Mario de Monti wrote:
Apparently some further elaboration is in order:
In Germany, many aspects of our Nazi past are being "taboo-ized" to sometimes ridiculous degrees. For example, imported model kits of German WWII tanks, planes, etc. are being opened by German customs officials and all the swastikas and other Nazi symbols are being cut out of the decal sheets, blackened or the sheets are taken out completely. German kit releases use simplified/fake symbols (like simple crosses instead of swastikas).
Additionally we are being "taught" (by the government, media, etc.) to feel some sort of collective guilt for that part in our history, a guilt that can never be overcome.
I can't speak to the minutia of German cultural policy. The Federal Government has certainly repressed many symbolic elements of nationalism that served to make Nazism so resonant. I think part of the episode intended to deal with this: it's impossible to have Nazism without the imagery or the xenophobia (an arguable point, of course).
Representing the German past is a fraught subject with strong emotions. Nonetheless, German culture many opportunities to discuss the memories of Nazism and the Holocaust, moreso than, for instance, French imperialism, British rule in Ireland, or even Germany's genocidal war against the Herero. Indeed, the US has a national museum for the Holocaust, but not one for slavery and its legacy. If there is a problem with German memory, it is, IMO, attributable to Adenauer's original formulation--crimes committed in the name of the German people--which made it easy to embrace national guilt, but somewhat easy to evade it on a personal level.
So the reason for me to start this thread was to ask the question, if my "problem" with Spock´s remark is due to the fact I´m German (and have the background I just explained) or if non-Germans (without this background) have similar problems with it.
For the sake of disclosure, there is an Alsatian side to my family, among whom there is some tendency to romanticism Germanic culture. (They emigrated in the 1850s, thus didn't develop the same sense of Germanness that developed after 1970, or resistance to German nationalism that emerged among Alsatians.
On the other hand, isn't it possible that our differences on the subject of this line may have more to do with differing notions of humor among the various cultures?