October 05, 2004

Stupid Headline of the Day

The stupid headline of the day comes from yesterday's Guardian: "Troubled Germans turn to Lord of the Rings."

Stupid lead paragraph of the day: "An insight into the current German psyche has been revealed in the country's largest ever poll of favourite books. "

The poll, you see, ranked The Lord of the Rings as Germany's favorite book--one place above the Bible. Rather than come to the obvious conclusion (Germans like good stories), The Guardian decided to search for deep psychological reasons behind the poll result. One expert quoted by the article acribed the results of the poll to a "current air of pessimism" caused by "the deteriorating economic situation." (By this theory, the Germans are now obsessed with escapist fantasy.) Maybe that's true, but I suspect that Tolkien's books would be near the top of any German poll in any year, and the recent success of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies was presumably more influential than the current economic situation.

Another finding of the poll was more interesting:

The results of Das Grosse Lesen shed light on a country which preferred to embrace international publications.

"One of the problems with the Germans is that they are not proud of their traditions and culture. They reject their own writers and turn to international bestsellers which are promoted by the media," said Prof Lienert.

I don't know if this is a "problem with the Germans," but it's striking that only two of the top ten books in the poll were written by Germans; all ten books in the analogous British poll were written by British writers.

Posted by Ed at October 5, 2004 05:24 PM

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