FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Guide to Gibberish in the Age of Bush

by BEN TRIPP

When interim President Bush traveled to Europe in May of 2001, he didn’t realize people spoke gibberish in many of the European countries. This led to some embarrassing moments, such as when he upbraided a reporter for asking the French President, Jacques Chirac, a question in French. The excuses were many– Bush had jet lag, his brain tumor was acting up–but the reality of the situation is that Bush is no different from most Americans (I mean no offense). He is ignorant of other languages. “But he speaks Spanish,” you cry, and I am forced to make my weary explanations. Of course he speaks Spanish (at least he did so in front of Jacques Chirac). In Texas, you need a little Spanish, if you want the lawn mowed right and the hay bales stacked in the barn instead of the garage. But Bush doesn’t speak the kind of Spanish that Spanish-speaking people speak. Bush speaks a little Spanish and a little English. Not much of either. Do you want to be like that? Of course not, especially now that international tensions are at a fever pitch and the slightest wrong word could spark a global holocaust. In the interests of public service, I aim to teach my fellow Americans some foreign language skills. Attendre.

Let’s start with French, which is a useful language if you are in France, non? (Isn’t it cute the way I use actual foreign words?) We will begin with a few simple phrases that you might need once you’ve expatriated to Paris rather than put up with this crap a minute longer.

“Bonjour, je m’apelle est Mike.”

(“Hello, my name is Mike.”) If your name isn’t Mike, skip this one.

“J’ai acheté récemment un chat d’empaillage sur le marché aux antiquités.”

(“I recently purchased a taxidermied cat at the flea market.”) If you bought a ceramic octopus or a nice little Louis XIV side table, simply substitute for the words “récemment un chat”.

“J’ai peur d’araignées. Tenez-moi dans vos bras, Marcelle.”

(“I am afraid of spiders. Hold me in your arms, Melvin.”) If Melvin is not around (au loin), lock yourself in the bathroom (pissoir) and call the police (tel.17 in Paris).

“Colin Powell est un Uncle Tom.”

(“May I please have a glass of water.”) This is a useful phrase if you like water.

With just these few simple phrases, you will be able to get by in France, or as they say in Paris, “Va t’faire enculer chez les Grecs!”

Italian is another useful language, or so the Italians would have you think. I’m not so sure. But here are a few bon mots that will help you make amici in Italia.

“L’odore cattivo me uccide.”

(“Hello, my name is Mike.”) You might want to change your name to Mike for simplicity’s sake.

“Il culo del Papa sono fermo e paffuto.”

(“Please help me. My passport photograph is unattractive.”) Try this one around the Vatican.

“Piaccio del che i guardando film ed il ciucciami il cazzo.”

(“Would you like to go to the movies?”) Italians love movies, because most of them can’t read.

Let’s not forget German! Unfortunately, my name means ‘gonorrhea’ in German, so I have difficulty finding sexual partners there. Perhaps for this reason I have received criticism from Germans on a number of occasions for making fun of them more than other European people. I hope these nützliche phrasen will make up for this, and help me pull the birds (Vögel).

“Arbeit macht frei.”

(“Hello, my name is Cohen.”) Just because everybody can’t be named Mike, can they?

“Bush will von seinen innenpolitischen Schwierigkeiten ablenken. Das ist eine beliebte Methode. Das hat auch Hitler schon gemacht.”

(“Is there a pharmacy nearby?”) You can buy all kinds of things over the counter in Europe that are prescription-only in America. How cool is that?

“Wassöp Mutterficker, gettdohn wit chobaddseff.”

(“Hello, Mike, how are you today?”) This is a common greeting in Germany, originally coined by Jakobus Braun, der Gottvater von Seele.

These are but a few of the many languages enjoyed throughout Europe. It is always wise to have a phrase or two in any language, as people are both flattered and impressed when you can say something even as simple as “hello” in their own tongue. So here is “hello” in a few more languages. The next time you see Mike, say them to him.

In Norway one says “De er dum.” In Portugal try “Siento-me doente.” Polish people say “Ty masz mal/y hujek”. In Austria, a hearty cry of “schleich dich” is appropriate. But wherever you go in Europe, remember there is no substitute for a smile, or pulling out of the United Nations. Que bueno?

BEN TRIPP is a screenwriter, political satirist and cartoonist. He can be reached at: credel@earthlink.net

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
Tony McKenna
The Oily Politics of Unity: Owen Smith as Northern Ireland Shadow Secretary
Nizar Visram
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
John Carroll Md
At St. Catherine’s Hospital, Cite Soleil, Haiti
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Singaporean Conjucture
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Trump: the Birth of the Hero
Jill Richardson
Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad
Olivia Alperstein
Our President’s Word Wars
REZA FIYOUZAT
Useless Idiots or Useful Collaborators?
Clark T. Scott
Parallel in Significance
Louis Proyect
Hitler and the Lone Wolf Assassin
Julian Vigo
Theresa May Can’t Win for Losing
Richard Klin
Prog Rock: Pomp and Circumstance
Charles R. Larson
Review: Malin Persson Giolito’s “Quicksand”
David Yearsley
RIP: Pomp and Circumstance
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail