A good Kraut flips the ‘stinkefinger’

Flipping the "stinkefinger"

Flipping the “stinkefinger”

Angela Merkel’s main rival has caused a massive furore over a photo of him flipping the bird, or “stinkefinger” as the Krauts like to call it, on the cover of a magazine.

As can be expected of such a politician, he is unrepentant.

Angela Merkel’s main rival in Germany‘s election has prompted a storm of protest after giving the middle-finger during a photo shoot.

Peer Steinbrück, the leading candidate for the Social Democrats, has appeared on the front cover of the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) magazine delivering the gesture after being asked whether he minded having several negative nicknames.

The stinkefinger (stink-finger) was one of the most popular items on Twitter in the German-speaking realm (trending as #stinkefinger), with Steinbruck himself commenting: “plain talking doesn’t always mean using words, for example when one is constantly addressed about old issues instead of really important questions”. 

The gaffe-prone politician, whose campaign has been bogged down by a series of scandals and blunders, later defended the gesture, saying it demonstrated that he “has a sense of humour”.

Steinbrück’s gesture came about as part of the SZ’s infamous photo essay series, Don’t Say Anything Now, in which a celebrity is asked to answer a question with a physical pose rather than with words. It had referred to Steinbrück’s string of nicknames, including “problem-peer” and “Peerlusconi”, asking him: “you don’t have to worry about a shortage of nice nicknames, do you?”

According to the SZ, Steinbrück’s press advisers had wanted the black and white picture of him flipping the bird with a sneer on his face to be withdrawn, but Steinbrück agreed to its use.

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