The Plastic Hippo

July 10, 2017

Ich bein ein Hamburger

Filed under: History,Politics,World — theplastichippo @ 2:47 am
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Not Colonel Sanders

Perhaps the most enduring and delightfully amusing myths generated by the cold war, is the continued belief that a President of the United States stood before a crowd in West Berlin and described himself as a jam-filled doughnut.

Few cold war orators could work a crowd like John F Kennedy even when the crowd spoke a different language and his assertion in 1963 that he, along with other free men would be proud to call themselves citizens of Berlin went down a storm with the German-speaking audience. Only non-German translators raised an eyebrow at the reference to deep-fried confectionary by completely missing the point that people in Berlin call jam-filled doughnuts Pfannkuchen and people in, for example, Hamburg call Pfannkuchen “Berliners”. Imagine JFK announcing to a New York crowd; “I am a weekly news and comment magazine celebrating the cultural richness of New York City”. (more…)

June 8, 2017

Morning has broken…it`s time


With the result of the General Election now a foregone conclusion and with a guaranteed landslide heading towards President Theresa May, the BBC can at last stop searching the streets to interview former Labour voters who will now enthusiastically cast their ballot for Mrs May because the alternative in the sickening shape of Jeremy Corbyn who is simply unelectable.

The small group of newspaper owners can relax in their off-shore havens safe in the knowledge that their editors and hacks have informed the electorate that Jeremy Corbyn is a murdering terrorist who stamps on kittens for pleasure and will sell our children in order to fund a communist invasion from planet Mars.

Having made the sensible decision to announce the only proper result of the election before the polls have opened, mainstream media and sections of social media have spared the population the tiresome and quite unnecessary chore of actually going out to vote. Even a cursory glance at the published manifestos of the political parties would make it impossible for anyone other than a complete idiot not to vote Tory. (more…)

June 3, 2017

Air sick


As the English language continues to gloriously expand and evolve, it has yet to create an adequate word or phrase to capture the true essence of what it means to be a spectator of political campaigning.

The German “schadenfreude” or the related “joie mauvaise” from the French describing an evil joy might explain taking pleasure at the misfortunes of others but does not quite capture the feeling of toe-curling discomfiture watching politicians dig holes armed with only sound bites and spurious facts and figures. Even the Spanish “verguenza ajena” which relates to the sublime if guilty delight of seeing total strangers making fools of themselves during episodes of vicarious embarrassment cannot fully encompass the feeling of wanting to look away even though continuing to look through fingers thrown across disbelieving eyes. The invented “freudenschade”, which cleverly flips the German original to mean expressing sorrow at the success or good fortune of other people, does not cut the linguistic mustard. The advantage of a snap election means that the inevitable gaffs, faux pas, howling examples of hysterical hypocrisy and moments of undiluted unmitigated madness are condensed into a few, brief weeks of something that has no satisfactory descriptor known within the English language. (more…)

May 26, 2017

Which side are you on?

Via India Express and Reuters

I have to admit that until Monday evening, I had never heard of Ariana Grande and even now, more than 72 hours later, I remain completely unfamiliar with her work but recognise that her talent and status make her important as an icon and role model for adolescent girls and various other sections of society we are happy to place in pigeon holes. Sadly, for all her riches, fame and adulation, Ariana Grande will be remembered for giving a concert in Manchester that ended with the murders of children who only wanted to see their idol perform.

Each barbaric atrocity that takes the lives of innocents brings out the very best and the darkest worst of human nature. Again and again the emergency services rush towards horrific catastrophe without a thought of danger for themselves and overcome the human instinct to run away from harm. Instead, they provided rescue, care and comfort to total strangers. (more…)

April 26, 2017

Sixth Republic

Filed under: History,Politics,Sport,World — theplastichippo @ 1:17 am
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Macron et Le Pen via Radio Times

At the end of the Second World War, the Fourth French Republic was established and governed with an unstable mix of Gaullist and Communist elected representatives until 1958 when the colonial civil war in Algeria, the debacle in Indochina and revolts in French West Africa brought about the collapse of government, the establishing of the Fifth Republic and the return of General De Gaulle as the President of France.

The Fourth Republic founded the European Steel and Coal Community, signed the Treaty of Paris in 1951 and then signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957 establishing the European Economic Community. A year later, regardless of bringing about astonishing economic growth, an increase in industrial output and massive improvements in social security, education, health and pension rights, the Fourth Republic fell in the face of an army munity and imminent military coup. (more…)

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