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?

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.

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.”

This Was A Hard Decision To Make

No, not deciding as in electing the walking sleeping pill Frank-Walter Steinmeier himself so unceremoniously to the ceremonial office of president of Germany. That was a no-brainer, in more ways than one. I mean deciding as in whether to write a post about that boring election or about the cat in Lörrach. So here’s the cat story.

Cat

This cat locked his owner lady out of her apartment by shutting and somehow locking the balcony door while she was out there getting some fresh air. There was no locksmith available at that hour so she called the cops and they threw her one of their nightsticks so she could bust the glass door open to get back inside again. Is that cool or what? Other than that though, not much going on.

Mit einem Sprung gegen die Klinke hatte die Katze die Balkontür in der Nacht zu Sonntag von innen verschlossen.

German Of The Day: Schweinefurz

That means pig fart. And pig farts are super hilarious here in Germany (Hey, German humor is what it is. I’m not passing judgement here or anything).

Pig farts

Unless, of course, they are directed toward foreign heads of state, so-to-speak.

A German court upheld  ban on a satirical poem which suggested Turkey’s president had sex with animals and watched child porn. The Hamburg court upheld its injunction issued in May banning re-publication of parts of the poem which it called ‘abusive and defamatory’.

A lamb or a llama fart probably probably wouldn’t have been all that bad in this guy’s poem, but pig fart? That just doesn’t cut it (Cut it, get it?).

Schweinefurz“ ist für Erdogan besonders ehrverletzend.

Diplomacy Is Everything

Just ask Donald Trump (after he gets off the phone with Australia). He and the new German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) ought to get along just fine. He’s coming for a visit to Washington today. If they let him through airport security, I mean.

Diplomacy

“The US will have to build better cars.”

“Here in Europe, it is not our policy to stigmatize people.”

“He actually means it and I think we must dress warmly (be prepared).”

“Dear USA, stay the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

“Like speculators who ride the wave of rage, without care for the consequences.”

“I hope to have a direct and personal exchange, as well as to offer friendship and trust to Washington,” Gabriel said ahead of the meeting.

“Overwhelming And Sustained Public Presence”

That’s what the English term fake news has in Germany. And that’s why it just won Anglicism of the year 2016 (that’s bigger than the Oscars over here, folks).

Fake

Fake (pronounced “fack” as in Fack ju Göhte) and news (pronounced “noose”) is more than the sum of its parts. Much more. It fills a gap in German vocabulary that would otherwise not be filled. That is, unless you filled this gap with fake German news, a term for which there is no proper German term. This is because all the news here is fake, always has been (state-run TV, know what I’m saying?). But it’s all good clean fun and nobody gets hurt feelings because Germany is a benevolent all-intrusive kinda state, right? Not always has been, but still.

„Fake News“ wird im Englischen den Angaben zufolge etwa seit dem Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts verwendet: Damals seien bewusste Falschmeldungen in Zeitungen ab und an so bezeichnet worden.

Germany To Build Autobahn And Let Austria Pay For It

Outraged by years of illegal foreign automobile immigration into their country, irate German politicians have now announced the introduction of road tolls that purposely aim to discriminate against these foreign drivers. The money taken in here will then be used to build yet another autobahn to, uh, keep them out or something.

Foreigner

As one irate Berlin government spokesman noted: “We will build a great autobahn, and nobody builds autobahns better than us, believe me, and we’ll build it very inexpensively. We will build a great great autobahn on our southern border and we’ll have Austria pay for that autobahn.”

Furious and really, really pissed off, the Austrian prime minister has now cancelled a visit with chancellor Merkel planned for next week and Austrian companies have begun launching a series of boycotts of German companies.

Austrian Transport Minister Joerg Leichtfried on Wednesday said he was discussing with other countries whether to file a joint complaint against Germany’s proposed Autobahn toll, which he said violated the EU’s “principle of equal treatment”.

Der Aufstand gegen die Pkw-Maut beginnt

Who Am I? Where Am I? And Why Am I Reading This?

My fellow Americans: We have lost our identity. Again already, or something. Or at least that’s what I just read down here.

Amerika

But luckily for us, the folks over at Spiegel Online are going to give our identities back to us. Only this being Germany, and Germany being Germany, and what with Datenschutz (data protection) and all, we will have to properly identify ourselves first, of course (unless we’re Syrian refugees from North Africa, I mean, but we’re not, we’re Mericans). So… Wait a minute. How the hell is this supposed to work anyway?

Reporter Holger Stark spent the past four years as DER SPIEGEL’s Washington correspondent during a time in which the country changed radically enough to elect Donald Trump as its president. What led this once mighty nation into decline?

Megalomania & Small-Mindedness – How America Lost Its Identity

PS: Just read it, folks. They’re only trying to help us. This is NOT fake news, by the way, so don’t even THINK of looking for any alternative facts.