Recently I had my German cousin and 2 of his friends come to stay with me on their way to the Edinburgh Festival. Now, although my cousin is related to me, I must admit I did my fair share of moaning that I had some ‘germans’ that I had to entertain in my precious free week and again I admit that I was pleasantly suprised. They were easy company, had a decent sense of humour and their English was incredible.
One evening I was talking to one of them after I had by accident played an episode of the IT Crowd that contains a German cannibal and many German jokes. He was surprisingly not offended and actually talked to me about the prejudices that go both ways between Germany and England, even going so far as discussing Hitler and Churchill for comparison. This manner of easy and open discussion between different cultures after there was such a great divide so recently is promising, as it shows that younger generations are willing to overlook past differences and talk frankly without worrying too much about causing offence, just about being heard. This is one-nil to open discussion against political correctness, as it is very un-PC to talk to a German about Hitler in case I offend, or suggest that they are a Nazi or some other nonsense.
So although they still need to be educated in British sarcasm and taught how to understand a Irish accent, these boys went against any preconceived ideas that I had held even the day of their arrival and I really enjoyed their company. They helped to restore a little bit of my belief in Human Nature after it had been devastated by the riots.