German Of The Day: Fremdschämen

That means “external shame.” Second-hand embarrassment, that is, or feeling embarrassment for somebody else – especially when that somebody else is clearly somebody else who knows no shame. Like Gazprom Gerd (SPD), for instance.


Now we can cringe at him being in love with what will most likely be his fifth wife and read all about it in the Bunte even though there is no force in the universe that can make me do that but still.

“Wo Schröder inzwischen privat Pipelines verlegt, wissen wir seit September… Der Altkanzler und seine koreanische Freundin Soyeon Kim zeigen uns ihr großes Glück und verraten, wie sie ihre Zukunft planen. Wird sie seine 5. Ehefrau?”



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


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.

Peinlich, Peinlicher, Am Peinlichsten

Peinlich. You know, as in embarrassing or cringe-making? Berlin’s Tip Magazin has just announced this year’s winners for the city’s “Flop 100” Most Embarrassing Berliners and did a really thorough analysis, I find. The only difficult part was narrowing the short list down to 100 losers, it seems.

Wowereit in Aktion.

And no, it wasn’t really much of a contest when it came to selecting number one. The Überflieger (high-flyer – as in airport, get it?) himself, Mayor Klaus Wowereit, was never really in any serious danger of not coming out on bottom, although Pirate clown Johannes Ponader gave him a pretty good run for the money. And no, they won’t be receiving any, or any more than they have already.

Einen Ehrenplatz auf der Nummer 100 bekam Altplayboy Rolf Eden – der wäre vermutlich enttäuscht, wenn sein Name nicht in der Liste auftauchen würde.

Real women wanted

Sometimes it takes a real man to make a real decision like this: Editor-in-chief Andreas Leberts has announced that starting next year, Brigitte, Germany’s most popular women’s magazine, will ban those skinny professional model types from its pages in favor of “real women”, whoever and wherever they are.

Back to nature or something.

This decision is seen as an attempt to combat an unhealthy standard of unhealthy looking thin and flat I mean thin beauty and could also be seen as being the first step toward finally turning Brigitte into the men’s magazine it deserves to be.

Brigitte isst wieder.