Thursday, December 26, 2013

Extremely Obvious Advice

So, the World Juniors have started and it's the most wonderful time of the year because we all get to break out our Canada jerseys (or other jerseys, that's cool too.) And we'll get to do it all over again in a few weeks when the Olympics start.

This morning, Canada played Germany. One person I follow on Twitter decided to outright mention Nazism. Yes, because German hockey players in 2013 immediately call to mind the Third Reich. His tweet has since been deleted ("because, you know"*), so I'll do him the courtesy of not mentioning him by name or posting screenshots, but I'm going to sub-blog him anyway.

There's no denying that what happened before and during World War II was horrifying, hateful and beyond inhumane. It's a very dark period in German history that no normal human being is proud of. In case that wasn't obvious before, let me make it obvious now. I went to Germany five years ago. I have friends there. What happened decades ago doesn't represent what the country, or any of my friends are like now. They're so ashamed of that part of their history that they're afraid to express pride in their own country, save for a bit of patriotism during the Olympics or the World Cup, for fear of looking too much like Germans under a certain dictator in the 1930s and 40s. They're not responsible for what happened then, but because of it, they're apparently not supposed to love their country like I love Canada. And they're great people - modern Germany is friendly, interesting, and more than a little bit similar to North America.

So here's an idea: let's all maybe not assume that countries as a whole haven't evolved, or immediately call to mind the worst parts of their history when discussing sports. (This goes for all countries.) Let's stick to laughing at their bad pop songs or embarrassing goals, instead of jumping to conclusions about what their grandparents or great-grandparents were like. Okay? Okay.

*I'm assuming that "because, you know" is shorthand for "I said something racist and should not have clicked the Send button"