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

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Word of the Month: Der Hassprediger

Word of the Month: Index

Hass is the German word for hatred, and a Prediger is a preacher (derived from the verb predigen-to preach). Taken together, the two compounds refer to someone who, in his function as preacher, calls for hatred and violence. Hasspredigerin is the female form.

The term goes back to the end of the 19th century. But the Duden, the official German spelling guide, lists it in 2006 for the first time. This reflects an increased use in the early 2000s in connection with the activities of certain radical imams who used their pulpit to sow hatred against Western liberal societies and to call for a Holy War to overthrow them. [Source: Wikipedia article "Hassprediger"]

Since then, the term has assumed a wider meaning. It is now being used to characterize anyone who, in some public function, attempts to instill in an audience hatred of some group on the outside, be it for ethnic, political, or religious reasons, even instigate violence against members of that group. For example, the leaders of some xenophobic movements on the far right in Germany have been called Hassprediger (like other nouns ending in –er, the plural is the same as the singular). The term also comes to my mind when I listen to Donald Trump's tirades against Muslims and Mexicans.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Euro 2016

Euro 2016 has started, with 24 national teams competing for the cup. For the intial group phase, these teams have been placed into 6 groups, where each team plays 3 matches, one against each of the other members of its group. The first- and second-placed teams in each groups and the 4 best third-placed teams overall will advance to the round of 16. Here are the groups:
Group A
Group B
Group C
N. Ireland

Euro2016 fever in Cologne, courtesy of kidbrother

Group D
Czech Republic
Group E
Group F

The mood in Germany is guardedly optimistic. Since they won the World Cup two years ago, the Germans have hardly ever played at the level they had shown during that cup. But then again, that just fits the pattern: They typically enter a tournament with a mixed record and then improve as they advance through the rounds.

The great strength of the Mannschaft is that it works as a team, a collective in which every player can, in principle, be replaced without an apparent drop in performance of the team as a whole. At the opposite end are sides whose performance depends on and is geared to a single dominant player. Such teams can be beaten if the dominant player can be neutralized—the Germans demonstrated this during the 2014 World Cup when they beat Portugal (with Ronaldo) in the group round and Argentina (with Messi) in the final. More about this in my first comment.