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

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Word of the month: Wutbürger

The Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (Society for the German Language) made Wutbürger its word of the year for 2010. The term combines Wut (an intense anger that is ready to swing into action at the slightest provocation) and Bürger (citizen). I selected this term for several reasons: It picks up on issues I already introduced in my posts on the current German funk and the Leitkultur discussion. Furthermore, the circumstances in which it is used have parallels in the US. And it demonstrates, again, the ease with which words can be combined in German to create concise expressions for rather nuanced phenomena.

The term was popularized by an essay in the magazine Der Spiegel, whose author used it to describe conservative, if not reactionary, members of the middle class who are deeply dissatisfied with the direction Germany is taking. Specifically, they are disturbed by the fact that it is becoming an immigration country, and they do not see their point of view sufficiently championed by elected officials. However, the term is also applied to groups that do not fit this profile, like the people of Stuttgart who staged massive protests against plans to tear down their old train station and replace it with a more modern structure. As is usual in Germany, this created a debate—more in my first comment...

Chickadee Desperado

I shot a frontal portrait of a chickadee yesterday that just had to be enhanced as shown.

To my German friends: A chickadee is a Kohlmeise.