And as usual, Germany looks different from the inside than from the outside. The only thing I seem to read in newspapers and magazines overseas about Germany is the chancellor Angela Merkel's hesitation to throw more of taxpayer's money out of the window, which drowns these day in a vast sea of articles about layoffs, commentaries on The Great Recession, declines in consumer spending, rises in unemployment and other over-interpreted statistics. Browsing through a German newspaper however, reporting on the financial crisis remains in the business sector. Unlike six years ago, so far nobody of my friends or relatives has lost his job, and I haven't noticed any unusually large amount of closing sales either. Instead, Frankfurt has just "added a new dimension to shopping" with a recently opened 8 floor storehouse on Frankfurt's main shopping street Zeil, named in best Germenglish “MyZeil.” I have the best intention to visit the place and to support the German economy with my new credit card (in case Stefan recalls where he put the respective letter from the bank, cough).
Instead of global or national hiccups in the financial systems, the topics of the month are apparently the upcoming NATO summit in April in Kehl, and the country is still collectively in shock about the recent school shooting where a nutcase of a teenager killed 15 people.
Besides this, Germany has a federal election upcoming this year in September, meaning the election campaigns are slowly starting. As a consequence everybody is criticizing everybody else. Dirk Kurbjuweit (a well-known journalist) just published a book “Angela Merkel: Die Kanzlerin für alle?” (Chancellor for Everybody?) portraying her as too eager to please everybody and having lost direction. And Daniel Friedrich Sturm wrote a book “Wohin geht die SPD?” (Where does the Social Democratic Party go?). That's a good question indeed, maybe somebody should have asked it like 20 years ago. But what's really new about this is that, guess what, the guy has a blog.
Speaking of books, Lee Smolin's book “The Trouble with Physics” will be published in German on April 14th under the title “Die Zukunft der Physik: Probleme der String-Theorie und wie es weiter geht” (The Future of Physics: Problems of String-theory and how it will go on), according to the blurb “ein erfrischend provozierenden Buch” - a “refreshingly provocative book.”