German Of The Day: Gegendert

That means gendered. You know, as in language-wise?

Gender

In Berlin, for instance, male words used on public forms and applications can be very disturbing. At least that’s what SPD politicians here think. So that is why they are seeing to it that more female vocabulary will be introduced in the future. I don’t know quite what that means (the ones with die instead of der or das?) but I’m sure they must know what they are doing, right?

“Only using male words gives the impression that the form only applies to the male population and this is not the case.”

Damn. Why didn’t anybody ever think of this before? No wonder I could never figure out how to fill out my maternity leave application.

„Nur männliche Wörter zu verwenden, erweckt den Anschein, als betreffe der Antrag nur die männliche Bevölkerung. Das stimmt aber nicht.“

PS: What will they think of next? Sending men and women to different bathrooms?

German Of The Day: Populismus

That means a left-wing political doctrine that proposes to help the common people who are being exploited by a corrupt dominant elite. Or at least the one I am referring to here is of the left-wing variety.

Populismus

Ironically, this particular form of Populismus is being proposed by a leading member of that corrupt dominant elite himself. But this is the left-wing variety, as I said, and this type of thing has a long tradition so it is therefore “OK.”

The Social Democrats have presented a serious, new challenger for upcoming federal elections. But they are using the same old lines about social justice when there are more important things to talk about, writes a former economics minister (himself once in the SPD).

The Man In The White Castle

Frightened by unsubstantiated fake news reports that US-Amerika‘s president has turned the place into an alternative history (alternative fact history?) horror-land run in part by their creepy grandparents, German vacationers are staying away in droves.

Castle

Almost half of Germans with an interest in traveling to the U.S. won’t do so now because they feel unwelcome or don’t want to endorse President Donald Trump.

About 46 percent of Germans who would like to visit the U.S. “in principle” have changed their views on that destination since Trump took office and won’t travel there as a result, according to a survey by GfK SE published in travel-industry magazine fvw.

The Polls Are Never Wrong

Right? As we were recently reminded after the Brexit vote and the United States presidential election, the pollsters, survey scientists and media manipulators who publish them are always right on the money.

Poll

So please keep this in mind (and please bring it back to mind in a few months time) when we now read that “the SPD has passed the union in another survey” (the union being Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU) and that this is due to the so-called “Schulz effect.”

This means, of course, that Germans are supposed to believe that the SPD’s candidate for chancellor, Martin Schulz, is wildly popular and on a roll and is single-handedly bringing German social democracy back from the near-death it is now experiencing to march together bravely into the brave new social democratic (socialist) future. They don’t believe it, of course, because he isn’t and he can’t. Germans, too, have also realized that polls have long since failed in their traditional function as poorly functioning forecast tools and are now failing miserably at their latest job: To deftly manipulate public opinion and steer it in the direction these pollsters & co. want it to go.

Nobody buys it anymore, Martin. Just like nobody buys you. You can bring out all the survey results you want but that won’t change a thing.*

Der Schulz-Effekt hält an: Die SPD hat auch laut einer Emnid-Umfrage die Union überflügelt. Die AfD fällt erstmals seit einem Jahr unter zehn Prozent.

*The real issue here is the true degree of Angela Merkel’s unpopularity, another closely guarded media secret.

This Doll Must Die

Don’t EVER let anybody tell you that Germans are lasch (feeble) when it comes to threats posed to them by foreign intelligence snoops.

Cayla

Forget about not caring about Putin & Co., forget about spinning your wheels ridiculously with your NSA spying affair. We’ve got a real live (sort of) freakin’ wi-fi-connected Internet doll on the loose and we’re all going to die if we don’t kill her first. OK. So we don’t know who she’s working for yet. But still.

A German government watchdog has ordered parents to destroy an internet-connected doll for fear it could be used as a surveillance device. According to a report from BBC News, the German Federal Network Agency said the doll (which contains a microphone and speaker) was equivalent to a “concealed transmitting device” and therefore prohibited under German telecom law…

“My Friend Cayla” uses a microphone to listen to questions, sending this audio over Wi-Fi to a third-party company (Nuance) that converts it to text. This is then used to search the internet, allowing the doll to answer basic questions, like “What’s a baby kangaroo called?”

Why would anybody want to know what a baby kangaroo is called, huh?

And this is just the beginning, too. These wi-fi-thingies will soon be everywhere. “It doesn’t matter what that object is — it could be an ashtray or a fire alarm.” Damn right. So after you’ve finished strangling this doll toss everything else out of the window while you’re at it. Just in case. They’re out to get us, people. They’re everywhere, I tell you. Whoever they are. Bad dolly!

At what point did we enter this Philip K. Dick novel, anyway?

Berlinale Has Numbing Effect On Audiences This Year, Too

It numbs them with its politics. And its smugness. Intentionally so. Every year. And if you don’t have the “correct” kind of politics and smugness, it will numb you all the more.

Numb

The opening night of the Berlinale was all about politics, from the red carpet, where Green Party politician and Bundestag vice president Claudia Roth sported a black dress adorned with the word “Unpresidented” in large letters – an apparent dig at U.S. President Donald Trump’s spelling aptitude and/or his perceived behavior as commander-in-chief – to officials and speakers taking the stage to talk about free speech, free art and resistance to oppression.

“It’s kind of an antidote to massive budget films with millions of special effects and stuff, which in the end creates a kind of numbing effect: I want more, I want more, I want more.”

Peugeopel

That rolls right off your tongue, doesn’t it?

Opel

GM gets rescued by the American government (government is a code word for taxpayer, by the way), Opel gets rescued by the German government and Peugeot gets rescued by the French government. Is there a pattern developing here or something? Now GM is going to rescue itself out of Europe and dump its Opel on Peugeot, making it a Peugeopel. But who the hell would want to rescue one of those?

General Motors is in advanced talks to sell its European Opel subsidiary to France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen, Handelsblatt confirmed after Reuters broke the story. A Peugeot spokesperson told Handelsblatt that the two are in discussions “over the purchase of Opel.” A deal “could be announced within days,” sources told Reuters.

Seit Jahren versucht General Motors vergeblich, seine Marke Opel zu sanieren. Nun steht offenbar ein Verkauf an den französischen Konkurrenten Peugeot an.

German Air Farce Ready For Action

Only one of Germany’s eight way-over-budget Airbus A400M military transport planes is working at the moment, if working is the proper word for a military transport plane that will never actually be used anywhere anyway. Jeepers. That’s like, I dunno, less than half or something.

A400M

Germany’s defense minister Ursula von der Leyen apparently discovered this problem single handedly after the A400M she had taken for a visit to Lithuania broke down there.

Meanwhile… Countless aircraft belonging to German Billigflieger (budget airlines) loaded with countless tons of German tourists don’t seem to be having any technical problems whatsoever. Their number will be increasing dramatically this summer. You just got to set your priorities right these days, I guess.

Zum Sommer wächst das Angebot der Billigflieger an deutschen Flughäfen kräftig.

Nero Was The Guy In The Matrix, Right?

More cool Spiegel stuff, folks.

Trump

Trump as Nero: Europe Must Defend Itself Against A Dangerous President.

It is literally painful to write this sentence, but the president of the United States is a pathological liar. The president of the U.S. is a racist (it also hurts to write this). He is attempting a coup from the top; he wants to establish an illiberal democracy, or worse; he wants to undermine the balance of power. He fired an acting attorney general who held a differing opinion from his own and accused her of “betrayal.” This is the vocabulary used by Nero, the emperor and destroyer of Rome. It is the way tyrants think.

I feel your pain, buddy. It literally hurts me to read this about how it literally hurts you to write this. Let’s both of us stop all this hurting, literally, and move on already. Please.

Shocking?

Trump

Not wirklich (really). OK, maybe a bit. But it’s certainly not anything new.

Spiegel

It’s one of this magazine’s major obsessions (US-Amerika and the bashing thereof), something that defines what it is and ensures its continued popularity. Popularity? No, it’s more like the party line. Somebody told me that every German household could once boast of having a copy of Mein Kampf, know what I’m saying? But don’t take any of this personally because, as their editor-in-chief says about this latest cover: “Der Spiegel does not want to provoke anybody.”

Now if that’s not the Lügenpresse (lying press) I’d like to know what is.