“We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom.” — Pink Floyd, Another Brick in the Wall
Geistesvernichtungsanstalt: As I write, thousands of Austrian students who are nearing graduation are being subjected to one last round of tests – four written, and three or four oral. They fail? Tough luck, you don’t graduate. And you thought fixing the tassel on your funny cardboard hat was a lot of pressure at the end senior year. And maybe that’s why Austrian novelist, Thomas Bernhard, referred to schools as Geistesvernichtungsanstalten. “Geist” is the mind or spirit — you might be familiar with the German (and English) term “Zeitgeist” – meaning the “spirit of the times.” “Vernichtung” means annihiliation – yes total destruction – Bernhard was never an author known for holding back or softening the blow. And an “Anstalt” is an institution – but more along the lines of an asylum. So what’s a spirit annihilating asylum? A school.
Now see if you can say the 26-letter word really fast, three times and KC will give you a gold star.
Nie mehr Schule… keine Schule mehr…
More Words of the Week
Delve more into the Austrian creative side with their rant words: “Der Kleine Wappler” by Astrid Wintersberger, Residenz Verlag — book is completely in Austrian language.
Website of Austrian Dialect: Ostarrichi.org