Ein Duke kommt selten allein

“A Duke Rarely Comes Alone,” the German name of the Dukes of Hazzard television series.

German titles for U.S. television shows sometimes don’t come alone. I saw three different ones used for Home Improvement: the Heimwerker (home handyman), the Dünnbrettbohrer (someone who drills thin boards as if they were difficult-to-drill thick boards), and finally Hör mal, wer da hämmert (Look Who’s Hammering).

(Eye n   DUQUE   come t   zell ten   ah LINE.)

Gassenfeger

“Street sweeper.” The Gassen are the charming little narrow alleys, las calles, in medieval towns. Terry Pratchett joked that some of them faithfully reproduce the paths cows used to take to the river.

A Gassenfeger is a television show that’s so interesting people magically melt away from the town’s parks and picturesque little byways when it’s about to be broadcast, drifting instead into neighborhood pubs and living rooms.

(GOSS en fae gah.)

Marcel Reich-Ranicki

Marcel Reich-Ranicki met his wife Theophila in the Warsaw ghetto. They escaped together, walking away from a freight train, and were hidden for years by friends and strangers. But the rest of his family was killed by Nazis in World War II. Yet after the war and, as tagesschau.de said, after having witnessed the complete breakdown of the ethics of the German people, Mr. Reich-Ranicki decided to live in Germany and pursue a life devoted to literature there. He was a literary editor at Die Zeit and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, among others, and discovered television late in life where he contributed wonderfully to, as many have said after his death this month at the age of 93, the education of the German people, “Volksbildung.” His television show “The Literary Quartett” was watched by millions each week. His polite public refusal of the German Television Award in 2008 is popular YouTube viewing to this day:

“Ladies and gentlemen. In my life, and in the fifty years I’ve spent in Germany—a bit more than fifty all told, I spent my youth in Germany as well, in Berlin. In those many years I have received many literary prizes. Very many. They included the highest ones, such as the Goethe prize, the Thomas Mann prize, and some others. And I always said thank you for these prizes, as you should, and, please forgive me when I speak openly: it didn’t present any difficulties to me! To say thank you for these prizes! But today I’m in a very bad situation. I must react somehow to this prize I have received. And [?] said to me, please, please, please, don’t say anything too rough! Yes. (Laughter.) Truthfully. I don’t want to aggrieve anyone, insult or hurt anyone, no. I don’t want to do that. But I would also like to say very openly that I will not accept this prize.”

Apparently he concluded each Literary Quartett episode with a quote from Bertold Brecht: “Und so sehen wir betroffen den Vorhang zu und alle Fragen offen.” This can be translated as “and so we see, deeply moved, the curtain closed and all questions open,” yet if Fragen were not capitalized it would completely change the meaning of the sentence, turning it into the preface “and everyone openly questioning” anything that followed his show. ZDF heute journal’s Marietta Slomka said Mr. Reich-Ranicki is also said to have said, “I don’t want to bore myself.”

Update on 01 Jun 2014: The city of Frankfurt/Main held a celebration in the Paulskirche commemorating what would have been Marcel Reich-Ranicki’s 94th birthday. Some of the speeches will be printed in the Feuilleton of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 02 Jun 2014.

Doschd

“Dozhd,” an “optimistic” independent Russian television channel. Its name means “rain” in Russian. Started as an Internet-only channel in April 2010, Dozhd became known internationally after their in-depth coverage of protests following the 2011 Duma election. German Wikipedia says their content is two-thirds live reporting and discussion, plus concerts, readings, experimental programs, documentaries, video art &c. There is an affiliated radio channel Serebrjanny Doschd (Себебрянный дождь,”Silver Rain”).

Update on 08 Feb 2014: An interview on Australian ABC Radio National’s Media Report mentioned that despite recent Russian legislation recriminalizing defamation, making it possible to blacklist websites for carrying the very vague “unlawful content” and redefining treason so broadly “that it could be now that any information shared with an international journalist is an act of espionage,” as host Richard Aedy said, the critical broadcaster Doschd has been suppressed by applying huge pressure to the cable operators connecting it to viewers to drop the channel. Guest Norman Hermant said Doschd was perhaps Russia’s most independent broadcaster, disseminating primarily by internet but also to consumers’ televisions by cable and satellite networks. “It’s now been left to an internet stream. Now an internet stream in Russia is very good for people who want to see it in Moscow and a few other big cities. But the vast majority of Russians still get their news and information from broadcast media.”

“Mainz bleibt Mainz, wie es singt und lacht.”

“Mainz remains Mainz, in the manner in which it sings and laughs.” A formal annual municipal mardi gras television show that lasts for hours. News-related poems, jokes, songs and speeches are presented to the good-humored costumed crowd, whose tables are kept cheerful by a steady stream of beer and wine. Eventually, clown nose-wearing viewers fall into a reverie before their tv screens, occasionally remembering to blow “tra la!” on toy horns.

(My nts   bl eye bt   my nts,   vee   ess   zing t   oont   lochh t.)

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