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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ad Absurdum

“No person shall have a right to government services in any other language.”

Today, voters in Nashville, Tennessee, are going to the polls to vote on a measure that would make English the official language of their local government.

The amendment, if approved, will require all official government actions, communications, and publications be conducted in English. The Metropolitan Council, the entity who wrote and submitted the proposal in the first place, could at their discretion mandate exceptions to protect public health and safety, and one assumes that Immigration agents will still be allowed to shout, “Inmigración! Abrir la puerta!” in Spanish.

A spokesman for U.S. English Foundation Inc, an action group that supports English-only laws nationwide, said the Nashville proposal is a good one.

"Government programs are aimed at helping people reach self-sufficiency and success," Rob Toonkel told CNN. "Allowing use of a second language doesn't encourage them to learn English."

US English Foundation Inc may have a point, their Chairman and CEO is himself an immigrant from Chile, and the Board of Directors includes a number of immigrants such as Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"The key word is 'actions that bind the government,'" Toonkel said, which would cover transactions such as getting a city contract. And the referendum’s sponsor, City Councilman Eric Crafton said the bill was needed to save the city $100,000 to $150,000 in annual translation and related costs (it should be noted that metro officials told The Tennessean that such services are provided by city employees already on the city’s payroll in other capacities and that making English the city’s official language will not actually reduce costs at all).

You know, I grew up speaking good Midwestern Michigan English. I took Spanish in Middle and High School, at which I did very poorly. Hell, I lived in Spain and still can’t hablar the Espanol worth a mierda. I suck at languages, and I was damned grateful that so many Spaniards cheerfully spoke English. This is also true of the other foreign countries I’ve either lived in or visited, especially Iceland – because seriously folks if I can’t learn something simple like Spanish I’ve got no hope whatsoever of learning Icelandic – a twelve hundred year old language composed primarily of the guttural sounds made by bloodthirsty Vikings.

So, as an English speaker, I say sure. OK. Let’s make English the official language of the United States. In fact, let’s go one step further, let’s make Midwestern Lower Michigan English (AKA, Generic Newscaster American) the official dialect of the United States.

We can start right here in Alaska, with Sarah Palin and that goofy nasal MinniesSotan accent she has. I mean I can understand what she’s saying – but seriously, it’s annoying as all hell. As Governor, she needs to speak proper English.

And the North East States, holy crap! Have you ever been to Maine? I lived in Maine, you can’t understand a damned thing those people are saying. Seriously here folks, one morning in Milbridge I was greeted by a local denizen who said, and I quote, “Mornin der, Chummie! Nice dah fer da crabbin, eh?” To this day I have no idea what the hell he was talking about. Those people spend way, way too much time sucking maple sap out of the trees.

Then there’s Massachusetts. What’s the deal with adding an extra ‘awr’ to every damned word? If you’re going to add extra letters to perfectly good English words then you should move to Canada where that kind of shit is legal. That’s what I’m saying here – and take those nasty baked beans with the globs of pork fat floating in them with you.

And the South? We should have imposed some English on those rednecks at the end of the Civil War. I swear to God, folks, nothing says ignorant hillbilly like a southern accent. Think about it, a lot of people think Albert Einstein was a smart guy – because he had a German accent. See? Germans sound smart. But try to imagine if ole ‘Bert was nicknamed Bubba Einstein instead and spoke with a Birmingham country twang. “See, whatchaya’ll got ‘ere is yer E equals MC squared. Wooee! That ders like if’n ya’ll put a big block 442 in yer Chevy and got ole’ Dale hisownself to drive it! Yeehah! Lightspeed. Dat’s biscuits and gravy, boys!” See? The Nobel Committee wouldn’t even have let him in the front door.

And what about the damned Lawyers? With all their Latin. Imagine how much we could save in tax dollars if we didn’t have to have lawyers translating perfectly good English into legalize and then back again. It’s nothing but a scam. Americans should be able to access the law of the land without having to pay a lawyer to translate their name into “party of the first part.” I think any good English Only law should include a clause to make lawyers speak in plain English.

And doctors. More Latin. And not just that, but doctors just completely make up words – and then tack the word “syndrome” on the end to make it sound legitimate. Take postgastrectomy syndrome for example, which is a fancy way of saying that you have the shits.

Oh, speaking of just making up words, what about Taco Bell? Frutista Freeze? Frutista? And what the fuck is a Bacon Cheddar Gordita? That’s just made up bullshit. For all I know Gordita could mean “ground up Chihuahua.” We need a law that prevents this kind of silliness and requires Taco Bell to use real English words like Burrito and Nachos and Pizza and Hamburger.

Then there’s the auto industry. Somebody want to tell me where Volkswagen gets off selling cars in America with weird assed foreign sounding names like “Passat,” and “Jetta” and “Touareg?” Touareg, hell, those are sub-Saharan pirates for crying out loud, why the hell should we allow VW to sell us cars named for a bunch of African Terrorists? It’s just down right un-American. This kind of crap is leaking over into American manufactures too, hell my GMC truck is a “Sierra.” Sierra is a Spanish word, why couldn’t they just call it “the Mountain?” Chevy is making the “Impala,” another African word, they should have just called their car “Weird Fast Deer.”

Hell, why we’re at it, we should add a clause to make people name their children traditional American names. What’s with all the Madisons, and Shakiras, and Rivers, and Dejuans, and Rainers? Barak? People are just making shit up.

And what about crop circles? Talk about illegal aliens, bastards tear up perfectly good corn fields and don’t even have the common courtesy to write in English.

Is there any reason why computers can’t be programmed in plain English? And speaking of computers and plain English, what about those goddamned errors messages? Seriously folks, if there’s any part of our nation more in need of mandated English, I don’t know what it is.

English, it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law, or at least it should be.

Here’s a bit of English for you:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Just as long as they speak English. Right?

15 comments:

  1. Look who's talking, Senior Chief.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Icelandic isn't so hard - your tongue just wasn't drunk enough...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I shouldn't be made to pronounce words that contain umlauts and that weird tilde symbol, Karl. Just sayin.

    Also it depends entirely on the type of drunk you are, drinking Bud Light doesn't help at all when it comes to Icelandic, Carlsberg on the other hand at least gets you in the proper Scandinavian mindset...

    ReplyDelete
  4. *snork*

    One of these days I'll learn not to read these posts while the rest of the lab is still here and working.

    and requires Taco Bell to use real English words like Burrito and Nachos and Pizza and Hamburger.

    My favorite part. :D

    ReplyDelete
  5. Why I keep Carlsberg in the fridge at all times. ;)

    And it's your tongue that needs to be drunk - a little Aalborg Akvavit and off you go...

    What was that about English?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've always thought this country's founding fathers' should have declared English as our national language.

    Grew up in western New York, have kind of a neutral mid-west type accent with a hint of Southern from being down here so long. Even went so far as to take extra English grammar courses in college, which helps with most of the jobs I've had. But, HEY, I can translate REDNECK real good fer ya.

    And, for the record, I'm currently working as a paralegal/ legal assistant, and do a fine job of taking the bosses legaleze and turning it into plain English. And considering the court of appeals response I'm working on at the moment that concerns definitions of simple legal terms, plain English is a BITCH as well.

    Y'all come back now, ya hear?

    WendyB_09

    ReplyDelete
  7. That would be me talking, Warrant.

    It wasn't a criticism.

    ::snort::

    ReplyDelete
  8. Tempest-Tossed.

    Isn't that the chick who played one of Cosby's daughters?

    ReplyDelete
  9. No, Nathan, I think Tempest Tossed was the star of Tempest Toots the Teamsters. Say, didn't you work on that flick?

    ReplyDelete
  10. "I've always thought this country's founding fathers' should have declared English as our national language."

    Since most of them also spoke French, I suppose that might have looked odd.

    And anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Si,
    Da
    Yeah,
    and just in general, sure, ya, you betcha.

    I used to drink Corona, until I got a real job, but the only Spanish I ever picked up was donde esta baño.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "Then there’s Massachusetts. What’s the deal with adding an extra ‘awr’ to every damned word? If you’re going to add extra letters to perfectly good English words then you should move to Canada where that kind of shit is legal. That’s what I’m saying here – and take those nasty baked beans with the globs of pork fat floating in them with you."

    Perhaps there is some confusion. We drop a certain letter to make our communications with each other more efficient.

    If you're confused perhaps you could ask that the person speak more slowly....so you could keep up.....we understand....not everyone can be from Boston.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well, I like Boston brown bread. mmmm bread in a can with molasses and raisins. So, you know, maybe you could cut me some slack.

    And speak slower, damn it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Is there any reason why computers can’t be programmed in plain English?
    You obviously haven't seen AppleScript yet.

    A simple AppleScript:
    tell application "Finder" to close Finder window "Macintosh HD"

    ReplyDelete

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