Saturday, 18 January 2014

betriebsblindheit oder golden hammer

Earlier this week, an independent body of linguists announced the ignoble winner for Un-word of the year for 2013 (Das Unwort des Jahres), ever focussing on the popular euphemisms that the public, politicians and press have adopted that tend to downplay the seriousness behind really heady issues. The jury choose the term Sozialtourismus, referring to the fear of immigrants from eastern European countries newly admitted into the European Union descending on wealthier countries only to receive welfare and not to find jobs.

Such pandering or simplification—intended or perceived, is used to justify discrimination against migrants with Romanian and Bulgarian roots and calls for quotas when the problem, both in their homelands and in there host-lands, very complex and allows policies and attitudes to remain ignorant and insufficient. Sozialtourismus—or Benefits-Tourism, beat out other candidates like Supergrundrechts (inalienable rights—something not to be infringed upon, even in the name of public safety and security), Homo-Ehe (the gay marriage/gay-rights debate) and Ausschließeritis (exclusionism—referring to the break-away tendencies of some members of the EU). Past winners have included the derogatory Döner-Morde, in reference to the series racially motivated killings perpetrated by a neo-Nazi hate group against victims with a Turkish background, who mostly ran small businesses, stereotypically like a döner stand (only one known victim ran such a snack bar—while the others were florists, locksmiths or had small kiosks). Golden hammer is a short way of referring to the tendency to resort to something familiar and convenient to facilitate a solution, a dangerous sort of generalisation, since to the holders of the hammer, everything looks like a nail.