Tag Archives: Germany

Autism : “language matters”–yes indeed.

I have a particular pet peeve and I know I am not alone :  Nazi analogies. Upset me. Every time.

Now I have been told before that my personal sensitivity to people “playing the Nazi card” for emphasis – or as a playful hyperbole! – comes from the fact that it was indeed ‘my country’ that caused the 13+Mio death (non counting war casualties) during the 3rd Reich. The idea being that some kind of inherited, collective guilt-shame makes me cringe or irritated when I am reminded of it.  Not so.
I am quite aware of my country’s history, thank you, and I even know how my own family was involved and victimized by the Nazis. I have grown up to “never again” and “fight the early signs”. And also : “language matters”.

As history moves on, new genocides and war crimes happen, still it is generally agreed that the Nazi terror is the ultimate superlative of horror and calling someone a “Nazi” is the non plus ultra insult. Or is it? Because by the end 90s, I started to dive into the Anglophone internet – and came across the word ‘breastfeeding Nazi’. Hang on, what!? Wow. And then, people would literally say about themselves : “I am a bit of a grammar Nazi” to express how much they cared for proper use of language. Is that so?
Well, let me be the Thundering Goddess of Linguistics and tell you – there is no semantic shift for “Nazi”. You need to shut up!

“Nazi” is the colloquial expression for members of the NSDAP during the 3rd Reich. Out of respect for the tens of millions of victims of persecution and war, the survivors and descendants – you cannot use the word for emphasis or comparison. NOTHING compares and will ever compare.

nazicard-150x109And this also goes for the use of nazi-isms for the politically or socially outraged. Yes. Unless there is a real connection to 3rd Reich persecution, your argument will not be more convincing by adding shock value with holocaust comparisons, “reductio ad hitlerum” or using Nazi as a prefix. As a matter of fact you will certainly lose credibility and support.

I have expressed my thoughts before on the division in what some call the ‘autism community’, especially when it comes to different approaches of parents. Here is what happened:

Yesterday, in a tweet, someone compared the “autism epidemic” (sic)  to the holocaust.

Look. I see the pain of parents and autists alike.  I know we are lucky. Lucky to manage ‘so so’ with a child that has good (not perfect) support in Australia – and ‘only’ high-functioning autism. I do not compare myself to the parents that are lost and confused and feel abandoned by their governments (in the example: the US).
But while the use of shock talk might get you some attention, I doubt it will get you more support or understanding. Autism is and will never be an “epidemic” (=outbreak of infectious disease). And comparing a government that you judge too inactive in the face of exploding numbers of diagnosis to those responsible of actively murdering millions and millions of people in death camps? Just – no.

Thoughts?

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Read : “Godwin’s Law” and “reductio ad hitlerum
and “fallacy” in wiki

Pancake Time Machine – Part 1

Today we made pancakes, and it occurred to me that I have been pan-caking a bit differently in every country I have lived so far. I am now very happy with my country of residence and also with my pancake recipe, but let’s have a look back with the pancake time machine :

Eierkuchen – My Childhood pancakes in Germany

002 Pancakes have many names and variations in Germany. In our family they were called Eierkuchen (literally ‘egg cakes’) because in Berlin we stubbornly call the “Berlin Donut” Pfannkuchen (pancakes) to the confusion of anyone who visits from the rest of Germany and calls them “Berliner” and well, pancakes simply pancakes..
Either way, the basic German recipe is indeed high on eggs and has less liquid and flour. The result is a rather dense dough that bakes to a somewhat elastic, rather filling cake. Eierkuchen also often have dark brown, even black patterns, this isn’t considered to be burnt, it’s their actual “look”.

My mother’s recipe went probably something like this :
50 g melted Butter,
100 g  sugar,
4 eggs ,
200 ml milk,
– beat until foamy and add 200 g flour.

Beat again. Fry!
Optional : Throw and tumble pancakes with verve to amuse the children, send them off to eat the first round in the dining room, then answer the phone in the corridor …and forget about the last pancake that turns into charcoal in the kitchen. Easy!

As toppings we usually had lots of sugar or strawberry jam, sometimes 001Nutella. My mother’s only variation, the simple apple pancake (acid type apple wedges thrown on the top of the pancake) was not popular with us then – not sweet enough!  My brother also liked the dark and strong sugar beet syrup, (must really try and get that here somehow). We loved mum’s pancakes, they averaged maybe 20cm in diameter, were 0.5 to a whole centimeter thick and after a single one, you generally felt like the only way to move was to go rolling around..  they were very filling indeed!

vlcsnap-2011-01-04-21h58m46s62

Daddy Pig is obviously "a bit of an expert" in pancake tumbling.

To be fair, many German recipes aim for a lighter dough, as a teenager I found out that other families actually added a teaspoon of baking powder or – kinky!- sparkly mineral water or even beer to make the cakes a bit fluffier.
Today, thin and light French Crêpes and smaller, American style pancakes are very popular, too, including the runny acorn syrup (hopefully imported from Canada to be the real deal). Anything goes as long as it isn’t exclusively eaten during the morning hours of a certain fast food restoration chain (or two). Making pancakes is soo much fun:

(The photo links to one of our favourite PeppaPig episodes – Pancakes!)

Links :
wiki on pancakes and variations around the world
Peppa Pig – Pancakes – on youtube

Tomorrow : Young and chic  with Crêpes in France

O Father! Where art thou?

I haven’t quite decided how personal I want this blog to be, but I would like to share some thoughts I had last night about Father’s Day. And fathers in my life.

I have grown up in Germany, where Father’s Day, the ‘Vatertag’, is a much older, somewhat embarrassing tradition, different to any other country in the world. It is celebrated on Ascension Day, a national holiday, and has nothing to do with family but is more  about groups of men getting together for a big drinking binge out in the country side.

vatertag2 Betrunken_auf_dem_Kiez fffests7 Continue reading