legal. I guess someone decided that the police are better off spending their time solving real crimes instead of imaginary ones.

While I am totally unqualified to make this determination (I’ve only been here for about two months) it seems to me that the Germans have some sort of prioritized list of shit that needs to get done. While the actual list is most likely highly classified (and not entitled “Shit That Needs To Get Done”), it probably looks something like this:

  1. Does everyone have access to clean drinking water?
  2. Is food reasonably priced?
  3. Does everyone have a place to live?
  4. Can one efficiently travel around the country / cities?
  5. Are we planning enough for our future?
  6. Can everyone get access to healthcare?
  7. Can we still make things ourselves?
  8. Are the poor people in our country reasonably comfortable?
  9. Is the Reinheitsgebot still being respected?
  10. Are we making small, incremental improvements to the things we are doing?
  11. Is it still easy for people to get an education?
  12. Have we re-prioritized our list lately?

You get the idea. The point is that I’m not even sure “Are our youth seeing pictures of naked people?” is even on the list.

And if it is on the list, it's in the "To Do" column.

On a similar note, the other night I was talking to this German guy and he was expressing frustration with how long it’s taken DB to build the new high-speed rail link between Berlin and Hamburg. As someone who comes from a country with no high-speed rail at all, I find it difficult to understand most criticisms of Deutsche Bahn. For me it’s like someone saying that the room is too hot because the temperature is 22 degrees when it should be 21. Yes 22 is greater than 21 but just be thankful you’re indoors – it’s freezing rain outside.

Actually it was 8 degrees and sunny today in Berlin. And it’s almost December.

I also read today that the Pope is being sued for not wearing a seat belt during his recent tour of Germany. I’m not sure what to think about this but I hope it’s categorized under “Are all laws being applied equally?”

I guess what I’m trying to say is: I find it fascinating the things that different countries / cultures determine to be important. Don’t forget to buckle up.

3 Responses to “Day 70 of 98 – Edit this Post”

  1. Uncle Ross November 27, 2011 at 01:39 #

    Love the title… I guess the picture distracted you.

  2. Lottabot November 27, 2011 at 02:27 #

    As a European living in Ottawa I must say that the first time ever I saw someone smoking marijuana in public was in Ottawa. On a bus stop. In the morning. A random weekday. And the person didn’t look like your stereotypical picture pot-head, more like a stereotypical GC worker. I was walking to university together with my roommate and I asked her if it’s common for Canadians to smoke weed in the morning on the way to work/school. She said that it’s an Ottawa-thing. So I figured people in Ottawa are so miserable that the only way they can get themselves through their 6-hour-workday at a government office is by getting high on the way to work.

  3. Jesse November 27, 2011 at 04:28 #

    Dude, this is why Europe has, socially, a lot going for it. We are pretty uptight and it hinders our development…

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