Photo by andrewsmh (Flickr CC)
For non-Germans, the Christian Wulff scandal seems a bit weird. Who knew that Germany had a president? Why would anyone keep such a pointless quantum of knowledge lodged in their finite brain? Imagine all the squirrel-water-skiing Youtube videos you could keep a mental record of instead.
To be fair, most Germans don't really register him much either. It has long been theorized that the "ceremonial" role he plays as a figurehead for the country could feasibly be performed by a sack of popcorn and a balloon with a face drawn on it attached to the top.
Of course, it would have to be dignified, statesman-like balloon – maybe a navy blue one – and you'd have to keep replacing it once it got a bit flat, but something like that would do for approximately 90 percent of the tasks required of the German president. The presidential office media relations officer could just let it float serenely across a garden.
In keeping with the generally nondescript nature of the job, it seems only natural that the scandal that is bringing down the president is so un-eyebrow-raising. Apparently, the sack of popcorn/navy blue balloon combo wangled a cheap mortgage once. As skeletons in the closet go, it's a bit small – like a tiny, sparrow skeleton. Most Ausländer who hear about this for the first time say, "Yeah, but what did he really do? When are they doing to find the bodies with the ball gags?"
If it makes the whole business easier to picture – Wulff may be about to lose his job because he has been keeping a sparrow's corpse in his wardrobe. He must be pretty pissed off. He must be thinking at least if he'd had gone on the odd prostitute-cocaine-gambling-drink-driving spree it might have been worth it. But that's not so easy when the helium in your head makes you lighter than air.