December 6, 2021


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Review: Well-meaning - and really well

Review: Well-meaning – and really well

Don’t you understand something? This is the last thing I thought of in the face of a direct mail about the referendum: “Do you support not letting xy not do yz? Yes or no?” Or a radio license fee reminder that first lists that I paid correctly and on time, then engages claims Complicated.

Language can be confusing. But also silence, as seen in the comedy “You don’t understand anything?” Göttingen’s little book on personal errors came into my hands a little late; But it’s so unexpectedly modern and new that it’s still the place to read and read aloud today.

We know all too well about cultural misunderstandings (in between), and unfortunately the phrase “well-meaning and poorly done” often fits them. Didactic, cliché, euphemism—some issues make this genre a little grumpy for us. “you do not understand anything?” surprisingly different. First of all, it’s really fun. Subsequently, black and white assignments are dispensed with or errors are corrected. Instead, he tells small stories in pictures, humorous and poignant, with a fine thread that spins the characters together: six young footballers, with very different family stories, dreams and fears. Clear thoughts about others. They are cheerfully mixed with clichés and misunderstandings that line up like chain reactions. Anyone who has just complained about prejudices will quickly raise it to peer. This is often full of humor and enlightening to read, even for people who have dealt with the topic for a long time or extensively.

The usual ‘interpretations’ of ‘cultural characteristics’ are not repeated here, but new perspectives are taken, from self-conscious perspectives and without any claim to general validity. Oh, how falling in love can conflict with a reflective reflection on etiquette and equal treatment! How do we let ourselves be fooled by (online) interfaces and thus lose seemingly unattractive things. How do we develop theories from individual experiences while forgetting to ask the next person.

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Over and over I have to swallow while reading. We know what racism looks like, what it looks and smells like. But this little book also tells us about times and times, daily and every time, so that we can savor it. Oh – so comes the resignation. This is how biases are realized.

So grab the Culture Clash, take off your shoes, and slip into each other’s skin! This comic makes it easy, amazing, and fun.

Göttingen Region (Editor), Ilke Koser (Illustration): Don’t you understand something? A comic book about immigration experiences. Göttingen 2020.

The book can be downloaded online for free: