German Word of the Week — Plus!: Moralin and Gulaschkanone

This week's German Words of the Week is not only a twofer but also — an example the kind of fabulous positive-plus synergy which makes this blog world-famous — coupled with What I Learned from Tatort. Wow! I can hardly wait to type the post!

Last week, I dutifully switched on my television to watch Tatort. Every Tatort plays in a different German city, and this one was in Kiel, a port city way up north on the Baltic sea. Unfortunately, the detective who features in the Kiel Tatorts is Borowski, who has all the charisma of a sea cucumber. Yes, I know, his waxen flesh and papery monotone are supposed to convey the legendary taciturnity of Germans from the north, renowned as the dullest, stuffiest, and most reserved of all Germans. Which, believe me, is saying a lot. My pragmatic Anglo-Saxon mind entertains the heretical notion of whether these Ent-like humanoids should be the subject of televisions shows that purport to be "entertainment." The most brutal blow was the casting of gorgeous Turkish vixen Sibel Kekilli in a supporting role. She stole every scene she was in, and made the viewer desperately yearn for her to suddenly break into the other scenes, which mainly featured North Germans bitching and seething.

But I digress. I should have known I'd be in for something special this time, because the entire week, the main German public-television station had been highlighting proper nutrition with various specials and cooking shows. And that meant that this week's Tatort had to Teach us about Proper Nutrition. As Christina Sieben observed in her review, the "die Gulaschkanone" of high-minded educational public TV was set on "constant bombardment." Now, a Gulaschkanone is basically what it sounds like: a goulash cannon. The term originally referred to military field kitchens, for obvious reasons. But here, in context, the cannon is spouting edifying lessons like a Stalin's organ. In Sieben's summary:

Artificial colors have to be, because nobody will buy white energy drinks. Cows are always chained up in the dairy. "Research Institutes" are in the pocket of industry. Good food costs money, but people are too cheap to pay for it. The old organic farmer in the show knows all his cows by name. Everyone wants to earn money. And, at the end of the day, it's all our fault. Bon appetit! 

Sieben goes on to predict that with Public Television Nutrition Edification Week over, the next Tatort will contain slightly less Moralin. You know, Moraline (not to be confused with Betweenanene (Screwene)). Like Adenosine, Guanine, Cytosine, Adrenaline, or Methamphetamine. Moraline bonds with plot elements in public-television dramas, causing the narrative to coalesce in ways that offer edifying lessons to the benighted, easily corruptible audience.

Thanks to Moraline, we learned all those valuable things about food and nature from last week's Tatort (although strangely enough, the topic of lavish cow subsidies (g) was barely mentioned). Moraline additive also helps us understand, for example, that unemployed people want to work, alcoholics and drug addicts roll like they do because of childhood trauma, women can do everything men can, family-run firms are the only halfway-acceptable form of free enterprise, and that Scientology, nationalism, plastic toys, wars, lobbysists, and nuclear power are evil.

If you watch too much German public television, your moraline levels may reach toxicity: You may begin to use phrases like "our fellow-citizens of the Islamic faith" or "food-chain-renewability enhancing measures" in everyday speech. At this point, you'll need to spend a few hours in a secure, moraline-free environment. The most reliable place is Titanic Magazine (g), which, is 100% moraline-free and whose motto is "Ein klares Ja zum Nein!" (A clear Yes to No!).

5 thoughts on “German Word of the Week — Plus!: Moralin and Gulaschkanone

  1. Next minority, please:
    (c/o queer.de)

    Der NDR dreht im November einen “Tatort”, in dem es um das Doppelleben eines möglicherweise schwulen Fußballers gehen soll.

    Wie die “Bild”-Zeitung berichtet, soll Charlotte Lindholm (Maria Furtwängler) in Hannover den Mord eines Profifußballers aufklären, der offenbar ein Doppelleben geführt hat. Dabei werden auch Szenen in der AWD-Arena von Hannover 96 gedreht – hier hatte Torwart Robert Enke bis zu seinem Selbstmord im November letzten Jahres gespielt. Der “Tatort” soll im kommenden Frühjahr im Ersten zu sehen sein.

    Hauptdarstellerin Furtwängler erklärte, dass es die Aufgabe der Krimireihe sei, “Tabus zu brechen”. “Die Idee zu dem Film kam aus einem Gespräch zwischen mir und Theo Zwanziger”, erklärte die 44-Jährige.

    (…)
    Der SWR-Tatort soll kurz vor der in Deutschland stattfindenden Frauen-WM am 26. Juni 2011 ausgestrahlt werden.

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  2. @onchyophaga: Mrs Furtwängler has the charisma of a fridge, my wife says. Well, that’s still a few levels below a sea cucumber.

    Now back to that Tatort: What really disappointed me was the fact that “RTL Samstag Nacht” hero Esther Schweins looked really old. (And that reminds me that I’m getting old, too.)

    Like

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