Günther Has Left The Building

You know, just like Elvis used to? Only in this case Günther has left the Gasometer. Or will have left it, a bit later tonight.


Don’t ask. This is the spaceship thingy inside Schöneberg’s Gasometer (taken out of service in 1995 – the Gasometer, not the spaceship) where Gunther Jauch has been holding his popular Sunday evening political talk show on German Channel One (Das Erste) since 2011. And he’s done a pretty good job at it, I think, Gasometer spaceship or not.

Another era has come to an end or something. He will be replaced by Anne Will whom he replaced in 2011. Don’t ask. It’s a German öffentlich-rechtlich TV (“public sector” or state TV, if you prefer) kind of thang.

So, Anne Will (her last name could be translated as “wants to,” if you wanted to): May the talk be with you.

Am Ende war es ein eher kurzes Gastspiel für Günther Jauch in der ARD: An diesem Sonntag lädt der Moderator zum letzten Mal als Polittalker ins Berliner Gasometer. Für Jauch könnte es der Einstieg in den Vorruhestand sein.

A Fireside Chat With Angela

Things have caught fire here and there these days, you see.


We have nothing to fear but the refugees themselves. Just kidding, Leute (people). Sort of.

Repeating the mantra “Wir schaffen das,” (“We will manage,”) German Chancellor Angela Merkel is defending her strategy on handling the refugee crisis against growing criticism.

“Let’s just assume we all would declare that we will not manage it — then what?” she asked host Anne Will in a primetime, one-on-one TV interview on Wednesday night.

Unlike critics, “I actually have to work out this problem,” says the German chancellor.

Ich habe einen Plan.

PS: The word crisis originates from the Greek word krisis, which means “decisive moment.” Krisis like circle? As in turnaround? I haven’t seen one here yet.

Practice Your German Tonight

And your Cold War attitudes from the 80s, while you’re at it. Looks like we might be needing them again.

Deutschland 83

“Deutschland 83” premieres 11 p.m. Wednesday on SundanceTV.

SundanceTV’s “Deutschland 83” is the first German-language series ever broadcast on a U.S. network. The eight-part fictional spy thriller is set in 1983, when the then-split Germany was the hot spot for escalating nuclear tensions between NATO and the Soviet Union.

Vladimir Putin: “More than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles able to overcome even the most technically advanced anti-missile defense systems will be added to the make-up of the nuclear arsenal this year.”

German Of The Day: Zwangsbeitrag

That means “compulsory contribution” and refers here to the TV fees every German household has to pay for Öffentlich-Rechtliche or public-sector (or state) TV. You have to pay this here, you see, whether you watch these channels or not. You have to pay this here whether you even own a TV or not. Germany has the most expensive public-sector TV channels in the world, by the way.


Sounds reasonable, right? Hardy, har har. Well, now German “scientists” have suddenly figured out that Germany no longer needs these expensive public-sector channels and that they can be, pardon my French, “privatized.” German scientists are notoriously thorough, you know, and that’s why it takes them a little longer than other folks to figure this kind of stuff out.

Other Germans will not want to hear this, however. This is because, well… It’s hard to say why this is. It would mean getting rid of Tatort, for one thing. This would be earth-shattering or something. And in the end, Germans also want to have an official opinion maker, I suppose, someone they can always go to when they need an official opinion of their own, so-to-speak – and Der Spiegel isn’t handy at that moment.

The more things change the more they stay the same. So don’t even THINK about changing channels. “That’s right, folks. Don’t touch that dial!

Wissenschaftler stellen bei der Betrachtung von ARD und ZDF fest: Deutschland braucht nicht länger den teuersten öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk der Welt.

Eclipse Faked By Jan Böhmermann

That was the sunniest damned eclipse I ever saw, people. What a dud. I think it was faked by Jan Böhmermann.


The row (about the Varoufakis flip off video) took a fresh twist on Wednesday evening when satirical programme Neo Magazin Royale, on a rival channel, claimed that it had doctored the video and uploaded it to the internet.

Host Jan Böhmermann claimed his team had used digital editing software to insert the indecent gesture. Then it showed another clip it said was the original, in which Mr Varoufakis made the same remarks but without the gesture. A regretful Mr Böhmermann told his audience they were behind the “fake” Stinkefinger footage.

It didn’t take long, however, until the fake was itself revealed as a fake.

„Dieser Witz hat nie stattgefunden.”

German Of The Day: Die Befriedigung Voyeuristischer Bedürfnisse

That means the satisfaction of voyeuristic needs. And that is not, this guy here below repeats, NOT what his possible participation in the upcoming reality-show-media-spectacle “Mars One” on RTL is going to be about.

Mars One

Well not for him, perhaps. He says he just wants to make the world a better place. On Mars (he’s young – and has an SPD party membership book). And of the 200,000 people who have applied to take part in this cosmic kamikaze picnic he has made it all the way up to the last 660 future contestants batch. You know, he’s still being casted like they do on Germany’s Next Topmodel by Heidi Klum? His mom must be really proud.

You see, the planned “Mars One” mission will need lots and lots of dough to properly sponsor, I mean send their crews to their deaths and that’s why the TV rights have already been sold to the Dutch production firm Endemol, the same folks who bring us, I mean you, shows like Big Brother. So I guess we know where this is going – other than to Mars, I mean – but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the satisfaction of voyeuristic needs, to come full circle again already. No, it clearly doesn’t. It’s just about a simple suicide mission to Mars. Nothing more, nothing less.

Hey, I’m all for the exploration of Mars. But a one-way ticket there for human beings in reality show format is, well, as one guy in the article rightly points out, “ethically questionable” to say the least.

Es geht nicht um die Befriedigung voyeuristischer Bedürfnisse.

Günter Wallraff Foaming Around The Mouth Again

Still bitter about having lost his undercover job as a package deliverer I guess (he wasn’t used to actually having to work for a living) undercover undercover-journalist Günter “Undercover” Wallraff couldn’t help but have yet another fit about Amazon & Co. on German television last night.

Gunter Wallraff

Good timing or something. It’s strike season in Germany again (still?), as you know. Merry Christmas, Verdi!

But at least he didn’t just stop with Amazon, for once. Wallraff is also very, very angry at German consumers themselves for not purchasing their products where he wants them to (anywhere else but Amazon). Geez, he’s saying. It’s like if you just let people do whatever they want to do they’ll end up doing whatever it is they want to do. And where would that lead us to? That’s right, to where we are now.

His costumes really do rock, though. The one he was wearing last night (see above) was a little scary, though.

Wallraff kritisierte auch die Verbraucher: „Wir selber zerstören eigentlich gewachsene Struktur und wundern uns, irgendwann, dass das Leben so kalt und unpersönlich und trostlos geworden ist und Innenstädte veröden.“

Günther Jauch Goes Der Schwarze Kanal

Take about slipping into a time warp. Günter Jauch’s exclusive Putin interview last night brought back visions of GDR propaganda and communist commentary vom Feinsten (at its best).

They let Vlad and his hand-picked German Putin-Versteher journalist bud have the platform all to themselves for the first half hour of the show. That was a real scoop alright. A scoop of… A scoop of something that rhymes with scoop. I wonder if Kremlin TV is this good…

Industrie gut, Wachstum gut, alles gut – so stellte Wladimir Putin in der ARD die Lage der russischen Wirtschaft dar, untermauert mit vielen Beispielen. Doch der Faktencheck zeigt: Der Kreml-Chef nimmt es mit der Wahrheit nicht genau.


You say ‘tomato’, I say ‘tomato’… You say ‘Wesen‘, I say ‘vessen’…

The stupid creature names are fine. What isn’t, however, is that for the entire duration of the show, every single actor on it has mispronounced the very easy German word for creature…

I kept hearing “vessen” this and “vessen” that, and I had no idea what the characters were talking about, until I saw an episode summary on Hulu with what I surmised was that word written out: Wesen, which literally translates to being or creature (from gewesen, of one of the past-tense forms of the verb to be, sein)…

Trouble is, any German 5-year-old will tell you that word is pronounced VAY-zen, with a V sound (which Grimm gets right), a long E (in the German sense—pronounced like in dreidel), and a soft S (that approximates the English Z).


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