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German Advertising Innuendo To Sell Curvaceous Mountain Getaways

Who knew these were the reasons to visit the scenic Black Forest.

Exploring the Black Forest in southwestern Germany
Exploring the Black Forest in southwestern Germany
Nakissa Salavati

MUNICH — The claims are true, at least. Germany's Black Forest does indeed have tall mountains, moist valleys prone to fog, and plenty of trees. So the tourism association known as "Ferienland Schwarzwald" (Vacationland Black Forest) isn't promising too much when it states the facts in promotion campaigns.

But you know there's more to it when Martin Sonneborn, a German satirist and member of the European Parliament, reacts to a Black Forest ad in the Ryanair in-flight magazine by commenting on a social network, "Black Forest? Hot place!")

That breathless appreciation was a reaction to the tourism association's new campaign to promote the Black Forest communities of Schonach, Schönwald, Furtwangen, Sankt Georgen and Unterkirnach in southwestern Germany.

On the poster, next to the words "Big Mountains, Moist Valleys and Forest Aplenty" is the stylized outline of a naked woman wearing a Bollenhut — a traditional Black Forest ladies' hat with two pom-poms on top. The viewer is apparently also meant to register the placement of the words "Ferienland Schwarzwald" — between the lady’s legs.

Such a heavy dose of double entendre is so blatant it hasn't escaped the attention of Schwarzwalders themselves. "The ad doesn't fit in with our style," Südkurier newspaper quoted the head of Unterkirnach local government as saying. He added that the sort of people who vacation in the Black Forest have high standards and wouldn't appreciate the ad.

Meanwhile, Sonneborn's Facebook page was inundated with outraged commenters. One person opined that the ad was sexist and primitive. The "Ferienland Schwarzwald" association responded by saying provocation and advertising go together, and anyway, the poster was designed by a woman.

Unfortunately, that doesn't make it any better, aesthetically pleasing or imaginative. Then again, this is an area where local T-shirts also feature the hat-wearing lady in garters. And the unofficial hymn of the region refers to the Black Forest's "beautiful girls." The song dates back to the 19th century. The Schwarzwald doesn't seem to have advanced much since.

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Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.

Photo of a window with a sticker of the face of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with butterfly notes at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Poster of Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Juan David Torres Duarte


BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

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