Saturday, December 8, 2018

AKK and the uvular r

AKK and friends
In Germany, all eyes are on the conservatives today. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has succeeded Angela Merkel as head of the conservative Christian Democratic Union Party. Merkel, despite having fallen from her once very high perch, largely because of her decision to do the right thing and open the gates to people fleeing from war and misery, is still regarded as a kind of superwoman. And those fond of describing AKK as a mini-Merkel thinking they’re putting her down may actually be boosting her popularity. Not sure of that. If I were a German I don’t know who I’d vote for anymore. I used to say I’m most at home with the Socialists, but they’ve gotten terribly incompetent looking recently. The Greens, maybe. Probably not the conservatives, although friend Jürgen, who does vote in German elections, says he goes with Merkel because she exudes competence.

What I find remarkable, viewing German politics through an American lens, is the status of women in Germany. When I was a kid, German women were still relegated to the three K’s – Kinder, Küche, Kirche (children, kitchen, church). Now we have a conservative party leader who’s a woman taking over the job from another conservative party leader who’s a woman. I know more women are getting into politics in America as well, but Germany is way ahead of us in terms of the glass ceiling. Bravo, I say. Good on ya.

Now if only they could do something about that name. What a mouthful for non-German mouths. And not all that easy for German mouths, either, frankly. They’ve decided to call her AKK not so much as a sign of affection, I think, as because you’re less likely to stumble over it.

But look at the positive side. When she married Mr. Karrenbauer, she kept her father’s name and I like this feminist move toward the adoption of hyphenated names. It allows your kids to have the same name as both parents and respects both parents’ origins. So practice saying Kramp-Karrenbauer ten times in a row very fast. And when you become good at it, add in Annegret. Then get rid of the American liquid r and learn to make your uvula vibrate so you can do it the German way and burn off a few more calories.

Nice lady. I like it that she’s a booster of the French language and has tried to get her home state of Saarland to become bilingual, like neighboring Luxemburg. It will make Franco-German relations a bit easier, I imagine, if the French know the leader of their neighboring superpower is on their side for real and isn’t faking it.

She beat out her two rivals for the job, Jens Spahn and Friedrich Merz. And if all things were equal, I would have gone for Spahn, for gay solidarity reasons, particularly in light of the fact that AKK worries same-sex marriage will lead to humans marrying animals (Even nice ladies can be idiots when they allow their brains to idle). Merz is entirely too big-money for my tastes. But then so is the whole conservative party. And all things are not equal.

And while we’re about it, normally I wouldn’t give the conservatives so much attention. But German conservatives are sort of like American democrats, and with our “conservatives” having sold their souls to von Clownstick, comparisons make no sense anymore anyway. If you don’t believe me, consider the fact that AKK has argued that Germany’s top tax rate should return to 53% where is used to be before one of her fellow conservatives took it down to 42% in the 90s. Can you imagine Mitch McConnell suggesting we tax our rich at 53%? Can you imagine a democrat making that suggestion?

Somebody should find the photographer and give them a prize for this shot I posted above, which I just grabbed from a German news program, die Tageschau from yesterday. Merz on AKK’s left and Jens Spahn on AKK’s right with Merkel peeking through the gap. Great shot.

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