The new normality?

What an awful term, it has been haunting me for some time now. Why? Well, I find it highly problematic – and I would like to share the background to it with you.

What does this term mean to me? I personally find it highly questionable, because it suggests a decision that has already been made. What I consider normal is a reference – other things are abnormal, not on equal terms and less recognised. This perception is highly subjective and suggests a certain inferiority in a different point of view. Before things are considered “normal”, there used to be a debate about them – arguments were exchanged and weighed. Now this is pre-empted with incredible speed.

At the same time, I was wondering how many people are struggling with the new situation or how much social injustices have become public knowledge – issues that are anything but “normal”. For example: in the elementary school my two boys attend, new rules are practised. The teachers do this in a remarkable way, try to practise new behaviours and enforce the new rules in a playful and child-oriented way, so a video was made and put on YouTube. During the hand washing scene, the teachers have to suppress their grins behind theirs masks because the water runs for exactly one second and so the tap needs to be pressed 10 times during the demonstration1. For such things there seems to be little time and even less money available at the moment, and in addition, many changes are shouldered by the teachers’ personal commitment. Why are these problems largely solved locally and re-solved time and again? Where is our central administration here? Do we want this as a new standard for our school system?

In other places again gazillions of cash are churned into the economy. One example: the short-time work allowance. The basic idea is good and right. But at the moment many companies are using this massive subsidy to finance their employees’ salaries. Are all these companies really suffering? This may well be the case, but when a lot of money is distributed, there are always black sheep who get rich from it. And by the way, in this context, people who have kept a low profile for a few months are coming to light again. I am looking towards Gütersloh. Mr. Tönnies2 has apologized again – he did, didn’t he3? Exploit first, then apologize – while others seem to find someone else to blame. Racism? No, not in Germany, do me a favour – we’ve been through that.

And this is supposed to be the new normality now? Please, not like this!

And finally, an fascinating question: where does the term actually come from, who coined it? Right, politicians4 who just wanted or had to get into the spotlight. In this context I recommend the article by Rüdiger with the discreet hint to bear the consequences of your actions. That would be something.

1 The attentive reader may ask: warm water? Yes, now finally – thanks to Corona. After all, I live in one of the richest German states of one of the richest countries in the world – and we have become that in the end, too, because we are always thrifty and have saved on hot water, among other things. I’ll say this: Corona is having an effect, at least here…

2 You might remember him: (unfortunately only available in German)

3 No, this time he’s sending others ahead:

Guardian article in English:

4German Wikipedia entry


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