Now, however, after the tense excitement of the semis, I feel that a more quantatitive method is required. So what we have are six categories, which are all important facets of the trash experience. In each of these, we will pit the finallists together, like giant rubber-suited actors in a mid-60's Japanese monster movie, and see who comes out on top. We will use a boxing-style scoring system i.e. the winner gets ten points, and the loser gets zero to nine, depending on their contribution.
How can any nation rank high on the International Babeometer Scale when the 'Pro-Lifer licking sperm off a dog turd' impersonator Steffi Graf can become such an object of obsessive lust to her countrymen that one of them is prepared to perforate the porcine Monica Seles to demonstrate the depths of their deranged desires?Clearly some strength of feeling there. However, the same contributor rather blotted his copybook by going on to list Renee O'Conner -- that's the ugly one out of 'Xena: Warrior Princess' -- as one of the reasons why America should win. Rather shot yourself in the foot there, didn't we? A disturbing tendency in American towards teeth, tans, and tits means that victory in the first round goes to Europe
GERMANY 10, United States 8
Let's just rely on gut feeling here as to such matters. Pizza is American, and we'll give Germany the benefit of Black Forest Gateau (or Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, to give it its proper name -- one of the few words I remember from O-grade German, along with "Kugelschreiber" -- ball-point pen...), though we could argue either of these are being about as authentic as Vindaloo. The relentless nature of German cuisine (1001 interesting things to do with sausage) gets even to this hard-core carnivore, though America is penalised for being the origin of "health" food.
UNITED STATES 10, Germany 9
However, a bonus point to the Americans for taking the soft drink and raising it up to an art form. You don't get Coke, you can get it with or without caffeine, sugar, or colour, and in "Original" or "New" varieties. And then there's Jolt Cola (quadruple the caffeine, and twice the sugar, or thereabouts), to be found in discerning 7-11 stores up and down the land. Given it's just past 2am, I could do with a bottle here right now.
GERMANY 10, United States 9
You have to plough through a lot of half-heartedly trashy efforts to find true trash in the US. However, it *is* out there as witnessed by, for instance, this website which specialises in women in peril (and wet T-shirts) movies. The custom videos are quite intriguing: supply a script, and for about $20 a minute, they'll stage it -- and admittedly then flog the tapes, but you do get a dollar for every one they sell. In the light of such...entrepreneurial imagination, it would be hard for any country to stand up, and that is aside from the vast slew of independent film-makers beavering away these days.
UNITED STATES 10, Germany 8
However, it is in the realm of straight-faced absurdity that the Germans truly excel, and just about manage to pull off a stunning victory. Take the Eurovision Song Contest, for example: back in 1982, it was Nicole, with 'A Little Peace', one of the most sickening pieces of driviel you will ever hear. This year, it was Guildo Horn, a post-post-post-ironic parody of all the oompah music. And Mike 'Womble' Batt wrote their World Cup song. Against this, all the Americans can offer is a fondness for letting celebrities massacre the National Anthem at baseball games: first Roseanne, and now 'Caroline In The City' star Lea Thompson, in her greatest contribution to popular culture since a certain scene in 'All The Right Moves'. Or indeed 'Howard the Duck'.
GERMANY 10, United States 9
American television comes in three distinct flavours: network, syndicate and cable, in increasing order of pleasantness. Network TV possesses all the flavour and appeal of vanilla blancmange; syndicated television has moments of charm and originality, while on cable, your are talking a free fire zone as far as concepts like 'good taste' are concerned. Which is precisely the way it SHOULD be -- something for everyone, even if they are depraved gun-freaks with an interest in rubber. That's a TRUE minority interest, Channel 4 please note. But you can hardly go against any country where it takes half-an-hour to channel surf, and the variety is a telling blow for the land of the free.
UNITED STATES 10, Germany 7
And I can assure you, it will certainly be another four years before I will even contemplate repeating this little exercise. Thank you for bearing with me!
Yours, Ref Hunter J.
Thanks are due to Mal Aitchison and John Spencer, for service above and beyond the call of duty. Even if, curiously, both of them do like Renee O'Connor.