Around the world it’s Word Of The Year®™ time!

Countless (and pointless) places are taking a moment to declare the word of the year, if for no other reason than it lets them pretend they’re working. Here are the ones I’ve been able to find:

  1. Merriam-Webster: Austerity
  2. Germany picked two: One is “niveaulimbo” which translates as “limbo level”, and refers to the constantly lowered standards of television programming and conversations. The other is Wutbürger, or “enraged citizen.” 
  3. The Philippines: j3j3mon, or jejemon – a little monster who only writes in text speak.
  4. Denmark: Vuvuzela (Yawn. That is so last summer.)
  5. The Flemmings chose Tentsletje, or tent-slut, “a word for a woman who has multiple sexual partners at a music festival, a popular summer pastime for young people in Flanders.” No news yet about how the Walloons voted – but I always think Walloon should be word of the year because of how it sounds.
  6. The Dutch themselves (who live just north of the Phlegms) picked Gedoogregering – the nickname given to the current minority government. The word that came in third should have won:  bestuursobesitas — an exaggerated desire to develop company policy and carry it out.
  7. The Swiss seemed to have picked the German word Ausschaffung (deportation) which became popular in the run-up to a recent referendum to automatically expel any foreigner convicted of a serious crime. (The Swiss continue a tradition of intolerance with this choice. Last year’s word was Minarettverbot, = ‘minaret ban.)’
  8. Russia: Аномальные погодные условия — anomalous weather conditions. Re: Last summer’s sweltering weather. Followed by: Ничего подобного никогда не было (There’s never been anything like this).
  9. China: "to swell" (漲, pronounced zhang) is used when describing rapid rising prices and forms part of the Chinese word for inflation.
  10. UK: Big Society – As in the new coalition government’s dream of…


And what about Eyjafjallajökull? Blowout Preventer? Robo-signers?


German co. selling frozen fried chicken bits as “Obama Fingers”

I can’t improve on the actual story:

0316_chix_460x276Sprehe, a company that has all manner of frozen delicacies on offer, has come up with a new product it calls “Obama Fingers.” Far from being real digits, though, the “fingers” in question are “tender, juicy pieces of chicken breast, coated and fried,” as the product packaging claims.

“We noticed that American products and the American way of eating are trendy at the moment,” Judith Witting, sales manager for Sprehe, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “Americans are more relaxed. Not like us stiff Germans, like (Chancellor Angela) Merkel.”

For Americans in Germany, though, there is a risk that the product might be seen as racially insensitive. Fried chicken has long been associated with African-Americans in the US — naming strips of fried chicken after the first black president could cause some furrowing of brows.

Witting told SPIEGEL ONLINE the connection never even occurred to her. “It was supposed to be a homage to the American lifestyle and the new US president,” she said.

Germans continue to navigate race issues like a drunken bull in a mined China shop.

Via Mike Elgan

Least surprising development of the day: German marketers prove they’re racially tone deaf AGAIN

Last time we had Mr. Wong doing wrong with its logo, now some genius in the Fatherland has actually screwed up a UNICEF ad (try it sometime) by putting a blond kid in black face in it. Quoth AdFreak:

This campaign was meant to raise support for schools in Africa, but even that part of the message is mangled by lines that sound like they’re condemning an entire continent: “In Africa, kids don’t come to school late, but not at all.” The campaign’s apparently been pulled after international criticism, although UNICEF notes that there was no “negative reaction from the German public after publication.”

Apparently they’ve stopped (?) teaching history in the German school system. Y’know, coming from the US I’m usually hesitant to throw the first stone in a racial insensitivity contest UNLESS IT’S AT THE GERMANS. (Fact that my last name is von Hoffman gives me some standing too.) Here’s a nice blanket rule for all those Deutsch marketers: Don’t use racial imagery in an ad. If you have to make sure it can’t possibly be construed as talking about THEM as not being part of US. We are the world, good. They are impoverished, bad.

Scariest headline of the day: “Wild new flavours spice up German sausages”

Mmmmm, German cuisine.

German butchers have introduced a new line of exotic-tasting sausages with flavours ranging from kiwi, maraschino cherry, lemon and even aloe vera.

So if the hardening of the arteries doesn’t kill you the flavors will? ALOE VERA? Isn’t that for like your hands and your hair?

German food is the only thing that can make me nostalgic for UK-cooking before the influx of Indians and Pakistanis made food there worth eating.

Study: Drunks don’t laugh at jokes when they’re not funny

Problem drinkers may know how to have a laugh but they often do not know how to take a joke or understand a punchline, researchers in Germany found.

And now a sample joke from the study:

It was Mother’s Day. Anna and her brother had told their mother to stay in bed that morning. She read her book and looked forward to breakfast. After a long wait she finally went downstairs. Anna and her brother were both eating at the table.

The test subjects were then asked to pick the punchline from one of the following:

a) Anna said: “Hi mom, we didn’t expect you to be awake so early.”

b) Anna picked up an egg and smashed it on her brothers head.

c) Her brother said: “We have a new teacher at our school.”

d) Anna said: “It’s a surprise for Mother’s Day. We cooked our own breakfast.”

 “The researchers found a marked difference between the two groups with less than 68 percent of the alcoholics able to pick the right punchline, d, versus 92 percent in the healthy control group.”

That means that there were people who, without the benefit of booze, found ANY of these answers funny.

For reasons of what I must assume be political correctness, the press did not include another answer, which is a sure fire laugh generator at all the Komedy Klubs in Kologne: “Seize the Sudetenland!”