George Bush’s brief "massage" of Angela Merkel’s shoulders at the G-8 summit in Saint Petersburg last week has provoked a sort of fit of mass hysteria in those parts of the American media, both old and new, whose authors and editors were already the most severely afflicted by Bush-Derangement-Syndrome. Symptoms have included, for instance, a long pseudo-scholarly disquisition on whether the gesture constitutes "sexual harassment" (from the International Herald Tribune) and the knowing assurance from a young American blogger in Germany that "the Germans [seemingly all of them without exception] are pissed!"
Are they? The episode might have passed largely unperceived in Germany were it not for a brief front page article with large accompanying photo in the tabloid BILD [meaning: "Picture"], Germany’s best-selling paper with nearly 4 million copies sold daily. Given the hysterical reactions in the American press and blogosphere, I thought it would be useful to reproduce here in English the text and the style of the BILD coverage of the episode. This is of even greater interest since the original 4-second video clip that sparked the howls of outrage in the American media seems indeed to have been taken from the BILD website. Here, then, how BILD covered the infamous "massage":
Bush: Love-Attack on Merkel!
The American President swoops down on Our Chancellor
This political love is literally palpable!
The American president George W. Bush at the G-8 Summit in Saint Petersburg.
Mischievously, he sneaks up on Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and then he surprises her with a blitz-massage.
- July 27th, 2006