Baring Their Electoral Assets

busenAs we’ve mentioned before in this space, but in other contexts, there is a German general election due on Sunday, 27 September. To mention yet another context: that happens to be the middle-Sunday of the two weeks of Oktoberfest, so perhaps we can expect reduced electoral turnout among Munich polling-places and/or increased incidents of voting-while-drunk.

Berlin, on the other hand, is already having to deal with a new (yet also very, very old) method of trying to provoke a cleft within the body politic, as you can see from the above illustration, and as Die Tageszeitung columnist Ines Kappert – that’s a woman’s name – complains about in a brief essay entitled Aha, Titten (which I won’t translate for you from the German; I think you can get the sense on your own). Vera Lengsfeld is the lady with the green necklace, which stands in stark contrast to her more-natural adornments, on the right side of this electoral poster from Germany’s CDU, or Christlich Demokratische Union, also the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is the similarly-adorned lady to the left. Lengsfeld posed explicitly for this poster, while Merkel’s picture comes from her appearance last year at the ceremony for the inauguration of the new Oslo (NO) opera house, where her choice of apparel excited considerable comment in the German media.

Lengsfeld’s figure in this poster is already doing the same now, including from the TAZ’s Kappert, who wonders whether “her woman-ness” (Weiblichkeit) is all that Frau Lengsfeld as challenger from the CDU has to bring to bare in her ongoing electoral challenge in Berlin’s Friedrichshein-Kreuzberg district against the incumbent, Green Party member Christian Ströbele (also known as Hans-Christian Ströbele, a member of the Bundestag since 1998 and in fact quite an active and prominent German parliamentarian). Kappert further:

Whoever reduces a political duel to gender differences is in fact not to be taken seriously. And it is certainly no successful demonstration of a new female self-consciousness that brings its own bosom in opposition to chauvinism in politics – or, as Halina Wawzyniak of Die Linke [the extreme-left German political party] on her posters, her own tushie [GE: “Po,” meaning female rear end].

(Sorry, €S fans, I did the best work that I could possibly do with Google Images etc., but still could not locate on-line any sample of that last-mentioned image! Any reader contributions would be appreciated – I might even post the picture as an update!)

Meanwhile, a separate piece in Die Welt reveals that Frau Lengsfeld did not let Merkel know what she had in mind for electoral advertising. Says Frau Lengsfeld: “That the Bundeskanzlerin would never have been able to allow me to do. It was supposed to be a surprise.” Please note that Die Welt reveals her to be 57 years old – and very well-preserved, one must say! (It so happens that Lengsfeld was born in the former DDR and lived most of her life under that regime, as did in fact Bundeskanzlerin Merkel – could this be another example of the infamous East German doping?) Oh, and also worth mentioning: that slogan on the election-poster illustration means “We have more to offer.” Perhaps German politics is finally getting genuinely interesting even for the outside observer (at least of a certain bent).

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