Naturally, upon making this discovery the next thing I wanted to do was check to see the quality of the translation, i.e. how close the correspondence was between what you’ll read in the original English version and what German readers see. It’s pretty close, but not 100%. The leading article-head on the Focus page when I took a look for this entry (your results may vary) was entitled Wenn Krieg wie Viagra wirkt – “When War Acts Like Viagra.” I couldn’t find any entry on the Huffington Post site with that title or anything close (= anything that actually included the word “Viagra”). Still, it didn’t take too much further investigation to figure out that this corresponded to Ariana Huffington’s article entitled Bush and McCain’s Displaced Ardor for War. The German editors also mess around a little with the lede: in the German version you’ll see that it includes the sentence Für John McCain scheint der Irak gar die Wirkung von Viagra zu haben, or “For John McCain Iraq even seems to have the effect of Viagra.” But, as you’ll realize, there’s nothing like that in the first or indeed any of the initial paragraphs of Huffington’s piece; there you have to go the second-to-last paragraph to even get a Viagra reference: “Although he’d be the oldest ever elected president, he doesn’t need Viagra — he’s got Iraq. Call your doctor if your erection lasts longer than four years — or if your war lasts longer than 100 years.”
I have to conclude that that one Viagra mention that Huffington put in her original piece gave Focus’ editors the excuse to spin that word out into the translated piece’s title and lede, presumably in order to attract more readers – I guess on the theory that German attitudes are somewhat closer to the giggling male eighth-grader standard when it comes to Viagra. Still, no matter the minor ways with which the German editors might want to play around with the material, congratulations to the Huffington Post for the trans-national coup. I’m trusting to my very same powers of serendipity to eventually let me know if this syndication accomplishment has been in any way equaled by any similarly-prominent blog on the American Right – although really, come to think on it, any such weblog would inevitably spout opinions at such variance to the European mainstream that it either would not survive very long, or else at most would be sequestered within the “Freak Show” section (“¡Caramba!, can you believe what these Yanquís are writing now?!”) on the news-site of any European publication.