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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

But "stupid" is universal

In 1972, Alabama Governor George Wallace went to Europe to get some foreign policy cred in advance of his second bid for president. In London, he was heard to worry to an aide, "I just hope I don't commit any foxpaws over here."

Now, Charlie Pierce discovers "faux pas" is French for "cheesehead":
Scott Walker, who doesn't need the college degree into which I practically stumbled, went to Germany and discovered that American Stupid doesn't translate well. 
Drop just one letter, as the likely Republican presidential candidate   did Tuesday in Germany, and you can get laughed at. In a speech about   transatlantic trade at an industrial fair, Walker called the Hannovermesse the "Hannover-mess," incorrectly dropping the "e" in his pronunciation and drawing some chuckles from his audience of about 100 German executives. The compound noun is translated as Hannover Fair. 
Now, in general, I tend to agree with The Old Gentleman about the German language. But, when you're in Germany, and you're bragging about how you "literally" can trace your ancestry back to that country, and also bragging on your state's cheese, you really should take care not to give your hosts a chance to laugh at you -- because, sooner or later, they're going to realize that this dolt really could be the next president of the United States, and they will get nervous, and the world already has had enough trouble with nervous Germans.

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