TAGES-ANZEIGER

Hey Guys: Legs Matter

As summer approaches, some men might be inclined to show off half their calves with those "7/8ths" Capri pants. Don't. Just Don't. And If you want to wear shorts, please follow these simple rules.

Fashion faux-pas (Zabowski)
Fashion faux-pas (Zabowski)
Philipp Tingler

BERLIN - Yes men, you need to worry about hem length too. That is a brutal truth the summer months force us to face. And it was brought home to me again recently by a snapshot I took on the streets of my hometown Berlin, showing one guy wearing pants cropped to the knee, and another guy wearing Capri pants, manpris.

Berlin will always (hopefully) be different from the rest of Germany -- big, rough, noisy, arty, its famous Fashion Week something of a contradiction in terms. But: that's no excuse for 7/8th Capri pants. Contemplating the photo, I realized several things. First of all: male legs are important. I know that it's very difficult to get an attractive leg shape (and particularly hard to achieve good-looking calves) by working out at the gym -- but that's no reason not give it the old try. Come on guys, I know for a fact you don't want to look like Larry the Lobster from SpongeBob Squarepants.

Secondly: Capri pants. I've said this time and again, but since I'm still seeing them all over the place, I'll say it again: the only people allowed to sport them are women under 35, of the Audrey Hepburn type. Did you get that? Women with an Audrey Hepburn figure. Seven-eighths pants do not work for anybody else.

On a man --and I don't care what age he is or what kind of body he has-- trousers cropped that length are the equivalent of a burqa. They make the wearer instantly and utterly unsexy. Some of my friends don't agree that the cropped pants in the snapshot are 7/8th, I'm hearing 3/5th: I don't care. You catch my drift. The only thing deadlier than 7/8th (or 3/5th) pants is 7/8th worn with sandals and ankle socks.

Hot Pants: only if you are Cristiano Ronaldo

On to shorts: The length issue is crucial here too, the perfect length being just above the knee. Tight shorts can be a little shorter, assuming the wearer has the body – and again, guys, legs – to pull them off. This might also be a good opportunity to mention the social context for wearing shorts. Shorts are by nature casual. Which means that on no formal occasions should other people be allowed to see your knees, and I don't care how attractive the latter are. So no shorts at theater premieres, baptisms/weddings/funerals, testifying in court – you get the point. And no shorts *ever* on the job. It doesn't matter where you work, a trendy PR agency, a funeral home: shorts at the workplace are an absolute taboo unless you're a parcel delivery-person or a pool attendant.

There's a myth about so-called City Shorts. Some men actually believe that they can wear their navy blue cotton Neil Barrett Bermudas in town as long as they wear a striped seersucker regatta blazer with them. My recommendation is: unless you're Ewan McGregor, just forget about it. And never make the mistake of thinking that you can compensate for the missing fabric and formality by wearing shorts of a dark color. At best, putting on a shirt and tie with black shorts makes you look like you're on your way to a stripper's funeral.

Now about age: per se, 50 is not too old for Bermudas. You can pretty much wear short pants at any age. There's a photo by Jonathan Becker of famous American writer Dominick Dunne standing in front of the Hôtel du Cap in Antibes on the French Riviera during the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Dunne was 81 at the time, and he was wearing cuff-less khaki shorts with a single-breasted yachting blazer, a formal shirt from Turnbull & Asser, and embroidered velvet Albert Slippers. Without socks, it goes without saying. Daring? I admit it all depends on the wearer. "You've got to have swagger," as Margot Light, my International Relations professor at the London School of Economics, liked to say --laid-back self-confidence, natural dominance and charisma.

That attitude unfortunately does not protect the wearer of shorts from mistakes and wardrobe blunders. One must keep in mind that faux-pas involving shorts often have to do with ...size. Do you remember when soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo's Hot Pants unleashed crowds of would-be imitators, men wearing too-tight, too-short shorts? One general rule could be distilled from that unfortunate situation: even if this is the time of year when Mother Nature pours her bounty forth unreservedly, that doesn't automatically mean that you have to --or at least not as long as you have two legs and a prostate.

Read the article in German in Tages Anzeiger.

Photo - Zabowski

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Society

What It Means When The Jews Of Germany No Longer Feel Safe

A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.

At a protest against antisemitism in Berlin

Eva Marie Kogel

-Essay-

BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.


Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.

The incident at the cemetery

They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."

There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.

It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.

Photo of the grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

Jens Kalaene/dpa/ZUMA

Crimes against Jews are rising

Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.

Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.

Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.

And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?

Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously

This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.

Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.

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