Wednesday, August 03, 2022


Why don't we pronounce country names like the natives of those places? Well, it's difficult. Koninkrijk Der Nederlanden. Say it slow: 'Co.ning.kraik. Dehr. Nay.dur. Lahn.dun.' The ei (ij) combo is ay like egg drawn out a bit. Eyyyy. Oh for crap's sake, it's okay, we speak English, and your pronounciation puts our teeth on edge. Total cringe. Please DON'T try to speak Dutch, stomme vreemdeling.

And I'm quite okay with the local Cantonese thinking of me as a 荷蘭人 ("lotus elegance person"; 'ho laan yan') rather than anything else (actually: 荷蘭裔美國人).

So no, I see no reason to for instance think of the Egyptians as the Miserables. Les Masrables. Whatever. Al Jumhuriyat Masr Al Arabiya does not, for obvious reasons, roll glibly off the tongue of a Holaanyeuimeigwokyan. Neither does 'Kemet'. In English, it's Egypt. Not only because it always has been, but because in writing and in print that has been what we called the place, and that term has consequently reference and resonance.

As a consequence of someone's petulant internet whine that we should strive to call places what the locals call them I ended up reading about the Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan, and listening to Three Little Maids From School Are We. Which, I've been given to believe, totally triggers Vegans and Radical Lesbian Femininists everywhere. Especially in Berkeley. It's imperialist cultural appropriation or sumpin'. Simplistic orientalist stereotypes, very hurtful.

Which poncy British men dressed up as women inevitably must be.
A jolly pleasing noise leaves me horribly offended. Forsooth.

I think I need to soothe my bruised sensibilities with tofu and a cup of jasmine tea. Imported worshipfully from Jungwaayanman gung wogwok (中華人民共和國). Prepared in a spirit of reverent appreciation of five thousand years of history, and mindful of the great contributions of ancient sages such as Confucius, Mencius, Laotze, and glorious mass murderer Mao.

If you mentally hear a loud raspberry here, that's your problem. And bear in mind that the raspberry was invented in the Bronx by repressed Eastern European refugees.
So you're disrespecting somebody unless you're from New York.

Actually, piss on all that; I'm heading off to a chachanteng for dragon tongue fish and a cup of milk tea. If I see anyone there wearing Guatamalan hippie rags I shall probably spew.

I do not live in Berkeley.
There are reasons.

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