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Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Admittedly, there is a certain irony to a German writing this entry, considering Germany's well-documented history with horrendous law-abiding but also more modern stereotypes about Germans waiting at a red trafic light with no one else around at three in the morning, but I consider it ridicolous how Americans adher to rules and regulations sometimes, and how preposterous they are in doing so.

The obvious example of this are the way bouncers handle IDs at bars. A vast amount of places simply don't take foreign ones based on the fact that they could more easily be faked, even obvious proof (the existence of approximately 2 million other cards with the same name and birth date) does not make these people change their mind about a supposed fake ID.

This is not all there is though, Americans in official positions are surprisingly (considering national stereotypes) inflexible when it comes to rules and regulations even when faced with obvious extraordinary circumstances. I am currently trying to apply for a teaching assistant position for a German-language recitation of a course entitled Society and Culture in Postwar Germany. Without being too arrogant I cannot really see anyone being more qualified for this position. Yet, because I am officially considered an undergraduate at the university here (despite of the fact that I will write my master's thesis next semester and graduate in the fall), it is 'unlikely' that I will get the position.

Examples like these abound, most of them involving drinking laws, but also course requirements or university regulations. I would argue that contrary to popular stereotypes Americans (at least those working in a public institution such as UNC) are as inflexible as most Germans.

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