Friday, September 30, 2011

der Dukatenscheisser, and other things

We often comment, here at KPC, about two things:

1. The strangeness that is Deutschland
2. Poop

It turns out that one of the strange things about Germany is the many linguistic uses Germans have for poop.

And if you don't believe, here's the straight poop on it.

Published in 1984 by a distinguished anthropologist named Alan Dundes, Life Is Like a Chicken Coop Ladder set out to describe the German character through the stories that ordinary Germans liked to tell one another. Dundes specialized in folklore, and in German folklore, as he put it, “one finds an inordinate number of texts concerned with anality. Scheisse (shit), Dreck (dirt), Mist (manure), Arsch (ass).… Folksongs, folktales, proverbs, riddles, folk speech—all attest to the Germans’ longstanding special interest in this area of human activity.”

He then proceeded to pile up a shockingly high stack of evidence to support his theory. There’s a popular German folk character called der Dukatenscheisser (“The Money Shitter”), who is commonly depicted crapping coins from his rear end. Europe’s only museum devoted exclusively to toilets was built in Munich. The German word for “shit” performs a vast number of bizarre linguistic duties—for instance, a common German term of endearment was once “my little shit bag.” The first thing Gutenberg sought to publish, after the Bible, was a laxative timetable he called a “Purgation-Calendar.” Then there are the astonishing number of anal German folk sayings: “As the fish lives in water, so does the shit stick to the asshole!,” to select but one of the seemingly endless examples.

That one about the fish is my new favorite saying. Anytime somebody complains about anything in a faculty meeting, they are going to hear that one. Inspired.

Nod to Anonyman; I bet you knew that, without looking. Anonyman has his sh*t together.

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