February 29
I've worked for a big multi-national, lived abroad for several years, travelled a lot, now in politics. Married once but separated; no kids. Generally utilitarian except for minority rights.


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JANUARY 18, 2012 8:30AM

Pardon My French, Monsieur Gingrich

Rate: 28 Flag

          Just when you think that the Republican nomination race can’t get any more surreal, it does.  For months now it’s resembled a Spinal Tapish mockumentary.

          Bachman lauds the founding fathers for their struggle against slavery.  Then at the height of her mini-surge she warns that a perfectly safe inoculation causes mental retardation.  Perry can’t remember what government departments he proposes abolishing, he delivers a rambling Bullworthian speech in New Hampshire and most recently accuses NATO ally Turkey of being run by terrorists.  Cain unveils an economic plan that The Economist characterizes as Dial 9-9-9 for Nonsense.  He painfully lurches through a question on Libya (that’s the one with Gaddafi, right?) where he slams Obama even though he admits he might well have done exactly the same (but for different reasons!).  Finally his back catalogue of workplace harassment and an ongoing affair catch up with him.  Romney (corporations are people), accused of being an out-of-touch 1%er, offers to bet Perry $10,000 in an Iowa debate where acceptance of the wager would have broken the state law.  Santorum, well, do I really have to cite examples?  Just Google him.

          Then there’s Newt.  Multiple adulterer who condemns it in others, self-denying lobbyist (Fannie Mae really needed a historian for a million bucks?!?), Lafferable supply-sider who castigates Romney for too-creative destruction.  And now the latest.  The attack ad disparaging Romney for, among other things, speaking French.

          Leave aside the fact that Newt’s own dissertation includes French sources in his bibliography.  Don’t bother pondering why a youthful Romney would be trying to convert the French citizenry to a religion that prohibits wine.  But has dumbing down sunk so far that knowledge of a foreign language counts against you?  I had reckoned that disbelieving global warming and evolution set the ignorance standard.  What was I thinking?

          At any rate the controversy put me in mind of the brilliant opening scene of Tom Stoppard’s Dirty Linen.  With a few tweaks…

Romney and Gingrich have gone for brunch at Mitt’s club.  Entering, Mitt holds the door.

Mitt – Après vous.

Newt – Toujours la politesse.

Mitt – Noblesse oblige.

Newt – Le mot juste.

Romney hands a menu to Gingrich.

Mitt – A la carte.

Newt – Hors d'œuvre, foie gras.

Mitt – Pour moi, nouvelle cuisine.

Newt – Haute cuisine!

Mitt – Bon appetit.  Garçon!

Spying a newspaper, Gingrich catches up on Cain’s latest cause célèbre.

Newt – Ooh la la!

Mitt (grinning) – Cherchez la femme.

Newt – Une femme fatale.

Mitt – Brunette?

Newt – Blonde debutante.  Petite divorcée

Mitt – Ménage à trois?

Newt - Droit du seigneur.  Très risqué.

Mitt – Chacun à son gout.

Newt – Faux pas.

Mitt – Encore.

Newt – Plus ca change.

Mitt – Damned awkward though.  Pardon my French.


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simply brilliant (we were thinking along somewhat similar lines this morning...you far more creatively!)

Gads and good grief have I had a rough tie getting back on Open Salon. I get pop-ups.
Page failed to open.
Kerry takes the to a French Cafe.
He buys these GOPS sour ham.
Hocks. It eat pork with beans.
Toots . . .
Kerry ask the waitress this:
Do you speak American?
He never tips any severs.
He complain about soup.
The false eyelash in soup?
He thinks it's a mouse drop.
Kerry eats dead horse fly.
The back item was dead.
It float on top of soup.
Funny...very clever and funny.
JW - thanks very much. As it looks like the primaries will soon run out of gas, the bizarro show will cease. But it's been weird and wacky while it lasted.

Art - I'm always amazed how you can come up with something a propos in the blink of an eye.

Ande - Much of the credit should go to Tom Stoppard who came up with the idea.
mockumentary- I have been calling them the Keystone Cops. You are telling me Newt considers a threesome risque??? I bet he has done more in the name of God ..:)
And those guys have more faux pas's then a loose wee divorced brunette..:) not there is anything wrong with that..:)
Witty and smart! Pass the freedom fries, if anyone remembers them :)
Wonderful. I like reading any French, especially that which has totally entered our current language. I have often wondered if New realizes just how much of English comes from the French. Being a historian, he ought to know about 1066. Ought.
Did you see the gall of Huntsman (before he dropped out) actually almost committing treason by speaking Chinese. Somebody, "Get a Rope"!!
All I can say is "Freedom fries." What a bunch of clowns! Rated.
Brillante et drôle, mon ami!
Mitt: Je suis un bag du douche.

Contrary to Newt, a real American historian would have more respect for the French, since without them at Yorktown, the USA might not exist.
This is excellent Abra! I even understood the French!
Arthur Schlesinger will not be needed to pen "The Making of a President: 2012." Maybe Dr. Seuss would be better. This is an open call to nominate other authors worthy of penning such an epic tale. Steven King? Jerry Springer? You decide.
so clever! I loved it all. Rated for truthiness and fun!
Love it! Of all the dumb remarks that one takes the cake! And by a college professor, no less.
Hilarious. Or rather, it would be hilarious if it wasn't so scary. This is the group of vicious clowns that approximately half our country is prepared to pick our president from - yikes!
This made me hoot even though I steadfastly try not to know too much about American politics these days beyond the basics. Well done.
Brilliant, posting to FB.
And then they ordered the freedom fries.
Oops, I see that a couple people already mentioned the freedom fries. Damn, these clowns are just so easy to ridicule! If only they were running for Dog Catcher, rather than leader of the free world.
Linda – maybe the music I chose should have been Send in the Clowns.

daisy jane – your head’s in the right place if getting it around these shenanigans doesn’t come easy.

dirndl – first with the freedom fries comment. There’s a reference to it in the wonderful Before Sunset.

Mary – If Newt included French texts in his dissertation then I’m sure he has a passing knowledge of the language. And a better than passing knowledge of hypocrisy.

scanner – As Huntsman himself tweeted, “I believe in evolution and that man-made carbon emissions contribute to global warming. Call me crazy”. Too sane to last in this twilight zone.

Erica – Thanks very much. I couldn’t think of how to work the FF into the dialogue.

Fusun – Madame, merci beaucoup.

blu – zut alors!
Stim – I’m sure that Newt is pretty knowledgeable about the country’s history. That doesn’t mean he’ll put such knowledge to wise or impartial use.

Susie – it’s surprising how much French has made it into our lexicon. English is truly the magpie of languages.

onl – What about Hunter Thompson, Lawrence Sterne, Vonnegut or Jonathan Swift?

Persistent – Thanks very much. This Republican race falls into the laugh or cry category.

kittwarn – Thanks for dropping in. I’m sure that Newt is well aware of what he’s doing.

nana – I’ve been scared since 2008 when a well past his prime candidate garnered 58 million votes (46%) on a platform of more of the same of the worst President in anyone’s lifetime; thereby repudiating his stands and character that once made him popular. And in doubtful health with an inexperienced nincompoop as his VP candidate.

emma – If you don’t know much about U.S. issues, you’re in good company with the folks who turn out to vote for these jokers. Thanks for the comment.

Sheila – Thanks very much.

Lezlie – De rien.

Cranky – Or maybe a reality show where at the end the host could hand out a cash prize and send the winner on his way.
This is hilarious.
Speaking of the French, I wonder what you would think about this poem I once wrote:

Though it may get me labeled a traitor
And it surely won't make me rich
In the face of all those who hate them
I announce: I love the French.

For De Tocqueville and Voltaire
For L'Enfant who designed DC
For the fact that without their
Aid this country would never have come to be

For their workweek of 35 hours
And vacation that lasts a month
For productivity greater than ours
And free health care, unlike us,

For Dumas, Joan of Arc, Exupery
Doctors without Borders, and
For a civilized society,
Low crime rates and beautiful land

For their gorgeous, passionate women
For Cezanne and for Gaughin
For wine valleys, chateux - earth heaven -
For Riviera, Paris, Sorbonne

For their foreign aid to the poor
And diplomatic outreach -
There is one thing I know for sure:
Hear me saying: I love the French.
♥╚═══╝╚╝╚╝╚═══╩═══╝─╚For an amusing insight here and now.
Ilya - Charming and clever poem. I had the good fortune to spend a lot of time in Paris during the 80s and 90s and share your admiration for the French.

Algis - How do you get that typeface into a comment? Glad you enjoyed this.
Merci pour ce piece, Abra. Drole, mais trés déprimant. It made me think of Foucault (I believe it was him) who talked about Reagan and “power ignorance,” how ignorance can become power in a discourse as everyone involved has to “dumb down” rather that shift up.
It's an interesting dynamic Various. It's as though the candidates try to out-do one another in coming up with the most simplistic and self-righteous snippets of bumper-sticker wisdom. And they're rewarded for it by a dumbed-down voting block. If you figure out what's going on, please post the results.
Lafferable! (And I'm not grading on a curve.) Rated.
Lafferable! (And I'm not grading on a curve.) Rated.
Drewonimo - thanks very much and nice name. Being graded on curves has helped me from time to time so no disdain for it here.
You hit a home-run with this one. Absolute brilliance!
Formidable! (prononcé the French way, bien sur, c'est à dire, for-mee-DAH-ble!). Rated for "oui, c'est vrai et très amusant aussi.
Fay - thanks very much. This Through the Looking Glass campaign pretty much satirizes itself.

Jett - Touché. Mercie beaucoup.