Michael Lewis reveals why some Germans are obsessed with ‘human feces’

Author Michael Lewis recently dropped by Business Insider to talk about his new book “The Undoing Project.”

We couldn’t let Lewis leave before presenting him with a question we’ve been itching to ask ever since we read his 2012 book “Boomerang,” which collects his observations of how countries around the world contributed to the Global Financial Crisis.

In the book’s chapter about Germany, which is a reprinting of his 2011 column for Vanity Fair, Lewis dredges up some peculiar aspects of German folk culture. Specifically it’s the aspect relating to an obsession with human feces, or “dirt,” as it’s commonly referred to among Germans.

Lewis cites the work of late American anthropologist Alan Dundes who, in his 1984 book “Life is Like a Chicken Coop Ladder,” in which Dundes writes:

“One finds an inordinate number of texts concerned with anality. Scheisse (shit), Dreck (dirt), Mist (manure), Arsch (ass).… Folksongs, folktales, proverbs, riddles, folk speech—all attest to the Germans’ longstanding special interest in this area of human activity.”

Upon discovering this peculiar cultural revelation, Lewis utilized it to try and better understand Germany’s role in the GFC.

When we asked Lewis about it, he laughed, and proceeded to summarize his thoughts on his perceived correlation. However, for an in-depth understanding of Lewis’ take, we suggest you read the full article here, which remains live on the “Vanity Fair” website.

You won’t regret it.

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