“I’ve got to stop saying “How stupid can you be?” Too many people are taking it as a challenge.” — George Carlin
” A little ignorance can go a long way.” – Curmudgeon
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of us are stupider than that.” – George Carlin
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not always sure about the universe.” – Albert Einstein
This is not the first thing I’ve found to laugh at since last November, not quite. But I do like it.
German neo-Nazi mayoral candidate laughed at when he called to ban Arabic house numbers
Otfried Best appears to take a satirical question seriously
6 days ago|
The Independent Online
A neo-Nazi mayoral candidate for a German town was greeted with laughter when he promised to ban Arabic numerals displayed as house numbers if elected – unaware that they are the same as western numbers.
Otfried Best is running on an anti-immigration ticket for the ultra-right NPD party, in the small town of Volklingen in the district of Saarbrucken.
Along with three other candidates, he was questioned about his policies in a debate ahead of the election in front of an audience.
Uwe Faust, representing the satirical Die Partei, appeared to set a trap for Mr Best when he asked him a joke question over a supposed regulation in Volklingen.
“According to the building code, paragraph 126, each owner is obliged to label his property with the number given by the municipality,” he said.
“I find it alarming that in Völklingen many house numbers are displayed in Arabic numerals. How would you like to take action against this creeping foreigner infiltration?”
Mr Best replied: “You just wait until I am mayor. I will change that. Then there will be normal numbers.”
As he appeared to answer the question seriously, Stern magazine reported that around 600 audience members began howling with laughter. He appeared to brush off the raucous crowd, adding: “Wait a moment, Mr Faust, until I’m Lord Mayor, and I’ll change that.”
Atef Alshaer, a lecturer on Arabic and Linguistics in the University of Westminster, told The Independent: “A German man actually translated Arabic numbers into the Western style used so it is incredible how ignorance can lead to this kind of political blindness.”
Arabic numbers are based on the decimal number system and originated in India in the 6th or 7th century, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. They were first brought to Europe in the 12th century by Arab mathematicians and paved the way for modern algebra.
The NPD party is accused of neo-Nazi links. Intelligence services in Germany have described it as racist and anti-Semitic. But politicians in all of the country’s 16 states failed to outlaw the party in a bid through the Federal Constitutional Court. It dismissed the appeal in January, saying the party’s concept “disregards human dignity” but there was no “concrete evidence” it could achieve its nationalist goals.
Oh my people! Here’s my latest moral dilemma. Do I shriek and tear my hair because there is anyone this abysmally clueless, or do I take comfort in the fact that several hundred people did get the joke and laughed? Also, this was not, as it so easily might have been, Arkansas or South Dakota. Although … is it truly encouraging to find my country has no corner on idiocy? Perhaps not.
And next, not that I’m cynical, I wonder if this little faux pas will help or harm the man’s election chances. Anyone care to start a pool and guess how the poll numbers will run? Me, I’ll just wait and see. As one of our illustrious Ohio football coaches once said, either team could win.