King Kong Was Already Taken

King and Kong were, I mean.

Hong Kong

Berlin throws shade at China by voting to name panda cubs ‘Hong’ and ‘Kong’ – One of Berlin’s leading papers, Der Tagesspiegel, asked its readers to come up with name suggestions for the cubs, born Aug. 31 at the Berlin Zoo.

The cubs and their parents, Meng Meng, 6, and Jiao Qing, 9, belong to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a Chinese research center. The Berlin Zoo pays $1 million a year to house the popular bears.

Others in the newspaper poll also suggested naming the cubs “Joshua Wong Chi-fung” and “Agnes Chow Ting” after two prominent Hong Kong democracy activists.

Sheesh. Berlin residents certainly give Hong Kong more consideration than their government leaders do. But, then again, Berliners know how important it is to show solidarity “with a city fighting for survival.”

And We Don’t Like Swabians Either

You already knew that Berlin’s Left had problems with all of those annoying, gentrifying foreign out-of-towners who won’t leave town. Now Ärger (resentment) has broken out with gentrifying German out-of-towners from Swabia (the region around Stuttgart in southwestern Germany) who won’t leave either.

Swabians go home!

More specifically, “native” Prenzlauer Berg Berliners of the poltically correct kind are pissed off these days about the confusion that reigns whenever they want to order their local breakfast buns in the morning (called Schrippen here). The upwardly mobile Swabians who now live here too prefer calling them by the name they use for them down south in their own neck of the woods: Wecken. And this is just plain wrong. Or something. And an issue. A German issue even. A classic German petty bourgeoisie issue even, even.

In fact, this German petty bourgeoisie issue has become such a German petty bourgeoisie issue that Bundestag Vice President Wolfgang Thierse (SPD) himself felt compelled to note in a recent newspaper interview that “I’m annoyed whenever I go to my local baker and find out that there are no more Schrippen for sale, only Wecken. In Berlin we say Schrippen – and the Swabians ought to get used to that.”

This would be funny except that he meant it. Which makes it funny after all, come to think of it. And I’m not even making this stuff up, people.

“Ich ärgere mich, wenn ich beim Bäcker erfahre, dass es keine Schrippen gibt, sondern Wecken. In Berlin sagt man Schrippen – daran könnten sich selbst Schwaben gewöhnen.”