I fixed this headline pic.twitter.com/m9vx0JsXnB
— Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) July 19, 2020
One of my favorite loan-words from German is Schlimmbesserung, “a so-called improvement that makes things worse.” I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to “improve” on Tommasini’s call for racial quotas to make orchestras more cosmetically appealing to guilt-ridden white progressives, but damned if Singal hasn’t managed it here. “Reform our economic system” — as if “the economy” is a matter of an engineer twiddling some knobs, adjusting some faders, and raising the economic EQ levels until, presto, it produces more exotic blends of violinists. There are so many ignorant assumptions baked into that simple empty-calorie phrase that I don’t know where you’d even begin trying to argue with it. I see now why Zen masters prefer hitting their students over the head with a stick. Sometimes a hard reboot is so much more efficient.
UPDATE: A German friend of mine, in response to my query over which variant to use, writes:
I also agree with the distinction between Besserung and Verbesserung, they are slightly different and explained well in the post [link here]. That said, it actually would be more accurate to use Verschlimmbesserung and verschlimmbessern as it relates to attempts to improve something (verbessern). Besserung and bessern relates to an improvement of something that happens by itself (not by human intervention) and means that it is a change to something better, therefore not worse (schlimmer).