Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Germans and Euphemism

Euphemism.

It's a word meaning a mellow or implied word or expression.....which you end up swapping from a really severe or tough word which means you felt as troublesome or undesirable.

It'd be like you having an affair with a 'fallen-woman' instead of saying she was trailer-trash, a tramp, a whore, or a harlot.  I admit.....no one these days uses harlot unless they are an English literature freak who've gotten into some heavy drugs and had some kind of nervous breakdown.

Germans have taken to euphemism.  I went back to read over commentary of a TV show from a state-run channel last night.....the Hard But Fair show.

Some German police union guy commented on how bad this political correctness and euphemism has become.  If you are a cop, you can't really use the word 'Roma', which would indicate real quick to a German that you are talking about Gypsies.  So the cop just refers to these people as 'folks who frequently change places of residence'.

Most Americans would start laughing, but he was totally serious.  It's a forbidden term now for the German cops....so they make up these simple euphemisms.

The same police union guy noted that you can't say cleaning lady anymore.....that the common term now is space beautician.  Sexual assaults?  That's a word that is rapidly disappearing....in police statistical language....is referred to as 'bodily harm'. It's treated the same as if two guys got into a bar fight and each drunkenly slugged the other enough to knock themselves out.....which is apparently equal now to sexual assault.

Yeah, I know.....there's something wrong with this euphemism thing.

I noticed in regional Hessen news from this morning....more euphemism stuff.

There is a mayor of a small town here in Hessen.....Bad Hersfeld.  He's not attached to any political party.  It's a town of 30,000 people.  After the Koln episode.....the mayor came onto Facebook and made a comment or two.

Some folks in Bad Hersfeld didn't take the comments well, and accused the mayor of 'spiritual arson'.  I sat there a moment and tried to envision this.  Spiritual arson isn't in my vocabulary and it probably doesn't translate from German to English.

It's supposed to mean that you said something to incite people to think bad things.  Course, most people would say that their wife says stuff like that all the time, or that Grandma incites me whenever I show up....saying I'm dressed like a hobo or tramp.

Some of the mayor's comments?  "Apparently, some of the refugees are still in full and juice are full of excess energy," Or "Why do these 'quitters' in our country and our culture come with feet instead at home for her country and her family fight that would be masculine."

What the journalists had to note as they wrote the article and tried to slam the guy in some ways....is that a fair number of folks in Bad Hersfeld came to agree with the mayor and his comments.  Once you step into a pub where German middle-class guys....craftsmen....non-welfare folks....are discussing worldly matters....there's not a lot of appreciation over the immigration theme anymore. The marginal plus-up that existed prior to Koln....is probably gone.

The curious part about this story is that this mayor....is the same guy back in 2011, who took on right-wing extremists and the NPD (the political party backing Nazi-ism).

So, if you are sitting there one evening, and some German intellectual throws some weird word combination at you....that doesn't really translate or make much sense....ask for the literal meaning, and don't be shocked if he was discussing a local circus passing through town, and instead described it as an "exotic creature two-stepping spectacle".

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