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Cheese-Eating, Etc.


Rather surprisingly, there have been no attempts to translate those infamously weak-kneed simians into Turkish, but one reader has come up with “macacos que rendem-se e comem queijo” (Portuguese), while another had the, er, ‘Gaul’ to recall Julius Caesar’s unpleasant reference to “Caseum edentes, concedentes simiae.” Speculation that Chirac has fallen out with Hans Blix over the latter’s use of the term “ostätande kapitulationsapor” is, we are sure, unfounded. In the New Europe, of course, there would no room for worrying about such diplomatic niceties. The talk in Budapest is direct, and the words that are used are, apparently, (remembering, with some anxiety, that old Monty Python sketch about the Hungarian phrasebook, I take this on trust) “megados sajtevõs majom” or, on occasion, “Sajt-evo felado majomok.”

The reader who suggested that the German for ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys’ was ‘Der French’ gets no marks at all for effort, achievement or tact.

And then there’s Polish. Should it be “ser jedzace poddajadze sie malpiszony” (Sunday’s attempt), “ser jedzace poddajace sie malpiszony” or, for those with a taste for something more exotic, “serozerne malpy poddawaczki”?

I have no idea.

The Corner: We report. You decide.