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

Monday, January 23, 2017

Word of the Month: Der Dauerbrenner

War on Christmas
Word of the Month: Index

A Brenner is a burner (derived from brennen—to burn). Dauer means "duration" and refers to the time something lasts. Used as a prefix, it indicates that something lasts seemingly forever. Thus, a Dauerbrenner refers to an oven that continues to burn while consuming hardly any fuel and without human intervention. Used figuratively, the term refers to something that seems to be going on forever or to someone who has been performing for a long period of time.

Here are some examples demonstrating how broadly the term can be applied: The Lion King has been a Dauerbrenner on Broadway. Willy Nelson has been a Dauerbrenner in country music. And if you're looking for an issue that can be considered a seasonal Dauerbrenner, the so-called "War on Christmas" comes to mind (more on this in my first comment).

And here's an example from a recent issue of a popular German soccer magazine: Under the heading "Die Dauerbrenner" (note that the plural is the same as the singular), it identified the handfull of players who haven't missed a single minute of play so far in the premier German soccer league (the Bundesliga).


Ulrich said...

The "War on Christmas" has been a pet issue for what I call the "resentment industry", spearheaded by Fox News. The claim is that a "war" is waged against Christmas by people who wish someone "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" when they do not know if the person they are talking to is, in fact, a Christian; or by people who object to the publicly-sponsored display of nativity scenes on the grounds that it violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

I must confess that I consider this claim spurious, given the importance of Christmas as an official holiday. It is true that over 70% of US citizens identify themselves as Christians. But that doesn't make Christianity a state religion, and I do not like it when people behave as if it were one; i.e., I'm with the "Happy Holidays" crowd. But I have also noticed that people who wish me "Merry Christmas" without knowing my religious beliefs seem to be doing this louder and in a more aggressive tone than I have been used to in the past; i.e., I have the sense that an increasing number of people buy into the War on Christmas myth. But then again, this may be just my paranoia.

Heika said...

Well I have the fear that the people who supported Hillary Clinton in the primary are possessed by an idea that is, for them, a dauerbrenner, the notion that Bernie Sanders destroyed her chances. The election has been over for more than two months, and they are still at it. Wouldn't that behavior-- regular comments like "Sanders did the heavy lifting for Trump and that caused Hillary to lose " on and off social media--make the accusation a dauerbrenner, never mind a rationale for her stunning loss.

In any case, great word and wonderful images.

And yes, I was a Sanders supporter.

Ulrich said...

Heika: From what I have seen, I believe you'll be right about some portion of Clinton supporters. By turning Sanders into a Dauerbrenner, they'll generate enough smoke to hide from themselves the real reasons why Clinton lost.

It's really maddening: Sanders basically handed them the nomination on a silver platter by (a) demonstrating where the votes they needed were; and (b) having a dedicated following that would have gone to bat for Clinton if she had made Sanders' message her own.* But no, the Clinton camp knew better--they had their "model" and thought it was opportune to badmouth the Bernies until the bitter end...and they're still doing it, as you point out.

*In fact, there was a report by George Packer in the New Yorker a month before the election that made Clinton sound as if she had gotten the message--but clearly, her Campaign had not. Packer btw is the author of the article on Angela Merkel that inspired me to make "Mutti" my Word of the Month exactly two years ago.

Jonah said...


It's not just the blaming everybody else but Hilarious and DNC, it's also the Obama Akbar on social media that bug me to no end. They can echo chamber all year long, I am not buying!

Hilary's loss might have been the best thing ever happened to the Democrats. But, they don't seem to be learning the lesson needed and continue to blame everybody else but themselves. The worst thing might have just happened to the Republicans. But they don't seem to realize it. Oh, the irony.