Listeners' Letters

Host Scott Simon reads listeners' letters about last week's essay on Germany and the Tour de France.

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Time now for your letters.

(Soundbite of typewriter)

We received a number of responses last week after my essay on rooting for Germany in the World Cup. Talked about the visible diversity on the German team and how it signifies the great strides that Germany's made toward confronting its past, the coming of modern democracy.

Yurgen Kerner(ph) of Frankfurt writes: Thank you very much for your positive remarks about today's Germany. Unfortunately, the fact that we Germans try hard to come to terms with the dark episode of our history is still overlooked by some foreigners. Your sketch might help us understand my country as a democratic and modern nation.

But on, Alexander Williamson writes: Perhaps it's my age - 22 - but I just sat in a room with two other Americans who gleefully cheered at every German goal, somehow without having genocide or evil ever cross our minds. Should one flinch at cheering for Spain because of the Inquisition? Or perhaps one might be surprised to find that America can be a pleasant place to vacation, a place bubbling and diverse, despite slavery and mass genocide of American Indians. Just as people still remember Germany for its evils, other countries are remembered for theirs. It is surely important to never forget such injustices, but sometimes there are better way to express forgiveness.

A few listeners also took issue with my referring to the Tour de France as the Tour de Steroids last week in our sports chat.

Brett Tobias of Philadelphia writes: All professional sport is rife with illegal doping practices. Cycling is simply addressing the problem most aggressively and most successfully. God help you and your sporting heroes if Major League Baseball, the NBA or NFL ever follow suit.

Finally, NPR's Carolyn Beeler brought us a report on a small company in Birmingham, Alabama that's making a mint selling vuvuzelas.

Unidentified Man: My reaction is Americans are going to love this, because it's more along the lines of what you would see at an NBA game or a Major League Baseball game.

SIMON: But Marshall Warren of Park Ridge, Illinois, pleads: Please, no. No vuvuzelas. He writes: Can it be true that the score to the World Cup is headed to our shores? Just imagine the damage these instruments will do to our splendid national sporting events, if not our hearing. We as Americans must not let the wonderful muffled drone of the crowd at Saturday afternoon football games be replaced with the maddening and incessant buzz that I liken to millions of disturbed hornets.

(Soundbite of vuvuzelas)

You may be tired of hearing vuvuzelas. We never tire of hearing from you. Email us by going to and clicking on contact us. We're also on Facebook at, and on Twitter @nprweekend. You can follow me @nprscottsimon, all one word.

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