1.21.2005

This Untamed Fire of America will reach the Darkest Corners of Our World

AN APOLOGY:

Ah, dear readers, how you have missed me; Let me count the ways! But first, I shall explain.

As you know, I am a great lover of winter sports, particularly bobsled (watch out Albert Prince of Monaco -- you shan't be the fastest blueblood on the track for long!) and I have been out practicing so often that I have hardly had a second to watch televison. During these recent weeks of intensive bobsleddery I noticed this: no TV means no signs of the apocalypse. Since I realized the corelation I have had my nose glued to the boobtube -- all CNN no less. Obviously the inauguration registered highly on the portentoscope.

AN ARGUMENT:
I read in the New York Times that George Bush told his speech writers that he wanted the second inauguration speech to be "The Freedom Speech." Ha! Well what else could he talk about? The Economy? Social Justice? Education? Healthcare? No, he struck out across the board on pretty much every other possible speech topic, except perhaps Spongebob. He can't even talk about defending America anymore because 52% of Americans have finally realized that the war in Iraq was a very poor strategic decision for everyone except Haliburton.

So Freedom it was and Freedom it is. I see my intelligent international readers begin immediately to question the position. How is a man whose greatest goal in life to promote Freedom to justify a constitutional ban on Gay Marriage? Isn't that a question of freedom? Or perhaps Bush might like to look to the fact that America has the highest per capita number of prisoners of any developed country. There's a lot of people in your own backyard that need liberating Mr. Ivadey-pants! My international readers might suggest he go liberate some prisoners if he is such a freedom lover. Has he not considered the fact that desperately poor people in an obsessively consumer culture are arguably the least free people on the planet?

How does Bush address these criticisms? He doesn't. Instead he has come to the insidious, but brilliant, realization that to Americans today "Freedom" basically just means "America." I am suspicious that no one in America has spent more than three consecutive seconds considering what 'freedom' is at any point in the past ten years. It is a very complicated concept and since it has been left utterly untouched by critical contemplation, the signifier developed a semantic vacuum in the place of the signified. It began to suck desperately for a meaning, and through the power of vacuum-based metonomy, Freedom has come to mean America.

Don't believe me? Take a look at these example. Offended by France? Wish there were someway to call them America Fries without losing the delightful alliteration? Freedom Fries to the Rescue. Braveheart, the epic Scottish film which was so inexplicably popular was just a bunch of guys in skirts yelling "FRRREEEEEDDOOOMMMM" at the top of their lungs. It was so popular because to the ear of a native speaker of American they were yelling "AAAMMMMMEEERRRRIICCCCAAA" and Americans love nothing more than singing, shouting and painting America.

After that virtuoso display of obfuscatorial gymnastics, you can no longer doubt me and I shall proceed.


AN ANALYSIS:
To everyone but Americans, the latest inaugural address seems so replete with irony as to be comical. We cannot understand how this chimp of a man was re-elected. However, what we fail to understand is that George Bush's speeches are not delivered in the Queen's English -- far from it. To translate the inaugural speech into the English used in the rest of the world (including England) simply replace the words "Freedom" "Free" and "Liberty" with "America" "American" and "America." Let's try a few examples.

First an easy one:
"For a half a century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders." becomes:
"For a half a century, America defended our own America by standing watch on distant borders."

And now this:
"We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands." becomes:
We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of America in our land increasingly depends on the success of America in other lands.

Sometimes the translations sound as natural as the speech of a native speaker:
We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under attack. becomes:
We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when America came under attack.

Similarly natural sounding:
We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. becomes:
We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of America.

Now that you have mastered the basics of Speaking American, a slightly more complicated translation (Notice how much more honest he sounds after his words have been translated into regular English):
"America's influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America's influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom's cause."
becomes:
America's influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America's influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in America's cause.

An explanation of why America is exempt from the Geneva convention can be found in the following translated insight:
"We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right."
becomes:
We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and America, which is eternally right.

A veiled threat from George to those who would question America:
"Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt. "
becomes:
Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of America though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of America ever seen, is an odd time for doubt.

And finally a more difficult translation for the advanced students to consider:
America has need of idealism and courage, because we have essential work at home, the unfinished work of American freedom. In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty.
becomes:
America has need of idealism and courage, because we have essential work at home, the unfinished work of American America. In a world moving toward America, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of America.


Remember those doubts we raised earlier? Well look how ridiculous they look after translation:
"There is a contradiction between a ban on gay marriage and the advancement of freedom."
becomes:
"There is a contradiction between a ban on gay marriage and the advancement of America."

Doesn't seem so irrational now does it?

Or this,
"How can a man dedicated to giving a taste of freedom to all those who desire it, justify the imprisonment of 5.5% of adult black males?"
becomes:
"How can a man dedicated to giving a taste of America to all those who desire it, justify the imprisonment of 5.5% of adult black males?"

Easy -- 5.5% get a taste of America in jail and the rest get to taste it on the streets.

For now, George W. Bush is the single greatest threat to reason and free-thinking individuals and the unapocalyzed world that they hold dear; so I will press on in my duties to help us to know our enemy be it through observation, translation or consumption of fine spirits.

5 Comments:

Blogger deadpan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:07 p.m.  
Blogger justin said...

Once again, our good friends in the North have misunderstood the true intentions of our Great Leader. Are you all so blinded by your so-called "freedoms" that you can't see the glorious future he is leading us toward? A future when all the world will be one, equal and free, with America uber alles, a watchful father.

Haven't you seen "Cops"? We're safe here in America. Protected, no longer by some flimsy and moldering "bill", but by the real and watchful eyes of a nation dedicated to freedom. And we would share that same freedom with everyone.

America stands tall and proud, generously offering its great, protecting Fist of Freedom out to all the lesser peoples of the world as if to say, "You want some of this?"

12:29 a.m.  
Blogger Miss Hell said...

Oh boy. Have you ever actually spoken with an American? You know what? I was going to rant about the gross stupidity that vast generalizations bring, but really I don't think I'll bother. I'm certain you are far more intelligent than I in all these matters. I'm sure you know far more than any liberal American Female like me, so I wont even bother.

2:45 p.m.  
Blogger Matthew Lie - Paehlke said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:09 a.m.  
Blogger Matthew Lie - Paehlke said...

Have I ever met an American? Good lord!?! I own 37% of Baltimore. I won it playing cards in Monte Carlo and I have to visit occasionally to tend to my assets.

1:24 a.m.  

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