Tatiana Maslany went on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert along with Sarah Paulson yesterday. Colbert complimented Maslany on her talent for accents, and Maslany tells him that growing up hearing her mother’s fluent French, German, and Spanish helped.
The two then talked about her German. More specifically, they talked about her favorite German word: Backpfeifengesicht, a compound word meaning “a face that begs to be punched.” Backpfeifengesichter is you’re talking about several faces begging to be punched. (If you’re looking to incorporate it into your vocabulary, here’s the pronunciation.) When Colbert asked if he’d find the word through an internet search, Maslany responded, “You’d definitely find it. Apparently with a lot of photos of Ted Cruz.”
I googled Backpfeifengesicht and, yes, you don’t have to scroll too far to find a picture of the presidential candidate. It’s a fantastic word that I think is a bit more to-the-point than what Time Out coined as “Resting Douche Face,” (a counterpart to “Resting Bitch Face”) naming Martin Shkreli, Ted Cruz, and Robin Thicke as sufferers of RDF. GWU neurology professor Richard E. Cytowic actually analyzed Ted Cruz’s face a while back to explain this phenomenon. Cruz’s old college roommate Craig Mazin used the term a few months back to describe Cruz:
When I met Ted in 1988, I had no word to describe him, but only because I didn’t speak German. Thank you, Germans, for “Backpfeifengesicht.”
— Craig Mazin (@clmazin) January 20, 2016
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