The Mandarin and Dennis Miller

Over at Gormogon Central, the Mandarin makes a mordant observation concerning Gerhard Schroeder’s call for a “United States of Europe.” In turn, that reminds me of an old Dennis Miller bit on German reunification (quote is approximate):

“East and West Germany are kind of like Martin and Lewis. I wasn’t a big fan of their work the first time, and I’m not really excited at the prospect of a reunion.”


About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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6 Responses to The Mandarin and Dennis Miller

  1. J. Otto Pohl says:

    Other than stirring up anti-German bigotry what is the point of this very unfunny quotation? Is Miller saying it was a good thing that millions of people in East Germany were condemned to live under a repressive police state for decades because of the actions of Hitler? How is that much better than justifying the Holocaust as punishment for the crimes of people like Kaganovich and Berman? I realize that people make exceptions to the rule against collective punishment for ethnic Germans and Arabs, but I find nothing funny it it.

    • profmondo says:

      Anti-German bigotry? Collective punishment? Hyperbole much? Are you talking about the anti-German bigotry and collective punishment that was the Marshall Plan? The Berlin Airlift? NATO membership? The BMW plant about 60 miles from Mondoville? The Mondoville Oktoberfest in 24 days?

      Sorry you didn’t like MIller’s joke, but to imply that it is an act of ethnic hatred to be mentioned in the same breath as Holocaust justification is an overreaction at best and disingenuous at worst.

  2. J. Otto Pohl says:

    I am talking about the forced expulsion of 12 million Germans from Central Europe near the end of WWII and the creation of a Soviet puppet regime in East Germany. If you think that the expulsions and the hundreds of thousand of deaths were justified as well just say so. I find them no more morally justifiable than the Holocaust. People only think differently because it is still okay to hate Germans in the US whereas Jews are a protected class. Also if you think dividing Germany and placing millions of people under a repressive dictatorship for decades was a good thing as Miller apparently does just say so. I would never have pegged you as a supporter of the East German government, but I suppose if one hates Germans enough it could bring about a lot of Schadenfreude. Just as your friend Whithywhindle supports the brutal ethnic cleansing of Sudeten Germans and Palestinians I would not be surprised to find other American academics supporting such acts of barbarity.

    • MikeC says:

      Good thing Miller is not an Academic. He is a comedian (a profession with which you may be unfamiliar) and this joke has approximately 21 years age on it. It stems from a time of great uncertainty, when laughter helped in the face of unknown fears.

      Martin and Lewis were also a comedy act. The expulsion of Lewis from the comedy pairing was not generally considered a crime against humanity. The ensuing regime of Dean Martin celebrity roasts, however, was at times deemed criminal. It is available on DVD.

  3. The Ancient says:

    First, sometimes a joke is just a joke. Going through life with no sense of humor is a big mistake.

    Second, the German people supported Hitler, and his depredations, until very nearly the end. And yet, as Mondo says, the US responded by helping Germany rebuild itself, at no small cost — or risk — to the American people. That the Soviet government captured eastern Germany and the German killing grounds to the east was unfortunate, but it was a natural consequence of a failed war of aggression and mass murder. For you to single out the subsequent bad effects on the German people of a war which they instigated and supported for six long years, and which left tens of millions dead and much of Europe in ruins, is just perverse.

    Third, Germans are no more hated in the US than Jews are protected. I know lots of anti-Semites here in Washington — and nearly all of them are liberal Democrats. By contrast, the worst things one ever hears about Germans are, to use Mondo’s word, “mordant” jokes — at which the Germans I know, diplomats and media people alike, are usually the first to laugh.

    Fourth, Withy occasionally writes intemperate things, but he’s just typing, anonymously, on a little blog parked somewhere on the edge of cyberspace. Had the German people been similarly circumspect over the past century, the world would be a much better place. More crowded, certainly, but better.

    Fifth, I am so fond of Dennis Miller’s wife that I will cut him limitless slack.

  4. J. Otto Pohl says:

    The Germans expelled from East Prussia, Silesia, Pomerania, the Sudetenland and other regions of Germany and Central Europe were for the most part not Nazi Party members. In Czechoslovakia over 200,000 of those expelled were active Anti-Fascists. The vast majority of expelleess were women and children. How is it that these children deserved to die at the hands of Poles, Czechs, Russians and others? Again this is no different than justifying the Holocaust by pointing to the crimes of people like Kaganovich. If thinking it is morally wrong to murder German women and children just because they are German which is exactly what happened in the East, starting before the Holocaust with the deportation of the Russian-Germans is perverse than I am happy to be peverse. You are endorsing collective punishment. You are saying that because German children in Czechoslovakia shared a common culture with Hitler it is okay to kill them in a very agonizing manner. Only Germans and Arabs are today subject to this type of blame the victim mentality. If you can not see that German civilians, very few of them adult men, in Central and Eastern Europe were in fact innocent victims of ethnic cleansing then you are blinded by anti-German racism.

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