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Photo by Like_the_Grand_Canyon (Flickr CC)
I was with a German boy in the supermarket yesterday when he picked up a bottle of Müllermilch.
"That's totally Nazi, you know," I told him. "They're, like, sponsored by Nazis."
"Apparently that's an urban myth," he said.
"Oh," I said, slightly deflated by the anti-climax.
He grinned at me, all knowingly. "You're disappointed, aren't you?"
"I am not disappointed!" I protested. Then I shrugged.
"Well," I said. "Maybe I'm a bit disappointed. There's a bit of Unity Mitford in every Englishwoman who comes to Germany, you know. I mean, I've always thought it tasted slightly Nazi. Like, so clean and sterile and chemically and antiseptic and then in a way refreshing."
"Hey, maybe you could get a job at their PR company!"
"It tastes like that clean, healthy side of Nazism that grannies always tell you about at weddings – you know, when they were just running around in forests and getting plenty of fresh air and that, and they weren't actually thinking about killing the Jews, they were just healthy, clean Germans running around the forest – and the grannies at the weddings are always like: 'We didn't know any Jews were going to die! We were just running around the forest!'
And you always look at them and think: Hmmm. Yeah. But, erm. Couldn't you tell a little bit? But you don't want to spoil the wedding atmosphere and plus it is interesting and they are going to die soon."
"I think what you're saying is that it has a slightly sickly, overpowering aftertaste."
"It tastes like pure Nazism. It tastes like when Eva Herman said those kids deserved to die at the Love Parade because techno music's all, like, satanic. That thought is exactly what it tastes like. God, that woman is a Nazi, isn't she, what do you think? Like, even if she's not actually a Nazi – like, even if she's not one teeny-tiny bit anti-semitic – even if she'd never said all that stuff about the Autobahn – still. Her heart's all icy and cold like fascism, isn't it? She's a Nazi at heart – in a Sylvia Plath-metaphorical kind of way, and plus she actually is one. Who could hear that a kid had died in a tunnel and their instant reaction would be: 'Oh, they deserved to die – they did like techno music, after all'? Who would react like that?"
"Hmmmn," my friend said. "She is a deeply unpleasant woman. But I don't know if she's a Nazi. But I think she's unpleasant and unintelligent and also – thankfully – fairly unimportant. I'm not sure if I think she's an actual Nazi."
"Okay, let's talk about other German people. What do you think of Wulff?"
"Oh, he probably had to go. Don't you think?"
"No, I think he was wonderful, he just found holidays a bit expensive. He didn't like paying for them. He'll probably start entering loads of competitions now. And you Germans are fools! Such fools. You had a nice president, and you hounded him out like a stinky fox, just because he scrounged a few holidays here and there. I like Wulff. He's great. Do you want to know what I think? I think Guttenburg was stupid, Wulff was nice, Schröder was sexy and a real man, Merkel's okay, and not as ugly as you're always making out, and Wowereit looks like Alec Baldwin. And plus Eva Herman's a Nazi. She has Müllermilch flowing in her veins where the blood should go."
"Hey, Jacinta," he said reproachfully. "I already told you – that's an urban myth. Nestlé, though, I think they're really actually arseholes. That's true. You should actually boycott them."
"Just supposing," I said, "just supposing I were to write a blog about all this, could I be sued for libel?"
"Nah," he said, snorting scornfully. "You could just say it was your Lyrisches-Ich."
"Yeah," I said. "My Lyrisches-Ich doing a Sylvia Plath-style metaphor."
"Okay," I said. "That's what I'll do."