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Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany

What Harm Could a Few Emails Do?


By Jörg Thadeusz

Translated By Ron Argentati

15 November 2012

Edited by Gillian Palmer


Germany - Frankfurter Rundschau - Original Article (German)

20,000 pages. That's how extensively U.S. General John Allen is said to have corresponded with 37 year-old Jill Kelley in Florida. She has large, dark eyes. She looks like a woman who would be hated by other women. At least by those women who consider themselves so cute that they hang little teddy bears on their backpacks.

Jill appears to have led a very checkered life. American journalists are busy compiling a list of her indebtedness. They've already determined she owes a lot. Boring people don't go into debt because they overdo it with expensive parties.

This is the woman to whom the general sent over 20,000 pages of emails. Must have made really interesting reading because the official explanation calls them “inappropriate emails.” When one of our teachers used the word “inappropriate” in class, it usually meant we students were in for some fun. “Inappropriate” was a term my former boss used that generally meant I had done something for which I would end up washing a lot of cars. “Inappropriate” is a term some of my readers now use when I've made some innocent joke in one of my articles.

Everyone can probably empathize with the general. He'll be 60 years old next week and he's sitting in his command post in Afghanistan. Not an optimum place for passion under the best conditions, and besides that he's surrounded by the fanatical temperament of a bunch of loony Taliban and by Marines who answer questions they've understood, not by saying “yes,” but by shouting “Hua!” (“Heard, understood, all clear!”)

As If We Were a Gang-Bang Republic

He probably wrote to Jill saying how he wished he were with her on the beach, especially the Florida beach where she lives, watching the sun sink slowly into the sea. He probably mused about the clink of ice cubes in their glasses as they walked. Or perhaps about weightier topics, like the new beginning they would make together and whether his military pension would be enough to cover her enormous debt. But probably nobody would ramble on so prosaically in an electronic love letter. The other 19,999 pages may have been about those “fifty shades of grey” that seem to fascinate the German audience so. Absolute pleasure. A general could probably come up with a lot of unpleasant variations on things that might elicit an “ouch!” during love-making.

The first German media figures to come out with the story have strong public opinions: How much of this tale of top soldiers is influenced by those prudish Americans? As if we weren't just as uptight. As if our late-night writings weren't influenced by a few glasses of wine. As if the first article of our constitution said, “Every celebrity is fair game.” As if we were a gang-bang republic in which it's alright for every Bundeswehr general to accept an invitation from the insurance industry to enjoy an evening in the local house of ill repute.

Or, to be a bit less crass and a bit more biblical: Let he who hasn't sent an inappropriate email in the last 12 months cast the first laptop!

What? No flying computers yet?



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