Check out ABC’s This Week today (video below). In a rare moment of quality, they had on California Gov. Schwarzenegger and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell to talk about infrastructure and the real facts about the impact of the stimulus bill.Their discussion was productive, fact-based and free of the usual fighting-back-and-forth nonsense between partisan hacks. Will this usher in a new age of interesting Sunday morning TV? I doubt it.
I’ve always been fascinated by language. If given oodles of money and a point of disembarkation from the never-ending racetrack of maintaining a “real” career, I might take up comparative linguistics as a prolonged academic pursuit.
On that note, I find insults (and “bad words” generally) to be one of the most interesting facets about everyday language usage.
So, I just wanted to start out a thread where we can share some of the more amusing ways to insult someone or swear in a foreign language.
My favorite right now is:
I came across this one while studying in Germany. Schlampe, by itself, generally means Slut. However, when you combine it with the word Bahnhof, which is German for Train Station, it transforms Shlampe into something like Train Station Whore, which has a more commercial, sex-selling context, presumably from the heavy pedestrian traffic at German train stations that would make it easy for a Bahnhof Shlampe to ply her wares.
Just to ruminate on this in a comparative context, think about this term versus our storied American Truck Stop Whore. I know it’s not a commonly used term, as such. However, we can all immediately bring the meme to mind when the topic of women of ill repute loitering in truck stops comes up. Considering that America is The Land of the Free and the Home of the Automobile, it would make sense that we wouldn’t contextualize whores in a mass transit context.
Anyway, enough from me, what are some of the interesting seedy phrases you’ve come across in your travels? Please share in the comments.
It means ugly but you will also often hear Thais use it affectionately for babies and small children. It is an old Thai superstition that you do not call babies lovely or beautiful because that may attract the attention of demons who want to whisk beautiful babies away. Of course, Thais do not actually believe this, but just in case…
I try to maintain my charmingly naive faith in the human condition but polls like this (of Texans) just make me sad:
– 51 percent disagree with the statement, “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.”
– 38 percent agree with the statement, “God created human beings pretty much in their present form about 10,000 years ago.”
– 30 percent agree with the statement, “Humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time.” Another 30 percent said they “don’t know” whether the statement is true.
It really amazes me a person can say something like this and avoid having their head explode:
“There is no polite way to put this: Obama’s incompetence is getting people killed,” – Liz Cheney, daughter of a vice-president who presided over the deaths of more than 3,000 people in New York City after being warned explicitly that al Qaeda was preparing a major attack on the United States.You can say a lot about Obama but — in the context of the recent Presidency that defined and expanded the notion of Epic FAIL and blistering incompetence to unprecedented heights — using “incompetence” to describe him is more than a little rich coming from someone who helped Bush wreck our country through the stratospherically inept mismanagement of everything from Iraq to the Department of the Interior.
However, it doesn’t appear that it transcribes languages other than English, as I just received a telemarketer voicemail in Spanish that had something to do with making quick money on some weight loss program. Here’s how it got transcribed:
The other day. I love to have a chance to vote on it. Is that an adult been going at it? Happy that you would know I had to be so give me a call.Love the part about the adults going at it. Hahaha.
Lately Democrats and other progressive commentators such as Rachel Maddow have been trying to make political hay:
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine is holding a conference call today with reporters to counter GOP criticism of the stimulus bill as the one-year anniversary of the legislation approaches. Democrats are steamed that Republicans, who almost unanimously opposed the bill, have also touted money for projects in their home states. “All but three Republicans in Congress voted against the ARRA, but scores of them have attended ribbon cuttings, taken credit for projects in press releases or even noted the job creating potential of projects in their districts and states in letters to federal agencies seeking funds from the Recovery Act,” said the DNC in a statement.In the post below, our own host terms it a “perfect illustration”, and berates these “brazen”, “shameless… lying… hypocrites.”
I realize it makes a great story if you don’t stop to think about it, so I apologize for ruining the narrative, but as Greg Mankiw explains:
It seems perfectly reasonable to believe (1) that increasing government spending is not the best way to promote economic growth in a depressed economy, and (2) that if the government is going to spend gobs of money, those on whom it is spent will benefit. In this case, the right thing for a congressman to do is to oppose the spending plans, but once the spending is inevitable, to try to ensure that the constituents he represents get their share. So what exactly is the problem?Ah well. There’s reality—and then there’s politics.
Let me offer an analogy. Many Democratic congressmen opposed the Bush tax cuts. That was based, I presume, on their honest assessment of the policy. But once these tax cuts were passed, I bet these congressmen paid lower taxes. I bet they did not offer to hand the Treasury the extra taxes they would have owed at the previous tax rates. Would it make sense for the GOP to suggest that these Democrats were disingenuous or hypocritical? I don’t think so. Many times, we as individuals benefit from policies we opposed. There is nothing wrong about that.
This image from GOP.gov really helps to illustrate how brazenly Republicans are talking out of both sides of their mouths right now about the stimulus bill:
See that item with the red arrow? TP explains:
Yesterday, GOP.gov, the official website for the House Republican caucus, continued the anti-stimulus drumbeat, blaring press releases calling the stimulus a failure. Ironically, posted just above two releases attacking the stimulus, the website features a release from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) taking credit for $35 million dollars in stimulus highway money.Shameless… lying… hypocrites.
Yesterday, ThinkProgress released a report detailing how over half of the GOP caucus, 110 lawmakers — from the House and Senate — have either taken credit for its success or requested more money from the stimulus. As part of the GOP leadership team, McMorris Rodgers helped corral every single House Republican in voting against the stimulus. She is simply the next lawmaker hypocritically trying to “trash and cash” the bill.
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