Monday, June 14, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

I am not a sports buff but I do enjoy the World Cup because it takes my husband and kids off my hands. In fact it takes the whole world off my hands. Despite being a news agency, for example, my office has made arrangements so folks can watch during work hours if it’s an important game (read: Germany is playing).

There was another payoff this morning with a linguistic controversy. Following a goal by Miroslav Klose for the German team, a tv commentator said that for Klose the goal must be an “innere Reichsparteitag.” I thought, “Reichsparteitag? As in huge Nazi gathering in Nuremberg with hyperexcitement and populist adrenaline?”

Yup, the very one. It turns out that an inner Reichsparteitag is when this event seems to take place inside you. It’s a euphoric feeling, a good thing – as long as you don’t say so in public. Because any reference to anything Nazi is a no-no, especially in a way that could be construed as positive. Ok, I get it, but I do enjoy the image of having a crowd whoop it up inside you.

The unfortunate choice of expression was all over the papers and web this morning. I talked to a few colleagues about it, two of whom were shocked to hear it used on tv, another who herself wasn’t sure what it meant. I thought it was both funny ha-ha and funny peculiar, because of that image, and the phrase’s origin and construction.

But it doesn’t matter what I think. What did the Central Council of German Jews have to say? Although they said such expressions rightfully beg examination, they also advised those who were offended “against over-exaggeration and hysteria,” and suggested instead enjoying the German team’s win.


Anonymous said...

When my daughter in the US army) was stationed in Nurenburg, there would be all these really great rock band concerts at that stadium.
all the US people referred to it as the "Hitler" stadium & were constantly told,"No, no, dn't call it that.but the name stuck.It had really good accoustics & band came from all over Europe. We wonder what it is called now?

christine said...

Language is so complicated. As you say, the concept of the "Reichthingy" exists, even though you're not supposed to say it. So lots people think about the feeling in those terms, but he let it slip. It must be a pretty bad slip. Like saying a racial epithet on TV (even though he meant it in a weirdly positive way).

SarahJane said...

I really don't know what the stadium is called now. But definitely not Hitler Stadium... laugh

@Christine - yes, I was surprised about the reaction. I was also surprised I'd never heard the expression before.

Anonymous said...

It is so comforting when groups act reasonably when confronted with a minor infraction. It reminds me of when a child falls and unless an adult asks if they're OK they bounce up again.

SarahJane said...

Yes, if the Reichsparteitag were full of buxom cheerleaders no one would mind, but it was full of nazis. so there you have it.

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