German Of The Day: Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz

That means… Beats the hell out of me. I think it means something like Internet Enforcement Law.

Mass

At any rate, it’s this really clever new law pushed through by German Justice Minister Heiko Mass (SPD) – a particularly lame duck because his party is now history after last week’s election – that forces Internet companies like Facebook to remove “obviously illegal” posts (whatever that means) within 24 hour or pay big fines. This takes care of “hate speech” forever, see? Brilliant.

Of course it will also take care of a lot of posts that will have nothing at all to do with hate speech but will be blocked anyway by these companies. Just in case, you know?

Free speech ist not quite as free as it used to be in Germany. But it’s worth it, right?

Kritiker bemängeln, dass die Rechtsdurchsetzung in private Hände gelegt wird, und sie fürchten ein “Overblocking“: Die Betreiber könnten im Zweifel lieber zu viele Inhalte entfernen, um nicht mit dem NetzDG in Konflikt zu geraten. Dadurch gerate die Meinungsfreiheit in Gefahr.

 

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Don’t Mind The Mind Police

You don’t have to. They’re minding you. Before you even noticed that you minded, too. But once you do start minding, remember to remind yourself that they are only minding you for your own good. So never mind.

Sexism

Progress at last, I must say. Berlin’s Left party has taken another step forward into the past by banning what they have deemed to be sexist advertising with of half-naked women on city billboards. I couldn’t agree more. I want them all naked. Completely naked. Now.

That image above would also fall under that sexism category, by the way. Like I said, never mind.

“You don’t have to hide your pugs.”

German Of The Day: Majestätsbeleidigung

That means a slight or an insult against a sovereign majesty-type person (lèse majesté).

Law

You know, the crime German comedian Jan Böhmermann recently committed against the Top Sultan What’s in Charge in Turkey? In the year 2016, I mean?

Anyways, this law, paragraph 103, is still on the books here in Germany and Hamburg’s justice minister has decided to go way out on the limb here and give it a shot and see if he could maybe sort of like get rid of this ridiculous piece of legislation already. It would be a big step forward into the unknown and all that, of course, but I, for one, am convinced that German civilization will be able to handle it.

Die Justizbehörde geht davon aus, dass das Gesetz noch vor der Sommerpause gestrichen werden könnte und das Verfahren gegen Böhmermann dann eingestellt werden müsste. Davon unberührt blieben jedoch Ermittlungen gegen Böhmermann wegen Beleidigung nach Paragraf 185 Strafgesetzbuch.

Veil, What Will They Think Of Next?

Veiling German women? What a tremendous waste of natural resources that would be.

Veils

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) said the move to ban ads which “reduce women or men to sexual objects” is an attempt to create a “modern gender image”.

The important thing to note here folks are the three letters S, P and D. Support for Germany’s Social Democratic party has now slumpted to an all-time historical-like low (around 20 percent). But now, at the very latest, we at least understand why.

The plan has been called political correctness gone mad by its critics, who said it was the first step towards a “nanny state”. It comes following a controversy over claims made by a senior politician that schools and canteens in Germany are ‘banning’ the serving of pork to avoid offending Muslim migrants.

“To demand the veiling of women or taming of men, is something known among radical Islamic religious leaders, but not from the German minister of justice.”

Censorship Is For Everyone

Just like Liebe.

Rammstein

Hey, you know the deal here in Germany: Anything that is not expressly allowed is strictly forbidden. Or at least very, very, very suspicious. You know, like free speech?

Rammstein has filed a lawsuit against Germany for having temporarily indexed the album “Liebe ist für alle da,” said a spokesperson of the Bonn Regional Court on Monday (04.04.2016). The rock band is seeking 66,000 euros (nearly $75,000) in damages.

In 2009, the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons, a German governmental agency responsible for listing works that could potentially harm youths, had decided that one of the songs of the album, “Ich tu dir weh,” as well as the pictures in the booklet accompanying the CD, were “brutalizing” and “immoral.” The entire album was indexed.

Once a work gets listed by the organization, it may not be advertised and can only be sold under strict conditions – limiting its potential success.

Ist alles, was nicht ausdrücklich verboten ist, erlaubt?

Hate Speech To Be Gone Within 24 Hours, Dumb Speech Remains Untouched

In an international move of solidarity to promote goodness and niceness the world over for the betterment of the entire human race itself,  the nations of Germany, Facebook Google and Twitter have agreed to end hate speech from their websites in our time or at least within 24 hours of its issue.

Facebook

“This cuts right to the root of the whole hate thing,” a spokesman for the nation of Germany stressed. “As we have all learned through our years of experience in enforcing political correctness, merely using the proper terminology or “newspeak” is enough to alleviate the actual causes behind this improper way of thinking, I mean speaking. It’s like magic.”

Another spokesman assured the public that only hate speech will be targeted here and that all that other kinds of dumb, inane and annoying speech, the vast majority of speech that’s out there, will remain untouched.

“Wir dürfen den geistigen Brandstiftern nicht das Feld überlassen – weder auf der Straße noch im Netz.”

Forbidding Stuff Makes It Go Away

Right? In Germany it does. Or it’s supposed to, at least. But it doesn’t work here either, of course.

Take old Nazi films apparently easily available on YouTube, for instance. “Experts” are now shocked to find that it is possible to view them on the Internet, even though such films were placed “on the index” in Germany long ago. Reminds us of the Mein KampfKrampf (convulsion), doesn’t it?

Films

Let’s face it, if we really want to forbid something it ought to be stupidity. Before that works, forbidding films is a questionable undertaking at best. I think the Libertarians sum that up nicely: “If there is no good reason to forbid something (a good reason being that it violates the rights of others), it should be allowed.”

Or do these films, as sad and stupid as they are, violate your rights?

Müssen Filme überhaupt verboten werden?

If You Want To Watch YouTube Videos in Germany, Go To South Sudan Instead

Over 60 percent of the world’s most popular YouTube videos are blocked in Germany – South Sudan only manages to block about 15 percent.

GEMA

GEMA, which represents recording artists as well as publishers, wants YouTube to pay a fee for each and every video viewed on the site that contains music of one of the artists represented by GEMA (which include every major label artist, as well as most indies). YouTube has rejected that approach, and instead wants to pay a percentage of the ad revenue it makes with those videos.

Negotiations have, well, broken down. Feelings have been hurt. Lawsuits have been filed.

“Dieses Video ist in Deutschland nicht verfügbar, weil es möglicherweise Musik enthält, für die die erforderlichen Musikrechte von der Gema nicht eingeräumt wurden.”

What do Mark Twain and Germany have in common?

I dunno. Mark Twain liked that awful German language, I guess. And of course the German language has often been “sanitized” in the past, just like Mark Twain’s English is getting sanitized right now.

This makes me angry. And sad. Because, well, it’s so sad. And the people doing it are so clueless. Or, worse still, they are perfectly aware of what they are doing.

Just in case you might care, here are some thoughts on Politically Correct English from David Foster Wallace that I, for one, find very interesting indeed:

“Traditionally, Prescriptivists tend to be political conservatives and Descriptivists tend to be liberals. But today’s most powerful influence on the norms of public English is actually a stern and exacting form of liberal Presciptivism. I refer to Politically Correct English (PCE).”

“The same ideological principles that informed the original Descriptivist revolution–namely, the rejections of traditional authority (born of Vietnam) and of traditional inequality (born of the civil rights movement)–have now actually produced a far more inflexible Prescriptivism, one largely unencumbered by tradition or complexity and backed by the threat of real-world sanctions (termination, litigation) for those who fail to conform.”

“PCE’s various pre- and proscriptions are taken very seriously indeed by colleges and corporations and government agencies, whose institutional dialects now evolve under the beady scrutiny of a whole new kind of Language Police.”

“PCE is not just silly but ideologically confused and harmful to its own cause.”

“PCE’s core fallacy is that a society’s mode of expression is productive of its attitudes rather than a product of these attitudes.”

“PCE purports to be the dialect of progressive reform but is in fact–in its Orwellian substitution of the euphemisms of social equality for social equality itself–of vastly more help to conservatives and the US status quo than traditional prescriptions ever were.”

If interested, take a look at Authority And American Usage (pages 110 and 111 or thereabout) in Consider The Lobster.

“Many thinkers and bloggers are understandably aghast at this Ministry of Truth-style fiddling with a classic text.”