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NEW BOOK:
The Voodoo That They Did So Well: The Wizards Who Invented the New York Stage
by Stefan Kanfer
The Voodoo That They Did So Well: The Wizards Who Invented the New York Stage.
 
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Stefan Kanfer
Springtime for Schröder and Germany
The International Relations Follies of 2002!
24 September 2002

Remember Sir Noel Coward’s wonderful song, “Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to the Germans”?

We must be kind—
And with an open mind
We must endeavor to find
A way—
To let the Germans know that when the war is over
They are not the ones who’ll have to pay.
We must be sweet—
And tactful and discreet
And when they’ve suffered defeat
We mustn’t let
Them feel upset
Or ever get
The feeling that we’re cross with them or hate them.
Our policy must be to reinstate them.

 . . . .

Don’t let’s be beastly to the Germans
For you can’t deprive a gangster of his gun
Though they’ve been a little naughty to the Czechs and Poles and Dutch
But I don’t suppose those countries really minded very much.
Let’s be free with them and share the BBC with them.
We mustn’t prevent them basking in the sun.
Let’s soften their defeat again—and build their bloody fleet again,
But don’t let’s be beastly to the Hun.

Here’s a modern update:

“Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to Gerhard”:

We must be dupes
And with our U.S. troops
We must leap right through the hoops
On hand.
We’ll let the Germans know that when Iraq’s defeated
They are not the ones we’ll reprimand.
We must keep mum,
For Saddam needs a chum,
And Schröder’s rule of thumb
Is “Gratitude
Is platitude.
My attitude
Is win regardless of the costs and quarrels;
Since when did politics have any morals?”

Don’t let’s be beastly to the chancellor
Just because his victory is a canard.
After all, his gaffes are minor, and his party’s even littler
(Just a trifling comparison with Bush and Adolf Hitler).
Let’s get jokes from him, and buy a Volks from him
He’s reliable as a good old St. Bernard
We’ll continue troops across the sea, protecting good old Germany
And never be beastly to Gerhard.

We should be dopes—
And never misanthropes.
We’ll walk the slippery slopes—
What’s more:
We’ll let the Germans see that alles is forgiven
For the things they’ve said about the war.
If they are rude
And sometimes rather crude
It’s just a transient mood.
We mustn’t judge
Or try to nudge
Or hold a grudge.
It’s difficult for them to find enjoyment
In dealing with increasing unemployment.

Don’t let’s be beastly to the chancellor
He is really rather something of a card.
For there’s several million Muslims he has got to satisfy
And the Zionists in Deutschland are in very short supply.
Let’s turn the other cheek again, and all play hide-and-seek again
While thanking him for his utter disregard.
He melded Socialist and Green, and wants Iraqi gasoline,
But let’s not be beastly to Gerhard.

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More by Stefan Kanfer:
Father of the Wild Things
Classic Failure
Fridays with Charles
More . . .
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