Occasional musings, Geistesblitze, photos, drawings etc. by a "resident alien", who has landed on American soil from a far-away planet called "Germany".

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The role of speeches

This thread is a spin-off from the Clinton vs. Merkel thread. In the latter, a consensus seems to be emerging that when it comes to the chances of women making a career in politics, the situations in the US and Germany seem to be more similar than different. In the present thread, I would like to pursue the role of speeches in the respective political cultures, where I perceive real differences. For my current thoughts, see my first comment.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Merkel vs. Clinton

Heika, of whom we haven't heard for a while, posed an interesting question about women as politicians and the expectations they face in different countries, exemplified by Angela Merkel, chancellor (i.e. head of government) of Germany, and Hillary Clinton.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Word of the Month: Zugzwang

This word is in the language, but I'm still meeting people who don't know what it means. So, let's have a look: It originates in German chess terminology, where it describes a situation in which a player has to make a move (one cannot "pass" in chess), but all legal moves available will make his/her position worse. The word combines Zug ("move" in the context of board games) and Zwang ("compulsion", "being forced to do something"). Zugzwang is now generally used to indicate this sort of dilemma, and this makes it a very useful addition to one's vocabulary.

Note on pronunciation: Tsook-tsvang, where the "oo" is long, as in "fool", and the "a" is open like in "father", not like in "gang".