When the pandemic broke out, social contacts became fewer and great loneliness set in in some apartments, the two rather unlikely correspondents Claus Pándi, editor-in-chief of the SalzburgCrown, and Armin Thurnher, editor of the Varyto send poems to each other – and thus to everyone who follows them on Twitter. To think, to encourage. Unfortunately, if I’m not mistaken, they don’t do that every day anymore. I like this young tradition, I got to know a lot that was new to me.
Now Lojze Wieser, a Slovenian-language publisher from Klagenfurt, has submitted a nice suggestion on Twitter: “Time for a poem” is to be written, and this verse was suggested by the great Rose Auslander. “Noch bist du da” is the name of the short work and is one of the most beautiful I’ve read lately. The first words go like this: “Throw your fear / in the air”, the last ones are: “Be what you are / Give what you have.”
Because appearances are so important
Be what you are, give what you have. Two simple rules. And so hard to live Which – beware of abrupt changes in subject and mood – sometimes seems a little more difficult in Austria than elsewhere, because the beautiful appearance is so important – and leads us directly to the title addiction in the country of commercial councillors, chief preparers, chamber actors and military archdeans.
There are currently many good reasons to think about titles, honours, promotions. There is, on the one hand, the title of professor, which in Austria can be awarded as a “professional title” even without a habilitation for special services to the republic. At the end of last year, for example, it was awarded to a PR consultant and editor of a lifestyle magazine. Nice for him. The matter was apparently still bagged under ex-Chancellor Kurz. I recently read about another lucky guy, who was honored with the title of professor in 2010, in a judgment by the Graz Higher Regional Court from 2018 that it would not represent “an excess of value” if you said in his case “only the withdrawal of this title would be restore the honor of the title”. Interesting idea.
You also have to be able to give
I personally have something against titles, especially when you show off with them – but if it’s that easy, I’d like to have one myself. I’m not even a Magistra, meaning nothing in Austria because I completed a university degree with a state examination in Germany before the Bologna reforms.
But you also have to be able to give. There will certainly be a wave of appointments again soon: Sebastian Kurz will be professor in his absence for his services to the conservative movement in Europe, Gernot Blümel for his services to the computer movement in baby carriages. Couldn’t I possibly get one for services related to moving my bike in Vienna? Perhaps even the title of Pope Emeritus will become vacant should Joseph Ratzinger give it back.
Enough with the nonsense. There are more important things. Posts in administration, in courts, in the Ministry of Defense, in the Ministry of the Interior, in the Federal Criminal Police Office, in the remodeled DNS, the new Directorate for State Security and Intelligence. Everywhere, because of management and organizational structures, people are manned as much as they can. It doesn’t always seem to be a question of excellence or just who is particularly well suited. For non-Austrians: That means “recolouring” here. Even if the new Minister of the Interior, Gerhard Karner, asserts in “ZIB 2” that the corresponding plans for his department, for example, are “not motivated by party politics” but result from “changed requirements”. You have “learned”, says Karner too. In the early 2000s, he was press spokesman for former interior minister Ernst Strasser, who was convicted of bribery. Learning to change color from this has always meant learning to win.
Less work for the same money
Otherwise you can’t keep up with the logging at the moment. The Vice-President of the Supreme Court, who once complained in SMS to numerous ÖVP politicians that she got a job by pulling the strings, but was later not allowed to move up to another job by pulling the strings, has now been demoted to the fact that she continues to be Vice-President of the Supreme Court remains, apparently with all references, but is no longer allowed to perform their management functions. The bottom line is: less work for the same money. I would probably be inclined to suggest what’s called “Austrian solution” on social networks to my employer as well.
Then there’s a major cleanup at the Department of Defense where “duplication” and “file ping-pong” are to be highlighted. Hundreds of positions will be re-advertised at all levels. Because there are certain fears that conservatives, friends and family will be given preference, the ministry has previously denied that “individual jobs are already tailor-made for established applicants” from the ÖVP. Meanwhile, the new head of state security is an official from the State Criminal Police Office of Lower Austria. In general, Lower Austria seems to produce the best of the best. The new DNS boss was once seen in an ÖVP jacket during the election campaign. But he has certainly “learned”.
The hot topic of the week
It was good too. You’re probably wondering why you’ve read this far and still haven’t read anything about the exciting topic of the week, Sabine B.’s studies for the finance department (or rather for the ÖVP), which the ministry has now released. It was already revealed last week that Sebastian Kurz followed one of the studies accepted as a dolphin (“clever”) and a squirrel (“looks cute”), now it has been published that he was also included with a peacock (“cunning”).
More than half a million euros have been paid for it over the years, for nonsense, banal, cheap things. Leaving politicians and parties with animal names, car brands and multiple comparisons is about as effective as querying corporations in the digital economy (shock: Google and Amazon are the most) or the information that most Austrians have already tried a gamble ( Shock: filled out a lottery ticket).
The public prosecutor’s office WILL clarify whether this falls under advertising corruption. I think it’s overly optimistic that the Ministry of Finance could pay the taxpayer back the high costs out of inner insight and shame. No administration learns that much so quickly. Even if she no longer sees herself primarily as a turquoise backup for the chancellor’s office.
But I think there are two pieces of good news. 1) The studies, except for two, exist! It could also have been that they consisted of folders with empty pages, after all the purpose was presumably to promote Sebastian Kurz’s career and not the analysis of transparency databases by the citizens surveyed. And 2) In a few weeks, the committee of inquiry into ÖVP corruption will begin. The files have already been delivered. Everything is processed there. Politics can be very exciting.
This column will also appear in the Austria Newsletter on January 28, 2022, which bundles the reporting on Austria in the SZ. Register now for free.