Grammar has left the building

One can suppose that if someone is really, really mad or is pretending to be really, really mad, the last thing they would think about is syntax and logic. Passion, even when not entirely authentic, can bend a lot of rules. However, the battle cry with which the consumer protection group INKA summoned the populace to boycott German products was not only irrational and grammatically incorrect, but a true gem of an idiom that has leveled all the rules. The press release and fliers distributed by the group say: «INKA, in a sign of protest at the unprecedented attack in the post-World War II era – when we have taken all pains to forget the atrocities and massacres of hundreds of millions under the fury of the Nazi Swastika, which sought to unite the world under a regime of violence – in protest at the publication by Focus with Aphrodite depicted with her middle finger raised and a subheading calling Greeks thieves – and because not all Greeks are thieves, only a small and well-known group – calls upon the citizens of the country to boycott all German products. The misrepresentation of a statue of Greek history, beauty and civilization, from a time when there they were eating bananas on trees is impermissible and unforgivable.» Even in a text so devoid of logic and grammar, certain ideas come across clearly: One such idea is that when we (the we of today?) were sculpting Aphrodites and other deities, they (they, of today?) were living in trees (they hadn’t even considered dwelling in caves), eating bananas. Bananas? In northern Europe? In 2500 BC? Who needs geography when you’ve got an obsession? Another idea that comes across in the INKA statement is that not all Greeks are thieves – just as not all Germans were big fans of Hitler, though the statement makes no reference to this. So maybe we should instead boycott those well-known thieves mentioned, the Greek leaders and politicians who cooked the fiscal books and succumbed to the palm-greasing sirens of Siemens.

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